Armando Cuichán / La Imagen Libre

Daniela Rey, Director of Climate, Law & Policy, Ltd.

Steve Swan, Safeguards Coordinator for the UN-REDD Programme

Five years have passed since Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed on seven broad principles constituting a set of safeguards for REDD+.  Since these Cancun safeguards were agreed in 2010, a number of countries have initiated planning and actions to meet the associated UNFCCC safeguards requirements, as well as those of other initiatives and sources of financing (such as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s Readiness and Carbon Funds), through a single country approach to safeguards. 

In a new and consultative review, Country Approaches to REDD+ Safeguards: A Global Review of Initial Experiences and Emerging Lessons, the UN-REDD Programme has captured some of the key common country experiences and emerging lessons learned from these country approaches to safeguards. The review draws on a series of one-on-one consultations with REDD+ countries, together with dialogue and learning that emerged from regional knowledge exchange workshops organized by the Programme throughout 2015.

It helps to address such key questions as: What has worked? Where do challenges remain?  What might be the way forward as countries move towards implementing REDD+ actions?

 Five key common elements

In exploring and synthesising the different country approaches, this review identified five key common elements that could serve to inform strengthened implementation of both existing and new country safeguard processes, in those countries that are just getting started with safeguards. 

  1. Setting the goals and scope of a country’s approach to safeguards:
    1. Choosing which safeguards the country will choose to adopt (the Cancun safeguards by default and/or any other additional safeguards).
    2. Determining to which interventions beyond REDD+ the chosen safeguards may be applied.
  1. Clarifying safeguards in accordance with national circumstances:
    1. Presents an opportunity to anchor safeguards to existing policies, laws and regulations to the REDD+ actions comprising evolving national strategies or action plans.
    2. Serves as a basis for the design of a country’s UNFCCC-required safeguard information system – a well as subsequent production of summaries of safeguards information.
  2. Robust governance arrangements:
    1. Present strategic opportunities to strengthen existing governance arrangements – such policies, laws and regulations; institutional arrangements to implement these; and information systems and sources to demonstrate this implementation in practice.
    2. Assess and make use of existing governance arrangements.
    3. Identify gaps and weaknesses in existing and relevant governance arrangements.
    4. Develop appropriate measures to fill these gaps that are both cost-effective and politically viable.

  3. Safeguard information systems:
    1. Information needed to demonstrate that safeguards have been addressed and respected should be informed by the country’s clarification of the Cancun safeguards.
    2. Information content in a country’s safeguards information system should be aligned with the scope of REDD+ actions in the national strategy/action plan.
    3. Information structure to be employed in the safeguards information system should be in accordance with the country’s national (and possibly subnational) circumstances, to ensure design of a safeguards information system that is both feasible and suitable in its operations.

  4. Engaging stakeholders:
    1. Define the quality and ownership of processes and outcomes – this is recognized as paramount in any country approach to safeguards.
    2. Determine how, when, where and to what degree different constituencies are engaged – also very critical to the success of a country approach to safeguards.
    3. Devise effective stakeholder engagement strategies – a challenge identified by countries where improvements are being made as countries continue to learn by doing.
    4. Manage stakeholder expectations – a similar challenge to the above where improvements are being made.

The potential of country approaches to meet multiple international safeguards requirements through a single country driven process appears promising, and a rich and diverse body of knowledge has now been generated and shared through the publication of this technical resource.

Through this process, one clear message resonates the loudest from countries –approaches to safeguards should not be instigated and undertaken in isolation. Linking safeguards to REDD+ actions as part of the development of national REDD+ strategies and action plans is now widely acknowledged as imperative to ensuring that safeguards are effectively addressed and respected with REDD+ implementation.

Download this new publication in the UN-REDD Programme’s Technical Resource series: Country Approaches to REDD+ Safeguards: A Global Review of Initial Experiences and Emerging Lessons.

Access more information on the topic of REDD+ Safeguards and access key resource materials on the UN-REDD Programme open platform – the Online Collaborative Workspace.