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UN-REDD at the Oslo REDD Exchange

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

The UN-REDD Programme highlights partner country progress in the areas of free, prior and informed consent, environmental and social safeguards and participatory carbon monitoring for REDD+ at Norway’s first bi-annual REDD+ Exchange.

Three and a half years after Norwegian Prime Minister Stoltenberg announced Norway’s commitment to provide funding for REDD at the Bali summit in 2007, Norad and the Norwegian Ministry of Environment convened around 150 REDD+ technical experts, practitioners, government representatives and civil society actors in Oslo to take stock of the REDD+ process, and to exchange lessons learned thus far. The Oslo REDD+ exchange, which took place 23-24 June, put particular emphasis on matters related to REDD+ safeguards and policies addressing the underlying drivers of deforestation.

Norwegian Minister of Environment and Development Assistance, Erik Solheim, addressed the many risks associated with REDD+ and argued that, “the risk of inaction was a lot higher than the risk of action.” Strong signals from Norway on a continued emphasis on governance and anti-corruption efforts within REDD+ were also evident – a view which was backed by Indonesian Minister Kuntoro Mangkusubrotu and his remarks on the importance of proper “governance infrastructure”, as well as the need to pull stakeholders out of their comfort zone as necessary institutional changes and policy reform are needed for improved governance.

The Oslo REDD Exchange allowed for a number of interesting, relevant and thought-provoking presentations, interventions and discussion on a wide range of topics within the REDD+ discourse. Recurring questions and concerns throughout the exchange underscored the need for clarifying land tenure issues, how to deal with free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) when a government does not acknowledge the existence of Indigenous Peoples in a country, and also a recognition that a “move from ideas to implementation [within REDD+] has proceeded somewhat more slowly than appeared likely only two years ago”, said Frances Seymour, Director General of CIFOR.

Four presentations were given by the UN-REDD Programme. The head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat, Yemi Katerere, gave a joint presentation together with Benoit Bosquet from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility on REDD+ sustainability elements from a multilateral perspective, whichfocused on the importance of institutional arrangements, such as the need to address governance, tenure and gender issues, as well as the need for political will at a high level to keep the momentum in national REDD+ preparedness and implementation processes. Tim Clairs, Principal Policy & Technical Advisor, UNDP, gave a presentation on the Common Approach to Environmental and Social Safeguards for FCPF Multiple Delivery Partners and highlighted that UNDP’s social and environmental standards were accepted as substantially equivalent to those applied by the World Bank.

During a parallel session, Josep Gari, Regional Technical Coordinator, UNDP, introduced the audience to how the Free, Prior and Informed Consent process would be applied to the REDD+ process in DRC, outlining the challenges and concrete steps expected in the coming year. Patrick van Laake, Senior Technical Advisor, UNDP, gave an overview of the participatory carbon monitoring initiative which has been undertaken in Vietnam, to actively engage local communities in the forest monitoring process.
Norway’s Forest and Climate Ambassador, Hans Brattskar, closed the Oslo REDD Exchange by expressing that Norway’s ambition is to repeat the Oslo REDD Exchange every other year. Norad will publish a report from the Oslo REDD Exchanges, which is expected to be available at in August.