The impression has come up that the Cancún summit was more effective than the Copenhagen one before. From an international point of view – concerning the REDD(+) topics – there were several statements from the UN organisations:
- countries are encouraged to develop
- a national REDD+ strategy,
- national and, if appropriate sub national, reference (emission) levels,
- a MRV system that is national and if appropriate sub national, and
- a system for providing information on how the safeguards referred to are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of REDD+ activities
- to reach that development three phases should be implemented:
- the circumstances for a national strategy should be evaluated,
- the national strategy should be implemented,
- while and after the duration of the strategy there should be a documentation an evaluation of the results and proceedings.
Generally spoken the UN describes the goals of Cancún in several topics. Topics dealing with REDD(+) are Adaption, Financing and Markets, Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV), Technology transfer, and REDD+ itself.
But the sources also mention problems concerning the funding of projects specially in the developing world. Until the next meeting in Durban a commission is supposed to develop a scenario in which market based mechanisms for funding are described.
[source: Climate Focus, “CP16/CMP 6: The Cancún Agreements – Summary and Analysis” last visited on, 23.01.2011, http://climatefocus.com/documents/files/Cancun%20Briefing%20Jan%202011%20v.1.0.pdf ]
Goals for the European Parliament
The European Parliament considers almost the same topics as the UN Cancún goals in the motion for resolution, mentioned above, which describes the goals of the Cancún conference before it starts. One can list different points of this motion for a resolution:
- A major goal is considered “to once again [..] take a leading role in the climate negotiations and to actively contribute to a more constructive and transparent climate conference in Cancun; accordingly, strongly urges the Commission and the Member States to resolve their differences over land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and surplus emission rights (AAUs), to speak with one voice and a high level of ambition in the COP16 negotiations and to improve their internal decision-making procedure so as to be able to react more quickly to developments during the negotiations, to act more strategically, and to be more responsive to third countries”.
- “While stressing the serious urgency of the climate negotiations, [the European Parliament] emphasises the importance of taking substantive decisions in Cancun, as regards as financing (scale, sources and governance), and especially the degree of additionally in financing for adaptation, forestry, resource efficiency, technology transfer, monitoring, reporting and verification, and the importance of guaranteeing full transparency on and strong political commitment to the implementation of the fast-start financing”.
- further more the European Parliament call for an agreement on solid rules for LULUCF, for reducing emissions from deforestation and land use.
- The European Parliament “considers that future EU ‘climate diplomacy’ activities should focus on strong political engagement with third countries, on policies to build effective mechanisms for international cooperation on climate change, both within and beyond the UNFCCC, and on climate cooperation with third countries to deliver practical support for low-carbon, climate-resilient development around the world”.
Concerning the special REDD(+) topic, the European Parliament
- Emphasises that natural greenhouse gas sinks, such as forests, are the most efficient means of climate change mitigation, owing to their CO2 absorption capacity, and urges the Parties to recognise the need to preserve forests and develop a forestation policy to be integrated into an international climate change agreement;
- Considers that significant financial support, as well as technical and administrative assistance, must be provided to halt gross tropical deforestation by 2020 at the latest, and reiterates that public funding is the most realistic tool in the light of that time frame; urges the European Union to work towards concrete decisions on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in Cancun, including specific targets;
- Calls on the EU actively to support the REDD+ mechanism in order to better identify the drivers of deforestation and to ensure the effective involvement of indigenous peoples and local communities in monitoring and reporting; calls, further, on the EU to make sure that REDD includes safeguard mechanisms or a code of conduct guaranteeing that the rights of peoples living in the forests are not violated and that the loss of forests is efficiently halted;
- Supports the setting-up of a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing natural removals of greenhouse gas emissions which promote the conservation of biodiversity; supports, also, the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+);
- Deplores the fact that REDD funding is based on such a broad definition of forests, which includes monoculture plantations of non-native species; considers that this definition may provide a perverse incentive to divert funding from the much-needed protection of old and ancient forests to new, commercial plantations;
- Calls, therefore, on the Commission and Member States to work in the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and in other international fora to establish a new UN definition of forests on a biome basis, reflecting the wide-ranging differences in biodiversity and carbon values of different biomes, while clearly distinguishing between native forests and those dominated by tree monocultures and non-native species;
[source: The European Parliament, “MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION” (15.11.2010) last visited on, 23.01.2011, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?language=EN&reference=B7-0616/2010 ]
Results and perspectives
In Cancún they reached parts of their goals quite well. It was publicised that the EU funded 2.2 billion Euros for the “Fast-Start”-program, helping developing countries to start facing the problems and impacts from climate change¹ specially in the topics of
- cuting their emissions (Mitigation): 1.06 billion Euro;
- fighting deforestation (REDD+): 362 million Euro;
- adapting o the negative aftereffects of climate change (Adaptation): 735 Millionen Euro¹.
This is supposed to be a part of a substantial help of about 7.2 billion Euro from the EU for the period 2010-2012. But this funding program was already an outcome of Copenhagen.
The leading role for the EU is getting more and more important especially if we consider the changed power relationships in the USA and the weakness of other global players. For some experts the EU should turn and look for strategic partnerships also with other countries².
On the other hand there was the agreement that there should be programs which take in consideration the national capabilities for reducing emissions and developed adapted action plans for several regions or countries. That is different to the Copenhagen goal to get one contract for the majority of the countries³.
On the matter of LULUCF the Cancún meeting decided on installing so called reference levels for manged forests, which have to be inspected and checked by the secretariat⁴. In means of owing to the CO2 absorbtion capacity of forests it was agreed that countries with huge forest areas such as Russia are allowed to enforce this forests as CO2 sinks³. An agreement was made not to change the definition of forests (considering the question 45. above) in comparison to the definiton of the first period of the Kyoto protocol⁵. But there are ongoing discussion about what to define as forest at least because the definitions are not seen as appropriate in regard for plantations (biodiversity) or not planting not-native species.
For the future of REDD+ actions one should remind that there are different stakeholders (national groups, NGO’s, governments, indigenous people, farmers, etc.), who all associate something different with the outcome of the REDD+-program and -measures. A main perspective should be to communicate that REDD+ is not THE ONE SOLUTION for reducing emissions from deforestation, it can only be part of the solution for developing even more sophisticated (national)programs with regional, national and local governments and communities: “If we can address these challenges and expectations, REDD+ holds the promise of conserving forests, providing a model for the engagement of Indigenous Peoples, conserving critical biodiversity and ecosystem services and being an effective part of the climate change solution.”⁶
[1: Site of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, last visitef on 24.01.2011,
2: Beobachter Natur (Suisse), interview with Christoph Bals, Think Tank Germanwatch, last visited 24.01.2011, http://www.beobachter.ch/natur/umweltpolitik/klimawandel/artikel/klimagipfel-cancun_die-ganze-welt-schaut-auf-europa/
3: 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference, on the wikipedia, last visited 24.01.2011,
4: Draft decision [-/CMP.6], Land use, land-use change and forestry, last visited on 24.01.2011, http://tinyurl.com/39tgwjr
5: Defining Forests under the Kyoto Protocol: a way forward, Sean Cadman, 2008, last visited on 24.01.2011, http://unfccc.int/files/methods_science/redd/application/pdf/seancadman1_12nov08.pdf
6: The UN-REDD Programme, Perspectives on REDD+, december 2010 , last visited on 29.01.2011, http://www.theredddesk.org/resources/reports/perspectives_on_redd ]