A future UNFCCC decision on REDD+ is expected to specify certain ‘safeguard’ requirements aimed at ensuring positive outcomes for ecosystem services, biodiversity and local rights and livelihoods. Individual developing countries may choose to adopt more detailed and/or stringent requirements on these potential multiple benefits of REDD+.
As the ecosystem services and biodiversity present in a forest vary with its type, history and management, REDD+ implementation decisions will affect their quality and quantity. The noncarbon services and biodiversity provided by REDD+ forests can be thought of as the ‘ecosystem-derived benefits’ of REDD+. Biodiversity also has a role as an enabler of REDD+, as biodiverse forests are expected to be more resilient to climate change, and include areas with very high carbon stocks.
The overall positive and negative effects on multiple benefits will depend upon a sequence of decisions taken in REDD+ design and implementation. Considering these benefits at each stage is likely to significantly enhance their delivery. Planning at an early stage for positive outcomes for multiple benefits can avoid inadvertent commitment to a suboptimal or actively harmful course of action. Making use of appropriate tools and putting policies in place to safeguard and enhance ecosystem-derived benefits can also increase the benefits from REDD+, sometimes at little additional cost.
This issues paper considers options to safeguard and enhance these benefits under a national REDD+ programme. It assesses the opportunities for and risks to these benefits during REDD+ preparation, design and implementation, measuring, reporting and verification. It focuses on those approaches to REDD+ for which there is scope to safeguard and/or enhance ecosystem-derived benefits, and which are included within the existing national strategies of UN-REDD Programme partner countries. It considers various tools and measures that are available to increase the opportunities for and decrease the risks to these benefits, and suggests some of the likely trade-offs between carbon, ecosystem-derived benefits and cost. Trade-offs may involve exchanging short-term use of resources for long-term sustainable use, or may involve a long-term prioritisation of one benefit over another.
Consultation, engagement and buy-in of stakeholders, from national government to local communities, are critical both for the overall success of REDD+ and to ensure that different values attached to potential multiple benefits are understood. At the national level, it is useful to identify the potential value of ecosystem-derived benefits and the groups that place value on it. This will help to demonstrate that added value to funders, sometimes to facilitate complementary finance, and to enhance the benefits’ value to the nation and its forest-dependent communities.
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