National REDD+ Safeguards Workshop and REDD+ Academy Training

Opening session of the National REDD+ Safeguards workshop
Opening session of the National REDD+ Safeguards workshop

October 5-9, Paro: A national level workshop on REDD+ Safeguards and multiple benefits was organised at Namsaycholing Resort. The participants included the members of Technical Working Group (TWG) on Safeguards, members of other TWGs for REDD+ Program in Bhutan and other relevant stakeholders.

The workshop created awareness and build capacity among the REDD+ TWG members and stakeholders on the climate change issues and the relevance of initiating REDD+ activities in Bhutan with a specific focus on development of a country led safeguard system for implementing REDD+ program. Some of the workshop objectives included understanding of UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) decisions on safeguards for REDD+ and what they mean in the national context and familiarize with the tools in analysing benefits and risks of implementing REDD+ activities and Policies, Legislations and Regulations relevant to REDD+ Safeguards. The workshop also deliberated and agreed on a tentative structure for roadmap to country led safeguard system.

In continuation to the Safeguards Workshop, REDD+ academy training was conducted from October 12-16, for the REDD+ TWG members, field offices and other relevant agencies including NGOs and CSOs. The training was aimed to build capacity and understanding among key stakeholders on REDD+ implementation through a long-term and sustainable learning experience by covering all elements of REDD+ program.

The REDD+ Academy concept was developed by UN-REDD considering the fact that developing and implementing REDD+ goes beyond the forestry sector and requires input from a broad spectrum of informed stakeholders. Many stakeholders feel challenged and overwhelmed by unfamiliar concepts and terminology, and often find it difficult to distinguish between facts and opinions. The academy has 12 modules, covering all elements of REDD+ as required under the UNFCCC, such as a REDD+ national strategy and a national forest monitoring system.

Participants of the REDD+ Academy Training
Participants of the REDD+ Academy Training

REDD+ program in Bhutan started from 2010 with capacity building and awareness raising on the importance of forest to climate change mitigation. REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, and Conservation, Sustainable Forest Management and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks) is a voluntary financial mechanism in which developing countries can implement activities to reduce carbon emission and enhance carbon absorption from forests with funding support from the developed countries under the agreed framework of international climate change convention, the UNFCCC.

Recognising the relevance and benefits of REDD+ program, Bhutan prepared and submitted its REDD+ Readiness Preparation proposal to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility of the World Bank which was approved in December 2013. Currently, Bhutan is undertaking REDD+ readiness program and activities are being initiated on various fronts. The present workshop on REDD+ Safeguards and training on REDD+ academy are undertaken as actions to build capacity of the TWG members and other relevant stakeholders to enhance understanding in planning and implementation of various actions mandated within the REDD+ program. By undertaking the REDD+ readiness program, Bhutan can strengthen the institutional, technical and human resource capacity to implement REDD+ activity and also help to focus on priority activities that will contribute to the overall national program of forest conservation and management. It is also an option to solicit international funding to support national sustainable forest management initiatives.

The workshop and training were organised by the Watershed Management Division with resource persons from UN REDD, UNEP WCMC and FCPF World Bank and fund support from UN REDD and FCPF World Bank.

-WMD

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