Talks about talks about REDD are underway again. Two days before the Tianjin round officially began, the REDD+ partnership met to discuss how to pay for REDD+ readiness, how effective multilateral efforts have been so far, and the latest happenings with country-level work.
So what’s new? Benoit Bosquet of the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility reported that a planned analysis, looking at how multilateral institutions can link up for REDD readiness efforts, has not begun for lack of available consultants. Now that is a little puzzling – if there’s one thing the world is certainly not short of, it’s REDD consultants.
Duncan Marsh of The Nature Conservancy – the lead agency in the RAFT program – reported that REDD+ partnership efforts to coordinate financing for readiness is a “useful first step.” The formation of the REDD+ partnership is itself a progressive step, of sorts. But, according to Chris Lang of REDD Monitor, and most civil society organizations following this topic, it’s a step down a narrow, private track with severely restricted access. The workshop on Saturday reinforced this impression as discussions on multistakeholder engagement were very much an afterthought. Others are reporting a general lack of confidence in the ability of the joint chairs of the partnership – both from the Asia-Pacific region – to move the agenda forward. Moreover, for many developing countries, the focus on the REDD+ partnership risks subverting the carefully-balanced process in the UNFCCC negotiations.
There has been some notable practical progress with readiness programs. Over the last year, the UN-REDD work in Vietnam has got ‘boots on the ground,’ moving on from strategy development to the testing of field activities – particularly with the process for obtaining (or not) Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). RECOFTC was involved in developing a toolkit for evaluating this process, which will hopefully lead towards a more efficient and effective process by the time countries are ready to implement their national REDD+ strategies. Vietnam’s movement on FPIC is an important step forward for addressing civil society concerns about the social impacts of REDD+. Other countries need to catch up.
Ben Vickers, RECOFTC