Reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is a mechanism that aims to provide results-based financial incentives to developing countries for actions which reduce emissions from forested lands, and for investments in low-carbon development pathways. Finance for REDD+ is expected to be provided through the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as well as the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon and Bio-carbon funds. According to the Warsaw Framework and as REDD+ was formally integrated under the Paris Agreement, to access results-based payments, REDD+ countries are requested to have four key pillars in place for REDD+ implementation¹. The requirements and Vietnam’s response is summarised below:
- A National Strategy/Action Plan: A revised National REDD+ Action Programme (NRAP) was approved by the Prime Minister in 2017.
A Forest Reference Emission Level and/or Forest Reference Level (FREL/FRL): Vietnam’s modified FREL/FRL was submitted to the UNFCCC in late 2016.
- A National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) including Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV): Vietnam’s NFMS became operational in 2018 with results now openly displayed on the internet.
- A Safeguards Information System (SIS): Vietnam has now developed a REDD+ SIS version 1.0 and submitted its first Summary of Information (SoI) on REDD+ safeguards to the UNFCCC in January 2019.
- Vietnam has therefore become the first country in Asia and only the second country in the world (after Mexico) to complete the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ after fulfilling the UNFCCC safeguards requirements in January 2019. The IKI-funded ‘Operationalising National Safeguards for Results-based Payments from REDD+ Project’, implemented by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) in Vietnam, Ghana and Peru (2015-2018), made key contributions to the development of Vietnam’s country approach to REDD+ safeguards, and in collaboration with the UN-REDD Programme in Vietnam, has supported the country to meet the UNFCCC REDD+ safeguards requirements (the 4th pillar).
The IKI-funded project worked with the Vietnam REDD+ Office (VRO) –now merged into the State Steering Committee Office (SSCO) on the National Target Programme on Sustainable Forest Development and REDD – to conduct various assessments and legal analyses, and supported an extensive and iterative consultation processes as REDD+ evolved in Vietnam, in particular through the Sub-technical Working Group on REDD+ Safeguards (STWG-SG). This work has served to define how Vietnam interprets the Cancun safeguards – a set of seven environmental and social safeguards principles that were agreed through UNFCCC negotiations at COP16 in Mexico – and how the country can respond to the safeguards through its existing institutional framework in the context of its proposed REDD+ actions (as described in NRAP). The current Safeguards Information System utilizes existing national information sources to provide information of relevance to the UNFCCC safeguards. The Summary of Information submitted to the UNFCCC provides a comprehensive description of Vietnam’s country approach to REDD+ safeguards, outlining how the country will meet the UNFCCC principles as well as details concerning the design and operation of the Safeguards Information System.
Ms Le Ha Phuong, REDD+ Safeguards Officer of the SSCO, acknowledges
that whilst this has been a major achievement for Vietnam and demonstrates the country’s commitment to REDD+ as a key mitigation strategy in Vietnam’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), there are still gaps in the implementation of numerous safeguards-relevant policies, laws and regulations and that further improvements to the Safeguards Information System are desirable, in particular to show information from key REDD+ areas/sites on how safeguards have been implemented in practice.
The IKI-funded project’s main implementation phase came to a close at the end of 2018. However, a 12-month costed extension is currently being prepared and will focus on developing practical and cost-effective guidance and piloting operationalisation and monitoring of the safeguards at sub-national levels on-the-ground, where measures to ensure that REDD+ benefits (and does not harm) indigenous/ethnic communities and biodiversity really matter.
Contact: Richard Rastall, SNV, email@example.com UNFCCC Decision 1/CP.16 paragraph 71 and Decision 9/CP.19 paragraph 3