Locating REDD: A global survey and analysis of REDD readiness and demonstration activities

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  • e n v i r onm en t a l s c i e n c e & p o l i c y 1 4 ( 2 0 1 1 ) 1 6 8 1 8 0

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    journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/envsciLocating REDD: A global survey and analysis of REDDreadiness and demonstration activities

    Gillian A. Cerbu a, Brent M. Swallow b,*, Dara Y. Thompson b

    a Forest Research Institute of Baden-Wuerttemberg (FVA), Wonnhaldestr. 4, 79100 Freiburg, GermanybDepartment of Rural Economy, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, 515 General Services Building, University of Alberta,

    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2H1

    a r t i c l e i n f o

    Published on line 29 October 2010




    Avoided deforestation


    Count model

    a b s t r a c t

    Mechanisms that support reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation

    (REDD/REDD+) have potential to counteract a large share of global greenhouse gas emissions

    if implemented effectively across the tropics. In 2007 the conference of parties to the United

    Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change called upon parties and international

    organizations to promote REDD through investments in capacity building and demonstra-

    tion activities. This prompted many new actors to become involved in REDD activities at a

    variety of locations and scales. A global survey of REDD activities was undertaken in 2009 to

    enable better understanding of the intensity and geographic distribution of these activities.

    Existing compilations, literature review, web-based sources, face-to-face and telephone

    interviews, and e-mail questionnaires were used to compile data for the inventory. Inter

    alia, data were collected on the location of activities and official and unofficial factors

    influencing location choices. Inventory data were combined with secondary data to esti-

    mate a statistical count model (Poisson) of factors affecting the number of REDD activities

    undertaken in the 64 developing countries that experienced significant emissions from

    deforestation. The results show that therewere at least 79 REDD readiness activities and 100

    REDD demonstration activities as of October 2009. Of these, the largest shares of REDD

    readiness and demonstration activities were implemented in Indonesia (7 and 15 respec-

    tively) and Brazil (4 and 13 respectively), countries widely agreed to have the greatest

    potential for reducing forest-based emissions. The statistical results found no national

    characteristic to have a statistically-significant effect on the number of REDD readiness

    activities, but five national characteristics to have significant effects on the number of REDD

    demonstration projects. Baseline CO2 emissions, forest carbon stock, number of threatened

    species, quality of governance, and region all had significant effects. The results reveal the

    importance of biodiversity and good governance, and the relative unimportance of human

    need and opportunity cost of land. The results also reveal a bias against Africa and toward

    Latin America. Unless this pattern is countered, REDD and REDD+ may have geographic

    biases that undermine its broad political support.

    # 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    * Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 780 492 6656; fax: +1 780 492 0268.E-mail addresses: brent.swallow@ualberta.ca, B.Swallow@cgiar.org (B.M. Swallow).

    1462-9011/$ see front matter # 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2010.09.007

  • defined and measured (Myers Madeira, 2008)? Fourth, how

    e n v i r onm en t a l s c i e n c e & p o l i c y 1 4 ( 2 0 1 1 ) 1 6 8 1 8 0 1691. Introduction

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has

    identified deforestation in developing countries as a major

    cause of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and afforestation as

    one of the few viable options for sequestering carbon dioxide

    (CO2) from the atmosphere (IPCC, 2007). Despite having both

    technical and economic potential to reduce net emissions,

    however, international climate agreements largely avoided

    the forestry sector until 2005. The Clean Development

    Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol contains very limited

    provisions for afforestation and reforestation projects (A/R) in

    developing countries to generate emission offsets that Annex

    1 countries can use to meet their emission reduction

    commitments. As the name of the mechanism implies, it

    was hoped that CDM projects would also produce develop-

    ment benefits in countries hosting CDM projects. Proponents

    of the development potential for A/R CDM projects pointed to

    the potential benefits to African countries, where land

    degradation rates are high and wood is an important source

    of energy (Desanker, 2005).

    The development benefits of the CDM have been very slow

    to materialize, however, as has the forestry component of the

    CDM project portfolio. Africa currently hosts 1.95% of all CDM

    projects, most of which are located in the country of South

    Africa. Afforestation/deforestation projects make up just

    0.54% of the global portfolio of CDM projects (UNFCCC, 2010)

    and the first afforestation/reforestation CDM project in Africa

    was approved only in October 2009 (Carbon Positive, 2009). At

    the same time, contributions to a climate change adaptation

    fund have beenmeagre at best, with the Adaptation Fund only

    becoming operational in 2009. Lack of additional finance for

    climate change mitigation and adaptation has weakened

    political support for international climate agreements among

    African leaders (Fleshman, 2008).

    Momentum toward a new agreement on forest carbon

    began at the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the

    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

    (UNFCCC) inMontreal in 2005when theGovernments of Papua

    NewGuinea and Costa Rica called for the inclusion of reducing

    emissions from deforestation in developing countries (RED) in

    the Convention (UNFCCC, 2005). After deliberations, the

    parties agreed that: developing countries are encouraged to

    undertake voluntary actions to reduce emissions from

    deforestation; international organizations and other stake-

    holders are encouraged to support capacity building, develop-

    ment of appropriate methodologies, and demonstration

    activities in developing countries; and the Subsidiary Body

    for Scientific and Technological Advise (SBSTA) should

    undertake a work program to resolve key issues of definition

    and methodology (UNFCCC, 2005).

    Considerable progress on RED was achieved between 2005

    and 2009, some of which was captured in the Decision of

    COP13 in Bali, Indonesia where an additional D for forest

    degradation was added and RED became REDD. This change,

    strongly promoted by the Central African Forest Commission

    (COMIFAC) countries, resulted in parties being encouraged to

    stimulate further action to reduce emissions from deforestation and

    forest degradation in developing countries (UNFCCC, 2007). Thiswidening of REDDs scope in turn opened negotiations aboutthe potential for going beyond REDD to include sustainable

    forest management. Several Annex 1 countries and multi-

    lateral agencies indicated support for REDD in their formal

    communications at COP13, with a very large financial

    commitment made by the Government of Norway. Three

    United Nations agencies (Food and Agriculture Organization,

    United Nations Development Program, United Nations Envi-

    ronment Program) announced the formation of UN-REDD and

    the World Bank announced the establishment of the Forest

    Carbon Partnership Facility. The Centre for International

    Forestry Research and the Collaborative Partnership on

    Forests held the first Forest Day as a major side event to

    COP13 in Bali, Indonesia.

    Discussions on a more inclusive REDD continued at

    UNFCCC meetings in 2008 and 2009, with the wider scope

    reflected in the acronym, REDD+. Further agreement on the

    importance and nature of a REDD+mechanismwas achieved

    at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. Two of the 13 decision

    reached at COP15 address REDD+. Decision 4 (4/CP.15)

    provides Methodological guidance for activities relating to

    reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and

    the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and

    enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries

    (UNFCCC, 2009a). Perhaps more importantly, Article 6 of the

    Copenhagen Accord (Decision 2/CP.15) commits the global

    community to substantive and immediate action on REDD+:

    We recognize the crucial role of reducing emission from deforesta-

    tion and forest degradation and the need to enhance removals of

    greenhouse gas emission by forests and agree on the need to provide

    positive incentives to such actions through the immediate establish-

    ment of a mechanism. (UNFCCC, 2009b). The shorthand of

    REDD+ is now institutionalized in the international dialog.

    REDD+ is concerned with both reducing emissions and

    enhancing carbon stocks through actions that address

    deforestation, forest degradation, forest conservation and

    sustainable forest management. This expansion of REDD to

    REDD+has in turn spurred amovement towards the inclusion

    of net negative changes in carbon stocks across all lands and

    land uses (i.e. including agriculture) expressed as reducing

    emissions fromall landuses (REALU) or throughusing the full

    accounting scheme for agriculture, forestry and land use

    (AFOLU) (van Noordwijk et al., 2009). In the remainder of this

    paper, we will use the acronym REDD to refer to activities

    undertaken as REDD (reduced deforestation and forest

    degradation) and REDD+.

    Despite this progress onREDD/REDD+ and consensus that a

    more inclusive form of forest carbon accounting needs to be

    reflected in a post-Kyoto agreement, the exact form that a

    REDD agreement will take remains to be decided. Several

    important issues still need to be resolved. First, payment/

    compensation approaches need to be determined should

    REDD be fund-based, market-based or a mixture? Second,

    baseline emission levels, also known as reference scenarios,

    need to be set.Will historical baseline emissions be used as the

    reference case or will forward-looking baselines be used to

    adjust to the circumstances of countries that have experi-

    enced low historical rates of deforestation and development?

    Third, how will deforestation and forest degradation bewill sub-national level activities be integrated into national

  • plans and approaches (M. Herold, personal communication, 29

    February 2009)?

    It is widely recognized that it will take time, consultation,

    research, experience, and investment to develop fully opera-

    tional national REDD mechanisms. Several agencies have

    offered to assist developing countries to prepare for large-

    scale implementation of REDD. For example, the Forest Carbon

    Partnership Facility (FCPF) has a Readiness Mechanism for

    2. Methods

    2.1. Inventory of REDD preparedness and demonstrationactivities

    Due to the rapidly-evolving nature of this field, this paper can

    only offer a snapshot of the state of REDD demonstration and

    national readiness activities until October 2009. The REDD


    ct a



    in t

    e n v i r onm en t a l s c i e n c e & p o l i c y 1 4 ( 2 0 1 1 ) 1 6 8 1 8 0170providing capacity building and technical assistance to

    developing countries. Readiness activities supported by the

    FCPF include estimation of forest carbon stocks, analysis of the

    sources of forest emissions, construction of national reference

    scenarios, evaluation of the opportunity costs of possible

    REDD interventions, development of REDD strategies, and

    monitoring, reporting and verification systems (FCPF, 2010). In

    addition, a variety of organizations and agencies have offered

    to assist developing countries to implement REDD demon-

    stration activities. Guidance for both REDD readiness and

    demonstration activities is provided by the COP decisions

    summarized above. However, there is great concern that new

    investments in REDDwill once again be biased against certain

    groups of countries. At its May 2009 meeting, the African

    Ministers Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) declared

    its resolve to (inter alia) (6) call for the improvement of the Clean

    Development Mechanism to ensure equitable geographic distribution

    of projects contributing to sustainable development on the continent

    and (28) agree that other mitigation measures being identified, such

    as additional measures to complement the United Nations Collabo-

    rative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and

    Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, including afforestation

    and sustainable agriculture and land-use management, should be

    vigorous, realistic and flexible to ensure the effective participation of

    African countries, especially smallholder land users (18) (AMCEN,


    In 2009, a study was undertaken to develop a global

    inventory of REDD readiness and demonstration activities.

    The study was motivated by concerns about the possibility of

    REDD investments being directed to a small number of

    countries and the mistakes of the CDM being inadvertently

    repeated with REDD. The study had three objectives: (1)

    quantify the amounts and types of REDD investment across

    the world; (2) identify apparent gaps in that investment; and

    (3) identify factors affecting the geographic distribution of

    activities. This paper summarizes the results of that study.

    This paper also presents results from a cross-country

    statistical analysis of factors affecting the number of REDD

    readiness and demonstration activities. Conclusions are

    drawn about the apparent mismatch between actual REDD

    investments and the potential for REDD to achieve real

    reductions in emissions.

    Table 1 Framing questions for interviews conducted with

    1. Why did your Organization X decide to implement a REDD proje

    Project country? (In terms of location choice?)

    2. Why do you think investors (i.e. Investor X related to the project) w

    Project Region? Within the Project country? (In terms of location

    3. Do you know of any additional REDD projects being implemented4. Does your organization have any intentions to implement further REDdemonstration and readiness activities included in this

    analysis were in the planning or implementation stages

    within non-Annex I countries (as per UNFCCC definitions) at

    that time. Given the consensus understanding of REDD as of

    October 2009, the inventory has an emphasis on avoided

    deforestation and forest degradation. Reforestation and

    afforestation activities for carbon management were not

    included if they did not include an avoided deforestation and/

    or reduced forest degradation component.

    REDD demonstration activities are here defined as activi-

    ties implemented in a particular sub-national region or unit,

    i.e. national park, with the intention of reducing deforestation

    or forest degradation in that particular area. REDD readiness

    activities generally have national capacity building, policy

    development or land-cover change monitoring as their main

    objective, although theymay concentrate activity in particular

    sub-national locations.

    Existing compilations, online databases of forest carbon

    projects (including Planet Ac...


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