Researchers of Wageningen University were present at the current climate conference in Doha to help the ongoing negotiations on REDD+, which focussed on the need for monitoring, reporting and verification this time.
Prof Martin Herold held a presentation in Doha on a stepwise approach in capacity building. Developing countries with high rates of deforestation often lack the capacity to design good REDD+ policies. Herold: 'Countries should first find out what are the main drivers for deforestation in their country, and then set priorities on how to design REDD+ policy on this.' A book that brings together experiences in capacity building was presented at Doha as well.
An updated version of the Global Sourcebook on methods and procedures for monitoring measuring and reporting for REDD+ was also presented at Doha. This Sourcebook informs negotiators and is made by the Global Observation for Forest Cover and Land Dynamics (GOFC/GOLD) project office, which is financed by the European Space Agency and is located at Wageningen University since this year.
An important contribution of the researchers from Wageningen was to push the consideration of drivers, Herold tells. During a previous conference, negotiators had asked for more understanding into the role of deforestation and forest degradation drivers in REDD+, which Herold and colleagues took up. At Doha, the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) organised a side event where Herold and colleagues presented the results of research on the most important drivers of deforestation, and on how to monitor these.
Negotiations are ongoing, Herold tells. 'We hope that there will be a new climate treaty in 2015, and that an agreement on REDD+ will be part of this.' Issues in REDD+ which are still to be decided upon, are for example the level of verification that is needed for REDD+ actions that are reported by developing countries. Research can help these negotiations, Herold believes. 'Doha was a good opportunity to meet policy makers and present our research just published in a special issue of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (COSUST). We did have an impact in Doha.'