UNFCCC COP 18 makes no concrete decisions on REDD+ in Doha and delays further discussions until mid-2013

UNFCCC COP 18 makes no concrete decisions on REDD+ in Doha and delays further discussions until mid-2013

The 18th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change took place in Doha in December 2012, with the aim of laying the roadmap for a global binding agreement on emissions reduction, due to be finalised in 2015.  

Issues and opportunities for indigenous peoples in Doha were highlighted in a briefing prepared by the Forest Peoples Programme that can be accessed here: http://www.forestpeoples.org/topics/un-framework-convention-climate-change-unfccc/publication/2012/redd-and-indigenous-peoples-an.

Negotiations on forests and climate change mitigation, dealt with under REDD+, took place in two tracks: The Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA), that mostly deals with the issues of REDD+ and results-based financing, and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) that deals with methodological aspects related to REDD+, most notably; providing guidance on key matters such as Safeguard Information Systems, Reference Emission Levels, Forest Monitoring Systems, and drivers of deforestation.

Negotiations in Doha were expected to tackle the following topics:

  • Rights-based safeguards in information systems,
  • The valorisation of traditional knowledge,  
  • Support for indigenous monitoring systems for REDD+,
  • Key threats to indigenous peoples’ rights with reference to drivers of deforestation,
  • The need to take into account non-carbon values of forests in REDD+ financing.

However, no decisions on these topics were made during the talks. In fact, REDD+ negotiations met unexpected stumbling blocks in most areas, especially on issues related to verification and financing.

Furthermore, the SBSTA negotiations ended without adopting any decisions. Discussions will therefore continue throughout 2013, most notably on:

  • Modalities for a national forest monitoring system
  • Monitoring, Reporting and Verification
  • Provision of information on how safeguards are addressed and respected
  • Issues related to drivers of deforestation
  • Issues related to non-carbon benefits[1]

The AWG-LCA, however, agreed to launch a one-year work programme on REDD+ financing. Draft decisions on improving the effectiveness of REDD+ finance and on methodological issues of non-carbon benefits are to be developed through a series of workshops, for adoption at COP 19 in Poland.  

All in all the outcomes of COP18 were disappointing for indigenous peoples as no decisions on the future of REDD+ (and the subsequent impacts from REDD+ on indigenous peoples' lands and livelihoods) were taken.  

Forest Peoples Programme will continue to monitor UNFCCC negotiations in 2013 and provide strategic advice and support to indigenous partners, with a view to contributing to the consolidation of commitments on indigenous peoples' rights in climate-related activities in forests.   

[1] Non carbon benefits include biodiversity conservation, protection of livelihoods, governance reforms, land tenure reform and respect of indigenous peoples' rights.