UNFCCC and REDD+
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty formed in 1992 with the main objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Around 196 countries, including Bhutan, have ratified the convention and are therefore a party to it. The National Environment Commission (NEC) is the focal point for Bhutan to the UNFCCC. Since the treaty was formed, Conference of Parties (COPs) are held annually to discuss how to achieve the treaty’s aims and objectives. Two approaches are advocated to reduce the impacts of climate change: adaptation and mitigation. Adaptation involves making changes to existing systems, structures, and ways of life to reduce vulnerability and increase the resilience of a community to climate change. It goes hand in hand with mitigation, which aims to reduce GHG emissions or enhance the removal of these gases from the atmosphere, for example through improving carbon sinks such as forests. Mitigation addresses the causes of climate change (accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere), whereas adaptation addresses the impacts of climate change. REDD+ is
An idea of REDD – reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries – was proposed by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica at the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as a climate change mitigation framework. At COP 13, REDD was expanded to encompass measures for forest conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. This expanded version is known as REDD+. In the following COP sessions, series of decisions and guidelines for implementing REDD+ were presented and adopted. For instance, in the Durban Agreement, concluded at COP 17 in 2011, it was agreed that all countries would participate in the development of a new framework that would replace the Kyoto Protocol. This framework should be completed by 2015 and put into effect in 2020. So that REDD-plus can be positioned in the new framework, methodologies and rules for implementing REDD-plus are to be developed by 2015 with the aim of starting its implementation in 2020.