Bonn Climate Change Conference on Finance for REDD+ and Agricultural Drivers
Progress at the Bonn UNFCCC Climate Conference has been frustratingly slow. One of the key goals for the conference was to lay the foundations for scaling up the finance needed for REDD+, and to secure short term additional finance commitments to support this transition in advance of COP18 in Doha.
However, as the conference draws to a close, Parties are still struggling to agree on whether sources of private finance (e.g. market based approaches) can, or should, be used to supplement flows of public finance (e.g. non-market based approaches) to support REDD+ activities. While most interventions from Parties have supported pursuing a combination of market and non-market based approaches to fund REDD+, key parties such as India, Bolivia and others continue to disagree. Their argument is that any reliance on funds from markets (with most Parties equating this to carbon offset markets), will provide insecure and insufficient flows of funding for REDD+ between now and 2020.
While procedural wrangling and arguments over the basics continue, an increasing number of issues are being left for discussion in Doha, putting the expected outcomes for COP 18 in jeopardy. One of the other key items for discussion on the agenda was to identify policy instruments that could address national and international drivers of deforestation and degradation (including agriculture) including existing perverse policy incentives. With progress on the basics painfully slow so far, this has barely been discussed. Initial attempts by the SBSTA chairs to cover these issues showed no consensus on even identifying the scope of the discussions, leaving talks floundering at the first hurdle.
It is unclear exactly what progress was expected on agricultural drivers at this meeting, but it seems clear that without clear agreement on which questions are important, finding policy answers will remain a distant goal. The gorilla in the room with agricultural drivers is trade - how can we address the drivers of deforestation without addressing trade in agricultural commodities - a huge political hot potato. Take a deep breath, this debate is likely to roll on for years.
24 May 2012