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Integrating REDD+ into a green economy transition: opportunities and challenges

Research report

Written by Charlene Watson, Will McFarland

Research report

The concept of a green economy that ‘results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities’ is gathering support, and the role of forests and land use in the context of natural capital is included in growing discussions of a transition to a green economy. However, the full potential of REDD+ – reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks – is rarely elaborated.

As REDD+ aims to address market, policy, and institutional failures that undervalue the climate change mitigation service provided by the forest ecosystem, while protecting the rights of those who rely on the forests, there are clear links between REDD+ objectives and green economy objectives, both of which call for a change in the business-as-usual economic development in order to slow the loss of natural capital.

This paper brings together the existing literature to consolidate conceptual issues, presents key examples of progress, and highlights the potential challenges and opportunities of including REDD+ in the transition to a green economy. Intended to support the discussions of the Global Symposium on REDD+ in a Green Economy, held in Indonesia in June 2013, the target audience of this paper is the communities of practice both in REDD+ and green economy; this includes policy-makers, civil-society organisations and academia.

Charlene Watson, Emily Brickell and Will McFarland, ODI, with contributions by Jeff McNeely, International Union for the Conservation of Nature