The Report

FLEGT and REDD+ linkages

Thursday 19 March, from 14:30 to 16:00

 

Highlights

  • Interactions between FLEGT and REDD+ are increasingly being documented and understood, and first country-level experiences on linking FLEGT and REDD+ are starting to emerge.
  • Experiences from DRC, Ghana, Guyana and Vietnam show the diversity of interactions between FLEGT and REDD+ processes.
  • A good understanding of both processes and of their overlaps is necessary to trigger joint efforts and ensure economies of scale for improving land use governance and law enforcement.  
  • As FLEGT and REDD+ processes are contributing to similar development objectives, a coherent policy framework is needed at the national and global levels to address illegal logging and other drivers of deforestation.
 

Summary 

REDD+ is an international mechanism to create performance-based incentives to keep forests intact, and protect biodiversity and livelihoods. The EU REDD Facility, which works at the junction of FLEGT and REDD+ processes, described the interactions and links between the processes. Successful REDD+ implementation relies on strong stakeholder engagement, robust legal and institutional frameworks, clear tenure and land-use rights, credible systems for measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) and transparent and fair funding modalities. The EU FLEGT Action Plan, and VPAs in particular, are instruments for addressing illegal logging and related forest governance failures. REDD+ and FLEGT processes are therefore working on similar land use governance challenges and this provides opportunities for collaboration. The FLEGT approach, framed around demand and supply side measures to promote legal timber trade, also provides inspiration to address one of the biggest drivers of deforestation ̶ forest land conversion for agriculture.

However, both processes are different: FLEGT is an EU instrument with a focus the forest sector, whereas REDD+ is defined by the international climate change negotiations and focuses on drivers of deforestation in and beyond the forest sector, such as agriculture and mining.

Participants explored FLEGT and REDD+ interactions in DRC, Ghana, Guyana and Vietnam. The countries have had different experiences, yet the presentations showed that both processes were working toward similar development objectives and that a coherent policy framework was needed at the national and global levels to address illegal logging and other drivers of deforestation.   

Vietnam is a major timber importer, including conversion timber from Cambodia and Laos, as research from Forest Trends shows. Defining the legality of this imported timber is a complex matter, both for legal and political reasons. Looking at this problem through a climate lens, Vietnam is outsourcing deforestation and related emissions to Cambodia and Laos. There are a number of regional platforms for multi-stakeholder dialogue on REDD+, as well as bilateral donor fora, where cross-border timber trade issues and land conversion could be more thoroughly discussed. The lack of reliable and government endorsed data on regional timber trade could be resolved by establishing a regional data platform that will feed into national MRV systems for REDD+ and provide a solid base of information for national and regional dialogue on FLEGT and REDD+.

DRC is considered a front-runner on REDD+ in Africa. It is currently designing a World Bank-funded Emission Reduction Program in Mai Ndombe. The initiative brings together institutional partners, national and local civil society, private sector and international donors to test an integrated approach to tackling illegal logging and its underlying drivers. DRC is also engaged in a FLEGT VPA process, although with limited progress so far. As the FLEGT VPA is considered an important instrument for REDD+ and the latter process is benefiting from strong momentum, the country is exploring how REDD+ incentives can be provided to forest concessionaires in order increase compliance with the existing legal framework and as such, leverage the FLEGT VPA process. It is also exploring how both processes can work together to increase land use transparency and accountability through expanding the independent monitoring for FLEG to REDD+ indicators and safeguards. DRC has been working with its REDD+ provincial focal points to advance the broader forest governance agenda at the decentralised level.

In Guyana, the REDD+ process started ahead of the FLEGT VPA processes and the country is now capitalising on those experiences for the emerging FLEGT VPA process. For instance, it has invested in building MRV capacity for REDD+ which now helps monitoring activities in the context of the FLEGT VPA process. Guyana expects the FLEGT VPA process to bring forest governance challenges to the table, and together with the capacity and structures it has set up under its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), Guyana believes it is better able to act on those challenges and enforce its legal framework. 

Although the FLEGT VPA and REDD+ processes in Ghana benefit from similar institutional arrangements, little interaction between the processes has materialised due to diverging interests and limited outreach to each other. With the help of Tropenbos International, Ghana is now organising regular seminars for FLEGT and REDD+ stakeholders to discuss matters that affect both processes, such as safeguards, benefit sharing, tenure and law enforcement. The respective coordinating secretariats are expected to prepare background papers to facilitate discussion and understanding during those seminars. 

Conclusions

Now that interactions between FLEGT and REDD+ are increasingly being understood, first country level experiences are starting to emerge. Both FLEGT and REDD+ processes address similar governance challenges within the forest sector and beyond, such as stakeholder engagement, access and transparency of reliable information, tenure and land use rights. The EU FLEGT Action Plan approach, framed around demand and supply side measures to promote legal timber trade, also provides inspiration to address one of the biggest drivers of deforestation -- forest land conversion for agriculture. A good understanding of both processes and of their overlaps is necessary to trigger joint efforts and ensure economies of scale to improve land use governance and law enforcement. As FLEGT and REDD+ processes are contributing to similar development objectives, a coherent policy framework is needed at the national and the global levels to address illegal logging and other drivers of deforestation.  

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Featuring

Moderator Jussi Viitanen, EU FLEGT and REDD facilities

Speakers

  • Phuc Xuan To, Forest Trends

  • Adeline Dontenville, EU REDD Facility

  • Christophe Van Orshoven, EU REDD Facility

Reporter Christophe Van Orshoven, EU REDD Facility

Keywords FLEGT, REDD+, linkages, intersect, links, governance, deforestation

Presentations