Skip to main content

Breakthrough agreement reached in Warsaw on reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation

Published November 23, 2013

by iboran

Idil Boran
From Warsaw, Poland

As these lines are being written at about 11:00 am on Saturday, November 23 in Warsaw, the morning after the official end of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 19, the talks are still going on at the National Stadium. A debate between parties, which is being webcast, pertaining to finance as well as loss & damage at the President’s Stocktaking Plenary is taking place. What these discussions suggest is that divergences on the issues of finance and loss & damage prevail, causing an extension of the talks into Saturday.

However, the tensions over these two issues should not overshadow a breakthrough agreement that has been reached here in Warsaw last night. The decision secures significant emissions reductions from deforestation. Known as REDD-plus, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, plus Pro-forest Activities is a framework on which government representatives have been working since 2005.

The decision is an important step forward at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, for about a fifth of global emissions are known to be due to deforestation and forest degradation. No less significantly, the decision establishes well-defined features into the architecture of international regulations, promoting transparency, integrity, and efficiency:

1. The agreement structurally connects REDD-plus to the Green Climate Fund, and secures the financing of forest-related projects in developing countries.
2. The procedure for allocating funds is “result-based”. That is, countries will have to show tangible reduction of deforestation and forest degradation in a way that does not harm local communities, in order to qualify for funds and to receive payments.
3. The agreement establishes a set of rules for forest-related projects. In so doing, it serves a catalyzing function for achieving global standards in the treatment of forests.

Each COP is associated with advancement on a specific issue. The agreement on reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is probably what will be associated with Warsaw.

This breakthrough is not only good news but it also shows that even in highly contentious and politically charged situations positive outcomes can be achieved.

For inquiries, contact:

Posted in: Blogs | Turning Up the Heat