November 27, 2012

ARUSHA - Tanzanian civil society organizations piloting REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) have for the third straight year joined together to endorse key messages for COP 18 in Doha, Qatar.  This year, they are still calling for fair, equitable and environmentally sound outcomes at the COP, but even more importantly, they are "re-stating and stressing the urgency of [their] messages to the Parties."

The nine CSOs are encouraging international decision-makers to consider key messages that they are making based on their hands-on experience implementing REDD projects.  The messages call for adequate financing; robust social and environmental safeguards; and clarification and support of carbon monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV).  Further, the NGOs state that REDD, if done right, can bring positive benefits, but that it should not stand alone - "REDD+ alone is not the answer. Urgent and drastic action is needed in other sectors...At a global level, for REDD+ to be an effective measure for climate change mitigation it must be part of ambitious emissions reduction pledges by Parties."

"While we welcome the continued discussions over the last year," the CSOs explain, "we note that substantive progress on an international REDD+ framework continues to be uncertain and slow."

All of the CSOs are working directly with communities, mostly using participatory forest management approaches for forest conservation and the implementation of REDD+.  Some of the CSOs have even been implementing REDD projects since 2009.

Based on this hands-on experience, the NGOs have realized that without adequate financing and the delivery of direct benefits, REDD+ runs the risk of being unfair and not effective.  Therefore, the CSOs encourage the international community to urgently come to an agreement on, and support implementation of, REDD financing mechanisms.

Additionally, REDD brings real risks to the environment and people. The NGOs encourage that strong, effective social and environmental safeguards are in place to help ensure that these risks are minimized.  They believe the international community should require participating countries to adopt a robust mechanism for reporting on performance against environmental and social safeguards.

Finally, despite the many potential risks, REDD+ can bring good, and the CSOs believe that is an important message to share with decision makers and the international community in Doha.  "REDD+ should remain a priority because it can bring local and global benefits" the pilot projects state. But "it is not be a standalone approach... it must be part of ambitious emissions reduction pledges by Parties."

Representatives from the CSOs are in Doha, and will be sharing these messages and lessons from Tanzania throughout the negotiations.

View the Key Messages here: http://www.tnrf.org/COP18messages.pdf