This panel discussion explored how countries in Southeast Asia can take advantage of the opportunities offered by REDD+ to achieve sustainable development and to adapt to climate variability and change.
Southeast Asia is home to some of the largest rainforest areas in the world, but land-use change is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions in the region. Southeast Asian countries can make an important contribution to climate change mitigation, particularly through the international REDD+ mechanism (Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and forest Degradation). REDD+ continues to lead international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the absence of political will to reduce use of fossil fuels, even though changes in REDD+ over the past five years have created new challenges. REDD+ is also catalyzing shifts in development paradigms, thus creating synergistic opportunities for low-carbon economic development.
At the same time, countries across Southeast Asia are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate variability and change — and are already suffering from the effects of climate extremes. These countries must turn their attention to adaptation strategies and build resilience, through better information, early warning systems and adapted practices.
Participants explored how REDD+ projects can offer lessons for low-emissions development strategies and contribute to sustainable development. Participants also looked at how REDD+ activities and low-emissions development strategies can support climate change adaptation. In addition, with the future of REDD+ uncertain, panelists discussed ‘no regrets’ policy reforms — reforms that leave a country better off regardless of climate objectives.