Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) can help conserve forests, combat climate change and eradicate poverty — so it should be a top priority for upcoming climate negotiations, says Virgilio M. Viana.
Forests have historically been excluded from development strategies but they are valuable assets to individuals, families, businesses and governments, argues Viana. He adds that policymakers should be guided by a simple message: forests are worth more standing than cut.
Forests' environmental services such as carbon sequestration or water production have clear benefits. And if sustainably harvested forest products are profitable, deforestation becomes less attractive.
The Juma Sustainable Development Reserve Project is the Amazon's first independently validated project that has created benchmarks for calculating emissions reduction and rewards locals for protecting the rainforest.
The biggest challenge is to finance reduced deforestation sustainably. Viana suggests flexible REDD financing mechanisms to enable market-based and intergovernmental funding, incorporating REDD into the carbon credit market and using certification and validation instruments to ensure REDD funding provides appropriate benefit sharing for indigenous communities.