Carbon emissions from land-use change are estimated to account for one-fifth of current global carbon emissions. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) has been promoted as an effective and efficient climate change mitigation option. Much of the debate has focused on the global architecture and how REDD+ can be included in a post-2012 climate agreement. Now is the time to increase the focus on national and local levels where the forests are found. The success of REDD+ in reducing emissions will depend on tackling profound market and governance failures. REDD+ policies must strengthen the institutional alignment of economic actors and the public interest, a challenge made more difficult by the complexity of the issues behind deforestation and the fact that many causes are external to the forest sector. Can this really be done? How do we introduce a transitional change instead of incremental improvements? Are global players and mechanisms up to the task? What about the resistance in countries and local communities? This subplenary will debate these controversial issues, seek answers to these questions and look to designing national REDD+ strategies that ensure climate-effective and cost-efficient reduction of carbon emissions with equitable impacts and co-benefits.