The new LCA text is out, with even more brackets on key issues. One area that has not received a lot of attending is the SBSTA mandate. In the new (and old) text, Annex III is a request to SBSTA for a REDD+ work program.
TFG believes the SBSTA mandate is a very good start (including national and sub-national modalities for key issues such as reference levels) but misses the most important work SBSTA should do in coming years.
The current SBSTA request is limited to paragraphs 67 and 68. TFG believes the text should also request SBSTA to cover MRV issues associated with results-based demonstration activities and results-based actions (that are discussed in paragraph 70). Improved language to deliver more comprehensive and coordinate technical work would go from initial designs and reference levels (67 and 68) all the way through results-based actions and MRV. SBSTA has taken years to have a good decision on REDD (especially reference levels) but must evaluate the full range of technical issues that will come in various phases in a coordinated manner. In fact, paragraphs 70 specifically refers to paragraph 67, but goes into more detail on key technical and scientific issues and MRV.
Other parts of the REDD text allow a country to use different starting phases, but if SBSTA is restricted to paras 67 and 68, then countries ready to go the fastest, and wanting the integrity of SBSTA, will have to wait. This could be accomplished by adding the following text to Annex III, paragraph (c):
…resulting from implementation of activities referred to in paragraph 67 [ …and paragraph 70 ] of this decision, consistent with….
This will ensure SBSTA develops modalities for the most important issue, the MRV of results-based demonstration activities and results-based actions.
We know that this is unlikely to change since it is not bracketed text, but if negotiations allow, such changes would ensure a more consistent (across time), equitable (countries can pick their starting phases) and supportive SBSTA process on REDD+.