Launched in 2008, UN-‐REDD allows polluters to pay developing-‐world farmers to keep their trees, which store carbon dioxide as they grow. A REDD mechanism could provide compensation to governments, communities, companies or individuals if they have taken actions to reduce emissions. REDD+ goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. REDD is active in the African countries of the DRC, Kenya, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Gabon, Zambia and Tanzania. Recognizing the tenure and rights of smallholders and communities is key to the development of sustainable enterprises capable of maximizing the potential of REDD+, forest conservation, and community well-‐being.
There are many difIicult questions about UN-‐REDD that have not been answered; in the context of community-‐based forest management, the question of how REDD will ensure it will not adversely impact the rights and livelihoods of the millions of people who live in or around forests, especially poor governed states, is the most signiIicant. Without effective governance, money distributed through REDD could lead to perverse outcomes; carbon markets could further complicate the mechanism because of the additional funding such markets could unleash. It could lead to a kind of “resource curse,” in which large inIlows of funding could actually fuel corruption and bad governance. In order to be successful, any approach to reducing deforestation, including REDD, has to promote and support improvement in forest governance. The Congo Basin countries have been preparing for REDD, but it is argued that the countries are currently not well poised to employ those mechanisms and beneIit from UN-‐REDD. Several reasons for the argument are given: countrywide data on forest cover change is not gathered in a systematic fashion, and methods and systems for detecting forest degradation area absent. There is no country-‐speciIic information on forest carbon stocks and Ilows; there is a lack of technical capacity to gather and utilize information on forest carbon; the government of Republic of Congo has not incorporated forest carbon data in their land-‐ use policy decisions; and t he nation has not yet developed systems to transparently share data on forests and forest carbon or mechanisms to facilitate broad-‐based civil society participation in REDD decision-‐making.
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