The main drivers of deforestation are well-known. Yet the complexity of underlying factors is hard to tackle.
Photo: Jörg Böthling

11.12.2019

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In times of large forest fires in the Amazon, Indonesia and Central Africa, continuously high deforestation rates in the tropics, and climate change becoming ever more evident, it seems like REDD+ – the mechanism for payments for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation under UNFCCC – is not delivering on its promise. REDD+ has indeed not met the high hopes it raised of reducing deforestation and increasing reforestation in terms of speed and effectiveness. Yet, almost 15 years since REDD+ was initially introduced, it is time for a more differentiated appraisal.

At the beginning, the REDD+ concept (see Box) was seen as a simple and captivating novel approach for forest-rich developing countries to receive results-based payments for avoided deforestation while at the same time demonstrating an active contribution to climate change mitigation. Looking back, the mechanism was at the heart of applying the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities of developing and developed countries for climate change mitigation, which today is codified in the Paris Agreement in its Article 5.

REDD+ is an instrument created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2005. It is defined as “Policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries”.

 

In its initial phase, REDD+ was mainly driven by project developers in the so-called voluntary markets.

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