Emerging REDD+: a preliminary survey of demonstration and readiness activities

Export citation

This paper presents the results of a preliminary survey of emerging demonstration and readiness activities to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and carbon stock enhancement (REDD+) across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The survey was conducted between November and December 2008, and the information collected was updated until May 2009. While the results of the survey offer a useful snapshot of the landscape of REDD+ activities, they do not capture all the dynamics associated with this rapidly evolving field. As the international debate on REDD+ continues, some projects surveyed may have changed their core objectives and activities, while others may never get off the ground. Another limitation of the survey is the ongoing lack of any clear definition of what constitutes a REDD+ demonstration activity. Despite these shortcomings, this survey offers insights on current trends to inform future REDD+ investments. In total the survey found over 100 REDD+ activities: 44 demonstration activities, 65 readiness activities (including those by the Forest Carbon Partnerhship Facility and the UN-REDD Programme) and 12 activities where carbon is not an explicit goal. Indonesia has by far the most demonstration activities in the pipeline, making Asia the region with the largest number of REDD+ activities. Many projects (68%) are still in the planning stage. A preliminary assessment of incipient REDD+ investments shows the following. First, REDD+ initiatives, especially demonstration activities, tend to target countries where deforestation or the risk of deforestation is significant, which suggests realised carbon effectiveness considerations. Second, poor governance contexts do not discourage REDD+ investments, although cost-efficiency considerations may suggest otherwise. Third, although there is scope for natural equity and co-benefits, there is also a risk of trade-offs between carbon effectiveness and cobenefits. Dry forests - where many rural poor live and where there are high levels of biodiversity - tend to be carbon poor and, thus, feature far less in REDD+ demonstration activities than humid forests. Balancing trade-offs between cost-effectiveness and co-benefit considerations will likely become a central challenge for REDD+ policies and activities. Spatially explicit, high-resolution, environmental and socioeconomic data can offer new scope for REDD+ investments to enhance carbon goals while securing REDD+ co-benefits. Policy makers, donors, and other investors in REDD+ and/or REDD+ co-benefits could assemble such data to enhance their investment choices, monitor their outcomes, and thus provide valuable lessons to inform the national and global REDD+ architecture. Although performance-based payments analogous to payments for environmental services (PES) are core features of the REDD+ idea, the survey further shows that REDD+ policies will require more than PES-type REDD+ schemes. Investments in improved governance and broader policy reforms are equally important to address the root causes of forest emissions. Finding the right policy mix in different country contexts is an important challenge ahead.

Altmetric score:
Dimensions Citation Count:

Related publications

Get the CIFOR-ICRAF latest news