The Experts Exchange on REDD+ and Forest Landscape Restoration was held on October 17-19, 2017 at Compass Skyview Hotel, 12 Sukhumvit 24, Bangkok, Thailand. The event was attended by fifty (50) representatives from different Asia-Pacific countries including the GIZ organizing team from Germany and Resource speakers from REDD+ funding agencies such as Green Climate Fund (GCF) and FPCF (Forest Carbon Partnership Facility), academe and UN-REDD.

Prior to the Experts Exchange in Thailand, GIZ together with UNIQUE forest and land use GmbH have organized an international learning exchange/ REDD+ school in Freiburg, Germany which aimed to discuss matters on REDD+ Financing. The response to the need to share the current progress, research and experiences for REDD+ and FLR schemes of Asia-Pacific countries emerged through the conduct of the conference.

Highlights of the Event

The three-day Experts Exchange event was clustered into three main blocks. For the first day, all presentations were relative to the international agreements and concepts on REDD+/ Results-based payments and Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR), how both REDD+ and FLR links to the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and the available financing for REDD+ (e.g Green Climate Fund (GCF), Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), and World Bank); the second day focused on how to address the Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the concept of having a realistic Forest Reference Emission Level/ FRL; Lastly, on the third day, there were discussions and presentations on Safeguards Framework and Guidelines, Safeguards Information System, REDD+ implementation in each country in the context of the governance challenges and how can they be addressed.

Aside from the main lectures, there were also at least two (2) country representatives assigned to give their country perspective and were included to seat in the panel discussion on the specific topic/s for the day. The Philippines is one of those chosen countries to present their perspective on REDD+ implementation aligned with the national agenda, governance challenges encountered and way forward to address the challenges.

These were the main points of the different speakers for the three-day event:

  • REDD+ is not dead, in fact it is very much alive and developing countries have agreed to do so because of the ‘change’ in the climate change. Each country must adopt to the changes in technology transfers, ways and mindset in order for a country to adjust according to their own national situations/circumstances.
  • REDD+ is not the icing of the cake anymore but it is now the “cherry” on the top of the cake because the incentives are just bonus points but most importantly, the procedures on preparing the results-based payment requirements matter.
  • FLR is now considered as one of the mitigation strategies included as part of REDD+ efforts especially in Asia-Pacific countries.
  • With regard to the financing/benefit sharing options, Mr. Juan Chang of Green Climate Fund (GCF) explained that only 150 Million US dollars can be given to a country, given that it has already satisfied the requirements, depends on the reduced amount of carbon dioxide and other GHGs and proposals, if accepted.
  • The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FPCP) only caters to a specific requirement for minimum number of countries and the Philippines is not included. Indonesia and Malaysia are two (2) of the countries that they support because of the exploitation of timber resources and large oil palm industries.
  • Some countries such as Indonesia and Philippines have already Safeguards Framework and Guidelines (SFG) available but it is important to note that the Philippines has both SFG and SIS prototyped but have not yet fully implemented because the enabling policies have yet to be polished and be fully functional.

Agreements and Next Steps

For the Philippines, the following are the way forward/options:

  1. Creation of a National Multi-stakeholder REDD-plus Council (NMRC and sub-national PMRC) through the three options:
    1. Issuance of a Joint Resolution by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the DENR.
    2. Issuance of a Resolution by the Cabinet Cluster on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Cluster (CCAM) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
    3. Issuance of an Executive Order by the President.
  2. Designate the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as the REDD+ National Entity for coordination of support under the UNFCCC.
  3. Issuance of policy guidelines such as National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS), Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL/FRL), Measurement, Reporting & Verification (MRV), Safeguards, Safeguards Information Database and Governance of tenure.
  4. Coordinate with the CCC relative to the review of the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) and provide a disaggregated data (e.g percentage and activity) for the Forestry Sector.