Many hoped for clear resolutions on REDD+ in Durban. But as it draws to a close, COP17 has thus far been caught in the weeds, with the key issues of financing, safeguards and deforestation levels still in the air.
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9 December 2011 | At last year’s 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), REDD+ was one of the few areas where negotiators successfully made progress, and many hoped for resolutions on key issues in Durban. But as it draws to a close, COP17 have thus far been caught in the weeds. Key issues include financing, safeguards, and deforestation reference levels. As talks enter the final phase, REDD +remains in limbo. Some are going as far as saying that REDD+ may come out of Durban in worse shape than it left Cancun, while others are saying that a viable work program is in the offing. Progress often comes at the 11th hour, so stay tuned for more news to come.
One of the biggest developments has been the release of Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) text on forest reference levels, which were well received by some who note that the text should finally prompt countries to submit information on forest reference levels and baselines. John-O Niles, Director of the Tropical Forest Group, was optimistic about the decision, saying “Now (countries) have substantial and specific guidance on what information to submit.” Other observers were not as enthusiastic, saying the text didn’t provide the concrete guidance on how to establish emission levels that is needed to move REDD+ programs forward on the ground.
Meanwhile, the SBSTA’s text on safeguards received a largely negative reaction in Durban. The text will only call on parties to submit information on how developers implement safeguard measures, with no requirements for collecting data and measuring the impacts of REDD+. This approach to safeguards was likely adopted in response to pressure from developing countries, who are frustrated with the already complex and costly requirements of donors, and want to avoid further delays in receiving funding.
On Wednesday, it looked like the The Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action process would end before any REDD text was produced, leaving decisions on finance for REDD+ to wait until after COP 17. Tony La Vina, the SBSTA REDD facilitator, asked that delegates create a workgroup to continue to work on the text if the LCA process fails.
Check the Eko-Eco blog, with posts by the Ecosystem Marketplace for great coverage of REDD+ and LULUCF negotiations in Durban.
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