REDD+

Climate change is being exacerbated by deforestation and forest degradation (responsible for up to one fifth of greenhouse gas emissions). This has led to an interest in curbing emissions from forests, coined REDD+, which seeks to avoid deforestation by paying developing countries not to cut down their trees. While there has been both global and national progress on REDD+, it is clear that delivering REDD+ effectively requires major institutional and policy changes.

Traditionally, economic growth and development is associated with an increase in carbon emissions, but with a future hazed with the potential and unknown adverse impacts of climate change, countries in the East African Community (EAC) face the challenge of economic growth and development amidst a global community persistent on a low carbon-future.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is an international mechanism to mitigate climate change by supporting policy implementation at the national level, with an aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to deforestation and forest degradation. Furthermore, REDD+ goes “beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management […] and enhancement of forest carbon stocks” (UN-REDD, 2009).

While REDD+ activities have the potential to deliver significant social and environmental co-benefits, they pose a number of potential risks to the environment and to some stakeholders, particularly the communities whose livelihoods depend on the forests. This has attracted significant discussion, particularly among local communities and civil society organisations. Consequently, the need for deliberate efforts to address the social and environment concerns associated with the REDD+ initiatives has gained attention in international, national and local initiatives focused on REDD+.

REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, including the role of conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of carbon stocks in developing countries. This mechanism is intended to provide payments to developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from forests, and could support activities such as the conservation of existing forests, sustainable forest management and enhancing carbon stocks, which may include reforestation or afforestation activities.

REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Defor¬estation and forest Degradation, the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks in developing countries. Although a formal international mechanism for REDD+ is yet to be fully de¬fined, REDD+ processes and initiatives are gaining popular¬ity internationally and are a subject of discussion in most climate change fora.

REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, including the role of conservation, sustainable management of forest and enhancement of carbon stocks in developing countries. This mechanism is intended to provide payments to developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from forests, and could support activities such as the conservation of existing forests, sustainable forest management and enhancing carbon stocks, which may include reforestation or afforestation activities.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has asked policy-makers and researchers to explore ways in which African countries can enhance their role in climate change mitigation by receiving a larger share of carbon projects. Consequently, the need for a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism in developing countries has become an increasingly important part of the convention’s agenda.

This case study shares some early experiences and lessons from projects that are related to Payment for Ecosystems Services (PES) and how they can inform development of national RE DD+ strategies, programmes and projects. In East Africa, the REDD+ processes and programmes are still emerging through national planning / strategy development processes and pilot projects, givingsome sense of what REDD+ might look like in practice.

REDD+ is a policy mechanism aimed at not only reducing carbon dioxide emissions from developing countries through sustainable management of forests, but also at providing co-benefits in terms of biodiversity and livelihoods (UNFCCC, 2010). In principle, therefore, REDD+ is meant to slow (or even reverse) the rate of forest loss and degradation in developing countries, while at the same time providing socioeconomic benefits to communities or at worst not causing undue harm to their well-being.

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