It has been a busy week in Durban. Most of the action has been on the sidelines, in the many side events, but there are indications that the negotiators are also getting down to business, particularly in relation to the Green Climate Fund, and hopefully on REDD+ finance as well.
One of the main themes I took out of last week was that everyone is talking about linking different sectors and achieving multiple goals with climate change mitigation. There is also quite a bit of discussion about making sure that the mitigation and adaptation agendas are better aligned, particularly at the local level.
REDD-net has been working on these issues in relation to REDD+ all year. Our work on REDD+ and other sectors has examined how REDD+ can be designed in a way to not only address the drivers of deforestation, but to do so in a way that also contributes to the objectives of key economic sectors (including agriculture and energy), and of course development.
More recently, REDD-net has also been working on building better linkages between mitigation and adaptation in forests, and has particularly been looking at how REDD+ can be designed to contribute to adaptation goals at the local level.
Our side event, held on this topic explored this issue further from a range of different perspectives. Resham Danghi, from the Ministry of Forests in Nepal spoke on the topic from an adaptation perspective. He highlighted how community based adaptation, which is being undertaken by many communities in Nepal has many similarities with REDD+ initiatives, and outlined the many synergies between community based forest management (which is likely to be pursued as a REDD+ strategy in Nepal), and adaptation actions. He also outlined the key challenges, particularly the knowledge barriers and the weak institutional capacity of the forestry sector, to really optimising the synergies that exist. Highlighting that the trade-offs and synergies were very site specific , he concluded by suggesting that strong engagement of local government was needed to mainstream coordinated planning, and that further capacity building was needed.
The following speaker, Erneus Kaijage, from the Clinton Climate Initiative in Tanzania, highlighted that it was the specific design and implementation of REDD+ that would determine its impact on the adaptive capacity of local communities. He suggested that REDD+ could be used to provide training and educational opportunities and that in Tanzania, there were many entry points for maximising the synergies, such as through community based forest management. He closed by suggesting that ensuring that REDD+ contributed to adaptive capacity would enhance community support for it.
Finally, Steve Panfil, from Conservation International provided a particularly interesting analysis of projects seeking validation under the CCB standards which were actively seeking to contribute to adaptation. Of the 43 validated, and 3 verified projects, 6 have been validated using the optional Adaptation Criterion. He discussed the types of adaptation activities that these projects were pursuing, with most focussing on alternative livelihoods and income diversification. He highlighted that improving the contribution of projects to adaptation goals would likely require additional guidance for project developers, as there seemed to be a low additional cost for early projects doing this.
Following the speakers presentations, discussions focussed on how to scale up activities from the project to larger levels, and how to strike a balance between locally driven initiatives and government led programmes. The discussion demonstrated that there is a lot of interest in this topic and that as REDD+ policies are being designed, and projects being implemented there is the need for these synergies and trade-offs to be more explicitly considered.
The REDD-net side event and the key themes from the past week all really highlight that REDD+ must be designed in a way that is ‘climate smart’ (to borrow a phrase from the agriculture crowd). In order to be a politically, socially and environmentally sustainable mechanism in the long term, it must be designed in a way that contributes to mitigation, adaptation and development goals. I’m sure that the negotiators in Durban would agree with this, the challenge is now for all countries, is to make sure that this starts happening in practice.
Written by Kristy Graham, REDD-net Coordinator, ODI