Light that shimmers down through gaps in a canopy energizes growth in forest layers below. So, too, will the light shed by Forest Day 3 energize efforts to implement REDD+, and help fill gaps in understanding of how it will work in the real world. REDD, the program to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, may be one of the significant, long-lasting achievements to come out of COP15. Its embrace by the world’s nations will set the stage for an unprecedented form of cooperation between the tropical and colder regions of the world, in a joint effort to head off the effects of global climate change.
REDD could eventually transfer US$15-25 billion a year from developed to forest-rich developing countries. The funds would be earmarked to control the drivers of deforestation and to pay forest owners for protecting a social, environmental, and financial asset.
The challenge is to make this collaboration as effective in reducing emissions, efficient in channeling funds, and equitable as possible. Accomplishing this require unprecedented, cross-sectoral collaboration, for many of the drivers of deforestation arise well beyond the forest fringe. These drivers can be found in agricultural practices constrained by poverty in developing nations; in ever-rising demands for energy; and in the consumption patterns of developed nations.
Of course, measurements of effectiveness must start with measurement itself, and for this scientists are rapidly developing new technologies, and putting to use existing ones such as satellite imagery. As experience has already shown, however, the best technology transfer will be a two-way exchange, engaging the expertise of local communities along with scientific accounting and methods.
Also at issue is the realization of co-benefits: chief among them the enhancement of local people’s livelihoods, reductions in poverty, and the conservation of biodiversity. Although it may seem a bit like the quest for the Theory of Everything, the architects, supporters and implementers of REDD+ see in its unfurling the seeds of yet more comprehensive and ambitious initiatives. Ultimately, this includes a landscape view of reducing emissions, one which looks at the net balance of human activities, and its impact on climate sustainability, whatever the biome.
Forest Day 3 is an opportunity to explore these issues and more in depth, with the worlds’ best minds, and learning from both recent experiences in piloting REDD, and 50 years of efforts to prevent deforestation and build rural livelihoods.
CIFOR and the Global Observation of Forest and Land Cover Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) project will also host a side event at COP15 on this topic. The side event, REDD in the Real World: Lessons from Global Research, will take place at 6:15-7:45pm in the Halfdan Rasmussen Room, Bella Center. Participants will present science-based technical guidance and recommendations for carbon measuring and monitoring, financing, rights and tenure and other key issues for making REDD efficient, effective and equitable.