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What came out of the Convention on Biodiversity meeting in Nagoya on REDD?

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What came out of the Convention on Biodiversity meeting in Nagoya on REDD? PHOTO: Greenpeace

After two weeks of meetings in Nagoya, Japan, “a new era of living in harmony was born and new global alliance to protect life on earth,” at least according to Ahmed Djoghlaf, the Convention on Biodiveristy’s Executive Secretary, in a press release. George Monbiot, writing in yesterday’s Guardian isn’t convinced: “The evidence suggests that we’ve been conned.” There are no binding obligations in the strategic plan agreed in Nagoya.

The Nagoya conference agreed to an “Updating and Revision of the Strategic Plan for the Post-2010 Period,” (the advanced, unedited copy is available on the CBD website, as are the other documents that came out of Nagoya). Other decisions include the Nagoya Protocol on genetic resources, which sets out rules aimed at preventing biopiracy and a moratorium on geoengineering.

Many journalists reported the Nagoya conference as a success. Reuters journalists Chisa Fujioka and David Fogarty described the agreement as “a sweeping plan to stem the loss of species by setting new 2020 targets to ensure greater protection of nature and enshrine the benefits it gives mankind.”

Achim Steiner, executive director of the UNEP, told the Guardian that

“This is a day to celebrate in terms of a new and innovative response to the alarming loss of biodiversity and ecosystems. It is an important moment for the United Nations and the ability of countries to put aside the narrow differences that all too often divide in favour of the broader, shared issues that can united peoples and nations.”

The Strategic Plan includes plenty of reasons to be cheerful. There are 20 targets to be met by 2020, including the following on forests:

Target 5: By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.

Target 7: By 2020 areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.

But, as Monbiot points out, far from being binding obligations, the targets adopted by governments in Nagoya are

nothing more than “aspirations for achievement at the global level” and a “flexible framework”, within which countries can do as they wish. No government … is obliged to change its policies.

On 26 October 2010, the REDD+ Partnership held a meeting in parallel to the Nagoya conference. In a statement about REDD, the CBD’s Ahmed Djoghlaf mentioned that the Strategic Plan includes “targets on forests which could further support reducing deforestation and forest degradation by 2020.” Unfortunately, he failed to mention that these targets are voluntary and not legally binding.

In a break with tradition, the co-chairs of the REDD+ Partnership have released a summary of the meeting, which is posted in full below.

Three videos are also available via the CBD’s website, of the morning and afternoon sessions and a press release by the co-chairs (click on the images to watch the videos):

Co-chairs’ Summary
Aichi-Nagoya Ministerial Meeting of the REDD+ Partnership

On October 26, 2010, the Aichi-Nagoya Ministerial Meeting of the REDD+ Partnership was held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture in Japan under the co-chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Seiji Maehara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and H.E. Mr. Samuel T. Abal, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration of Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

The meeting took place at the margin of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD-COP10) and was attended by the Ministers and the heads of delegations from 62 countries participating in the REDD+ Partnership. Representatives from various international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and civil societies also attended the meeting.

The Ministers recalled that important progress on REDD+[1] was made prior to and at COP15 including the Copenhagen Accord and reaffirmed the general commitment made in the International Conference on Major Forest Basins held in Paris in March 2010 to establish an interim platform for enhancing coordination of REDD+ actions and support, including sharing experiences. Furthermore, the Ministers referred to the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference held on 27th May 2010 and the establishment of “REDD+ Partnership” as a milestone for the international effort on REDD+ actions and finance.

The Ministers reaffirmed the crucial role to be played by the REDD+ Partnership as an interim platform for scaling up of REDD+ actions and finance, and to that end to take immediate actions to improve the effectiveness, transparency and coordination of REDD+ efforts. The Ministers noted the importance of REDD+ activities in terms of deploying multiple functions of forests including social and economic benefits. In particular, in the context of holding this meeting in the margins of CBD-COP10, the Ministers recognized the synergies between climate change and biodiversity, and the role of the Partnership in sharing lessons on practical experiences including relevant safeguards.

The Ministers welcomed the announcement of new pledges by Belgium and Italy to support REDD+ activities, respectively Euro 10 million to GEF SFM/REDD+ Program and US$ 100 million for REDD+ activities, including a contribution of US$ 5 million to FCPF, and the increase in fast track funding to combat climate change announced by the UK amounting to US$ 4.5 billion in the period between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

The Ministers also welcomed the announcement of Germany, on behalf of Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America to support the operational costs of the REDD+ Partnership budget in 2010 and 2011 based on the budget presented in Tianjin.

1. Outcome of activities under the REDD+ Partnership

The Ministers appreciated the operational progress of the activities under the REDD+ Partnership following the Paris-Oslo process. In this context, they welcomed the enlargement of the Partnership to additional countries. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of inclusive participation of stakeholders in the Partnership in accordance with the principles in the REDD+ Partnership Document agreed in Oslo and modalities of stakeholder participation as further elaborated and agreed in Tianjin.

The Ministers also welcomed the achievements of the REDD+ Partnership under the 2010 Work Program, including the provision of transparent and comprehensive information on REDD+ finance, actions and results through the voluntary REDD+ database, as well as the launch of the REDD+ Partnership website[2] for enhanced information sharing and communication. The Ministers recognized the importance of the voluntary database as an essential basis of improving REDD+ efforts through the enhanced coordination of actions and finance, and called on Partners to continue to contribute and continuously update their information. They noted the importance of improving the scope and quality of information collected for the database from Partners and stakeholders, as well as the need to periodically provide assessments using the data made available.

Referring to the initial analysis of financing gaps and overlaps, the Ministers welcomed the ambitious efforts already undertaken and recognized the necessity to take actions to narrow gaps, avoid overlaps and maximize the effective delivery of REDD+ actions and financing, taking into account the initial analysis to be finalized by the end of 2010.

2. Direction of future activities under the REDD+ Partnership

Based on the progress made so far, the Ministers recognized the importance of continuing to implement measures listed in the Appendix II of the REDD+ Partnership Document and the Work Program as currently developed. At the same time, the Ministers had a common conviction that the Partnership could contribute to further effective scaling up of REDD+ financing and actions, and to further enhance transparency, efficiency and coordination.

To this end, the Ministers expressed a common intent to extend the activities scheduled under the 2010 Work Program that have not been completed, and to add further activities—including facilitation of readiness activities, demonstration activities and result-based actions as summarized in Annex I—to be carried out in 2011 and 2012, thus creating a comprehensive REDD+ Partnership Work Program up to 2012. The Ministers also expressed their determination to make every effort to finalize the Work Program of 2011-2012 by the end of 2010.

The Ministers also noted that the Partnership aims to be action-oriented and is not another negotiation forum and reiterated the importance of ensuring effective communication and an open and transparent process that includes all Partners and relevant stakeholders.

3. REDD+ Partnership and success of COP16

Ministers recognized that the essence of the Partnership is its Partner-driven nature and the accumulation and improved coordination of concrete, scaled-up REDD+ actions and finance are strong drivers to support the establishment of a mechanism that includes incentives for REDD+ policies and actions under the UNFCCC.

This Ministerial Meeting was considered as an important stepping stone toward the upcoming COP16 in Cancun, Mexico. The Ministers expressed their strong will to accelerate their efforts under the UNFCCC to achieve a successful, balanced outcome at COP16 that includes a decision on REDD+.

Annex I

Framework of the REDD+ Partnership Work Program of 2011-2012

Partners shared the same vision on the future of the Partnership in 2011 and 2012—namely, to achieve the core objective of effectively scaling up REDD+ actions and finance through facilitating, inter alia, capacity enhancement and technology development and knowledge transfer. In this context, Partners identified, amongst others, three types of actions to be facilitated; readiness activities, demonstration activities and result based actions. Sharing experiences, lessons learned and sharing best practices are core to building more effective practices in REDD+ implementation and support. Transparency of the flows of financing, and actions taken, is also critical to improve the effectiveness and coordination. And ensuring the full and effective participation of civil society, indigenous peoples and local communities is important.

The following areas of activities have been identified by Partners to concentrate on in their efforts under the Partnership in 2011 and 2012.

1. Facilitating readiness activities

In order to facilitate readiness activities, Partners intend to focus on sharing experiences and lessons learned on: strengthening institutional arrangements and governance structures; developing national strategies; enhancing capacities; technology development and knowledge transfer and cooperation with research communities.

To facilitate the above-mentioned activities, the following operational measures are to be considered.

  • Share experiences and lessons learned
  • Promote and facilitate cooperation among Partners including south-south cooperation and regional REDD+ networks as well as among REDD+ initiatives
  • Promote the assessment of country needs, when requested by countries, with regard to REDD+ readiness and consider proposals to effectively mobilize, deploy and facilitate enabling institutions
  • Leverage technology development and enhance knowledge transfer

2. Facilitating demonstration activities

Partners intend to facilitate the development and implementation of demonstration activities.

To facilitate the above-mentioned activities, the following operational measures are to be considered.

  • Share experiences and lessons learned regarding the design and implementation of demonstration activities, inviting a wide range of participants including civil society, indigenous peoples and the private sector
  • Present, consolidate, analyze and promote the main aspects and enabling environment of demonstration activities

3. Facilitating result-based actions

Partners intend to facilitate the implementation of result-based actions and intend to move from demonstration activities to result-based actions by scaling up activities, and payment for environmental services.

To facilitate the above-mentioned activities, the following operational measures are to be considered.

  • Share experiences and lessons learned
  • Understand and promote result-based actions that are measurable, reportable and verifiable
  • Present, consolidate and analyze the main aspects of result-based actions

4. Facilitating the scaling up of finance and actions

Partners intend to improve the transparency and coordination of various international institutions, funding sources and financial mechanisms and to further engage the public and private sector with the aim of understanding how to more effectively scale up actions and finance.

To facilitate the above-mentioned activities, the following operational measures are to be considered.

  • Share experiences and lessons learned from existing financial mechanisms
  • Share views on funding sources and mechanisms, including public and private financing
  • Promote public-private partnership
  • Enhance the coordination and effectiveness of multilateral and bilateral institutions
  • Enhance mobilization and promote the effective deployment of finance to address the gaps and overlaps in finance and actions

5. Promoting transparency

Partners intend to further develop the voluntary database and REDD+ Partnership website as tools of enhancing information sharing and communication. It is expected that through provision of data and information, implementation of REDD+ actions can be facilitated.

To facilitate the above-mentioned activities, the following operational measures are to be considered.

  • Provide platforms for the sharing of information and for fostering dialogue among Partners as well as civil society, indigenous peoples, local communities and private sector.
  • Enhance the use of the database to address the outcome of the analysis of financing gaps and overlaps
  • Present the platforms and database to wider range of participants in order to encourage their utilization
  • Improve communication to promote main findings and follow up on database information
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  1. The discussions are still avaoiding recognition of the role of Environment-Habitat Banking and the need to establish Carbon Conservation Credits as currency. The private sector has no avenue for transparent commercial activity in partnership with governments and of public institutions. Hence the voluntary as well as the UN backed Carbon Conservation Emissions reductions REDD ++ programs remain very opaque murky activities without clearly illustrated value chains for all participants.