According to UN-REDD Programme, deforestation and forest degradation account for close to 20 % of global greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, it becomes imperative to conserve our forests to prevent the release of stored carbon into the atmosphere.


REDD stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. It is a global initiative negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2005. The objective of the REDD initiative was to mitigate climate change by reducing the net emission of greenhouse gases from forests (through their degradation) by the means of better forest management, particularly in the developing countries. REDD involves a provision of incentives to the developing countries to encourage them to "protect, better manage, and save their forest resources".

REDD+ is an extension of the REDD initiative. The "+" here includes, "sustainable management of forests, conservation, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks". REDD+ is a more comprehensive forest management initiative which includes incentives for conservation and sustainable management of forests, beyond a mere reduction in deforestation.

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REDD was first proposed by the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN) at the 11th Conference of Parties (CoP) to the UNFCCC at Montreal in 2005. It was then termed as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries. At the 13th CoP at Bali in 2007, the Bali Action Plan was adopted which included the REDD+ initiative.

The Warsaw Framework on REDD-plus was adopted at the CoP 19 at Warsaw in 2013. It included,

  • a work programme for results-based finance to developing countries
  • the modalities for national forest monitoring systems
  • a technical assessment of emission levels
  • the modalities for measuring, reporting, and verifying (MRV)

The UNFCCC rulebook on REDD+ was completed at the CoP21 at Paris in 2015 where all the outstanding decisions related to REDD+ were taken.

The significance of REDD+

  • REDD+ provides positive incentives for not just reduction in deforestation but also for enhancement of forest cover, including its quality and the expanse.
  • The incentives are based on the financial value that is attached to the carbon stored and enhanced in the soil and biomass of standing forests.
  • This initiative also gives importance to livelihood improvement, biodiversity conservation, and food security services for communities dependent on forests.
  • Countries which undertake sustainable management of forest resources, going beyond a reduction in deforestation, will be entitled to receive funds and resources as incentives.

India and REDD+

India is going to benefit from the REDD+ initiative in the following manner:

  • India's sustained pro-conservation efforts and sustainable management of forests which have increased the forest cover and enhanced the carbon stack stand to be rewarded for its contribution towards providing carbon services to the international community as well as for providing the local communities access to traditional goods and services.
  • India's domestic acts, policies, and regulations have been framed in such a way that the benefits deriving from the REDD+ initiative shall accrue to the local communities. This shall further strengthen the community efforts towards forest conservation and management.
  • All REDD+ deliberations at the international level recognize, respect, an encourage the participation of local communities in the implementation and monitoring of REDD+ initiative.

India's position on REDD and REDD+ has been that the two initiatives should not be viewed in isolation. It had stressed that forest conservation and their sustainable management must go hand-in-hand with the efforts to reduce deforestation. India's stand was accepted at the 13th CoP at Bali and got incorporated in the Bali Action Plan. Since then, REDD has come to be viewed under the broader framework of REDD+.

India's efforts under REDD+

  • A National Green India Mission was started under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. It aims to increase the forest and tree cover by 5 million hectares and to improve the quality of existing forests in another 5 million hectares. It also aims to improve the ecosystem services obtained from 10 million hectares of land to increase the flow of forest-based services and income to around 3 million households dependent on forests.
  • It has established a National REDD+ Coordinating Agency. It has also set up a Technical Group to develop procedures and methodologies to monitor and assess contributions of REDD+ actions.

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