Geoworld Spotlight

Delivering REDD+: from Copenhagen to Cancun  (May 2010)

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..a Special Session organised by Dr. Patenaude
within the 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference
Edinburgh. 28 June - 2 July 2010

The potential to mitigate global carbon emissions through the management and protection of forests and woodlands is huge. Forests cover about 30% of the global land area, store 45% of the terrestrial biosphere's carbon and more than 1.6 billion people, including a significant numbers of the world's poor, rely on them for their livelihood. Yet, forests are being degraded and destroyed at an alarming rate. The largest losses are observed in tropical forests of the developing world. Between 2000 and 2005, roughly 13 million hectares of forest disappeared annually. REDD+ is an attempt to provide a policy framework addressing this crisis.

While the need to reduce global deforestation and forest degradation is urgent, addressing this need poses numerous challenges. These stem from the complexity of the problem itself, the different national circumstances and the multiple drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. The failure to reach an agreement on REDD+ at Copenhagen exemplifies this. To stimulate innovative thinking for reaching a global consensus on REDD+, cross-fertilisation and the breakdown of disciplinary barriers is needed. To do so, platforms aiming at engaging actors with diverse interests and perspectives are needed.

The Commonwealth Forestry Conference, which brings researchers, business leaders, and policy makers in one single location provides such a platform. I therefore propose to capitalise on this to facilitate discussions and collaborations on REDD+ across institutions and disciplines. The aim of the day will be to summarise, explore and stimulate innovative thinking by building on available expertise, resources, networks, and technologies. The focus will be on delivering REDD+ now. To achieve this aim, the day will be structured as follows:

Session 12:
In this session, various country perspectives will be given including those from Norway, the leading nation in this field;

Session 13:
In this session, REDD+ is discussed from thematic perspectives. The session is divided into two parts. The first entails thematic presentations mirroring key REDD+ challenges:

  1. Finance and investments
  2. Forest ecosystems and services
  3. Governance, socio-economy and the law
  4. Earth observation and technologies for MRV.
In the second part of session 14, the audience is invited to bring in additional expertise; present examples from successful case studies; contribute to the discussions; and engage with panellists (two panellists per theme).

Sessions 14&15:
The two morning sessions will lead to an afternoon of working groups (divided into the four themes introduced above). Based on the morning sessions and the thematic discussions, the working groups will be tasked to draft recommendations for the delivery of a policy brief: Delivering REDD+ at Cancun.

Dr. Genevieve Patenaude
Lecturer, Forests and Carbon Management

School of GeoSciences
University of Edinburgh
Drummond Street
Edinburgh EH8 9XP
Tel: 0131 651 4472

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