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Standards for results-based REDD+ finance: overview and design parameters

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Author:
C. Streck
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Climate Focus comparative study and overview of all major public and private forest carbon standards for use with REDD+.
Results-based finance for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) links payments to both greenhouse gas emission reductions and enhancements in forest carbon stocks. This has resulted in the emergence of a wide variety of both public and private bodies with their own forest carbon standards through which to measure, verify, and certificate levels of carbon reduction and stocks. The objective of this Climate Focus study - the first of a series of analytical papers - is to give an initial overview of the existing REDD+ frameworks for results-based finance.
The paper begins by clarifying the terminology used in the context of voluntary and other REDD+ standards, before summarising the most important standards that channel results-based payments to REDD+. The comparative nature of the study sets out to identify central commonalities and differences between the REDD+ standards so that stakeholders may promote rapid learning for REDD+, and implement no-regrets REDD+ activities.
The report concludes that the growing multitude of forest carbon standards provides a formidable toolbox for results-based REDD+ finance, and provides ample evidence of interest from both private and public actors to measure the performance of REDD+ and other forest carbon activities. While competition for market-share exists, the majority of initiatives reviewed were complementary in their objectives and applicability. Standards surveyed in the report diverge between those providing market-ready operational accounting for carbon credit certification, and those aimed at high-level guidance on REDD+ activities, the latter gradually working to define goals based on members’ shared experience.
Generally, standards derived from public bodies, which can refer back to durable, context-ready national frameworks, have the advantage of greater clarity and ease of use than international standards from private bodies, which often require context-specific interpretation. Looking ahead, the development of, and convergence among, competing standards is likely to continue, a process expected to occur gradually and without major market disruptions. By way of an annex, the report presents profiles of twenty four public international law, public national law, and private body initiatives and their standards, including objectives, historical overview and processes.