Negotiations are currently ongoing under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) about a possible mechanism to provide incentives for measures to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and for conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, in developing countries (REDD+).
Many countries are interested in ensuring that the activities undertaken under such a mechanism will avoid negative environmental and social impacts and provide additional benefits, such as maintaining and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem services. In order to assess whether this aim is being achieved, some form of monitoring will be needed.
At the present state of negotiations, it is not yet clear whether the establishment of a monitoring system for these multiple benefits will become a formal requirement under a REDD+ mechanism, or whether it will remain up to countries to decide whether and how to address this need.
A monitoring scheme for the multiple benefits of REDD+ activities should provide information on the status and trends of multiple benefits and information that can be used to estimate the degree to which any observed changes are attributable to REDD+, as well as the share which is caused by other factors.
For reasons of efficiency, it is desirable that such monitoring schemes build upon existing efforts as far as possible. This paper investigates how efforts to set up monitoring and indicator systems for the multiple benefits of REDD+ can benefit from and/or support the relevant work that has already been initiated or completed under the Rio Conventions.
The analysis shows that there is a significant amount of overlap between the subjects addressed by existing or emerging monitoring activities under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UNFCCC, and the types of data that countries might wish to obtain in order to track the multiple benefits of REDD+. At the same time, due to the differences in mandate and focus of the various processes, there are also discrepancies with regard to the design of indicators and methods for data collection.
However, there is still clearly a high potential for mutual support between current work on monitoring under the Rio Conventions and any new schemes to be set up within the context of REDD+. These opportunities should be used to enable a more efficient and coherent implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.
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