Rebecca Chacko is attending the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP16 meeting in Cancun, Mexico. Read other posts about COP16.
As negotiations in Cancun draw to a close, I am glad to see progress on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation “plus” conservation, the sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks). Political will on behalf of the Parties has enabled them to come up with a text that can achieve compromise while still creating a framework that can contribute to global emissions reductions. A REDD+ decision is within reach, and with good decision-making in the final hours, we can establish a REDD+ mechanism that reduces emissions, protects human rights and biodiversity, and provides the sustainable, predictable and adequate financing to do so.
An actual agreement on climate change? Is it possible? REDD+ has long been branded a win-win opportunity. What has been forgotten, however, is that a climate agreement is also win-win. Because when we avoid further dangerous climate change effects and adapt to impacts that are already inevitable, everybody wins.
So, what should negotiators learn from REDD+? In order to win, you have to play, and that means you have to put something on the table. The compromise we’ve seen on REDD+ so far has required contribution by everyone. Developing countries have shown a willingness to protect their forest resources. Developed countries have indicated that they are willing to provide finance. Nongovernmental organizations, indigenous peoples and others have helped to steer a path that maintains environmental integrity and protects rights.
It’s not all done yet. Regardless of the outcome today, there will need to be more work on REDD+, both in the UNFCCC and on the ground. But with an outcome in sight, I hope that negotiators working on various aspects of the text can adopt a spirit of compromise and the goal of making this planet better for everyone. Let’s paint the Cancun outcome REDD — REDD with compromise, REDD with integrity.
Rebecca Chacko is the director of climate policy in CI’s Center for Conservation and Government.