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Japan: Learning about REDD+

External Reference/Copyright
Issue date: 
October 1, 2010
Publisher Name: 
Japan Finance Cooperation
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The REDD+ Seminar was held on July 27, 2010, jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Ministry of the Environment (MOE), JBIC, and Japan Institute for Overseas Investment (JOI).

The Seminar comprised presentations and a panel discussion on such themes as the trend of carbon market and REDD+ credit, the current state of progress and the prospect of international negotiations about REDD+, how Japan is addressing REDD+, and the methodology to measure emissions reductions.  Over 170 participants attended the Seminar, including representatives of industries and other stakeholders.

The Trend of Carbon Market and REDD+ Credit

Mr. Takashi Hongo, Head of Environment Finance Engineering Department of JBIC, made a presentation on demand-supply balance and recent price trends of Kyoto credits and expectations in the carbon market on REDD+ credits as future offset credits.

REDD+ Partnership and Future Prospect

Ex-Senior Negotiator for Climate Change Yoshiko Kijima, Clime Change Division, International Cooperation Bureau, MOFA, gave an account of the state of international negotiations on REDD+ and the future prospect.

Japan's Response to REDD+ and Consideration of Methodology

Director Satoshi Akahori, Forest Carbon Sink Strategy Office, Forestry Agency, MAFF made a presentation on how Japan's efforts in REDD+ and the methodology to measure emission reductions.

A phased approach to REDD+ is under consideration.  The first phase is capacity building and developing REDD+ strategies, which should be carried out by government. The second phase is where developing countries implement their REDD+ strategies, which include demonstrative activities. This may include activities carried out by a private company on its own, and therefore you may well say that this is the phase where the private sector will gain experience.

While the participants in the COP15 to UNFCCC agreed on the guidance of REDD+ methodology, they failed to reach any consent on the REDD+ framework.

Japan's contribution to the implementation of the REDD+ program includes consideration of the methodology on forest monitoring and the prevention of illegal logging by making use of a satellite.

Hongo (JBIC):What are the latest developments in respect to the measurement and data collection of forests and carbon stocks?

Akahori (MAFF):Putting aside the question of what level of technology we should content ourselves with employing, developing countries do not measure and collect data on their forests to the same degree of precision and comprehensive coverage as Japan and other industrial countries do. For example, to measure carbon stock, it is essential to look into five carbon pools, including soil carbon, in addition to visible parts of forest such as tree trunks. In fact, industrial countries took considerable time and cost to collect and refine data on the five pools. Given the inadequate state of the basic data in many developing countries, collecting relevant data seems to be quite a time-consuming and costly task.

Hongo (JBIC):As we are talking with private companies on REDD+ credit, they have common recognized the importance of “governance.”  What are your assessments on this issue?

Kijima (MOFA):There is a need to ensure transparency and possess relevant expertise if REDD+ credits are to be included in emission credit trading. The first thing developing countries have to do is to designate a responsible government agency and then develop human resources. These countries need to put in place the conditions for it in terms of: (1) legislating relevant laws; (2) developing human resources; (3) having the capacity to educate them; and (4) dispatching them to local communities and actually spread knowledge. Also, protecting the livelihood of indigenous peoples is a difficult issue. Whether or not developing countries can formulate the plans to put in place the conditions that include these factors, whether or not they have the intention to implement them—these are the things industrial countries are watching.

Akahori (MAFF):In the process of the discussion taking shape on REDD+, developing countries have understood the importance of transparency, fairness and local community participation in terms of governance.  Although no consensus has reached regarding the text on REDD+ negotiations, the factors that should be ensured in making REDD+ operational have been set out as “Safeguard,” which includes transparency, fairness and participation of the local communities. I think one of the conditions for industrial countries to feel reassured in making investments is the fact that an institutional regime is in place for appropriately implementing the Safeguard.

Hongo (JBIC):As the REDD+ process will advance in phases, how do you think the process will evolve in the future?

Akahori (MAFF):The first phase is capacity building and developing REDD+ strategies in developing countries. It seems official funding could perform a significant role for supporting this phase. The second phase is where developing countries implement their REDD+ strategies, which include demonstrative activities.  This may include activities carried out by a private company on its own, and therefore you may well say that this is the phase where the private sector will gain experience. As I see it, the participants in the second phase will accumulate their experiences and judge whether or not they should go on to the third phase.

Kijima (MOFA):When as the result of implementing the first phase in one country, a participant has decided that REDD+ would not proceed well in that country, then it could end its involvement. On the other hand, if a participant has got the prospect of REDD+ going well after implementing the first phase, it may move on to the second phase, implementing a demonstrative project, and proceed toward implementing the full-fledged project. Industrial countries are assessing whether “it is highly likely that credits can be generated in specific countries,” and are currently putting the promising developing countries in their enclosures. Industrial countries are confronted with the alternatives of doing nothing now and bearing heavy burdens in the future and taking risks now.  It seems that in this sense, Japan is trailing behind other industrial countries, for there is no prevailing understanding here of the prospect that REDD+ credits may be used for compliance credits.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut