Safeguards in REDD+ help to address national forest governance shortcomings and mitigate any potential adverse social and environmental effects that could prevent REDD+ from achieving its long-term goals of sustainable reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
Part of the process of developing safeguards involves analysing and improving legal frameworks.
FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) promote equitable and just solutions, effective verification systems, transparency, capacity building and policy reform in the forest sector. Various elements of VPAs ensure environmental, social and governance considerations are taken into account, such as the legality definition, verification procedures and oversight structures. However, in some countries these considerations are more explicit than in others, according to the priorities set by the country’s stakeholders.
Although there are big differences in the ways the REDD+ safeguards framework and VPAs work, they both help strengthen the legal framework around shared principles. The parallel development of the safeguards framework and the VPA legality definition also creates opportunities for gap assessments.
Learning from REDD+ safeguards and VPA approaches in Vietnam
Vietnam developed a national REDD+ safeguards framework, based on a comprehensive gap analysis of relevant national policies, laws and regulations. Vietnam also reviewed its definition of legal timber and timber products, in the context of FLEGT VPA negotiations.
Political complexities and other factors made it difficult for the processes to develop REDD+ safeguards and define VPA legality to inform each other directly. However, the two processes are similar. Each therefore provided useful lessons for the other, such as lessons about the multistakeholder mechanisms for negotiation and implementation, communication and capacity building of civil society.
For more information, see 'Publication on safeguards roadmap for Vietnam's national REDD+ action programme'.
Addressing safeguards under FLEGT and REDD+ in Honduras
Honduras, which is negotiating a VPA with the European Union, has taken steps to address safeguards under FLEGT and REDD+. The Honduras Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP, July 2013) looks at the links and synergies between the preparation for REDD+ and FLEGT VPA negotiations. The country seeks to address the requirements of both processes coherently. This includes requiring that the legality definition of the VPA not contradict REDD+ safeguards, in terms of conversion of natural forests, for example. The progress made in implementation of REDD+ safeguards is being taken into account in the country’s VPA negotiations. The R-PP also mentions including links to a future safeguard information system during VPA negotiations and implementation.