in Japan, Papua New Guinea

The on-going blunders of the Interim REDD+ Partnership

The Interim REDD+ Partnership started badly in March 2010, when it held a closed door meeting in Paris. Two months later, in Oslo, where the Partnership was officially formed, the Partnership appeared to be taking at least some notice of the views of civil society and indigenous peoples. But the members of the Partnership appear to be suffering from collective amnesia.

Invitations for the Partnership’s meeting in Brasilia went out one week before the meeting took place. Only 12 organisations could attend. And the organisations were supposed to agree among themselves who would go, although none of the organisations invited knew the full list of invitees.

The meeting itself appears not have been much better. One observer at the meeting commented via twitter that “The young Japanese negotiator sleeping symbolizes the spirit of the meeting” (see the photo above).

As far as I am aware, no official report of the meeting is available.*

Several of the organisations1 that were in Brasilia for the Partnership meeting produced brief notes (see below).

UN-REDD’s Newsletter (#10, July 2010) tells us that there was a discussion “on what concrete actions the REDD+ Partnership should take to fulfill its objectives”. Unfortunately, it fails to mention what those “concrete actions” might be. There was, however, “wide consensus about the development of a voluntary REDD+ database”. FAO has started work on this database. But don’t hold your breath. “Several partners suggested, that a detailed concept note on the database would be a core deliverable to be presented at the next partnership meeting in Nagoya this October,” UN-REDD writes in its newsletter.

The Interim REDD+ Partnership’s response to the complaints it received from civil society was perhaps the low point of this little episode. On 20 July 2010, Paul Chung of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations sent the following email, signed by the co-chairs of the Partnership:

From: Paul Chung
Date: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 8:36 PM
Subject: Interim REDD+ Partnership–Modalities for Stakeholder Participation
To: xxxx
Dear Stakeholder,
We would like to express our gratitude for your input at the recently concluded technical expert meeting of the Interim REDD+ Partnership. We valued your contributions, whether they came on the floor or through email submission, and we believe that they will serve as an important element of our future cooperation.
The Co-chairs are pleased to attach a draft paper on Modalities for Stakeholder Participation for your review. We invite your feedback and ask that you submit any views by midnight EDT (New York) on Sunday, July 25th. The Partners had originally targeted July 22nd as a deadline but we believe this issue deserves more time and consideration. We are expecting responses from Partners at the same time.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the co-chairs.
Thank you and we look forward to working with you.
Yoshiko Kijima
Senior Negotiator on Climate Change
Federica Bietta
Senior Advisor on Climate Change
Papua New Guinea

Attached to the email was this “draft paper”:

Modalities for stakeholders participation
15 July 2010
Co-chair summary:

– Principles: transparency, openness and inclusiveness
– Need for some guidance, no new rules
– Inviting stakeholders to intervene at meetings and submit views
– Meetings to be open, partners-only as exception called by
– Co-chairs under guidance from Partners
– Deadlines for submissions and invitations in a timely manner
– Encouraging balanced geographic and perspective representation of stakeholders (including but not limited to indigenous peoples, local communities, civil society and the private sector)
– Stakeholders recognized as observers
– All UNFCCC admitted organizations are eligible to participate in the REDD+ Partnership
– Self selection in the event of limited venue capacity

Yes, those 110 words really are the whole thing.

Global Witness and Rainforest Foundation Norway wrote to the Interim REDD+ Partnership explaining several potential models that participation might take. “To build a better foundation for REDD+ from this point forward,” they concluded, “we call on the REDD+ Partnership to ensure that full and effective participation of all stakeholders is implemented sooner rather than later.”

As David Ritter points out on the Global Policy blog,

“At this point civil society may be inclined to judge the Interim REDD+ Partnership process by its deeds rather than its words. Giving ‘stakeholders’ (by which is meant the whole of global civil society) no more than a few days to respond to anything is ludicrous and unrealistic: the fact that the issue happens to be ‘Modalities for Stakeholder Participation’ elevates the incident to an ironic farce.”

The Partnership’s blunders continue. From 3 August 2010, at the UN climate meeting in Bonn, delegates held meetings to discuss the workplan and Phase II for the REDD+ Partnership. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the Partnership’s record, civil society and indigenous peoples were not invited. More surprisingly, neither were UN-REDD and FCPF representatives.

Instead, the Partnership invited “stakeholders” (at least those who happened to be in Bonn) to “a plenary meeting of the REDD+ Partnership” at 19:30 on 5 August 2010, “where the work program and its implementation will be discussed.”

* ^ UPDATE – 7 August 2010: I asked Paul Chung at the Coalition for Rainforest Nations for a copy of the official notes from the Brasilia meeting. I received his response after I’d finished this post:

From: Paul Chung
To: Chris Lang
Date: 6 August 2010 20:01
Subject: RE: Interim REDD+ Partnership
Dear Chris,
I apologize for the late response.
We are actually just now finalizing notes from the IPR meeting in Brasilia. I would be happy to share them with you once they are finalized.
Paul Chung
Director of Communications
Coalition for Rainforest Nations


  • Inappropriate and Confused Co-Chair’s Coordination (PNG/Japan)

A clear lack of coordination between the co-chairs, and between them and the host country. Basically nothing indicated that any work had been done since Bonn until Brasilia ref. the Partnership. The consequence of the lack of coordinated work led the co-chairs to present each of their own proposals with no previous circulation for the Partners.
In the Participant’s materials, there were Coalition / PNG and Japan’s proposals regarding the stakeholder participation, secretariat services and the work plan that were not previously shared with the Partners.
The co-chairs continued to make their own proposals rather than listening to Partners proposals and summarizing. This issue triggered many complaints by Partners (Brazil, Norway etc). There was overlapping role of co-chairs and the partner.

  • Work Plan of the Partnership

The co-chairs presented two different proposals for the work plan that did not contain enough details and guidance required for planning the finance which includes the database / finance gap analyse and secretarial services.
The partners agreed on creating a working group to detail the work plan. Mexico proposed a country to be the facilitator for this WG to reduce the burden on the co-chairs. This can be seen as the most effective outcome of the Brazilia partnership meeting.

  • Secretariat Services

This issue was in the agenda however it was not decided due to the lack of the work plan’s details. According to the Partnership text agreement, the secretariat services should be provided by the UNREDD and FCPF staff. This was emphasized by Brazil. However PNG, Dominic Republic challenged this decision stated in the Oslo agreement. The notification and many materials distributed to participants were prepared by the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, which caused complaints.

  • Database

This should be the first product of the secretarial services. The expectation is that, in case that there is an agreement on the details of the workplan, the UNREDD and FCPF will launch this database in Nagoya meeting, during CDB (October), where they expect to have ministerial participation.
Next steps:

  • Until Thursday 22th July, the Partners should send to the co-chairs their views on the work plan including procedures such as deadlines for proposal submissions and stakeholder engagement.

  • Upon this, civil society may have a better idea on what and how we can engage. Until today it was not clear if we will be able to submit proposals for instance on stakeholder engagement.

Next meetings:
They are planning 3 meetings:

  • During AWG Bonn, August 2-6th: not agreed on specific date.

  • Beijing, China, October: not agreed on specific date

  • Nagoya 25-26th October: technical workshop on 25th and 26th ministerial meeting was proposed by Japan. Not totally agreed.

  • Cancun COP 16

Next co-chairs:
Brazil and France. They start acting after Cancun.
Prepared by Paula Moreira, Mariana Christovam (IPAM), Karen Suassuna (WWF), Paulo Prado (CI), Gustavo Pinheiro (TNC), Shaozng Zhag CIFOR, Mariana Pavan (Idesam).

^^ Back to text

[1] ^ The following organisations were in Brasilia for the meeting:

  • Paula Moreira and Mariana Christovam – Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM);
  • Gustavo Pinheiro – The Nature Conservancy (TNC);
  • Paulo Prado – Conservation International;
  • Mariana Pavan – Institute for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of Amazonas (IDESAN);
  • Karen Regina Suassuna – WWF-Brasil;
  • Shaozeng Zhang – Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR);
  • Maximo Buonomo – Amigos do Protocolo de Kyoto;
  • Maria Teresa Rezende – Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)-Brasil.


Leave a Reply

  1. It is amazing that the international community has allowed the adventure of Kevin Conrad and his cohort of “show-me-the-money” individuals to continue for so long. How can anyone maintain a straight face while Federica and Kevin say they represent Papua New Guinea and speak for its citizens? Especially as they actively undermine any meaningful attempt of civil society input to this REDD process and negate the attendance of legitimate Government staff to speak for their country at these meetings. An Ambassador? Really? Even if it were true that the ailing and embattled Prime Minster Somare had conferred this status upon Conrad (and by extension Federica?), it is illegal for holders of US passports to represent other countries as ambassadors. Has our State Department nothing to say about this?

  2. I am trying to understand what this REDD partnership is all about and what is the problem with REDD Monitor. Is Kevin Conrad a US citizen or from PNG?
    Please do not publish me email or name

  3. Can you please provide a crisp brief on this debate? what is the Partnership its plus points and what are the objections sby REDD Monitor on it
    many regards

    plese do not publish my name or address

  4. Irum,
    REDD Monitor is there to object to anything or anyone that wishes to commrecialise REDD projects and involved in carbon trading. Period.