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Reducing emissions from peatland deforestation and degradation: carbon emission and opportunity costs

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Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) is based on the following basic idea: reward individuals, communities, projects and governments that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from forests. REDD has the potential to deliver large cuts in emissions at a low cost within a short time frame and, at the same time, contribute to reducing poverty and sustainable development. Although REDD has been approved at COP-16 in Cancun in December 2010, many REDD design issues still remain. This paper presents an overview of the design options for a future REDD mechanism, some of its issues and possible solutions. Technically, issues like permanence and leakage can be resolved by a proper design and improved methods for carbon accounting, monitoring, reporting and verification. However, an important remaining issue is the fact that the current focus on forest alone implies a partial carbon balance and will more than likely lead to leakage. Further, this paper will look at outstanding issues and possible options to design an improved international REDD mechanism that is both pro-poor and environmentally beneficial. To conclude the paper makes following 6 recommendations for the Belgian Development Aid: 1. At the international climate change negotiations: support and drive the transformation from REDD to REALU that considers emission contributions from all land use changes. 2. At the international and European level: stimulate reforms of the global carbon market and the clean development mechanism 3. Increase synergies with the Belgian Federal Department of Environment. There is still untapped potential for projects and programs that benefit climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation and development. 4. Support countries that take measures to mitigate the drivers of deforestation, adapt to climate change and increase food security. This includes a whole series of pro-poor measures that can be taken. 5. Improve coordination and coherence of development programs and projects, also among donors 6. Support pilot projects

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