Quality-of-governance standards for carbon emissions trading: developing REDD+ governance through a multi-stage, multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach

Lopez-Casero, Federico and Cadman, Tim and Maraseni, Tek (2013) Quality-of-governance standards for carbon emissions trading: developing REDD+ governance through a multi-stage, multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach. Other monograph. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) , Hayama, Japan. [Report]

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Governance is an important concept for addressing social problems and opportunities but needs to be properly understood. Governance refers to the whole of public and private interactions to solve problems and to create opportunities in modern society and can be defined as the dynamic interplay between civil society, business and the public sector.

For the emergence of a global carbon market it is necessary to develop common govern-ance and regulatory structures. Ensuring good governance is particularly important for the development of a financial mechanism for REDD+. Transparent and effective national forest governance is needed to encourage investments in REDD+, to ensure that REDD+ delivers real and long-term emissions reductions, to promote accountability and transpar-ency, to develop credible monitoring and reporting on REDD+ safeguards and to change behaviour and solve the problems underlying deforestation and forest degradation.

Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have recognised the importance of good governance for REDD+. 'Transparent and effective national forest governance structures' is one of the social and environmental safeguards adopted in the Cancun Agreements in 2010. However, development, operationalisation, and institutionalisation of a forest governance definition may need to be country-driven and respond to specific country conditions, priorities, requirements and opportunities.

Despite specificities of national forest governance definitions and monitoring systems, any governance system as a viable system shares some key elements. Quality of governance can be assessed through a normative hierarchical framework of principles, criteria and indicators (PC&I) for evaluating quality of governance in the arena of sustainable development. Such a comprehensive analytical framework also provides the basis for the development of a standard that can guide governments in ensuring the required support and promotion of transparent and effective national forest governance structures.

REDD+ can benefit from independent standards of good governance that can be applied for certification of governance within proposed REDD+ activities. Such standards would provide markets with better quality assurance, i.e. that the proposed REDD+ activities can be implemented and that the projected climate benefits are credible. Independent good governance standards would provide consistency in the evaluation of governance across REDD+ projects and policies that are under development. The success of REDD+ will depend on governance arrangements that are broadly representative of interests (i.e. inclu-sive), verifiably responsible (i.e. transparent and accountable), effective in terms of decision-making processes and capable of implementing programs that deliver emission reductions at scale.

Existing REDD+ programmes, policies, procedures and standards include some strong language and requirements on 'meaningful' stakeholder participation, but these are counter-balanced elsewhere by language that does not mandate consultation. The degree to which civil society and other non-state actors, such as indigenous people, are able to participate meaningfully is complex and varies between countries. While some initiatives include 'participatory governance assessments'(PGAs), which are currently being trialled, existing standards have not been developed through genuine multi-stakeholder processes, in the sense of stakeholders providing the contents of the standards as active participants throughout all stages of the process. Due to their highly generic character, existing standards also lack the details for their operationalisation in a local and national context. Locally-specific quality-of-governance standards have the advantage that they make it easier for all participants to determine what they require for REDD+ policies and projects before they are developed.

IGES, Griffith University and the University of Southern Queensland launched the Action Research Project to Develop a National Quality-of-governance Standard for REDD+ and the Forest Sector in Nepal, which is presented in this discussion paper. Rather than making the stakeholders the subject of 'participatory' governance assessments, the Project has tested a unique approach to develop a voluntary standard specifically for REDD+ quality-of-governance through a multi-stakeholder, multi-level and multi-stage process. The action research has facilitated a genuine multi-stakeholder process in the context of the existing community forest management regime of Nepal as the initial target country. Participating stakeholders have elaborated broadly accepted generic principles, criteria and indicators of good governance into a standard that makes sense to them. The multi-stakeholder, multi-level and multi-tier approach has ensured that all major stakeholder groups have had the opportunity to identify what they felt is needed to ensure good governance. Particular emphasis was placed on facilitating the involvement of marginalised groups who seldom have the opportunity to participate in such processes. The approach creates governance standards that are likely to have a high degree of local ownership and relevance.

The process of developing a voluntary national quality-of-governance standard in Nepal through online surveys, key informant interviews and multi-stakeholder forums and field consultation, has provided an innovative and field-tested approach to standards development. The active involvement and participation of a diverse range of stakeholders demonstrated that many key groups and individuals were able to experience the value of developing such a standard in a collaborative environment, which fostered meaningful
participation, and resulted in productive deliberation around a whole series of core governance challenges including inclusiveness, equality, transparency, accountability, decision-making and implementation.

A draft of the quality-of-governance standard for the forest sector in Nepal has been completed. Its content is based on direct input and consensus from a diverse range of stakeholders represented in the surveys, interviews and workshop. An informal advisory group, which was formed at the workshop, has taken up the task of overseeing the development of the draft standard.

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Item Type: Report (Other monograph)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright © 2013 by Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan. No parts of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior permission in writing from IGES.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2013 05:09
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2018 03:29
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050301 Carbon Sequestration Science
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0705 Forestry Sciences > 070504 Forestry Management and Environment
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150303 Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410101 Carbon sequestration science
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3007 Forestry sciences > 300707 Forestry management and environment
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3507 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour > 350799 Strategy, management and organisational behaviour not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919901 Carbon and Emissions Trading
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/23756

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