Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dear Interim REDD+ Partnership

Dear Interim REDD+ Partnership,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your proposed work and the role of stakeholders. The Tropical Forest Group (TFG) congratulates you on your successes to date on this critical partnership.

On our view, the Interim REDDD+ Partnership’s engagement of stakeholders has been far too little, too late. We know this is a country-driven process. We know Parties will coordinate the donations and the receipt of funds. We salute the governments participating.

But if federal governments associating with this Partnership continue to treat stakeholders as after-thoughts, the hope and promise of REDD will fail.

With the UNFCCC process in critical condition, and with REDD as a clear beacon of hope, your Partnership’s lack of transparency, lack of sincere engagement, and lack of openness are jeopardizing the one branch of UNFCCC negotiations that could have paved the way for larger and broader successes.

We offer the following brief comments for your respectful consideration.

The current stakeholder process is extremely shallow. The co-chairs circulated an invitation to the first technical workshop less than 10 days before it was to begin. Visa and travel arrangements could not be arranged by most global stakeholders, let alone financing or clearing calendars. The follow-up from the workshop for stakeholders, contained in your summary, is 110-words, devoid of specifics, vision, implementation steps or complete sentences. Given that we are now 20% through with the 2010 to 2102 phase, we find this state of affairs incredibly disheartening. We believe without a severe course-correction, the work that must be done, will not. As two small examples of how our work could have informed your deliberations, a Tropical Forest Group staff person was intimately involved with development of the original version of the CCB Standards, which have become the most highly-desirable forest carbon standard with dozens of users. Second, our staff and affiliates helped produce the only global comparison of forest carbon models. We have found that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s estimate of forest carbon stocks are often quite a bit higher than other models. Our work also allows multiple Tier 1-type estimates to be made for specific areas, thus generating valuable estimates of certainty

We urge the Interim REDD+ Partnership to redouble its efforts and finalize concrete ways to meaningfully involve stakeholders. The Tropical Forest Group (TFG) offers our assistance in any way. Members of our staff have been involved with multi-stakeholder processes that have been effective in the REDD space.

In terms of your priority work item, development of a voluntary database, we do not have a clear understanding what this database will be or do. The Tropical Forest Group and others stakeholders have begun preparing a global database to track REDD+ donor outlays and receipts in developing counties. Our work will likely parallel closely your Partnership’s database work, but we plan on adding several layers of review and analysis. We hope to make full use of the Partnership’s publicly-available database as soon as possible. We will be working with partners around the world to verify REDD support stated and received and what was done with the support. We also will attempt to build tools which discern the degree to which REDD+ support can be tethered to REDD+ actions on the ground.

Finally, we would encourage other tiers of government to be invited into your stakeholder process. There are substantial innovations and critical REDD developments occurring at the state, provincial, and local levels. We suggest expanding your definition of “stakeholder” to explicitly include the word “government agencies” to reflect this important scale between project based accounting and national carbon accounting.


John-O Niles

Cara Peace
Policy Director

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