Senior Legislators from Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia and Mexico Launch Initiative to prepare the way for REDD+ Laws

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London, Friday, 13th May, senior legislators from four key forested developing countries met to launch the GLOBE Legislator Forest Initiative to develop complementary legislation to prepare the way for efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). The Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE), which is coordinating the initiative with senior legislators from Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia and Mexico, is supported by the UN-REDD Programme, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The participating legislators made commitments to strengthen the role of their parliaments in creating effective, efficient and equitable laws for REDD. These pledges marked the launch of this new GLOBE initiative, which aims to strengthen legislation and parliamentary scrutiny functions in support of national REDD strategies.

Brazilian Senator Rodrigo Rollemberg, said; "As Chair of the Brazilian Senate Environment Committee I will be considering the amendments to the Forest Code and advancing legislation on REDD. Participating in the GLOBE Legislator Forest Initiative will enable me to understand how legislation in other countries is being developed, introduced and implemented to address challenges that are common to all our countries. These lessons will have a strong impact on my own deliberations in Brazil."
Mexican Deputy José Ignacio Pichardo Lechuga, Chair of the Special Commission on Forests in the Mexican Congress, said: "To date Mexico’s national REDD strategy has been developed without the involvement of the Mexican Congress. As legislators, we fully support the government’s objective of achieving zero emissions from deforestation by 2020. However, in order for this ambitious goal to be achieved, it will be essential to engage legislators in this process. The GLOBE Legislator Forest Initiative will strengthen our capacity to advance legislation and scrutinize the budget in support of national REDD strategies."

To date there has been a limited engagement of legislators in discussions at the national and international level on reducing emissions from deforestation. However, as the REDD+ process advances, the typical functions of parliament will play an increasingly important role in creating effective and durable national strategies to reduce deforestation. The GLOBE Legislator Forest Initiative, which was launched in London, will build capacity within parliaments to develop, evaluate, pass or amend legislation, scrutinize government policy and budgets, and safeguard the rights of forest communities and indigenous people. By working directly with senior legislators to achieve these goals and to develop political will, GLOBE will aim to underpin national REDD+ strategies by broadening the political support base for ambitious targets to reduce deforestation.

Indonesian MP, Hon Dr Akhmad Muqowam, Chair of Commission IV on Agriculture, Plantations, Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Food, said: "In order for REDD to be a success in Indonesia, it is critical that the national strategy is equitable and transparent. We believe that legislators can play a unique role in achieving this by providing greater parliamentary scrutiny of the government’s policies and budgets to reduce emissions from deforestation. The GLOBE Legislator Forest Initiative will support GLOBE Indonesia and legislators from other key rainforest nations to achieve this goal."

Brazilian Senator Vanessa Grazziotin, Member of the Special Joint Committee on Climate Change, Brazilian Congress, said; "As legislators, it is our responsibility to ensure that equitable systems are created that fairly reward local communities and indigenous people for their critical role as forest stewards. The GLOBE Legislator Forest Initiative will support legislators around the world to deliver equitable and just policies."

During the meeting each group of legislators outlined the current status of their legislation that is relevant to forestry and the drivers of deforestation. Over the next year, GLOBE will work with legislators to identify how legislation could be amended or advanced to provide REDD+ with a stable foundation for success. Furthermore, the initiative aims to support the financial oversight functions of parliaments to ensure that REDD+ finance is managed in a transparent and equitable manner.
The Chair of the meeting UK Member of Parliament and former Environment Minister and Prime Ministerial Envoy on Forestry, Barry Gardiner MP, said: "Too often donor governments think of REDD simply as a way of mitigating carbon emissions. What legislators have agreed in our discussions is that it must be used as an instrument of economic development to tackle poverty. If it is not then it will not work."

Ravi Prabhu, Senior Programme Officer, Forests and Climate Change, UNEP & UN-REDD, said: "Legislators have enormous contribution to make to the REDD process. Firstly, they can help bring local communities into the decision-making process by representing their constituents’ needs to the government. Furthermore, legislators can play a critical role in helping climate-proof every piece of legislation in order to create a comprehensive and compatible national strategy to reduce emissions. When addressing REDD, a mechanism that engages multiple sectors and stakeholders, the responsibilities of legislators are of particular importance. The GLOBE Legislator Forest Initiative will play a critical role in strengthening the capacity of legislators to make REDD a success in four key countries."

Maryam Niamir-Fuller, Director Global Environment Facility Coordination Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said; "I am very pleased to have supported the effective launch of the GLOBE Legislator Forest Initiative. The meeting has consolidated a common vision among the legislators of four key forested nations, Brazil, DRC, Indonesia and Mexico, and other partners including UN-REDD, CBD Secretariat, Norway, and UNDP, on how to fast track the implementation of REDD within the context of the Green Economy paradigm, and how to achieve both global benefits of reduced carbon emissions, and local benefits of sustainable forest management and securing livelihoods of forest dwellers. This is an important step in support of Rio+20 and the upcoming World Summit of Legislators in May 2012."

The legislators involved in this new initiative will report back on their progress at the World Summit of Legislators, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in May 2012 just ahead of the Earth Summit 2012, or “Rio+20”. This legislators’ summit, which will be hosted by the Government of Brazil, the Mayor of Rio and GLOBE, aims to place national legislation, natural capital and parliamentary scrutiny at the heart of implementing the Rio+20 agenda.

About Globe
GLOBE International is the ‘Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment’ and was founded in 1989. GLOBE’s vision is to create a critical mass of legislators that can agree common legislative responses to the major global environmental challenges. To achieve this GLOBE works across the major economies to support the advancement of complementary legislation and policies on climate change, natural capital, forestry and fisheries.

About the UN-REDD Programme
The UN-REDD Programme is the United Nations collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) in developing countries. The Programme was launched in 2008 and builds on the convening expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The UN-REDD Programme supports nationally-led REDD+ processes and promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in national and international REDD+ implementation. The Programme also works to build international awareness and consensus about the importance of including REDD+ in a future climate change agreement.
www.un-redd.org

For further information on the GLOBE Legislator Forest Initiative, please contact Chris Stephens at chris.stephens@globeinternational.org.