January 21, 2010: Copenhagen deal falters as just 20 countries of 192 sign up to declare their global warming strategies
But with just 10 days to go, only 20 countries out of 192 have signed up, with many clearly unready or unwilling to put their name to the document. Countries which have signed so far include India, Russia, Mexico, Australia, France and Norway.
"You cannot have 192 countries involved in discussing all the details. You cannot have all countries all of the time in one room. You do have to safeguard transparency by allowing countries to decide if they want to be represented by others, and that if a debate is advanced then the conclusion is brought back to the larger community", he said.
However, this more exclusive method of reaching agreement was criticised by some in Copenhagen after the host government, Denmark, convened a meeting of 26 world leaders in the last two days of the conference to try to reach agreement on behalf of everyone.
Critics argued that this was not only illegal, but undermined negotiations already taking place among the 192 countries and threatened the UN's multilateral and democratic process.
The US and Britain have argued since the conference that climate negotiations are best served by meetings of the world's largest polluters, such as China, the US, India, Brazil and South Africa. These countries, which emit more than 80% of global emissions, signed up to a deal in the final hours of the summit.
Brazil, India, China and South Africa, known as the "BASIC" group, meet next week in Delhi to agree a common position ahead of further UN climate talks.
The forest negotiations were part of the detailed negotiations that resulted in draft decisions. While these are not nearly agreed, the basic elements of a negotiated outcome are there: developed countries are demanding the freedom to increase their emissions without accountability and developing countries are demanding a limit on credits from the sector.
The start of 2010 marks the most exciting, and pivotal, time for REDD+ and the UN-REDD Programme. As the world weighs in on the results of COP-15, REDD+ stands stronger than ever, backed by more consensus and more references in the Copenhagen Accord than any single other climate action. In early December, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the World Bank President Robert Zoellick defined REDD+ as, "an essential element of tackling global climate change," and they highlighted the emerging, "community of practice, policy development, and on-the-ground lesson learning around REDD+." These kinds of endorsements are powerful and they build the case for collaboration and advancement on REDD+ issues. It is now more important than ever to ensure momentum, awareness and REDD+ partnerships continue to build in the coming year.
In the face of these heightened stakes, the UN-REDD Programme remains committed and poised to play a leadership role on REDD+ issues. The Programme, a joint collaboration of the FAO, UNDP and UNEP, was launched in 2008 to support efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Since then, the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board has moved quickly to approve US$24 million in funding for nationally-led REDD+ processes, and another US$9.5 million for global programmes that provide support to national efforts. The Programme is now working with nine member countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and in October 2009, five more countries were given observer status, bringing the total number of countries involved in the UN-REDD Programme to 14 in just over one year of operation.
These countries, in turn, have helped to create a REDD+ community of practice that has significantly advanced their efforts to establish the capacity, institutions and processes for REDD. Countries such as the DRC, Indonesia, Tanzania and Viet Nam are now set to start implementing their REDD+ activities.
Throughout 2009, the UN-REDD Programme was also active at the international level, helping to organize several high-profile events such as the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Event on REDD in September. In addition to coordinating the participation of over 100 governments, the Programme was instrumental in bringing key people from civil society, including local and international NGOs, media, and the private sector to this meeting, which in turn communicated the political urgency of REDD+ among influential heads of states from around the world. The Programme also produced several cutting-edge documentaries and short videos on various aspects of REDD+ that were broadcast on BBC World to 300 million homes in 170 countries.
All of these national and international efforts have been made based on strong national leadership, flexibility, low barriers to entry and a focus on Indigenous Peoples and Civil Society participation.
The Road Ahead
The UN-REDD Programme acknowledges there is still much ground left to cover in 2010 and beyond. The Programme is encouraged by the growing number of countries requesting to join. But to meet this ground-swell of demand, the Programme must actively seek out new streams of funding to ensure the good work already done on REDD+ gets pushed farther and deeper in the coming year.
The Programme’s technical work, especially in the area of Measurement, Verification and Reporting (MRV) also needs to be scaled up in 2010, so that countries have the necessary tools to develop new laws, policies and institutional frameworks aimed at reducing deforestation.
The UN-REDD Programme will also seek to play even more of a convening role at an international level; one that brings the right expertise and stakeholders to the table to ensure REDD+ mechanisms are more accessible, and more successful than ever.
2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity which will provide the UN-REDD Programme with an excellent opportunity to further explore and highlight the co-benefits of REDD+ and fully demonstrate how it can benefit biodiversity in forest ecosystems.
A key priority in 2010 will be to ensure even closer coordination between the UN-REDD Programme, the World Bank and other multilateral and bilateral initiatives supporting REDD+ efforts. The UN Secretary-General and World Bank President recently stated that, "the United Nations agencies and the World Bank stand ready to work together with bilateral and other partners to support a REDD+ governance structure with delivery channels that capitalize on the comparative strengths and capacities of the United Nations System and the World Bank Group."
Both leaders further suggested that the UN-REDD Programme and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, could be, "a starting point in the design of a unified and coherent institutional architecture for REDD+... to meet country requirements in a timely, effective and coordinated manner."
The UN-REDD Programme is fully aware of these priorities and remains flexible to adapt to a new REDD+ institutional architecture, and committed to supporting coordinated national REDD+ programmes at the country level.
There is no question that 2010 is full of opportunities and challenges for the UN-REDD Programme. REDD+ must continue to deliver the climate change mitigation it promises, and the UN-REDD Programme is resolved to support such efforts at both the national and global level. We will do our part, and look forward to collaborating closely with the many other initiatives that are bringing all their resources and commitment to bear on this opportunity. Our planet and our future generations require nothing less.
POST Copenhagen: state of affairs in Mid January 2010