Brazil’s REDD+ black box

On June 6, Brazil became the first Party to deliver a REDD+ reference emission level to the UNFCCC under new rules established in Warsaw.  This should be a reason for celebration: agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) constitutes 24% of global emissions, and Brazil has been reducing deforestation rates in the Amazon. ECO applauds this here and in another article, even if Brazil has stumbled a bit in recent years. Yet, the more ECO looks, the more this REDD gift seems like a black box.

Brazil has been a bit shy about its latest accomplishment. According to Brazilian civil society, the numbers behind the submission are surprisingly secret. No open consultations at home before finishing the reference level? No transparency around the data used? But when the Brazilian Climate Observatory asked for a copy of the submission, the proud Brazilian government lost its mojo. Somehow it was powerless to send the submission to its own civil society, instead leaving it to the UNFCCC Secretariat to share it in due time. 

ECO really wants to see Brazil as a leader, especially on deforestation. But in a week where disrespecting observers has become de rigueur, Brazil’s lack of transparency and failure to engage its own civil society overshadows its REDD+ submission. Moreover, how are we to evaluate country promises and close the gigatonne gap, if everything is kept in a black box?

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