Learning on REDD+ in South Asia



Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and REDD+ have been recognized as among the most effective and efficient ways to combat climate change. Management of forests in a sustainable manner, and the resulting increase in biological sequestration of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems, provides one of the best solutions for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Due to the unique role of forests, the importance of REDD/REDD+ is only going to increase in the coming years. 

The global agreement on REDD+ under the UNFCCC framework has not yet been finalized. The process was initiated during the Bali Action Plan of COP 13 in 2007 when nations pledged commitment to “Policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries”. The Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009 endorsed these five activities that define REDD and REDD+. In 2010, the Cancun Climate Conference highlighted the need for inclusion of social and environmental safeguards in future REDD negotiations. Progress made at the Durban Conference in 2011 dealt with how to set reference emission levels, how to conduct monitoring, reporting, and verification; again, the need to highlight effective social and environmental safeguards was stressed. Sources of financing and how the REDD+ global financing mechanism will work will be discussed and decided upon during the Doha Climate Conference in 2012. 

Developing countries are in the process of evolving their own national REDD/REDD+ strategies. As an incentive-based mechanism, REDD+ is defining a new paradigm for forest management in developing countries that is results or performance based. In theory, REDD+ is regarded as a smart strategy that could reduce deforestation and land degradation in developing countries as well as enhance ecosystem-based adaptation strategies in communities that depend on forest resources. Co-benefits of REDD+ could include poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation; this aspect is now also recognized by the CBD. 

But as developing countries formulate national REDD+ strategies – each with differing forest resources at different stages along the ecological growth curve, a wide range of drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, and varying economic development trajectories – it is clear that a ‘one size fits all’ REDD+ approach will not work. This is one major reason why reaching a global agreement has been so difficult. In South Asia, a few CDM afforestation and reforestation activities are already being implemented and a small number of REDD+ initiatives are in pilot stages. Countries need to learn from each other – recognizing their different circumstances – and take stock of how REDD+ is developing in each country. Regional sharing and exchange are important to distil learning and increase understanding of how processes are unfolding at the community level and awareness of what is happening at the regional level.

Workshop Objective

Pilot initiatives of forest-based CDM and REDD+ projects have been implemented in South Asia for the past few years, including a groundbreaking REDD+ initiative in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region (in Nepal) by ICIMOD in partnership with the Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN) and the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB). This initiative is now in the advanced stages of designing measuring, reporting, and verification (MRV) and project design document (PDD) preparation, setting a regional pathway for REDD+. However, there is still a need to create a learning platform so that common issues and knowledge on REDD+ can be identified and shared among countries. This workshop will focus on identifying capacity and technical needs as well as financing mechanisms in the region. It will also provide a forum to discuss how to include social and environmental safeguards in regional REDD+ strategies and how to further involve local communities in the REDD+ process, and to identify the steps for promoting sustainable REDD+ strategies. 

The specific objectives are:

  1. To bring together REDD+ practitioners in a regional learning forum to improve understanding of national strategy and policy options for developing a REDD+ framework 
  2. To consolidate regional knowledge and common issues in order to facilitate policy development to ensure that poor people benefit from REDD+ initiatives 
  3. To set the trajectory for regional policies, practices, financing, and operational standards on REDD+

Expected outcome

This workshop will provide valuable insights to policy makers as well as practitioners as they evolve REDD+ strategies in their respective countries. Through regional learning, the workshop will help identify areas that require further impetus and collaborative work to promote a common MRV approach in the region along with sustainable, equitable REDD+ strategies that will benefit local communities. It will also help ICIMOD identify REDD+ bottlenecks in the region and find solutions at a regional level.


REDD+ focal points/forestry officials from the governments of India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan, and one civil society/non-governmental organization from each of these countries. 


1. Country presentations (India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan)

  • National policy and strategic progress 
  • Progress in technical matters (baseline and reference scenarios, inventory methodology, MRV, etc.)
  • REDD financing arrangements
  • Bottlenecks and issues
  • Outlook for the immediate future
  • Long-term prospects for REDD+ 

Each country is expected to submit a 6-page paper and make one PowerPoint presentation focusing on the six points mentioned above.

2. NGO presentations

  • Case studies of NGO projects – what they have been doing? 
  • Stakeholder and community involvement 
  • What are the financing instruments and mechanisms?
  • How are social and environmental safeguards integrated?
  • Challenges and bottlenecks at the implementation level 
  • Future of the project

Each NGO is expected to submit a 6-page paper and make one PowerPoint presentation focusing on the six points mentioned above.

3. Group work

  • Issues related to policy, technical matters, and finance
  • What needs to be done in the future?
  • How could ICIMOD contribute?

ICIMOD will facilitate the group work.

Note: ICIMOD will publish the full workshop proceedings. Each presenter will be asked to submit a paper, to be compiled for publication.