November 2016. Daniela Rey Christen.blog_nov_2016.jpg

There are three safeguard related requirements for countries choosing to participate in REDD+ and access results based finance. They need to:

1. Implement REDD+ activities in a manner consistent with the Cancun safeguards;

2. Establish a system to provide information on how the Cancun safeguards are being addressed and respected (commonly known as safeguards information system-SIS); and

3. Provide a summary of information on how the Cancun Safeguards are being addressed and respected.

To meet these requirements countries have been working to develop comprehensive and coordinated and metho-dical approaches and whilst each country and their respective approach is different, these various efforts can be broadly described as a ‘country approach to safeguards’.

Country approaches are characterised by the identification, application and improvement of existing relevant governance arrangements– which include policies, laws, and regulations (PLRs); institutional arrangements; and information systems and sources; conflict resolution and enforcement mechanisms, which anchored to the REDD+ approach of the country, are utilised to meet the safeguard related requirements.

Country approaches typically aim to ensure all three UNFCCC safeguard related requirements are meet, inter alia, that:

  • safeguards are adhered to through the existence and application of relevant governance arrangements, including policies, law and regulations through which the rights and obligations embodied in the safeguards are to be recognised, protected and promoted throughout the implementation of the proposed REDD+ actions;
  • a SIS is set-up by building upon existing information systems and sources, so as to provide information that is accessible to all stakeholders on how the safeguards are being addressed and respected; and
  • summaries of information on safeguards are developed and submitted periodically to the UNFCCC and other applicable donor or funder (e.g. FCPF).

In the past five years, since the Cancun safeguards were agreed, no country has yet fully developed their country approach to safeguards, including set-up a SIS and submit a summary of information. However, many countries are close and have numerous insights and experiences to share. The various insights these countries have to share are linked to six main components that are being considered in the development of their country approaches to safeguards. These are:

1. Engaging stakeholders in country approaches to safeguards;

2. Setting goals and scope of the country approach to safeguards;

3. Clarifying the cancun safeguards in accordance with the national context;

4. Identifying, assessing and strengthening existing governance arrangements;

5. Articulating how the country's safeguards will be achieved; and

6. Designing the safeguard information system

In order to assist country governments in the development of their country approaches to safeguards (including the design of their SIS), CLP and SNV have gathered valuable insights from pioneering countries. This exercise has been documented in the document 'Best Practices and Considerations for the Development of REDD+ Country Approaches to Safeguards and Design of Safeguard Information Systems'.

It is hoped that the valuable insights and practical considerations captured in this new publication present an opportunity for those developing a country approach to safeguards to consolidate their thinking and develop an approach to meet their country’s needs.

A number of general insights, which are elaborated in the new publication are:

a. The clarification of the Cancun safeguards, together with structuring the information in a SIS, appear to be the two most important entry points for stakeholder engagement in country approaches to safeguards.

b. Consultation and participation processes for safeguards should not be undertaken in isolation from other processes of stakeholder engagement for REDD+. In particular,that consultation and participation over REDD+ safeguards should be linked to broader REDD+ discussions.

c.  Legal gap analyses serve not only to identify and assess the aspects of the existing legal framework (e.g. PLRs) that could be used to ensure consistency with the Cancun safeguards throughout REDD+ implementation, but it also serves as the key input for the country's clarification of the Cancun safeguards. Drawing on the country’s existing PLRs is seen as a key input to ensure the clarification/interpretation of the Cancun safeguards is consistent with the country’s context and circumstances.

d. Clarifying the Cancun safeguards in accordance with national circumstances is key and central to SIS design and preparation of the summary of information. In particular the clarification is the main input for determining the information needs of the country’s SIS (i.e. the information that is to be provided to demonstrate that each safeguard has been addressed and respected), without which, the identification and assessment of existing and relevant information systems and sources that form the basis for the SIS cannot be undertaken.

e. The clarification is not expected to outline how the relevant legal framework (e.g. PLRs) will be used to ensure the REDD+ actions are carried out in consistency with the safeguards. The process aimed at outlining how to ensure the REDD+ actions are implemented in consistency with the country specific safeguards is a next step and linked to the articulation of the country approach to safeguards.

f. The SIS is an international requirement to report to the UNFCCC on how the Cancun Safeguards are being addressed and respected. Measures taken to meet this requirement alone will not guarantee the REDD+ actions are implemented in consistency with the Cancun safeguards.

Further insights and experiences are elaborated and may be found in the new publication.

Download the new publication in CLP's website:

Best Practices and Considerations for the Development of REDD+ Country Approaches to Safeguards and Design of Safeguard Information Systems

Coming soon:
Safeguard Information System Tool-kit