The Rainforest Alliance is aligned with a group of high-profile international conservation organizations — including Conservation International, the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Woods Hole Research Center — to advance a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Forest Conservation (REDD+) system that prioritizes and promotes tropical conservation and sustainable development. Together, we’ve developed positions that inform climate policy and we are influencing leaders in forest-rich tropical countries, international negotiators and other key REDD+ stakeholders.
Here are some of the policy positions we are advocating for:
- Scope: What activities should be eligible for REDD+?
An international REDD+ mechanism should provide a framework that enables long-term, sustainable land management. Forests should get top-billing for REDD+ eligibility, not the amount of potential emissions reductions. Reductions of emissions from deforestation, reductions of forest degradation emissions, sustainable forest management, restoration of degraded forests, afforestation, reforestation and conservation/maintenance of existing natural forests and their carbon stocks should all be eligible REDD+ activities.
- Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities and REDD+
The rights, interests and voices of Indigenous Peoples and local communities must be respected and incorporated into any REDD+ system. REDD+ mechanisms should ensure the equitable distribution of benefits to these individuals. Climate change adaptation strategies must fully consider and integrate the needs of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Disenfranchisement of these groups will take away REDD+’s tremendous potential to catalyze sustainable development.
- REDD+ and ecosystem services
What provides more benefits to human well-being: a eucalyptus monoculture or an equivalent-sized patch of Brazilian cerrado? Forests and other ecosystems are more than just carbon sinks. They maintain water cycles, keep soils fertile, regulate regional climate processes, and provide a home to the world’s flora and fauna. REDD+ systems should promote their protection and enhancement while respecting the full suite of ecosystem services. Integrated land-use planning that values and maintains these services is crucially important.
- REDD+ Financing: Calling for Public and Private Investment
A diverse set of funding sources, including both market and non-market (i.e. national government and multilateral) funding, will be required to realize the full mitigation and sustainable development potential of a REDD+ system. In the near future, non-market funding should be emphasized so that priority countries can build capacity and jump-start REDD+ activities. However, market funding is also needed to reach the scale of finance required to truly address deforestation and degradation. The most recent estimated costs of cutting deforestation in half range from $12 to $35 billion USD per year – funds should be allocated that are consistent with that goal.
- REDD+ Scale: Coordination at the national or sub-national level?
Assuring that REDD+ activities are successfully implemented requires setting reference levels for emissions reductions, accounting for those reductions, monitoring land-use changes, regulation, frequent reporting, etc. To do this cost-effectively and at scale, REDD+ activities should ultimately be coordinated at the national level. But because it will take time to establish all these oversight mechanisms, sub-national implementation for a defined interim period is encouraged. Sub-national activities can be linked to national-level accounting.