2015 Bonn Intersessional REDD+ Round Up

As momentum continues to build in the runup to the Paris COP21 climate negotiations in December later this year, a milestone has been reached for forests during the preliminary meeting in Bonn, Germany. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change intersessional meeting took place on 1-11 June and saw the final technical issues for the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) agreed upon after a full decade of negotiations. This is great news, as REDD+ is now poised to be a pillar of mitigation and finance for a binding deal in Paris later this year.

The UN-REDD Programme supports nationally-led REDD+ processes, protecting forests around the world with 56 partner nations spanning Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. REDD+ aims to reduce emissions related to deforestation and forest degradation, which account for around 14%-17% of global emissions. The ‘+’ stands for the ‘co-benefits’ (benefits not related to reducing emissions), which importantly includes the safeguarding of forest dependent communities, in national and international REDD+ implementation.

After significant progress had been made during COP19 in Warsaw, Poland with the The Warsaw Framework (a package of seven decisions on REDD+), delegates in Bonn finalised requirements in REDD+ regarding further guidance for safeguards, non-market-based approaches and non-carbon benefits. This covered results-based payments and identified drivers of deforestation as well as the formation of a contact group tasked with delivering guidance on non-carbon benefits and non-market approaches. These were agreed upon, much to the surprise to all that are involved, 6 months ahead of schedule, freeing up time during COP21 to start talking about on-the-ground implementation methods and policies.

In more detail, the REDD+ compromise agreements outlined the following three decisions. The first agreement from Bonn was binding finance to the standards of safeguarding and have safeguards clearly communicated. The second was regarding non-market-based approaches, promoted by Bolivia, which would not allow REDD+ offset credits to be sold in the carbon markets. However, the agreement allows all sources of funding to be available, including carbon markets, at the discretion of each nation. Finally, the last agreement was regarding methodological issues related to non-carbon benefits. This decision was rather weak, providing only general guidance rather than methodological guidance, but allows countries to receive funding for them. This rather weak decision probably reflects the fatigue and exhaustion from those involved in this ten year journey.

Another key focus for Bonn was to create a shorter and more manageable REDD+ text, which has been largely successful, with a tightly structured and concise new document. The next major step is to agree upon what elements will be put into the Paris agreement text in December. There are another two more meetings to refine the text, and agree on what will be brought to Paris and put in front of the Heads of State and Ministers.

Although there is still work to be done, REDD+ is now ahead of schedule and the UN process has had a significant success. Compromise and agreement have been achieved from all 192 nations. A productive two weeks has made the possibility of a deal in Paris ebb a little closer.

WWF Forest and Climate Outcomes from Bonn
Forest Trends
Earth Day Network


Professor Wangari Maathai’s Third Memorial Lecture

What’s needed for the triumph of good, is enough decent people to stand up,” – Kumi Naidoo

The panel discussion chaired by Nick Robins, UNEP’s Co-Director, Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System

On June 16 2015, Green Belt Movement International (GBMI) Europe hosted the Third Annual Wangari Maathai Memorial Lecture in St James Church Piccadilly. More than 200 people joined us for an evening with Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International as he shared his thoughts on Professor Maathai’s life, legacy and the climate change injustices she fought for, punctuated by stories from Kumi’s own life of campaigning and advocacy.

In addition, the audience was treated to Cellist Michael Fitzpatrick’s beautiful and reflective pieces as he performed within the dramatic and historic venue. The event culminated with a panel discussion chaired by Nick Robins, UNEP’s Co-Director, Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System.  Wanjira Mathai, Chair of the Green Belt Movement, Aisha Karanja, Executive Director of the Green Belt Movement and Kumi Naidoo all took part in an informal and informative discussion and gave their insights to questions provided by the audience.

Guests arrived at 6:30pm for a drinks and canapés reception in which representatives in the conservation, human rights, political, academic, and journalism sectors came together to meet and share their own experiences. The beautiful backdrop of the 17th century Christopher Wren designed church in the heart of central London was a unique location for our audience to come together. St James Piccadilly’s commitment to welcoming a diverse congregation and visitors as well as its on-going commitment to supporting human rights made the venue an ideal place to discuss the life and legacy of Wangari Maathai.

Kumi delivered an impassioned and humorous speech but communicated a very serious message calling for courage and collective action against climate change. The light tone of his address turned to reflection on Wangari Maathai’s ardent fight against injustice, “Wangari showed courage daring to make the connection between the simple, but honourable act of planting trees and improving the environment. And in improving women’s rights and position in society, not only in Kenya, but as a whole.” And quoting Professor Maathai herself on how, “our political systems today, killed creativity, nurtured corruption and produced people that were afraid of their leaders,” Kumi drew parallels with political leaders finding ever more secluded places to discuss world issues, referring to the recent G7 summit, away from civil thought and opinion.

Response from the audience was overwhelmingly positive with many guests commenting on their renewed sense of commitment to their own acts of courage and desire to see change

The keynote speech was sandwiched by two performances from Michael Fitzpatrick. It was a great honour to hear Michael play in an intimate setting; a man that has performed for Government leaders, royalty and religious figures. Kumi’s call to action against grave climate injustices and Michael’s melodious performances were in some ways starkly contrasting, yet both yielded the complete captivation of every mind along every pew.

The evening finale was a panel discussion, which tied together Kumi’s speech about courage to the courage shown by Wangari herself. UNEP’s Nick Robins asked Wangari’s daughter Wanjira, about her thoughts on her mother’s courage throughout her life and how she instilled this in others. Wanjira spoke of how Wangari “was in many ways a simple woman and at the same time very complex.” About how she analysed issues profoundly and systematically; the ability to bring “what seems so complex” to hone in on the “root cause” and simplify the problem. Key to motivating others was providing a vision of how large systemic issues can be overcome. The Green Belt Movement Executive Director Aisha Karanja told us how the community groups have retained this courage and are sustainable entities in their own right.

Wanjira Mathai, GBM Chair and Aisha Karanja Executive Director present a gift to Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director

Response from the audience was overwhelmingly positive with many guests commenting on their renewed sense of commitment to their own acts of courage and desire to see change. Guests coming from sectors outside of conservation and human rights commented on how accessible Kumi, Wanjira, Aisha, and Nick’s words were and how much it resonated with their own interest in identifying how they could become activists in their own right.

Professor Maathai’s work continues through the Green Belt Movement, a truly sustainable legacy.

Wanjira Mathai, Chair of the Green Belt Movement makes her remarks Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International gives his keynote address
The venue, St James Church Piccadilly
Cellist Michael Fitzpatrick treats the audience with his beautiful and reflective pieces

Originally posted here.