Measuring, monitoring, reporting and verification
The successful implementation of a results-based payment scheme such as REDD+ depends on the credible measurement and reporting of performance. Much of this will relate to forest cover and condition, but it will also include the effectiveness of activities and potentially the distribution of monetary and non-monetary benefits to stakeholders. Increasingly information is also being collected to assess the forest-risk of the production and related trade of timber and agricultural commodities.
Likewise, successful implementation of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) relies on transparent, credible and robust means to ensure that timber products are produced and traded legally. The institutional and technical capacity developed for REDD+ to monitor deforestation and forest degradation could be useful for FLEGT if it provides information on forest management, forest cover, forest conversion, timber production and illegal activities.
REDD+ may also help build a greater national capacity and a culture of effective monitoring and verification in the forest sector.
FLEGT legality assurance systems also include a range of requirements for monitoring, reporting and verification, ranging from on-the-ground monitoring of forest management to ensure laws are met, to independent third-party monitoring of the whole system. These may be useful for REDD+:
- Directly, in providing information that REDD+ measuring, monitoring, reporting and verification can use
- Indirectly, in providing models that REDD+ can also use
Independent forest monitoring by non-governmental organisations, is a key component in the successful implementation of VPAs, as it contributes to transparency and accountability of the regulatory regime. Taking this independent monitoring outside the forest sector to focus on drivers of deforestation, such as agriculture and mining, could contribute to further REDD+ implementation and hold non-forest sector actors accountable for their impact on the forest cover.
REDD+ monitoring informing the timber legality assurance system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has started to develop its system for REDD+ measuring, monitoring, reporting and verification. Its VPA timber legality assurance system is at an early stage. Opportunities for synergies between the two monitoring systems are likely to appear progressively as their design and implementation proceed.
For example, the system for REDD+ measuring, monitoring, reporting and verification offers opportunities in the context of the timber legality assurance system to:
- Refine the analysis and description of logging processes in the field
- Improve the understanding of issues at stake
- Inform the design of control strategies to be put in place
Combining independent monitoring of forest governance and REDD+ in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Civil society plays an important role in monitoring forest law enforcement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in situations where the government lacks the resources to perform control duties. The independent monitoring of forest governance (IM-FLEG) is framed by national forest law and implemented by a local NGO.
This local NGO expanded its scope to REDD+ (IM-REDD+) because many issues observed in the field directly affect both REDD+ and FLEGT processes. Exploring the common features of IM-FLEG and IM-REDD increased the efficiency of monitoring missions, enhanced transparency in law enforcement and of REDD+ safeguards, and significantly reduced costs. The development of the Maï Ndombe emissions reduction program represents a key opportunity for closer interaction between IM-REDD and IM-FLEG.