REDD+ Policy Process

REDDAF - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Africa

Initiation of the REDD Process in 2005

Countries that have ratified and/or are signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its related Kyoto Protocol (KP) have been actively involved in developing relevant policy processes that aim at mitigating the effects of climate change. As deforestation and forest degradation are estimated to contribute about 20% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, a group of developing countries initiated a process at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) 11 in Montreal in 2005 to address this issue within a new policy segment, used for the first time in its shortened form RED (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation) that would be implemented as a post-Kyoto Protocol mechanism.

Development of REDD Demonstration Activities (Pilot Projects)

The goal of the countries that supported this proposal was to initiate a programme whereby countries which reduce emissions from deforestation can be compensated for these reductions, for ex. through linkages with the carbon market. The fundamental building blocks of such a mechanism will comprise a scope, reference level, distribution and finance. Most of the ongoing debate has been centred on drafting guidelines for these main components. The COP11 decision thus requested parties to make submissions on scientific, technical and methodological issues as well as policies and incentives. Since 2005, countries have taken initiatives to develop REDD demonstration activities (pilot projects) and to work on methodological issues, technology transfer and capacity building which are all required for successful REDD implementation. Concurrently, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), a permanent subsidiary body of the COP, has been providing information and advice on scientific and technical matters related to the process as well as coordinating the submissions made by the different Parties.

Expansion to REDD+ in 2007

Decision 2/CP.13 (Bali Road Map  – COP13) called for “policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbons stocks in developing countries”. This resulted in expanding the scope of RED beyond deforestation to also include incentives for reducing emissions from forest degradation (REDD) as well as preserving and increasing forest carbon stocks (REDD+). The Bali Action Plan (BAP) also noted that estimates of reductions or increases of emissions should be results-based, demonstrable, transparent, verifiable and estimated consistently over time.

Establishment of REDD+ Mechanism Requested on COP15

Copenhagen Accord (COP15, 2009) called for the establishment of a REDD+ mechanism. It requested potential REDD+ countries to:

  • Identify drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and also the means to address these drivers;
  • Identify activities within the country that result in reduced emissions and increased removals, and stabilization of forest carbon stocks;
  • Use the most recent IPCC guidance and guidelines as a basis for estimating anthropogenic forest related greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks, forest carbon stocks and forest area changes;
  • Establish - according to national circumstances and capabilities - robust and transparent national forest monitoring systems and, if appropriate, sub-national systems as part of national monitoring systems that
    • Use a combination of remote sensing and ground-based forest carbon inventory approaches for estimating, as appropriate, anthropogenic forest-related greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks, forest carbon stocks and forest area changes;
    • Provide estimates that are transparent, consistent, as far as possible accurate, and that reduce uncertainties, taking into account national capabilities and capacities;
    • Are transparent and their results are available and suitable for review as agreed by the COP.

Further Specifications of REDD+ Mechanism Developed during COP16

REDDAFCancun Accord (COP16, 2010) requested potential REDD+ countries to develop in accordance with national circumstances and respective capabilities the following elements:

  • A national strategy or action plan;
  • A national forest reference emission level and/or forest reference level or, if appropriate, as an interim measure, sub-national forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels;
  • A robust and transparent national forest monitoring system for the monitoring and reporting of the activities, with, if appropriate, sub-national monitoring and reporting as an interim measure;
  • A system for providing information on how the safeguards are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the REDD+ activities, while respecting sovereignty.

The COP16 in Cancun requested developing countries to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, land tenure issues, forest governance issues etc. to ensure full stakeholder involvement. An important outcome of COP16 was that the REDD+ could be implemented in phases, which permitted developing countries to develop their national strategies and technologies for MRV in an evolving manner.

Request for Guidelines for Technical Assessment of REL at COP17

The COP17 in Durban (2011) presented overarching guidelines for assessing the Reference Emissions Levels. As more specific technical details were not elaborated, the SBSTA were requested to develop guidance for a process of technical assessment of the proposed forest reference emissions levels (RELs) and/or forest reference levels (RLs). This is however still pending.

REDD+ Becomes a Formal Policy at COP19

The issues raised at COP17 in 2011 and the SBSTA in June 2013, were further discussed at the COP19 in Warsaw, and one of the main outcomes of the meeting was that a complete REDD package was approved. The Warsaw REDD Framework, that was adopted at COP19, provides guidance for ensuring environmental integrity and pave the way towards the full implementation of REDD+ activities on the ground. The REDD decisions include guidelines on the following:

  • REDD+ finance: Work programme on results-based finance to progress the full implementation of the activities referred to in decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 70
  • Coordination of finance: Coordination of support for the implementation of activities in relation to mitigation actions in the forest sector by developing countries, including institutional arrangements
  • National forest monitoring systems: Modalities for national forest monitoring systems
  • Summary of information on safeguards: The timing and the frequency of presentations of the summary of information on how all the safeguards referred to in decision 1/CP.16, appendix I, are being addressed and respected
  • Forest reference emission levels: Guidelines and procedures for the technical assessment of submissions from Parties on proposed forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels
  • Measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) of forest-related emissions: Modalities for measuring, reporting and verifying
  • Drivers of deforestation and forest degradation: Addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation


Bali Road Map 2007.pdf257.91 KB
Copenhagen Accord 2009.pdf383.59 KB
Cancun Agreements 2010.pdf245.05 KB