The six Brazilian member states of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) launched a report, “Contributions to the National Strategy for Emissions Reduction from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+): A Proposal for Allocation between States and the Union” this week. The study was developed by representatives of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará and Tocantins with technical support from Idesam and is aligned with the other states of the Forum of State Secretaries of Environment from the Amazon states.
The report includes the results of several meetings that took place in 2013 and highlights the consensus reached by the Amazonian states on the primary elements that should be incorporated into the National REDD+ Strategy being developed by the Ministry of Environment, to be presented at the next U.N. conference on Climate Change (COP 20).
“The participation of the states in the development of this strategy is essential, in that these state governments have been fundamental in achieving deforestation results in the Amazon,” affirmed Grayton Toledo, Secretary of the Environment of Amapá and representative of the Forum of State Secretaries of Environment of the Amazon. These efforts elevated Brazil to the country that decreased the most greenhouse gasses in the recent years: avoiding the emission of 3.5 billion tons of CO2, between 2006 and 2012.
REDD+ in the Amazon is also the primary instrument the Brazilian Government has to achieve the goal of reducing 38% of GHG emissions by 2020. According to the national policy on climate change, achieving this goal would require the reduction of deforestation in the Amazon by 80%, which would correspond to 55% of total national reductions.
That said, reducing deforestation is expensive, and there is a need to define ways to share responsibilities and distribute benefits and incentives from REDD+. The report proposes a methodology for the distribution of “Emissions reduction units” (UREDD+) between the union and states, which considers not only the states that reduce their emissions from deforestation, but those that possess large areas of preserved forests.
According to IDESAM senior researcher Mariano Colini Cenamo, one of the coordinators of the study, it is essential that the national policy on climate change contain direct incentives for the states of the Amazon to continue undertaking efforts to reduce deforestation. “It is Acre Amapá Amazonas Mato Grosso Pará Tocantins neither just nor feasible that the Amazon region, which faces the biggest social and economic development challenges in the country and is responsible for only 8% of the national GDP, pay for 55% of the bill for national emissions reductions”.
The states that participated in the development of the report have a history of active engagement in national and international REDD+ issues and debates, and are pioneers in the development of their own regulations on the subject. Acre and Mato Grosso, for example, are already in the process of implementing their REDD+ laws and programs, designed with the participation of numerous stakeholders.
The Director of the Institute for Climate Change of Acre, Monica Julissa de Los Rios adds, “We made progress on the design of a legal, institutional and technical goal for an emissions reduction policy. We find that, in the legal realm, the reduction of emissions will be achieved by efforts to make our development models compatible. The commitment of the states to this end is essential to achieve national targets. The study illustrates the existing alignment on the subject among states and the forms in which value is given to our emission reduction and forest conservation efforts.”
According to Elaine Corsini, the Superintendent for Monitoring of Environmental Indicators for Mato Grosso, the state with the highest percentage reduction of deforestation, she understands that the resources derived from REDD+ should be distributed as much to the Amazonian states that drastically reduce their deforestation rates as to those states that possess large stocks of forest. With its State REDD+ System approved in 2013, the state foresees the implementation of an economic mechanism to compensate efforts to control deforestation and maintain remaining forests, “The establishment of a National REDD+ Strategy will make alignment with international decisions possible“. For Maurício Moleiro Philipp, the Coordinator for Climate Change for SEMA in the state, “The consolidation of a REDD+ mechanism will effectively contribute to the reduction of deforestation in the Amazon at the same time as producing climate benefits and social benefits to local communities”.
Following suit, the states of Amapá, Amazonas, Pará and Tocantins are also making progress in discussions with their legislations. This publication can support their process in preparing for REDD+ policies.
Among these states, the methodology used in the study is ideal for their interests to be considered and the distribution of incentives from REDD+ activities should be developed respecting the principles of equality and allowing for the maintenance of these activities over the long term.