The Rio Conventions are three legally binding Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEA) that were negotiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the “Earth Summit”, held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil from 3rd-14th June 1992.
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),
- The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) and;
- The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Solomon Islands is a party to a number of Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEA) and ratified the three Rio Conventions in 1990s.
The three Conventions regulate member nations’ efforts in dealing with human-induced issues affecting Climate Change (UNFCCC), Biodiversity (UNCBD) and desertification/land degradation (UNCCD). The implementation progress of the Conventions has been notable, although progress is varied across the three conventions.
The key national institutions looking after the interests of the Rio Conventions in Solomon Islands are the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management (MECDM), Ministry of Forestry and Research (MoFR) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL).
Rio Conventions and link to REDD+?
REDD+ and UNFCCC
- Emissions from deforestation and forest degradation play a significant role in global climate change accounting for between 12-17% of global emissions from all sectors.
- In recognition of this, The REDD+ was designed under the UNFCCC as a climate change mitigation mechanism purposely to reduce emission from deforestation and forest degradation in developing country.
- Based on the UNFCCC COP Decision 1/CP.16 (Para. 70) , the REDD+ mechanism has identified a number of activities, which developing countries can undertake to reduce forest carbon emissions. The five key main ones include:
- Reducing emissions from deforestation;
- Reducing emissions from forest degradation;
- Conservation of forest carbon stocks;
- Sustainable management of forests;
- Enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
- These activities will be operationalized at a national scale, with countries provided with positive incentives based on verified reductions in forest sector emissions. Hence, under the UNFCCC, REDD+ activities are not project-based (unlike the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)) but rely on actions at national level. UNFCCC negotiations occur annually and it is anticipated that a deal may be reached in 2015 on how REDD+ could fit in a global agreement. Any mechanism related to this however is not likely to be operational before 2020.
REDD+ and the UNCBD
In October 2010, parties to the UNCBD adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the period 2011-2020 which included the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. These targets cover a number of areas including the conservation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, access to genetic resources and the benefits arising from their use, and contributions to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The table below provides an initial breakdown of some of the areas of synergy between the Aichi Targets and REDD+.
Aichi Biodiversity Targets (CBD Decision X/2)
REDD+ elements (UNFCCC Decision 1/CP.16) (activities, guidance and safeguards)
5: By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced
Reducing emissions from deforestation Reducing emissions from forest degradation Conservation of forest carbon stocks
7: By 2020 areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity
Sustainable management of forests REDD+ actions are to be consistent with conservation of natural forests and biological diversity and are to incentivize the protection and conservation of natural forests and their ecosystem services
11: By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas
Conservation of forest carbon stocks REDD+ activities should be consistent with the objective of environmental integrity and take into account the multiple functions of forests and other ecosystems
14: By 2020, ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water, and contribute to health, livelihoods and well-being, are restored and safeguarded, taking into account the needs of women, indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable.
Conservation of forest carbon stocks Enhancement of forest carbon stocks REDD+ activities should promote and support full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular indigenous peoples and local communities
15: By 2020, ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks has been enhanced, through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15% of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification.
Reducing emissions from deforestation Reducing emissions from forest degradation Conservation of forest carbon stocks Sustainable management of forests Enhancement of forest carbon stocks
REDD+ and the UNCCD
The goal of the CCD is "to forge a global partnership to reverse and prevent desertification/land degradation and to mitigate the effects of drought in affected areas in order to support poverty reduction and environmental sustainability".
Land degradation within the developing countries like Solomon Islands has been identified as a key issue resulting from removal of forests by slash and burn agriculture as well as following deforestation or heavy degradation due to logging. In achieving the goal, the CCD invites all Parties to adopt and scale up (amongst other activities) sustainable forest management policies and practices to prevent soil erosion and flooding, to increase carbon sinks, and to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity (decision 4/COP.8).
A national approach to REDD+ will require the country to both maintain levels of forest cover to protect existing land areas and supporting reforestation activities to protect areas already deforested. It will also help strengthen existing processes of sustainable land management and planning at the local level while supporting the strengthening of safeguards to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Delivery of REDD+ will also help the achievement of the UNCCD Strategic Objectives through the following:
Strategic objective 1: To improve the living conditions of affected populations
Expected impact 1.2. Affected populations’ socio-economic and environmental vulnerability to climate change, climate variability and drought is reduced.
A mechanism on REDD+ can help reduce the vulnerability of communities to climate variability by supporting the maintenance of ecosystem services including protection of watersheds and coastal areas.
Strategic objective 2: To improve the condition of affected ecosystems
Expected impact 2.2. The vulnerability of affected ecosystems to climate change, climate variability and drought is reduced.
A mechanism on REDD+ focuses on maintaining and supporting forest ecosystems (through protection and reducing rates of deforestation and degradation) the rehabilitation of ecosystems (through reforestation) and supporting their sustainable use (through improved forest and land use management)
Strategic objective 3: To generate global benefits through effective implementation of the UNCCD
Expected impact 3.1. Sustainable land management and combating desertification/land degradation contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the mitigation of climate change.
Indicator S-6: Increase in carbon stocks (soil and plant biomass) in affected areas.
Conservation of biodiversity is a key safeguard within REDD+. More sustainable management of forests will also help deliver increases in carbon stocks through maintenance and rehabilitation of forest areas.
Strategic objective 4: To mobilize resources to support implementation of the Convention through building effective partnerships between national and international actors
Expected impact 4.1. Increased financial, technical and technological resources are made available to affected developing country Parties, and where appropriate Central and Eastern European countries, to implement the Convention.
Expected impact 4.2. Enabling policy environments are improved for UNCCD implementation at all levels.
A mechanism on REDD+ provides a potential means of support to address many of the challenges relevant to the CCD.