It is estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation contribute up to 20% of global emissions. This has led to interest in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation - known as REDD.
REDD+ (or REDD-plus) also includes conservation and sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
REDD+ has been discussed in international climate negotiations since 2005, with a focus on developing new policies and financial incentives to curb emissions from forests. Since the idea of REDD+ was first proposed, there has been a focus on a range of issues from the need to support "readiness" to allow countries to prepare for implementing REDD+ to discussing social and environmental safeguards and co-benefits.
Alongside the international climate negotiations, a number of multilateral programmes have been established to support REDD+, including the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the UN-REDD programme, and bilateral partnerships, such as Norway's support to Brazil's Amazon Fund.
In 2010, a number of governments signed up to the REDD+ Partnership, which aims to provide a platform to scale up actions and finance.
Alongside and with support from these various programmes and partnerships, developing countries are working to put in place policies and measures that help to curb emissions from forests, and governments and other actors are trialling different approaches through "pilot" activities for REDD+. As countries have worked to put in place REDD+ programmes, it has become increasingly evident that this can only be achieved if the drivers of deforestation are addressed - many of which are outside the forest sector.
The status of the international climate negotiations has led to a shift from REDD+ being considered as a mechanism under a future climate agreement to a much broader perception of REDD+ as an outcome that needs to be achieved through a range of interventions and approaches. With international policy processes looking towards 2015, when a future climate agreement and new global development goals are due to be agreed, how forests and REDD+ features will likely be an increasing question. These discussions could provide an important opportunity to help maintain the momentum for curbing emissions from forests and also allow for recognition of the wider roles that forests have in supporting development and environmental sustainability.
A wide range of briefings on REDD+ and how it works are available, some of which are highlighted in the featured resources below. You can also see our useful links for further information. If you want to find out more about how REDD-net contributes to promoting pro-poor REDD+ policies, click here.
To read the latest opinion and articles from the REDD-net partnership on REDD+, visit our blog.
Image: Neil Palmer, CIAT