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UNFCCC Publishes Submissions on REDD+ Non-Carbon Benefits

UNFCCC30 April 2014: The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat has published a compilation of submissions by parties on methodological issues related to non-carbon benefits (NCBs) resulting from the implementation of REDD+ activities, in advance of the 40th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 40).

Submissions were received from Brazil, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Tunisia, the US, the EU, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC).

Brazil's submission emphasizes that: additional requirements for obtaining results-based payments may hinder REDD+ implementation; the attribution of different values to mitigation results depending on NCBs should be avoided; NCBs should preserve UNFCCC primacy over REDD+; NCBs should be incentivized at the national level; and countries receiving results-based payments can invest in initiatives that contribute to the enhancement of NCBs.

The ASEAN submission supports nationally-defined NCBs, noting each country could, inter alia: select types of NCBs from an array of ecosystem functions and services; and use existing or develop appropriate methodology for assessing NCBs. The submission emphasizes that: NCBs should not outweigh carbon benefits; results from NCBs assessment should not be used to penalize REDD+ activities, but rather to provide incentives for improved REDD+ implementation; and support for assessing NCBs should be provided so that developing countries can realize them in REDD+ implementation.

COMIFAC identifies a number of REDD+ activities, as well as associated NCBs, that local communities and ecosystems could take advantage of, including: improved forest governance; preservation of ecosystem services; climate change adaptation; improved social and economic conditions; and the upholding of social and cultural values. On integrating NCBs into the Warsaw Framework on REDD+, COMIFAC notes that NCBs should be properly incentivized and integrated into results-based finance, and that payments for NCBs that facilitate REDD+ implementation should be linked to payment for emission reduction and carbon removal.

In its submission, China states that: NCB types should be determined by each country; the relationship between NCBs and REDD+ safeguards should be clarified; and carbon benefits should remain the priority in REDD+ implementation.

The EU submissions highlights, inter alia, that: most NCBs are fundamental to the long-term success of REDD+; dedicated payments or price premiums for NCBs under the UNFCCC are not necessary; and safeguards are an integral part of REDD+ while NCBs are additional positive results. The submission: points to a range of potential NCBs dependent on such factors as types of forest, type of action or activity, biophysical conditions, socioeconomic and cultural circumstances, and the level at which they occur (global, regional, national or local); classifies NCBs as social, environmental, economic and/or cultural; and discusses ways and means to promote and incentivize NCBs.

Japan's submission emphasizes that REDD+ should prioritize emission reductions and removals, and REDD+ activities that have positive impacts on NCBs, which are effective in sustaining REDD+ activities and ensuring local community participation.

The submission from Malaysia notes that: NCBs should be defined at the national level; countries should decide what benefits to include; NCBs should not take precedence over carbon benefits; and NCBs should not be a prerequisite for REDD+ activities, but rather should support REDD+ implementation.

The submission of the Philippines: recognizes the importance of NCBs in ensuring sustainable carbon benefits; emphasizes that NCBs should be nationally defined; states that, when discussing methodological issues for NCBs, countries should not be burdened with new requirements; and stresses the importance of information sharing on NCBs among countries. The Philippines adds that: REDD+ finance can provide incentives to maximize synergies between carbon and non-carbon benefits; a range of market- and non-market based instruments can contribute to achieving NCBs; and the provision of non-carbon incentives can enhance the quality and quantity of carbon benefits.

Tunisia's submission calls for: a methodological framework to measure and verify NCBs and their role in maintaining carbon benefits; indicators and principles for their assessment; parties to submit views and outline expectations regarding measuring non-carbon benefits and modalities to determine form and incentive levels, in early September 2014; and the UNFCCC Secretariat to organize a workshop on REDD+ NCBs on the margins of SBSTA 41.

The US submission: states that REDD+ finance should select and prioritize REDD+ actions that generate NCBs, and that NCBs are critical to the long-term success and sustainability of REDD+; and points to NCBs, such as cleaner water, protection of biodiversity, increased resiliency of ecosystems, and better forest governance. The US also emphasizes that: identifying and enhancing NCBs should be carried out within the context of national strategies or action plans, since NCBs are context specific; identifying an exhaustive list of NCBs, and developing methodologies for measuring and monitoring each one under the UNFCCC, would be counterproductive to REDD+ advancement; and ensuring REDD+ financing supports strategies and programmes that can deliver significant NCBs as part of their mitigation efforts is the most effective approach.

The views from NGOs and non-admitted observers have been posted on the UNFCCC Website. [Publication: Compilation of Submissions on NCBs Resulting from REDD+ Implementation] [Views from Observers]