How REDD+ developed
REDD+ was created through international negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Initially, the negotiations focused on incentives for developing countries to ‘reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation', hence the acronym REDD.
REDD became REDD+ when negotiators extended the list of activities which could qualify for incentives to include:
- Conservation of existing forest carbon stocks
- Sustainable forest management
- Enhancement of forest carbon stocks
Warsaw Framework for REDD+
After several years of negotiations that refined the concept of REDD+, the parties to the UNFCCC reached a major milestone in 2013 when they agreed the Warsaw Framework for REDD+. The framework provides a clear set of rules that will enable countries to implement REDD+. It includes guidance on:
- National forest monitoring systems
- Technical assessment of reference levels
- Measurement, reporting and verification
- Drivers of deforestation and forest degradation
- Finance and result-based payments
- Institutional arrangements
As REDD+ has evolved, the concept has broadened beyond what is being negotiated within the UNFCCC, with many actors developing and implementing initiatives to address deforestation and forest degradation, such as FLEGT, deforestation-free commodity approaches and regional and national initiatives.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which parties to the UNFCCC adopted in Paris in 2015 and which enters into force in 2020, includes a package of REDD+ elements that have been debated for more than 10 years. The Paris Agreement provides a strong signal for REDD+ and treats forests as an integral part of the climate solution.
Continued debate on REDD+ finance
In 2010, the parties to the UNFCCC agreed that developed countries should support developing nations as they design and implement their national REDD+ strategies, policies, and action plans. This relates to the readiness phase of REDD+ and includes support for capacity building.
In 2011, the parties to the UNFCCC also agreed that results-based REDD+ payments to developing countries 'may come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources'. The parties also agreed that funding should support and strengthen governance, the application of REDD+ safeguards and the multiple functions of forests.
A work programme on results-based finance was launched in 2013 and concluded as part of the Warsaw Framework for REDD+. Among its recommendations the work programme encouraged financing entities, including the Green Climate Fund, to channel adequate and predictable results-based finance in a fair and balanced manner. It also recognised the importance of incentivising non-carbon benefits and established an information hub on the REDD Web Platform, to publish information on results and corresponding results-based payments.
However, the debate within the UNFCCC on the sources of result-based finance was not resolved by the Paris Agreement in 2015. It is therefore yet unclear how public and private funds will be mobilised for REDD+ in the longer term and whether there is a role for carbon markets in relation to REDD+.
In the absence of a regulated market, some REDD+ projects chose to generate carbon credits to sell on the voluntary carbon market to companies, individuals or organisations that wish to offset some or all of their greenhouse gas emissions because of concerns about climate change.
An overview of EU support to combat tropical deforestation between 2006 and 2014 can be found here.