In 2005, member states of the UN began developing a framework that was meant to ensure the protection of the world’s most important, carbon-sequestering, life-giving forests.
Given that many of these ecosystems are located in low- and medium-income countries, the framework’s design is such that rich countries provide financial rewards for forest protection, coupling conservation and climate change mitigation with economic growth in parts of the world the need it most. In 2013, the framework was solidified and given the name “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation,” more commonly known as its acronym REDD+.
However, since its inception, REDD+ has developed something of a controversial reputation in the climate sector, revolving around one main question: If the framework is working as it should, then why is there still so much deforestation?
A number of researchers, journalists and organizations have put REDD+ under their microscopes to try and figure out what’s actually happening with the framework and if and how it will ever achieve its goals. One of the latest and most comprehensive of these efforts is a new report from the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), Over a decade of REDD+: outcomes and socioecological impacts.
Shortly after the report’s release, this GLF Live brought together three REDD+ experts to discuss the framework from academic, implementation and rule-making perspectives, covering topics such as what REDD+ has achieved for emissions reductions and livelihoods, if its initial design is still relevant, and how it could be adjusted to work better in the future.
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Nathália Nascimento is geographer with a Ph.D. in Earth System Sciences from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE-Brazil). She has a background in land use dynamics, especially in the Amazon region. During her doctorate, she worked with modeling land use decisions in agricultural frontier zones in the Brazilian Amazon. She is currently involved in research projects distributed in Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing on understanding the correlation between policies and land use dynamics in the countries of this region and on projects focused on the study of ecosystem services (beyond carbon) provided by forests of South America. She is one of three Brazilian scientists who will collaborate on an upcoming book on Greta Thunberg.
Bhaskar Vira is the head of the Department of Geography, a professor of Political Economy, and a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College at the University of Cambridge. He was the founding director of Cambridge’s Conservation Research Institute and is closely involved with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, the Global Food Security Interdisciplinary Research Centre, and a number of other programs at the university. He has contributed to international science-policy panels, including the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, and IUFRO-led Global Forest Expert Panels. In 2018, he was honored with the Royal Geographical Society’s Busk Medal, in recognition of his contributions to interdisciplinary research on environment and development. His research focuses on the political economy of environment and development.
Dirk Nemitz is the team lead of the Agriculture, Forestry and Land-use unit in the UNFCCC secretariat. He has over 10 years of experience in UNFCCC conferences and the intergovernmental process on climate change and land, with particular expertise on the Warsaw Framework for REDD+, Article 5 of the Paris Agreement and the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. Dirk is also involved in the implementation of UNFCCC decisions through coordinating UNFCCC transparency processes and providing further support to Parties and non-Party stakeholders upon request and in existing collaborations and partnerships of the secretariat. He has fieldwork experience in Alaska, Costa Rica, Germany and Nicaragua and holds a BSc in forestry as well as an MSc in international nature conservation.