in Uncategorized

The Warsaw Framework for REDD Plus: The decision on REDD finance

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUpon

Negotiators at COP19 in Warsaw last week agreed seven decisions relating to REDD – the “Warsaw Framework for REDD Plus”. You can find each of the decision texts, as they came out of COP19 in Warsaw here.

This post looks at the decision on REDD finance, or, to give it its full title, the Work programme on results-based finance to progress the full implementation of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70 (pdf file, 75 KB).

Before looking at the text itself, here’s a summary of the Warsaw decision on REDD Finance, followed by a few comments:

    Adequate and predictable payments should go to the Global South to stop deforestation. REDD is to be carried out in phases, including a national strategy or action plan, forest reference emission levels, a national monitoring system for REDD, and a system for providing information about how safeguards are being addressed and respected.

    More money is needed for REDD. Money can come from just about anywhere, but may come from the Green Climate Fund. The finance will be results-based (except when it goes to the phases of REDD mentioned above). The more countries receiving REDD funding, the better. Before receiving the finance, countries should provide a summary of how they are promoting and supporting safeguards.

    Entities funding REDD (which may include the Green Climate Fund) should use the methodological guidance found in decisions taken at COPs 15-19. Entities should not stop other funding to forests.

    REDD finance may come from market mechanisms. Or, it may come from non-market mechanisms.

    The Standing Committee on Finance will invite experts on REDD to a Forum to talk about financing REDD.

    “Non-carbon benefits” (i.e. all the other things that forests do apart from store carbon) are important.

    The UNFCCC secretariat will post information about REDD results and finance on its REDD web portal. There will be links to reports about measuring, reporting and verifying; reference levels; safeguards; and national strategies or action plans. If there’s enough money to pay for it, that is.

The Warsaw REDD finance decision is not an agreement by anyone to finance REDD. It’s an agreement on what REDD finance might look like if there was any finance. This may encourage rich countries to finance REDD. But why would they do so?

“Bob the Builder” sums up the problem nicely in a comment on REDD-Monitor:

Why would anyone buy a forests conservation offset when there is no obligation to reduce emissions to meet any meaningful target?
 
Assuming carbon finance will be the finance method of choice for REDD+ at global scale, the lack of any substantive global cap on emissions makes emissions trading pointless. Warsaw certainly delivered no cap, so why would it deliver the trade?

In any case, the references to adequate and predictable finance in the Warsaw REDD finance decision (and elsewhere in UNFCCC decisions) should rule out carbon trading, because the results so far indicate that it is neither adequate nor predictable.

The REDD finance decision mentions market-based mechanisms and non-market-based mechanisms. But Brazil, South Africa, India and China recently said that results-based payments for REDD, “shall not be used to offset mitigation commitments by Annex I countries”.


Even the title of the Warsaw REDD finance decision needs a bit of explanation. The title refers to decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, which is the paragraph in the Cancun Agreement that describes REDD. Here it is:

70. Encourages developing country Parties to contribute to mitigation actions in the
forest sector by undertaking the following activities, as deemed appropriate by each Party
and in accordance with their respective capabilities and national circumstances:
(a) Reducing emissions from deforestation;
(b) Reducing emissions from forest degradation;
(c) Conservation of forest carbon stocks;
(d) Sustainable management of forests;
(e) Enhancement of forest carbon stocks;

I won’t critique this now, not least because I’ve already done so, here.

The following is the text of the “Advanced unedited version” of the Warsaw decision on REDD+ Finance. After each paragraph are my comments (in bold). Following that are links to the previous decisions referred to in the Warsaw text. (You can find all the decisions reached at each of the COPs, by using the search page on the UNFCCC website.)


The Conference of the Parties,
Recalling decisions 2/CP.13, 4/CP.15, 1/CP.16, 2/CP.17, 12/CP.17, 1/CP.18 and -/CP.19 to -/CP.19,[1]

Every time the UNFCCC takes a decision, it has to remind itself that this isn’t the first time its made decisions relating to this topic. This has the unfortunate consequence that as time goes on, things get more and more difficult to understand.

    2/CP.13 is the 2007 Bali Decision, “Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: approaches to stimulate action”.

    4/CP.15 is the 2009 Copenhagen Decision, “Methodological guidance for activities 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”.

    1/CP.16 is the 2010, “Cancun Agreements: Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention”.

    2/CP.17 is the 2011 Durban Decision, “Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention”.

    12/CP.17 is the 2011 Durban Decision, “Guidance on systems for providing information on how safeguards are addressed and respected and modalities relating to forest reference emission levels and forest reference levels as referred to in decision 1/CP.16”.

    1/CP.18 is the 2012 Doha Decision, “Agreed outcome pursuant to the Bali Action Plan”.

    -/CP.19 to -/CP.19 are the 2013 Warsaw decisions (which are not yet numbered). Footnote [1] lists the draft texts before they were approved by COP19 in Warsaw. The agreed texts are listed on REDD-Monitor’s first post about the Warsaw decisions.


Reaffirming that, in the context of the provision of adequate and predictable support to developing country Parties, Parties should collectively aim to slow, halt and reverse forest cover and carbon loss, in accordance with national circumstances, consistent with the ultimate objective of the Convention, as stated in its Article 2,

Payments and technical support are to go to the Global South to “slow, halt and reverse forest cover and carbon loss”. Payments should be “adequate and predictable”.

The words “in accordance with national circumstances” are there to prevent one country (or countries) forcing another country into actions it may not wish to take. It protects the sovereignty of countries, but how does the Warsaw REDD deal address the danger that this provides a get out of jail free card, allowing, say, Indonesia to continue deforesting, because of the national circumstances of large coal deposits below the forests of East Kalimantan?

    The 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Article 2, states that, “The ultimate objective of this Convention … is to achieve … stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

Recognizing the importance and necessity of adequate and predictable financial and technology support for developing all of the elements referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 71,

COP19 recognises that financial and technical support for the many things that need to be done before REDD can go ahead should be “adequate and predictable”.

    1/CP.16, paragraph 71 sets out what developing countries are supposed to develop under REDD:

      (a) a national strategy or action plan;
      (b) a national forest reference emission level (or subnational forest emission levels as an “interim measure”);
      (c) a national monitoring system for REDD;
      (d) a system for providing information about how safeguards are being addressed and respected;

Also recognizing the need to scale up and improve the effectiveness of finance for the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, taking into account decision 2/CP.17, paragraphs 66 and 67,

More money is needed for REDD. The money could come from “appropriate market-based approaches” or “non-market-based approaches”.

    1/CP.16, paragraph 70 in the Cancun Agreement describes REDD.

    2/CP.17, paragraph 66 refers to the possibility of market-based finance for REDD and paragraph 67 refers to the possibility of non-market-based finance for REDD.


Recognizing the key role that the Green Climate Fund will play in channelling financial resources to developing countries and catalysing climate finance,

The Green Climate Fund funds climate stuff.


1. Reaffirms that results-based finance provided to developing country Parties for the full implementation of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, that is new, additional and predictable may come from a variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources, as referred to in decision 2/CP.17, paragraph 65;

Money for REDD can come from just about anywhere.

    1/CP.16, paragraph 70 in the Cancun Agreement describes REDD.

    2/CP.17, paragraph 65 says that money for REDD can come from just about anywhere.


2. Reaffirms that the progression of developing country Parties towards results-based actions occurs in the context of the provision of adequate and predictable support for all phases of the actions and activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraphs 70 and 73;

There are lots of things that need to be done before REDD stands any chance of working. Financial and technological support for these things should be adequate and predictable. (See above.)

    1/CP.16, paragraph 70 in the Cancun Agreement describes REDD.

    1/CP.16, paragraph 73 states that REDD will progress in phases, including, “the development of national strategies or action plans, policies and measures, and capacity-building, followed by the implementation of national policies and measures and national strategies or action plans that could involve further capacity-building, technology development and transfer and results-based demonstration activities, and evolving into results-based actions that should be fully measured, reported and verified”.


3. Recalls that for developing country Parties undertaking the results-based actions referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 73, to obtain and receive results-based finance, those actions should be fully measured, reported and verified, in accordance with decisions -/CP.19 and -/CP.19[2], and developing country Parties should have all of the elements referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 71, in place, in accordance with decisions 12/CP.17 and -/CP.19;[3]

Developing countries have plenty to be getting on with (listed elsewhere) before they stand a hope in hell of getting much REDD finance.


4. Agrees that developing countries seeking to obtain and receive results-based payments in accordance with decision 2/CP.17, paragraph 64, should provide the most recent summary of information on how all of the safeguards referred to in decision 1/CP.16, appendix I, paragraph 2, have been addressed and respected before they can receive results-based payments;

Before receiving results-based payments for REDD, countries “should” provide “the most recent summary” of how safeguards have been addressed.

    2/CP.17, paragraph 64 is a Durban decision that states that REDD actions should be “fully measured, reported and verified” and should include all the elements in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 71 (see above in order to obtain results-based finance.

    1/CP.16, appendix I, paragraph 2 was agreed in Cancun and provides a list of safeguards that “should be promoted and supported”.


5. Encourages entities financing the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, through the wide variety of sources referred to in decision 2/CP.17, paragraph 65, including the Green Climate Fund in a key role, to collectively channel adequate and predictable results-based finance in a fair and balanced manner, taking into account different policy approaches, while working with a view to increasing the number of countries that are in a position to obtain and receive payments for results-based actions;

The UNFCCC is encouraging “entities” to pour money into REDD. The more countries involved, the better.

    1/CP.16, paragraph 70 in the Cancun Agreement describes REDD.

    2/CP.17, paragraph 65 says that money for REDD can come from just about anywhere.


6. Also encourages the entities referred to in paragraph 5 above, when providing results-based finance, to apply the methodological guidance consistent with decisions 4/CP.15, 1/CP.16, 2/CP.17, 12/CP.17 and -/CP.19 to -/CP.19,[4] as well as this decision, in order to improve the effectiveness and coordination of results-based finance;

Before the “entities” start pouring money into REDD, COP19 encourages them to apply the “methodological guidance” available in previous COP decisions about REDD – including this and other decisions taken at COP19.

    4/CP.15 is the 2009 Copenhagen Decision, “Methodological guidance for activities 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”.

    1/CP.16 is the 2010, “Cancun Agreements: Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention”.

    2/CP.17 is the 2011 Durban Decision, “Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention”.

    12/CP.17 is the 2011 Durban Decision, “Guidance on systems for providing information on how safeguards are addressed and respected and modalities relating to forest reference emission levels and forest reference levels as referred to in decision 1/CP.16”.

    -/CP.19 to -/CP.19 are the 2013 Warsaw decisions (which are not yet numbered).


7. Requests the Green Climate Fund, when providing results-based finance, to apply the methodological guidance consistent with decisions 4/CP.15, 1/CP.16, 2/CP.17, 12/CP.17 and – /CP.19 to -/CP.19,[5] as well as this decision, in order to improve the effectiveness and coordination of results-based finance;

The UNFCCC requests the Green Climate Fund to apply the “methodological guidance” available in previous decisions about REDD at the UNFCCC – including this decision. Why the Green Climate Fund gets its own paragraph, rather than being considered as one of the other “entities” that finance REDD is not clear.

    4/CP.15 is the 2009 Copenhagen Decision, “Methodological guidance for activities 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”.

    1/CP.16 is the 2010, “Cancun Agreements: Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention”.

    2/CP.17 is the 2011 Durban Decision, “Outcome of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention”.

    12/CP.17 is the 2011 Durban Decision, “Guidance on systems for providing information on how safeguards are addressed and respected and modalities relating to forest reference emission levels and forest reference levels as referred to in decision 1/CP.16”.

    -/CP.19 to -/CP.19 are the 2013 Warsaw decisions (which are not yet numbered).


8. Encourages entities financing the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, through the wide variety of sources referred to in decision 2/CP.17, paragraph 65, to continue to provide financial resources to alternative policy approaches, such as joint mitigation and adaptation approaches for the integral and sustainable management of forests;

The UNFCCC encourages the “entities” that fund REDD not to stop other funding to forests.

    1/CP.16, paragraph 70 in the Cancun Agreement describes REDD.

    2/CP.17, paragraph 65 says that money for REDD can come from just about anywhere.


9. Decides to establish an information hub on the web platform on the UNFCCC website[6] as a means to publish information on the results of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, and corresponding results-based payments;

The UNFCCC’s REDD Web Platform will include an “information hub” consisting of information about REDD results and payments.


10. Notes that the information hub aims to increase transparency of information on results-based actions, on the corresponding payments, as well as information related to the elements referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 71, without creating additional requirements for developing country Parties;

The information hub will increase transparency, without creating more work for developing countries.

    1/CP.16, paragraph 71 sets out what developing countries are to do develop under REDD (see above).

11. Decides that the information hub will contain, as reported through the appropriate channels under the Convention:
(a) The results for each relevant period expressed in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year and a link to the technical report referred to in decision -/CP.19,[7] paragraph 14;
(b) The assessed forest reference emission level(s) and/or forest reference level(s) expressed in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year and a link to the final report of the technical assessment team referred to in decision -/CP.19,[8] paragraph 18;
(c) The summary of information on how all of the safeguards referred to in decision 1/CP.16, appendix I, are being addressed and respected, as referred to in decisions -/CP.19[9] and 12/CP.17, chapter I;
(d) A link to the national strategy or action plan as referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 71(a), as appropriate;
(e) Information on the national forest monitoring system, as provided in the technical annex referred to in decision -/CP.19;[10]

An outline of the information that will be placed on the UNFCCC’s REDD web platform:

    (a) Avoided deforestation measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, with a link to the technical report. Footnote [7] refers to the SBSTA draft text on measuring, reporting and verifying;

    (b) Forest reference levels measure in tonnes of CO2e/year, with a link to the technical report. Footnote [8] refers to the SBSTA draft text on forest reference levels;

    (c) Information on how safeguards are being addressed and respected. Footnote [9] refers to the SBSTA draft text on safeguards information systems;

    (d) A link to the national strategy or action plan. 1/CP.16, paragraph 71 sets out what developing countries are to do develop under REDD (see above);

    (e) Information on the national forest monitoring system. Footnote [10] refers to the SBSTA draft text on measuring, reporting and verifying.


12. Also decides that the information hub will also contain information on each of the results referred to in paragraph 11 above, including the quantity of results for which payments were received, expressed in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, and the entity paying for results;

The name of the “entity” handing over the cash for REDD results is to be posted on the UNFCCC’s REDD web platform.


13. Agrees that the information on results-based payments is to be inserted on the information hub in consultation with the developing country Party concerned, taking into full account decision -/CP.19, paragraph 2;[11]

UNFCCC will consult with the developing country concerned before posting information on the REDD web platform.


14. Requests the secretariat to insert the information referred to in paragraph 11(a–e) above on the information hub once all of the information is available through the appropriate channels under the Convention, and to also insert the information referred to in paragraph 12 above;

Having agreed that the information will be posted on the UNFCCC’s REDD web platform, COP19 requests the UNFCCC secretariat to post the information on the website.


15. Also requests the secretariat to organize, subject to the availability of supplementary resources, an expert meeting on the matters referred to in paragraphs 11–13 above as well as on a format for the insertion of the information referred to in paragraph 12 above before the forty-first session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (December 2014), and to prepare a report on that expert meeting for consideration by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation at its forty-first session;

And COP19 requests the UNFCCC secretariat to organise an expert meeting about posting the information on the UNFCCC’s REDD web platform, sometime before December 2014.


16. Notes that the insertion of results on the information hub does not create any rights or obligations for any Party or other entity;

The information posted on the UNFCCC REDD web platform, is just information posted on a website. Nothing scary about having to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or anything.


17. Also notes that the information on results included on the information hub should be linked to the same results reflected on any other relevant future system that may be developed under the Convention;

If, at some point in the future, UNFCCC develops another system, the UNFCCC REDD web platform will be updated so that both the information hub and the new system link to the same reports.


18. Further notes that nothing under this decision and its implementation prejudges any future decision with regard to the eligibility or non-eligibility of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, to the mechanism defined in decision 2/CP.17, paragraph 83, or to the outcome of the work programme referred to in decision 1/CP.18, paragraph 44;

REDD finance may come from carbon markets. Then again, it may not.

    1/CP.16, paragraph 70 in the Cancun Agreement describes REDD.

    2/CP.17, paragraph 83 refers to the decision in Durban on a new market-based mechanism to help developed countries meet part of their mitigation targets or commitments under the Convention.

    1/CP.18, paragraph 44 refers to a decision in Doha to request SBSTA to conduct a work programme to elaborate a framework for “various approaches, including opportunities for using markets and non-markets to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote, mitigation actions”.


19. Requests the secretariat to improve and further develop the Web Platform on the UNFCCC website to include the information referred to in paragraphs 11 and 12 above, and to make the information available in a simple, transparent and easily accessible manner;

This is so similar to paragraph 14, I have no idea why it is needed.


20. Also requests the Standing Committee on Finance, noting the urgencies of these issues, and the request to the Standing Committee on Finance to consider, in its work on coherence and coordination, inter alia, the issue of financing for forests, taking into account different policy approaches, to focus its soonest possible forum on issues related to finance for forests, including the implementation of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, inter alia:
(a) Ways and means to transfer payments for results-based actions as referred to in decision 1/CP.18, paragraph 29;
(b) The provision of financial resources for alternative approaches;

The Standing Committee on Finance was formed during COP16 in Cancun (1/CP.16, paragraph 112, if you must know). It aims to improve “coherence and coordination in the delivery of climate change financing, rationalization of the financial mechanism, mobilization of financial resources and measurement, reporting and verification of support provided to developing country Parties”.

So far, it has held one in person Forum. Its next Forum should focus on finance for forests.

    1/CP.16, paragraph 70 in the Cancun Agreement describes REDD.

    1/CP.18, paragraph 29 refers to a work programme on results-based finance, which was set up in Doha. The work programme was to hold two workshops during 2013, to look into options for scaling up and improving the effectiveness of finance for REDD.


21. Further requests the Standing Committee on Finance to invite experts on the implementation of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, to the forum referred to in paragraph 20 above;

Not only should the Standing Committee on Finance hold a forum, it should invite experts on the implementation of REDD to the forum.


22. Recognizes the importance of incentivizing non-carbon benefits for the long-term sustainability of the implementation of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70, and noting the work on methodological issues referred to in decision 1/CP.18, paragraph 40;

“Non-carbon benefits” is UNspeak for all the things that forests do apart from storing carbon. Yes, they are important.

    1/CP.16, paragraph 70 in the Cancun Agreement describes REDD.

    1/CP.18, paragraph 40 is a decision in Doha requesting SBSTA to start work on “methodological issues related related to non-carbon benefits” resulting from REDD and to report at COP19. (I haven’t seen SBSTA’s report to COP19 about non-carbon benefits, if anyone has, please send it along.)


23. Takes note of the estimated budgetary implications of the activities to be undertaken by the secretariat as referred to in paragraphs 14, 15 and 19 above;

Setting up the information hub on the UNFCCC’s REDD web platform will cost money.


24. Requests that the actions of the secretariat called for in this decision be undertaken subject to the availability of financial resources.

If there’s not enough money, the information hub on the UNFCCC’s REDD web platform just ain’t gonna happen.
 


UPDATE – 11 December 2013: References to previous decisions in paragraphs 6 and 7 added.
 

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUpon

Leave a Reply

  1. Just wondering if these latest drafts have any sections on whether plantations are allowed to be defined as forests and/or reforestation projects.

  2. Chris, thanks for the careful analysis. I completely agree, nothing in climate policy is predictable these days, how should finance be?

  3. I agree with Ashwin, a great easy-to-understand source to catch up on REDD+ events!

  4. Thanks, Chris. A very helpful synthesis indeed. Of course the million-dollar question remains: if it’s ex-post “finance”, how are (particularly the poorer) developing countries to undertake all the activities? I guess this point will continue to be object of much debate.
    Thanks again for the summary!

  5. @Mairon Baston Lima – Thanks for this – I’m glad it’s useful. Not all the REDD payments are to be results-based. This paragraph explains that COP19 recognises that financial and technical support for the many things that need to be done before REDD can go ahead should be “adequate and predictable”.

    Where the money is to come from is an open question.

  6. Hi! Thanks for sharing. I believe the difference between paragraphs 6 and 7 is the word at the beggining: “encourange” and “request” have different implications. That’s how I explain to myself the issue.

  7. @jessica – Thanks for this. You’re right. “Request” is slightly stronger than “encourage”. Incidentally, I notice that I didn’t list all the various references to previous decisions in either of these paragraphs. I’ll correct that.

  8. Simply there are so much budgets to be spent and demanded with much less finance supply. Recalling a scene where developing countries touched by natural disasters caused by climate change impacts were “upset” about how they cannot receive climate fund, I have worries that this REDD+ finance has a long, unpredictable way to go (possibly no way to go).
    How more patient should we be about this whole REDD process?
    Even if REDD+ finance can be poured into this mechanism, it will not achieve carbon stock saving or increase at one second. We have around 5 years left before 2020, but I do not see any meaning about this specific year anymore due to this lagging UNFCCC process. As Chris points out for a couple of times in his explanations on the decisions, the REDD+ finance would have to be used to collect data and monitoring systems to set the “convincing” reference level, so that “entities” can safely offer their money to REDD projects in future with as less risk as possible. I am not quite sure if this methodological guidance for REDD reference level differs from that for Annex I countries’ LULUCF inventory reporting. If not, I believe that data collection and building a NFI and monitoring system will take at least 5 to 10 years. So obviously, it is easy to foresee that when Annex II countries will be criticised at another COP for not financing REDD+ projects, they will defense that it is difficult to donate or grant their money to unreliable project outcomes.