Public Policy & Economics
WHRC COP17 Focus: Economic viability and social impacts of REDD+
Introduction by Dr. Eric Davidson, President and Executive Director, WHRC:
History was made last December in Cancun, Mexico, when a mechanism to address the role of emissions from tropical deforestation was adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This was a significant moment for many at the Woods Hole Research Center who have long been involved in seeking science-based solutions to challenges of climate change and conserving the world’s forests while also meeting the demands for sustainable economic development. Our work is proving to be more important than ever, as governments, practitioners, forest communities, and other stakeholders work out how to turn the newly-adopted policy framework into a functioning, effective reality.
Success of policy initiatives such as the one to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) will depend upon the capacity to accurately measure and monitor forests. Respecting and accounting for the rights and uses of forest resources by nearby communities will be essential in designing transparent and equitable carbon finance mechanisms for forest conservation. WHRC is unique in the depth of our scientific expertise and in our ability to merge our science with economic analyses of the challenges and opportunities regarding forest conservation and sustainable development.
As we look ahead, we strive for a world in which the insights of science guide management of the Earth’s forests and other natural resources, so that we and future generations may sustain prosperous and fulfilling lives without degrading the ecosystems that support humanity and a diverse abundance of life.
COP17: Durban, South Africa
The seventeenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held from 28 November – 9 December in Durban, South Africa. A delegation of scientists, capacity-building experts, and policy analysts from the Woods Hole Research Center will be in attendance to participate in a wide variety of events ranging from technical workshops to press conferences, and to engage in ongoing climate change-related discussions and negotiations.
The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the UNFCCC’s highest decision-making authority, and is comprised of representatives from 194 countries (and one regional economic integration organization). The two-week negotiating session in Durban will also include the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) and work under the Convention’s two subsidiary bodies, the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). Please visit the UNFCCC’s website (www.unfccc.int) for more information.
A major focus in Durban will be resolving the future of the Kyoto Protocol and its relationship to the global climate change agreement currently under negotiation. In addition to this broader political discussion, negotiations will also address operational elements under the Convention, including a framework for adaptation, the Green Climate Fund, and policy frameworks aimed at reducing emissions from land use and land-use change. The WHRC will focus on two such frameworks: the rules governing climate change mitigation in the forests of developed countries, and a global mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+).
The WHRC will present new research relevant to several specific aspects of REDD+ currently under negotiation, including the economic implications of measuring and monitoring forest carbon stocks and fluxes and socioeconomic considerations that must be addressed when implementing activities to reduce deforestation. Scientists will share their work on these topics at a half-day workshop on December 1st and an official side event co-hosted with the Green Belt Movement (www.greenbeltmovement.org). Additionally, members of the WHRC delegation will lead and participate in discussions at Forest Day 5. For an agenda and overview of our workshop, please click here.
Please check this site regularly to receive daily updates from members of the WHRC delegation, read papers and analyses published for COP 17 by WHRC staff, and see photographs of on-the-ground action from the UNFCCC negotiating session in Durban, South Africa. You can also follow us on Twitter at (WoodsHoleResCtr) and on Facebook at (WoodsHoleResearchCenter) .