Towards REDD+ implementation: Strengthening governance and law enforcement in Indonesia and Brazil through policy coordination and international cooperation
At the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha, Qatar, 26 November - 7 December 2012, the negotiations on designing a global scheme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) made limited progress, as both the SBSTA and the AWG-LCA agreed to carry over most of the outstanding decisions on modalities for national forest monitoring systems and forest carbon MRV(*) as well as finance mechanisms to the next SBSTA and SBI sessions, and workshops to be held prior to COP19.
However, on the sidelines of this COP in Doha, two of the three countries most relevant for REDD+ given their tropical forest area, namely Indonesia and Brazil (the third country is Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC]), , , made significant domestic progress on moving forward with REDD+ to present to the international community. REDD+ negotiators and other representatives from both countries highlighted and discussed the latest achievements in moving toward REDD+ implementation at various side events.
Mr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto at the High-Level Dinner Briefing
Both at the Indonesia REDD+ High-Level Dinner Briefing and one of Brazil’s REDD+ side events, the Head of the REDD+ Task Force, Mr Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, presented Indonesia’s progress in designing and implementing REDD+. So far, institutions and funding instruments, including the central Fund for REDD+ in Indonesia (FREDDI), have been designed and, for the first time, a digital map of primary forest and peatland has been made accessible to the public. A safeguard protocol, entitled the Principles, Criteria and Indicators for REDD+ Safeguards in Indonesia (PRISAI) has also been developed. In 2013 the government plans to focus on implementation, by establishing a REDD+ Agency, extending its REDD+ programme to a second pilot province (next to Central Kalimantan), creating a funding instrument and launching a MRV system at the subnational level. It will be crucial to ensure that the REDD+ Agency, which will report directly to the Indonesian President, does not add complexity or bureaucracy to REDD+ governance, but is indeed “empowered to go beyond standard coordination”, as Mr Mangkusubroto emphasised. Civil society representatives expressed their satisfaction with the progress made, but called for further action, particularly in terms of enhancing indigenous people’s rights.
At one of Brazil’s side events, the country’s Minister of the Environment, Ms Izabella Teixeira, presented the latest trend of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, which has undergone an 83% reduction as compared to the last peak in 2004. According to the panelists, the main reasons for this dramatic decrease have been the establishment of an inter-ministerial permanent workgroup, the coordination of forest monitoring systems, particularly remote sensing, and law enforcement, as well as the focus on selected municipalities. However studies indicate another reason, namely the trend of market prices for agricultural commodities such as soya. As an example of several technological instruments available in Brazil, the Real-Time Deforestation Detection System (DETER) collects satellite images on a daily basis, providing useful information for law enforcement agencies.
The Amazon Fund, with Norway as its largest donor, has enabled this progress in forest monitoring. It is remarkable that about 20% of the Fund is now spent outside the Amazon region, and largely for South-South cooperation with Indonesia and the DRC. At one of the side events, Norway’s Minister of the Environment, Mr Bard Vegar Solhjell, announced a new contribution of one billion Norwegian Kroner (approx. USD 178 million) to the Fund.
In conclusion, the cases of Indonesia and Brazil, which have been the main targets of REDD+ finance provided by international donors, show that international funding and national commitment can have a positive impact in addressing deforestation. The experience of both countries also underlines the importance of combining both an improving of forest monitoring and forest sector governance, including the social and environmental REDD+ safeguards, for a long term solution to deforestation and forest degradation through a sustainable forest management of forests.
*Measuring, reporting and verifying
*** The contents of this commentary are the opinions of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of IGES.