Constructive spirit in Bonn climate negotiations, but no progress on REDD+ discussions

Posted on 16 June 2014    
Bonn Climate Change Conference - June 2014
© Courtesy IISD
Bonn, Germany - The global community was unable to reach agreement on the issues still under the discussions regarding the mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) at the close of United Nations climate talks in Bonn this weekend. REDD+ negotiators, representing Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), were in Germany for the past two weeks to progress negotiations over a global climate treaty to be signed in Paris in December 2015, which should include REDD+ as a tool to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, both pre- and post-2020.

At the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) last year, negotiators overcame differences on key issues to agree on a set of decisions on incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, known as the Warsaw Framework for REDD+.

In a major step forward at Bonn, Brazil submitted its forest reference level to the UNFCCC as a benchmark against which its progress in achieving emission reductions and removals through REDD+ activities can be measured. With this move, Brazil is the inaugural country to potentially qualify for REDD+ finance under the UNFCCC mechanism applying the rules agreed in the Warsaw Framework for REDD+. Brazil’s data will now be reviewed by international experts.

“We are excited that Brazil has taken this important action to advance REDD+ by being the first country to submit reference levels to the UNFCCC,” said Josefina Brana-Varela, Policy Director for WWF’s international Forest and Climate Programme. The submission will now set the processes that was agreed upon by Parties in motion, which includes making all information available through an ‘information hub’ as a first step. The design and operationalization of the hub is still in progress, but the UNFCCC Secretariat has posted the reference level information on its web platform in the interim.

In a nod to the organization’s expertise on REDD+ issues, WWF was invited to present at the day-long technical expert meeting (TEM) on land use, along with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UN-REDD, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and other international organizations. Susana Vélez Haller discussed WWF-Colombia’s experience in the Putumayo region in developing an integrated approach to climate-smart landscapes. The meeting was one of two TEM convened during the Bonn sessions to focus on the potential of cities and urban environments, as well as on land use, including forests and agriculture to reduce or limit emissions and adapt to existing climate impacts by 2020.

At the meeting, negotiators continued working on pending issues related to REDD+ but did not make progress on deciding whether further methodological guidance was needed on non-carbon benefits as well as non-market based approaches, in particular, Bolivia’s Joint Mitigation and Adaptation Mechanism. Parties were also unable to determine whether these topics should be part of REDD+ discussions going forward.

“The outcome for REDD+ here in Bonn is unfortunate in that no consensus was reached; however, it is undeniable that REDD+ is one of the most advanced mitigation mechanisms under UNFCCC and could make an important contribution to closing the gigatonne gap before 2020,” said Brana-Varela.

As the world now eyes the road to COP20 in just six months, WWF is calling for tangible actions on REDD+ as part of a broader climate architecture that can contribute towards a new, universal climate deal scheduled to be signed off in Paris next year.

WWF’s international Forest and Climate Programme works across the key tropical forest landscapes of Indonesia, the Congo Basin and the Amazon to develop REDD+ models at scale, and at the global policy level to push for the policies and finance necessary for a REDD+ mechanism that benefits people and nature.

To learn more about WWF’s efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, visit: and follow our work on Twitter @wwfforestcarbon.
Bonn Climate Change Conference - June 2014
© Courtesy IISD Enlarge

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