REDDy for a New Future in Conservation

Helping you understand REDD+

What is REDD+? This is a term you may (or may not, depending on your interests and involvement in news stories regarding the environment,) begin to hear with more frequency over the coming months. For those of you outside of the environmental field, it may not hold as much weight, but REDD+ is the Reduction of Emissions due to Deforestation and Degradation. It applies primarily to the destruction of forests and how that contributes to an ever-more dire environmental situation across the globe – primarily due to the greenhouse gas emissions released during the destruction of forests and the lack of sufficient trees and natural elements to soak that carbon back in.

Why is it relevant now? REDD was initially proposed in 2005 as a potential solution to the world’s emissions problems, but until this point in time has not been successfully implemented globally. The UN is pushing hard for a REDD+ agreement and universal development, as are many NGO’s, governments, and indigenous groups.  The Kyoto Agreement – a legally binding agreement between signed-up countries to meet emissions reduction targets of all greenhouse gases relative to 1990 levels – terminates in 2012, and so the world is waiting with its breath held for a permanent and sustainable solution to take its place in order to comply with Zero Net Deforestation and reduction of emissions by the year 2020.

The Bible

At the end of this month there is another large international conference on Climate Change that will be taking place in Cancun, Mexico. The primary point of discussion for this conference, at least from Paraguay’s perspective, will be REDD+ and preparing the country for its implementation, as well as holding the more developed nations to their promises to reduce emissions as well. The ultimate goal is to arrive at the Rio20 Climate Change Conference, (in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2012) with a secured plan for the future after the Kyoto Agreement ends.

What does REDD+ Really do? REDD+ (the plus was added within the last two years to emphasize the effect on biodiversity) looks to instate a plan of Payment for Environmental Services (PES). Basically, it recognizes that the problem of deforestation is an economic one and as such it looks to set up sustainable methods for financially compensating countries that are willing and able to reduce emissions from deforestation – largely focusing energy on local producers and indigenous groups that rely most heavily on the forests for their survival.

What’s the Situation of REDD+ in Paraguay? Many countries have already adopted a REDD+ framework into their governments and are beginning the process, but it does not yet exist in Paraguay. There is no universal agreement in the government nor among NGO’s or Indigenous Groups as to how it should be rolled out in the country, but the discussion is occurring now and should start development in the next year or so.

From WWF Paraguay’s perspective, we are currently working on a proposal with WWF Germany that would allow us to develop a sustainable REDD+ strategy to begin in (or around) July 2011. There are many small, unique factors to take into consideration (i.e. the ability to consult with Indigenous Groups prior to agreeing to accept any funding,) but so long as all involved parties’ wishes are honored, development should go smoothly. Famous last words? We hope not!

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