Cancun Dead Ahead for REDD…

So we move on again.  For the REDD+ partnership, the next stop was to be Nagoya, where the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will meet for its 10th COP later this month.  A ministerial meeting at this event, which would have made REDD+ a bridge between the CBD and UNFCCC processes, is off.


After several wasted meetings, on Friday the Japanese co-chair announced the cancellation of the Nagoya summit.  There is nothing of practical significance for ministers to endorse. As the delegate from the Dominican Republic put it; ‘I cannot ask my minister to fly 24 hours to announce the launch of a website’.


The painful, embarrassingly slow progress of the REDD+ partnership talks at Tianjin is the reason for this backtracking.  The partnership meeting on Friday did approve a ‘non-paper’ on stakeholder participation devised by the co-chairs, but this has no formal weight.


The Coalition for Rainforest Nations (associates of the PNG co-chair) contend that industrialized nations have used the stakeholder issue as a smokescreen to cover their unwillingness to meet financing commitments, according to this report from Ecosystem Marketplace.  But this is disingenuous.  Indonesia, Nepal and Viet Nam have all received multilateral funds.  CfRN officials, on behalf of PNG, have actively stalled the initiation of the UN-REDD country program.  It appears that they are unhappy with the scrutiny that UN agencies would have over the funds.


What can we expect in Cancun?  Well, the Mexican government expects this conference to be the ‘REDD COP’, where the main headline will be a binding UNFCCC decision on REDD+.  This is, of course, not a formal position, as it would be an official lowering of expectations.  But at least such an ambition is still achievable, and would represent considerable progress.


This week’s talks have put a dent in such hopes.  But some indigenous peoples’ groups are encouraged by the travails of the REDD+ partnership.  They would like to see the UNFCCC itself regain control of the REDD agenda.  At a recent workshop in Xcaret, Mexico, with indigenous peoples groups and key REDD participating states, Mexico indicated that it would like to see social safeguards mainstreamed throughout the UNFCCC protocols, not just confined to REDD+ discussions, as it often is at present.


Bolivia would like the backing of global indigenous peoples’ groups for their strident anti-market position on REDD+.  But, despite the sympathy of many IPs with this position, formal support is unlikely.  These groups value their independence above all, and will probably not formally tie themselves to any government body.


The launch of a Climate Fund, to allow developing countries to access finance for adaptation, is likely to be a key feature of the Cancun talks.  The Fund will probably be managed by the World Bank, but under the oversight of the COP itself, which will temper the opprobrium that many in the South naturally feel towards the Bank’s track record.


RECOFTC will be in Cancun to follow these developments.  In the meantime, keep expectations low and ambitions high.  Catch up with us again in Mexico.


Ben Vickers, 9 October 2010

Leave a comment


  1. Regan

     /  October 12, 2010

    I find interesting the tension that seems to exist among various indigenous group representatives and local peoples. On the one hand there seems to be acceptance by many that REDD+ and the incorporation of social standards is within the best interest of local communities. On the other, REDD+ has become a platform for certain factions, such as Bolivia, to vent frustration with global markets. While both sides have their points, I think there is reason to fear the baby being thrown out with the bathwater….

  1. REDD in the news: 4-10 October 2010 | REDD-Monitor

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