REDD+ Institutional Options Assessment

REDD+ Institutional Options Assessment

By Charlotte Streck, Luis Gomez-Echeverri, Pablo Gutman, Cyril Loisel and Jacob Werksman

The REDD+ Institutional Options Assessment summarizes the institutional issues that must be considered in order to establish an effective, efficient, and equitable international institutional framework for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation, forest Degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+). The assessment is informed by the ongoing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations for a Copenhagen agreement. It further builds on the notion that REDD+ implementation will likely progress through different (but not necessarily formalized) phases, including: national REDD+ strategy development and capacity building (Phase 1), implementation of national REDD+ policies and measures (Phase 2), and full-scale implementation (Phase 3).

International REDD+ institutional arrangements will unavoidably have a challenging task of interacting with national governments relative to the performance of their national REDD+ strategies, while not encroaching on the sovereign discretion of nations to design adequate and acceptable policies and measures nationally. The international institutional and implementation arrangements will have substantial consequences for national economies and for the impact of REDD+ on many forest-dependent communities, including indigenous peoples. REDD+ institutional arrangements must therefore originate from a process characterized by the highest possible political legitimacy and must strive to maintain and enhance their legitimacy over time.

Irrespective of the agreed final institutional arrangement, a REDD+ mechanism that incentivizes measurable action, efficiently channels resources, and duly accounts for the different national and subnational interests would have to include the following essential functions: oversight, financial support, standard setting, certification of results, and accountability. Institutions that fulfill these functions must be able to take political decisions, implement them through operational arrangements, and inform them by providing technical assessments. The Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC will have to be supported by institutions that oversee the implementation of a REDD+ mechanism, by implementation agencies, and by technical bodies.

It is likely that REDD+ actions will have to rely on different funding sources and financing instruments in order to meet the needs of developing countries and provide some flexibility for the support by developed countries. A variety of institutional models could be set up to accommodate these different funding sources and the essential functions of a REDD+ mechanism. This report explores three models that could function autonomously, operate concurrently, or emerge at different stages in the implementation of an international REDD+ mechanism.

The REDD+/NAMA Register Model considers the institutional requirements for the international recognition of bilateral or unilateral REDD+ actions and financial support in a REDD+/Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) register. Such a register could facilitate the tracking and coordination of funding sources and the monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of internationally recognized actions and corresponding financial support. It would provide transparency and help ensure the integrity of an international REDD+ mechanism. The REDD+/NAMA register could initially be operated by an institution outside of the UNFCCC and later become part of a more permanent REDD+ institutional architecture.

The COP-Mandated Fund Model sets out the institutional requirements for the establishment of a fund to support REDD+ actions under the authority of the COP. Such a COP-mandated fund could be dedicated to REDD+ or to broader climate change mitigation finance. It could be administered by decentralized arrangements, the COP, or one or several operating entities. The flow of finance would go from the trustee of the fund directly or via a REDD+ agency to the national institutions of the REDD+ country. The arrangements that support the fund should be flexible enough to (a) allow different levels of initial responsibilities and involvement of national institutions, and (b) devolve responsibilities to national institutions as they grow their capacities.

Under the REDD+ Market Model, principles, standards, and institutional capacity would be agreed to allow the quantification of GHG emission reductions and enhancement in stocks that could be converted into tradable carbon units. At a minimum, a market-compatible model would require a forest emissions inventory, a reference level endorsed by the COP, and a national or international GHG registry. The COP could define criteria based on which standards for GHG performance metrics, social and environmental impacts, and participation requirements could be developed. REDD+ countries would monitor performance against a reference level of deforestation.

Ultimately, the success of an international REDD+ mechanism will depend on the existence of national arrangements that are able to deliver emission reductions at scale. To ensure transparency and inclusiveness, decision-making processes should include a system that engages representatives of forestdependent people, civil society organizations, and the private sector.

The report can be downloaded

Tags: Finance REDD

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