Forest carbon incentive rules need time, definition

LONDON (Reuters) - Talks to define a mechanism for global forest protection should not be rushed if it is to work efficiently and fairly, a panel of experts said on Tuesday.

Talks began in Paris last month to define an interim and global architecture for a financial incentive scheme to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation called REDD-plus.

“We know any system which looks good on paper on day one is no good if it doesn’t stimulate long-term results,” said Lars Lovold, director of the Rainforest Foundation Norway.

U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen last December failed to deliver much guidance on the scheme and a meeting in Bonn on April 9-11 is not expected to make much progress on the issue.

Under REDD-plus, governments could receive payments for their emissions cutting efforts while ensuring the sustainable management, conservation and restoration of forests.

Norway, which will host the next round of the talks in May, would like to get plans defined for an interim mechanism, ideally defining governance and administrative bodies, the distribution of funds, application of standards and the monitoring and verifying of emissions.

The idea is to arrive at the U.N. climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, in December with a concrete plan aimed specifically at the issue of deforestation.

But balancing the interests of 64 nations, local governments, indigenous peoples, private investors and environmental organizations will be tough.

“We need to be realistic about what we can achieve and how quickly. With different countries involved there are different drivers and conflicts,” said Pat Hardcastle at consultancy LTS International.

The direct participation of all parties, especially including indigenous peoples in all parts of the process is crucial, the panel said.

“We need to revise the timeframe to allow for proper consultation. Putting a document on a website is not enough,” said Francesco Martone, policy adviser at the Forest Peoples Programme.

Defining financial rewards for governments that make progress in cutting emissions and sustaining forests was also key, said Dan Nepstad, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center.

“It will be a rough road but if there are no rewards for good performance it will not work,” he said.

Editing by James Jukwey