Currently, there is minimal guidance on the system for providing information on how REDD+ safeguards are being addressed and respected. Without further guidance, there are gaps and inconsistencies between reporting requirements, which could lead to unnecessary costs and inconveniences for countries fulfilling their REDD+ requirements.
Ultimately, without further guidance from the UNFCCC, there is a real risk that the SIS will fail to demonstrate that safeguards are being addressed and respected; and thus, result in significant negative social and environmental impacts and jeopardize the ability for REDD+ to mitigate climate change. Fortunately, if Parties agree to further guidance on the SIS at COP 20, there is opportunity to reduce the risk of negative impacts from REDD+ as well as produce positive outcomes, including adaptation outcomes. Therefore, there are important reasons for all Parties to support further guidance to support effective REDD+ implementation.
Further guidance is useful for REDD+ countries because:
- It will assist developing country Parties to implement safeguards equitably and effectively;
- It will assist countries without strong technical and financial capacities on how to design country approaches to implement and report on the safeguards;
- It could simplify reporting formats and thus reduce the burden of reporting;
- It would reduce the inconsistency and promote coherence between the multiple sets of requirements from the various multilateral funding initiatives for REDD+, thereby reducing the consequent and unnecessary costs and inconveniences of implementing and reporting on safeguards;
- It could support countries in taking advantage of synergies with other international agreements (e.g. the Convention on Biological Diversity);
- It could improve understanding and awareness among REDD+ stakeholders;
- It could increase the amount of REDD+ funding available to REDD+ countries by providing greater assurance to potential REDD+ investors that safeguards have been addressed and respected;
- It could support countries to apply safeguards systems that allow for adaptive management, leading to improvements in a country’s REDD+ program.
Further guidance is also useful for REDD+ funders because:
- It could improve REDD+ safeguards implementation and lead to greater transparency, facilitating more effective investments that lead to improved results from REDD+;
- It could better normalize the provision of safeguard information summaries, facilitating a more streamlined assessment;
- It could provide greater confidence in REDD+ reporting, assisting investors in demonstrating their accountability to their domestic constituencies.
Therefore, CAN calls on Parties at COP 20 to develop additional guidance on the system for providing information on how the REDD+ safeguards are addressed and respected. If Parties rely on the current inadequate and vague guidance from Durban, they will both miss an opportunity and endanger the long-term success of the REDD+ mechanism.