Deforestation in Ecuador © stevemonty

Article by Guest Contributor: Natalie Antonowicz

During the second week of negotiations at Cancun, expectations for progress on the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program declined. Delegates remained divided about rules on safeguards and finance, as well as the scope of REDD.

Overall, however, the second week of the Cancun Conference can be regarded as a success, in terms of the progress on REDD. In the agreement concluded in Cancun, “REDD is also part of the package and proposed mitigation actions [that] include conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks and sustainable management of forests”. The agreement “calls for the creation of national systems of monitoring and reporting actions that save forests, but also for sub-national monitoring and reporting as an interim measure”. Concerns for human rights, have also been integrated into REDD. The overall goal of the agreement signed at Cancun is to integrate and unify existing pilot projects.

While some consensus has been achieved at Cancun regarding social and environmental safeguards, as well as measures for ensuring transparency of funding, many concerns voiced by delegates have not yet been addressed. Topics related to REDD that remain to be decided upon include whether REDD ought to be financed via market-based mechanisms, and whether the Green Climate Fund will be used for REDD financing remains to be decided upon by the COP. Several Latin American states and NGOs remain concerned with whether the REDD program is able to adequately protect the rights of indigenous populations. Additionally, preventing corruption remains a central issue for REDD.

The agreements signed in Cancun represent the first time that REDD has been officially recognized in a United Nations climate change agreement.

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