The REDD+ Law Project: Legal frameworks for land development and conservation

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) has emerged out of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)/Kyoto Protocol negotiations.  It is one of several different strategies to address climate change that Parties to the UNFCCC have developed as part of their mitigation commitments. Whilst the UNFCCC expressly recognises the importance of sinks in the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in its foundational principles and commitments, the scope of a REDD+ mechanism has only taken form in the last 7 years (officially being established in 2010).


REDD+ is primarily intended to be a mechanism to channel funding (both public and private) for reducing emissions from the forest sector; however, its implementation is also expected to have numerous co-benefits.  It is therefore worth noting the potential contribution of REDD+ initiatives to the post-2015 development agenda, which includes but is not limited to climate change. 


As an international policy, REDD+ relies on national implementation and requires countries to consider numerous issues.  In order to implement REDD+ initiatives and manage the financial flows linked to them, countries need to design appropriate policy frameworks which in turn need to be supported by robust legal and institutional structures.  Such frameworks could build on existing laws and institutions (such as those linked to forest law and governance), and/or require new law making (for example, to establish benefit distribution systems).  It is important to note that legal and governance issues are relevant in the context of a jurisdictional, nested or project approach to REDD+, and need to be considered whether REDD+ finance is delivered through a non-market or market-based approach. 


Countries seeking to implement REDD+ will need to consider all issues within the context of their unique national circumstances.  The REDD+ Law Project was established by Baker & McKenzie and the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (University of Cambridge) for this purpose.  To date, the REDD+ Law Project has worked with Governments, civil society and the private sector to complete work in Kenya, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.


The REDD+ Law Project is led by Dr Sophie Chapman of 4CMR in collaboration with Douglas Crawford-Brown and external partners such as Baker & McKenzie. The Project Site below contains papers summarising the results of the various aspects of the project. 


Project site:

Research duration: 2012-2015

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