What is REDD+?
REDD+, or reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, is a mechanism that includes forest protection in tackling climate change. The concept aims to create incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as to promote conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Developed countries pay for these emission reductions in developing countries while also encouraging better management of forests and forest resources.
REDD+ activities have the potential to deliver a wide range of benefits to the climate, to biodiversity, and to communities that depend on forests. However, REDD+ can also cause negative impacts if activities are implemented without respecting the rights of stakeholders and complying with obligations that a country may have. At the international level, countries have agreed to social and environmental “safeguards” that are intended to prevent such harms as well as to promote benefits when implementing REDD+. Addressing safeguards and the other operational elements of REDD+ could require changes to laws, policies, regulations, and institutions in countries implementing REDD+. Therefore, it is essential that governments respect the rights of those impacted by REDD+ activities. ForestDefender highlights these existing rights and obligations that are relevant in a forest governance context.