Dancing like a toddler? The Green Climate Fund and REDD+ international rule‐making

Published date01 July 2019
Date01 July 2019
RECIEL. 2019;28:122–135.
Forests in the d eveloping world continue to di sappear fast.1 Carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation2
represent arou nd a quarter of gl obal greenhous e gas (GHG) emis-
sions, along with agriculture.3 Since 2007, parties to t he United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)4
have worked to incenti vize forested developing countr ies to dimin-
ish deforesta tion and forest degrad ation. The UNFCCC developed a
scheme for redu cing emissions from defore station and forest d egra-
dation in develop ing countries and t he role of conser vation,
sustainabl e management of fore sts and the enh ancement of fores t
carbon stoc ks in developing count ries, commonly kn own as REDD+.5
The UNFCCC has defin ed the rules for R EDD+ in decisions ad-
opted by its Confe rence of the Part ies (COP), including i n a set of
decisions known a s the Warsaw Framework for REDD+.6 The Par is
1Food and Agr iculture Org anization of t he United Nati ons (FAO), The Globa l Forest
Resources Assessment 2010 (FAO 2010) 10.
2R Gullison et al , ‘Tropical Forests and Cli mate Policy ’ (2007) 316(5827 ) Science 985,
3P Smith et al, ‘Ag riculture, Fores try and Other Lan d Use (AFOLU)’ in O Edenh ofer et al
(eds), In tergovernmental Pane l on Climate Change (IPCC ), Working Group III Co ntribution to
the IPCC Fifth A ssessment Report – Clima te Change 2014: Mitigatio n of Climate Chan ge
(Cambridg e University Pr ess 2014) 811, 816.
4United Natio ns Framework Co nvention on Cli mate Change (ad opted 29 May 1992,
entered into fo rce 21 March 1994) 1771 UNTS 107 (U NFCCC).
5UNFCCC ‘Decis ion 4/CP.15, Methodol ogical Gui dance for Act ivities Rel ating to Redu cing
Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the Role of Conservation,
Sustaina ble Manageme nt of Forests an d Enhanceme nt of Forest Car bon Stocks in
Developing C ountries’ UN Do c FCCC/CP/2009/11/Add.1 (30 March 2 010).
6Decisions co mprising the Wa rsaw Framewo rk are: UNFCCC ‘D ecision 9/CP.19, Work
Programme o n Results- based Finance t o Progress the Full Imp lementation of th e Activities
Referred to in D ecision 1/CP 16, pa ragraph 70’ U N Doc FCCC/CP/2013/10/Add.1 (31
January 2014); ‘Decision 10/CP.19, Coordination of Support for the Implementation of
Activitie s in Relation to Mit igation Actio ns in the Forest Se ctor by Developi ng Countries, i n-
cluding Ins titutional Arrangem ents’ UN Doc FCCC/CP/2013/10/Add.1 (31 Januar y 2014);
‘Decision 11/CP.19, Modaliti es for Nationa l Forest Moni toring System s’ UN Doc FCCC/
CP/2013/10/Add.1 (31 January 2014) ; ‘Decision 12 /CP.19, Timing and Frequency o f
Presentat ions of the Summ ary of Inform ation on How All t he Safeguards Referred to i n
Decision 1/CP 16, A ppendix I, A re Being Addr essed and Res pected’ UN D oc FCCC/
CP/2013/10/Add.1 (31 January 2014) ; ‘Decision 13/CP.19, Guidelin es and Proced ures for the
Technical Ass essment of Submiss ions from Partie s on Proposed Fores t Reference Emissio n
Levels and/or Fore st Referenc e Levels’ UN Doc FCCC /CP/2013/10/Add.1 (31 January 2014);
‘Decision 14/CP.19, Modaliti es for Measuri ng, Report ing and Verify ing’ UN Doc FCCC/
CP/2013/10/Add.1 (31 January 2014) ; ‘Decision 15/CP.19, Addressin g the Driver s of
Deforestation and Forest Degradation’ UN Doc FCCC/CP/2013/10/Add.1 (31 January 2014).
DOI: 10 .1111/reel .12286
Dancing like a toddler? The Green Climate Fund and REDD+
international rule- making
María Eugenia Recio
© 2019 John Wiley & Son s Ltd, 9600 Garsing ton Road, Oxford OX4 2D Q, UK and 350 Main Stre et, Malden, MA 02148, U SA.
Email: eugenia.recio@uef.fi REDD+ is a mechanism devel oped under the United Nations Framewor k Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to redu ce deforestation an d associated greenhou se
gas emissions in developi ng countries. The UNFCCC has envisage d the Green Climate
Fund (GCF) to play a key role in coordin ating and supporting REDD+. With the G CF's
foundations in place, t his article reviews t he GCF's role as a rule- maker for REDD+.
The analysis of GCF polic ies and their relation ship with guidance from t he UNFCCC
Conference of the Par ties (COP) reveals that the Fund has co mplemented, adjus ted
and further deve loped COP guidance with considerable au tonomy. This is surprising
in the light of the Fund's stro ng relationship with the UNFCCC, coupl ed with the fact
that the same UNFCCC countr y parties are represented in th e GCF's main decision-
making body. Such self- directed regulator y activity may evince t he GCF's intention to
leave a long- lasting impact i n the fragmented fi nancing landscap e for REDD+

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