COP16: A Chance for REDD+ to Shine

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There are low expectations for a climate change deal in Cancun, but there is hope of an agreement to protect the world's forests. Photo courtesy of UNFCCC


By Angela Dewan

The 16th Conference of the Parties is certainly not the star event it was last year in Copenhagen, which attracted world leaders eager to hammer out a climate deal to suit all nations. The media for months ahead of the Cancun conference painted a grim picture, fuelling already low expectations for a deal this year.

The parties this time around are hoping to make steady progress in key climate change areas in hope for a deal next year in Durban.

But meetings are charged with frustration – there is little time to make headway on enormous problems. The developed and the developing world are showing little willingness to budge from their positions, struggling to keep their diplomatic cool, with China and the United States leading the packs.On a more optimistic note, efforts are being put into achieving a concrete deal for the UN-backed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation scheme, or REDD+, which will see developed nations paying developing nations to conserve or sustainably manage their forests, primarily to mitigate climate change.

Delegations have expressed their dedication to REDD+ roadblocks, tackling issues with indigenous people’s rights, land tenure and measurement, reporting and verification. What delegations may disagree on are market mechanisms for REDD+, a controversy that has hampered REDD+ progress since its inception. That issue may be left for COP17 in Durban next year.

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