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UN-REDD Supports National Governance Systems for REDD+

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Issue date: 
July 2, 2010
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The UN-REDD Programme looks at why good governance is essential to the success of REDD+, and highlights the steps the Programme will be taking to support governance activities in countries.

Good and efficient governance of forest resources and the distribution of benefits will be central to the success of REDD+ policies and measures. If the allocation of forest or carbon rights is opaque and uncertain, if the distribution of benefits is unpredictable, untimely or captured by a few, if lack of enforcement allows free riders to exploit the system, or if corruption is perceived as high, stakeholders will not take the risk of forgoing the income they derive from their current uses of forest resources.  Meanwhile, when the rights of forest dependent communities are violated or communities are marginalized, investors, weary of insecure business environments and unpredictable emission reductions, are deterred.  In addition, REDD+ systems may have to be robust enough to withstand shocks such as fluctuations in carbon prices, rises in the prices of commodities, changes in governments that could all undermine confidence. 

Supporting effective and inclusive national governance systems for REDD+
The UN-REDD Programme has already begun its support to pilot countries starting to establish governance systems for REDD+, through national UN-REDD Programmes. The Programme is supporting governance interventions that governments and national stakeholders have identified as priorities, such as stakeholder consultation and participation and cross-sectoral coordination in REDD+ planning and implementation, and legislative review towards reform and enforcement. On behalf of the UN-REDD Programme, UNDP is developing a comprehensive approach to support effective and inclusive national governance systems in REDD+ partner countries, including :

  • A body of work on monitoring governance safeguards (activities undertaken with FAO, see more details here)
  • Support to transparency and accountability in REDD+ systems - by drawing on the expertise of and activities of UNDP’s work on anti-corruption
  • Support to REDD+ “policy enablers”, initiated using country-led governance assessments (described below), user capacity development, evidence-based policy-making, land tenure systems and strengthened national legislative frameworks. 

These governance activities will be tightly linked to the UN-REDD Programme’s activities on social standards and benefits. Two elements that will serve to ensure linkages are described below:

Applying minimum social standards
A due diligence tool for applying minimum social standardshas been developed to guide and improve national programme design, secure stakeholder support and increase programme sustainability. This rights-based approach has been developed to be consistent with the safeguard guidance provided in the UNFCCC’s draft AWG-LCA text on REDD+ and has drawn on contributions from a number of initiatives, such as those of the FCPF and CCBA/CARE, and conventions, policies and guidance of the UN system.

The three inter-related principles of good governance, stakeholder livelihoods and policy coherence each contain criteria and questions to assist users in assessing potential risks and identifying risk mitigation strategies. The good governance principles relate to integrity, transparency & accountability and stakeholder engagement. While this tool is first expected to be applied in the design and implementation of national UN-REDD programmes, the methodology seeks to be flexible enough to be used by diverse stakeholders and throughout different phases of REDD+ readiness. The UN-REDD Programme is currently finalizing a zero draft of the social principles risk assessment tool and will undertake a process to gather formal feedback from REDD+ partner countries, institutional partners and a broader range of stakeholders.

Governance assessments of REDD+ benefits
Activities to support REDD+ governance processes should rely on a clear picture of a country’s REDD governance situation, gaps and needs - as defined through inclusive, participatory multi-stakeholder processes. Towards this goal, the UN-REDD Programme is also supporting the conduct of nationally owned, multi-stakeholder, inclusive and participatory governance assessments. Assessments are both diagnostic tools to analyze and obtain credible information and instruments to mobilize public opinion, create demand for accountability and ensure the leadership of government in strengthening governance outcomes. This methodology, which has been tested in a number of countries and sectors by UNDP’s Oslo Governance Centre, relies on a partnership between government and civil society to identify governance challenges and develop performance improvement processes.

The UN-REDD Programme’s approach to governance assessments can open spaces for engagement with stakeholders who are often absent from decision-making and dialogue. These assessments can also potentially address power blockages  between, for example, large landowners and marginalized or vulnerable groups – including the poor, Indigenous Peoples and women. Assessments will draw on the existing linkages and processes supported at the country level through on engaging Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut