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There is no formal and universally agreed upon definition of 'safeguards'. The term has been traditionally used by multilateral financial institutions, such as the World Bank, to guard against undue harm from investments or development activities, commonly known as a 'risk based approach'. In contrast, a 'rights based approach' to safeguards for REDD+ has emerged under the UNFCCC, which seeks not only to prevent REDD+ from causing harm, but to realise multiple benefits beyond emissions reductions. The application of such an approach in relation to REDD+ is key to ensuring that the mechanism's implementation not only serves to address GHG emissions but also acts as a driver to achieve other cross-cutting objectives such as increasing ecosystem resilience to climate change, enhancing rights and conserving biodiversity.

In addition to the UNFCCC, many countries must deal with multiple safeguards frameworks of other funding agencies and donors. To respond to national and international REDD+ safeguard commitments, countries are putting in place country-led safeguard approaches or systems which in some cases seek to have a broader scope of application (e.g. for broader land-use activities).

We are pioneering experts in this field, and specialise in delivering targeted strategic advice and guidance in relation to the design and implementation of safeguard systems through our three areas of intervention:

Analysis and development

Our pioneering analytical and development work in the area of safeguards includes:

  • Development of conceptual frameworks and guidelines for the design of a Country Safeguard Approach (CSA) or system;
  • Development of guidelines for project implementation of UNFCCC REDD+ safeguards in consistency with a CSA or system;
  • Development of robust and tailored methodologies to assess country governance dimensions;
  • In-depth publications to support the interpretation/specification, implementation and reporting of the UNFCCC REDD+ safeguards to the country context and circumstances;
  • Documentation of lessons and advancements of countries concerning implementation of CSA;

For more details see our Knowledge Products page.

In-country work

Our on the ground work on safeguards includes:

  • Adaptation of the CSA conceptual framework and guidelines to the country context and development;
  • Support the identification of the goals and scope of the country safeguard approach/system;
  • Support the specification/interpretation of the UNFCCC REDD+ safeguards to the country context and circumstances;
  • Support the identification, evaluation and strengthening of governance dimensions relevant to REDD+ safeguards (gap analysis of legal, institutional and compliance frameworks and providing recommendations for addressing gaps/weaknesses);
  • Support the establishment of multi-stakeholder groups or platforms for the Country Safeguards Approach/system;
  • Support the articulation of the country safeguards approach/system based on the country's governance dimensions, including the safeguard information system (SIS);

For more details see our Projects.

Capacity building and training

Our capacity building and training work includes:

  • Face-to-face training workshops on REDD+ safeguards;
  • Facilitation of knowledge and exchange workshops on REDD+ safeguards;
  • Facilitation of policy dialogues on the design of safeguard approaches and safeguard information systems (SIS);
  • Development of distant learning tools such as dedicated e-learning courses and webinars on REDD+ safeguards;
  • Development of train-the-trainer tool-kits on REDD+ safeguards.

For more details see our Projects.