REDD: ʻNationalʼ versus ʻsubnational ʼ approaches

Publication - 6 June, 2011
This briefing seeks to explain several main issues surrounding national and sub-national approaches to REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation). There has been much confusion over ‘national’ versus ‘sub-national’ approaches, and it is important to understand the different applications of these terms in order to assess their anticipated environmental and social impacts.

REDD has gained momentum in the international climate change negotiations in large part due to broad country support for national-level reductions in deforestation emissions. It is important to remember that sub-national ‘avoided deforestation’ projects were previously rejected by UNFCCC parties because of the inherent problems of such approaches, including leakage (where drivers of deforestation merely shift from one part of the country to another), nonadditionality (where finance is provided to protect an area of rainforest that would have been protected anyway) and impermanence (areas being subsequently destroyed due to fires, infestations and even climate-related impacts). At a minimum this would mean there would be
no benefit to the climate from REDD. Furthermore, if sub-national REDD were to be included as an offset in the carbon markets, it could even make the climate crisis worse by allowing industries to continue to pollute while not providing real emission reductions.

REDD: ʻNationalʼ versus ʻsubnationalʼ approaches