Awareness raising on the SIS and 1st report on SOI to NSA network on Forest Governance and Management/REDD+

The NGO Forum, RECOFTC and National REDD+ secretariat organized 2-day awareness raising on the Safeguard Information System (SIS) and the Summary of Information (SOI) June, 6-7 2019 at Siem Reap province. There were 51 participants (2 females) included IP representatives, local NGOs, INGO, CSO-REDD+ network member, and private sectors. The awareness raising aimed to (i) enhance participant’s capacity on REDD+ safeguards, particularly, the summary of information; (ii) collect feedback from NSA on the summary of information of REDD+ safeguard; and (iii) discuss the roles and contributions of NSA in the implementation of the Safeguard Information System.

This is a five-year (2017 – 2021) V4MF project funded by the EU for implementation in 5 landscape countries (Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, LOA PRD, and Myanmar). The project strengthens Non-State Actors (NSAs) capacity and motivates them to speak out on forest governance. The project’s overall objective is that by 2030, NSAs in the Mekong region (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam) will effectively drive the national forest landscape governance processes. This is the best opportunity for Cambodia’s NSAs to actively engage in REDD+ initiatives with government-led forest landscape dialogues and influence decision making processes. The project’s specific objective is that “By 2021, empowered and networked NSAs in three transboundary landscapes assess, monitor and respond appropriately to strengthen forest governance, particularly in FLEGT-VPA and REDD+, and effectively engage in policy processes”.

Background and the progress of REDD+ and result, by Mr. Nhem Sovanna and Ms. Tola FCPF, Cambodia REDD+ secretariat team.
Why does the REDD+ program work in development? It responds to global climate change, to mitigate the causes of climate change and global warming’s impacts on the economic and social spheres, as well as, agriculture and forestry such as forest fires, high temperatures, droughts, and cyclones. The climate change inventory that was already developed in Cambodia with the REDD+ program in 2007 was developed with three phases. The first phase of REDD+ is the readiness phase to develop national REDD+ strategies, and significant documents. The second phase is the implementation of the national REDD+ strategy, action plans, capacity building and the implementation of investment. The third phase is Result-Based Payment for results that are fully measured, reported and verified. The REDD+ program works to transform a global warming of climate change by using a logarithmic and effective resource for carbon mono-oxide. The REDD+ support the government to create and implement the forest policy framework and strengthen the effectiveness of the strategic plan. The reduction of deforestation and degradation will provide many benefits to the local community and support the sustainable development of the country.

The SIS is being developed for Cambodia this year and will be reviewed by the technical team and relevant stakeholders. It requires inputs from all key stakeholders to engage both the sub-national and national levels. CSO engagement is crucial to respond to the 7 Cancun criteria of SIS, hence the Cambodia REDD+ program ensures that each stage and process will follow the UNFCCC principles and requirements.

Questions: What mechanisms have developed countries contributed to forest governance or REDD+? Is there any financial support for IP how can the program build their capacity in order to stop the forest from being cleared?

Ms. Tola clarified that developed countries have many factors of CO2 emission causing polluted carbon and developing countries can contribute to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It is a positive step to involved in the REDD+ program in developing countries through various mechanism like conservation, protection of natural forest. Currently, Cambodia is in the REDD+ readiness phase, the pilot programs are being implemented, and a few private companies have registered to buy carbon in Keo Seima, Prey Lang. The benefit sharing from selling carbon is being discussed in National REDD+ secretariat.

What channel of implementation will be developed at the national level to improve community livelihoods and to protect the community to ability get benefit from non-timber forest products? There is a lot of funding support given to Cambodia for protection the forest in conservation and management in sustainable manner. Within the REDD+ program there are 4 main documents as follows below:

1.The National REDD+ Strategy (NRS): The NRS for the period 2017-2026 has taken note of the Cancun Agreement, the Warsaw Framework for REDD+, the Paris Agreement and Royal Government of Cambodia’s policies. Cambodia has developed and submitted its FRL to the UNFCCC; developed its national forest monitoring system; and undertaken significant analytical and awareness works on establishing a SIS that will include a grievance mechanism. The institutional framework for REDD+ will enable Cambodia to report its GHG emissions from the Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) sector and provide a technical annex to the BUR to be submitted to the UNFCCC as part of the process to request results-based payments.

The scope of the NRS prioritizes deforestation measured through changes in land use and conversion of forest land and will build capacity to address degradation. Cambodia will implement REDD+ at the national level under the results-based payments mechanism of the UNFCCC. Cambodia will consider implementation of sub-national and voluntary market-based REDD+ projects subject to specific criteria.

2.National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS): The design of Cambodia’s NFMS uses a phased approach that incorporates improved methods, data, and opportunities from a strengthened capacity and evolving technology. This will ensure that the NFMS continues to provide timely, reliable, and accurate information that informs policy and practice to address deforestation and forest degradation drivers in Cambodia. Cambodia’s NFMS has been developed in keeping with its national circumstances, capabilities, and priorities and relies on existing institutional arrangements, with provision for capacity building. The NFMS is also compatible with IPCC guidelines and with relevant UNFCCC COP decisions.

3.Forest Reference Level (FRL): Cambodia has finalized and submitted its FRL and a team of the UNFCCC REDD+ technical experts completed the technical assessment in 2017. The priority for Phase I is to address the findings of the UNFCCC technical assessment and to revise and improve the FRL. This phase will also see accurate assessments of forest cover and land use changes that will contribute to improved results for the 2016 and future assessments that will undertake on the basis of a two-year cycle.

4.Safeguard information System (SIS): REDD+ participating countries are required to establish a SIS that provides information on how the UNFCCC Cancun safeguards have been addressed and respected. This requirement is essential for countries who are seeking to become eligible for results-based payments. Cambodia has undertaken significant analytical work for the design of its SIS that includes development of a set of safeguards, principles and criteria, and a gap analysis of policies, laws and regulations. There have been significant achievements in planning for forest protection, zoning and supporting the forestry strategic plan for 10 years. This includes, carbon financing in Udar Meanchey, Keo Seima, REDD+ in the national park of South Cardamom Mountain, Tumring (bi-lateral between Cambodia and South Korea), and Prey Lang (bi-lateral between Cambodia and Japan).

Mr. Nhem Sovanna added that the contribution from community is very important for carbon financing including forest conservation and governance. It is only with their work that we can get carbon financing, based on progress reports that show that since 2015-2018 forest loss was only 2%. As a result of the forest that covers the country, we can claim funds from countries such as South Korea, Japan and other sources.

Mr. Sethaphal mentioned that the system of result-based payment should have accurate data in contributing to mitigate the deforestation and forest degradation, does the safeguard policy develop and strengthen the capacity of the community? Benefit sharing policies and systems are being developed to fit the requirements. The REDD+ program will develop a first summary of information (SOI) report for UNFCCC, the second will cover the detail information for reporting all the data, next steps, and monitoring of the conflict of benefit sharing. NCDD has a complaint dealing mechanism.

The SIS Achievements and Key Findings and interventions presented by Mr. Sovanna and Ms. Tola.

Refer to criteria of REDD+ Safeguard Information System of Cancun.
-Safeguard A: That actions complement or are consistent with the objectives of the national forest program and relevant international conventions and agreements.
-Safeguard B: Transparent and effective national forest governance structures, taking into account national legislation and sovereignty;
-Safeguard C: Respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities, by taking into account relevant international obligations, national circumstances and laws, and noting that the United Nations General Assembly has adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
-Safeguard D: The full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular indigenous peoples and local communities, in the actions referred to in paragraphs 70 and 72 of this decision.
-Safeguard E: That actions are consistent with the conservation of natural forests and biological diversity, ensuring that the actions referred to in paragraph 70 of this decision are not used for the conversion of natural forests. Instead, they must be used to incentivize the protection and conservation of natural forests and their ecosystem services, and to enhance other social and environmental benefits.
-Safeguard F & G respectively: Actions to address the risks of reversals and actions to reduce displacement of emissions.

In general, SIS focus on this section should be subdivided into:
1. General Management Plan for Biodiversity
2. General Management Plan for Indigenous Peoples
3. General Management Plan for Resettlement
4. General Management Plan for Gender

Here, a draft report on SOI is being processed and stakeholder participation are fully supported to meet Cancun requirement, respect all comment and inputs from various sources.

In conclusion:
During two-day of awareness raising, the most expected objective and outputs were addressed.

Based on evaluation assessment found that around 70% of participants had a better understanding of the REDD+ program implemented in Cambodia. They better understood key element of the REDD+ program and how involved it was in CSO group and especially women and IP rights. Most of participants were aware of 4 elements for SIS such as biodiversity, IP rights, resettlement and gender issues. The topics of SIS and SOI were shared to participants and all participants understand its elements and processes regarding how to deal with relevant stakeholders. In addition, during the event concerns/inputs related to SIS and SOI have been submitted to the REDD+ secretariat for consideration.

On another note, most participants suggested that the next training should be conducted over a longer period of time. This is because the REDD+ document contains many new words and terminologies, that require more time to learn and understand.