UNEP Publishes Report on the Role of REDD in Developing a Green Economy
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recently published a report entitled Building Natural Capital: How REDD+ Can Support a Green Economy. The report provides insights on the role of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) in the green economy and poverty alleviation. Green economy, as used in the report, means “an economy that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.”
As scientific studies attested to the impact of deforestation in the global rise of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, forest protection emerged in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations as a possible target for reducing emissions. The REDD+ proposal has gained traction in the past few years, due to its holistic approach to forest protection and climate change mitigation. Part of the discussion also focuses on establishing environmental (i.e. biodiversity protection) and social (i.e. indigenous peoples rights) safeguards for REDD+ projects and policies. The creation of a legal and policy framework for the REDD mechanism in developing countries is progressing both at the national and subnational levels, as this instrument depends on a significant level of legal security over ownership of natural resources as well as a robust institutional apparatus to ensure the efficacy and legality of emissions reductions.
The report emphasizes the wide array of ecosystem services related to forest protection, such as water regulation, and it notes that “measures need to be put into place to identify and communicate the many benefits that forests provide to people so that the multiple values of forests are better reflected in decisions that affect national well-being.” One of the conclusions of the report points out the need for better governance and coordination among actors and institutions, and that “Linking REDD+ to a Green Economy will require a convergence of multiple outcomes that requires multiple sources of support and that demands a stakeholder-supported enabling policy environment.”