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Full Speed Ahead for REDD+ PGA Pilots
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REDD+ is an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development. REDD+ goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (Read more here).
Payments under a REDD+ mechanism for forest-based emissions reductions can translate into incentives for sustainable land use and better stewardship of forest resources. This can only be achieved, however, if the socio-economic drivers of deforestation and forest degradation are addressed, and current forest resource users have sufficient confidence in the REDD+ mechanism to change the way they use forest resources. In other words, if the allocation of carbon rights is opaque and uncertain, if the distribution of benefits is unpredictable, untimely or captured by a few, if lack of enforcement allows free riders to exploit the system, or if perceived or experienced corruption is high, stakeholders will not take the risk of foregoing the income they derive from their current uses of forest resources – and REDD+ will not work. Both potential donors and beneficiaries need to have sufficient confidence in the REDD+ mechanism to make it function.
Against this backdrop, it is evident that a sound governance system will be central to the success to REDD+ policies and finance. This will not be easy, as REDD+ takes place in forest governance contexts characterized by illegal logging, corruption, corporate and elite capture of forest lands, displacement of forest communities, and other social and governance issues. In many countries, the lack of appropriate policies on forest management, weak law enforcement, ambiguous land tenure as well as poor regulation on the use of forest have all exacerbated the vulnerability of forests and their communities.
The UN-REDD Programme is currently piloting four Participatory Governance Assessments for REDD+ (PGAs) to address some of these governance challenges in an inclusive manner by building on the agencies already existing body of work and relevant expertise. Read more on how the UNDP Oslo Governance assessment approach has been applied in a REDD+ context through the PGA pilots here.