REDD+, Technical, Socioeconomic and Political Dimensions

March 31, 2011

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation 'Plus' (REDD+) is a climate change mitigation strategy that aims to financially compensate landowners and stewards for "avoiding" forest loss and degradation, as well as promoting forest conservation, sustainable forest management and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks. If designed and implemented correctly, REDD+ has the potential to generate a valuable stream of funding for initiatives that will conserve and restore important tracts of tropical forests. These efforts would not only contribute toward abating the effects of global warming, but also to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services, and support poverty alleviation and rural development. Alternatively, if the mechanism fails to adequately address potential pitfalls, REDD+ could compromise local livelihoods, affect traditional uses of forests, and enhance or catalyze corruption, among other problems.

Currently, voluntary REDD pilot projects are in effect throughout the tropics and many countries are preparing themselves for the eventual development of a formal mechanism, a process known as REDD-Readiness. If approved within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), REDD+ activities will go into effect after 2012 under a formal regulated system.

Panama has been actively engaged in international negotiations and debates regarding REDD+. The country was selected in 2008 and 2009 as a recipient of funding and support for REDD+ Readiness under the United Nations Collaborative Programme on REDD in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank (WB), respectively.

Government officials, indigenous communities, NGOs, and organizations of farmers, cattle ranchers, loggers and other agents of land transformation (i.e. "colonos") have begun to take part in REDD+ discussions and/or training. ELTI, in collaboration with McGill University and other local partners, has hosted a series of workshops and discussion forums on the topic since early 2009. However, given the dynamic and often polemic nature of REDD+, as well as the plurality of perspectives and interests that surround the mechanism, there is an increasing demand by relevant actors for opportunities to learn about and discuss the topic. Given that REDD+ activities will likely be adopted by the UNFCCC in 2011 at COP-17 in South Africa as a mechanism to offset emissions of either developed or developing countries, the time is ideal to host a national-level conference that addresses some of the key issues surrounding REDD+ design and implementation in Panama. Although the focus of this conference is Panama, the topics addressed will be relevant to many other countries actively engaged in REDD+ preparations within the region.

Objectives: The conference will

1. Provide a forum for REDD+ related actors in Panama to advance their understanding of the technical, governance, and socio-economic dimensions of REDD+.

2. Create a space for dialogue and exchange that will inform the effective design and development of a REDD+ mechanism in Panama.


PANEL 1. REDD+: the Global Scheme and PanamaPANEL 2. Technical Dimensions of REDD+PANEL 3. Forest Governance and REDD+PANEL 4. Socioeconomic Dimensions of REDD+PANEL 5. REDD+: Beyond Avoided DeforestationPANEL 6. REDD+ in ActionLooking Ahead: REDD+ Challenges & Opportunities - International and Regional Perspectives

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

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