Forest Goverance Assessments
Why will democratic governance be essential to the success of REDD+ ?
Payments under a REDD+ mechanism are to be made for changes in land-use and better stewardship of forest resources. This, however, can only be achieved if the socio-economic drivers of deforestation and degradation are addressed and current users have sufficient confidence in the REDD+ mechanism to change the way they use forest resources. This will not be easy, as current emission-intensive uses of forest resources are often an important source of foreign exchange, energy, food security, new settlements or employment.
In this context, 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, 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.
Results from mitigation activities should be reliable to guarantee a well functioning REDD+ mechanism, with roots in effective and inclusive governance systems. One of the fundamental challenges of REDD+ is the establishment of robust and transparent forest monitoring systems in developing countries including monitoring of governance.
UN-REDD Support Activities: towards 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. Under these capacity building for REDD+ readiness, the Programme is supporting governance interventions that governments and national stakeholders have identified as priorities, such as:
- Stakeholder consultation and participation in REDD+ planning and implementation.
- Cross-sectoral coordination in REDD+ planning and implementation.
- Legislative review towards reform & enforcement.
These activities are initial steps to build transparent and accountable national REDD+ systems & processes.
To further this support in REDD+ partner countries, UNDP, the leading agency on governance issues for the UN-REDD Programme, is developing a comprehensive approach on how to support effective and inclusive national governance systems for REDD+. This support will include:
- A body of work on monitoring governance safeguards (activities undertaken jointly with FAO)
- 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 multi stakeholder governance assessments (described below), user capacity development, evidence-based policy-making, land tenure systems (drawing from the long-standing experience of FAO on land tenure issues especially related to the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land and other Natural Resources that are recently at the national and regional consultation stage) and strengthened national legislative frameworks.