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Addressing biodiversity in climate change discourse: Paris mechanisms hold more promise/Examen du discours sur la biodiversite dans le changement climatique: les mecanismes de Paris sont les plus prometteurs/La biodiversidad en el discurso del cambio climatico: los mecanismos de Paris ofrecen mayores promesas.


Discourse on biodiversity co-benefits resulting from carbon mitigation through forestry endeavours has gained momentum recently. While the impact of climate change on biodiversity has been studied extensively (Araujo and Rahbek 2006, Balint et al. 2011, Gitay et al. 2002, Houghton and Woodwell 1989, IPCC 2014, IPCC 2007, Willis and Bhagwat 2009), there is a paucity of academic literature on the effects of climate change policy on biodiversity. The Rio Earth Summit, officially known as United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in 1992, recognized the equal importance of climate change and biodiversity by framing two major conventions--the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). But climate change received more political, scientific and public attention than biodiversity. One of the reasons for this was that climate change was perceived as directly linked to the health of economy whereas biodiversity was perceived as linked to the health of ecology. Being ecology oriented, biodiversity might face a higher risk of free rider's problem. Market mechanisms and energy incentives in the climate change regime offer more opportunities than provided by biodiversity protection. Therefore, there are increasing efforts to establish the concept of Payment of Ecosystem Services (PES) that may provide market incentives or other non-market options that increase participatory governance in forestry sector.

Today, much of the biodiversity is housed by the tropical and developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America (Agarwal et al. 1999). This makes the developing countries more vulnerable to exploitation despite stronger need to conserve biodiversity to effectively adapt to climate change. The problem arises because CBD considers biodiversity as a national resource that has to be protected under national jurisdictions, while the atmosphere, and hence climate, is considered a global common. Under the international climate change regime, two major mechanisms were proposed to cover the forestry sector: Afforestation and Reforestation (A/R) activities under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol and Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+ or REDD plus). While the goal of A/R CDM is to achieve carbon sequestration, REDD+, which made its place in climate policy much later, is designed to offer multiple benefits to the stakeholders. CDM did not incorporate environmental and social safeguards, conservation of biodiversity, food security, and efficient utilization of water resources. While the rules and guidelines of Paris mechanisms are under consideration, this is the best time to learn from past experiences for successful new strategies in the land use sector as many countries have put forth forest related ambitious targets in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UNFCCC.

Climate change is attributed to two major activities--release of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide (C[O.sub.2]), into the atmosphere and the destruction of forests, which takes away their capability to sequester atmospheric C[O.sub.2]. The loss of biodiversity, on the other hand, has been attributed mainly to climate change. However, five major drivers of biodiversity loss have been recognized as habitat destruction, invasive species, pollution, human population and overexploitation of natural resources (Slingenberg et al. 2009, Wilson 1988, Wilson 1985). Therefore, it is reasonable to contend that the same industrialisation that is responsible for global warming has brought the world to the brink of sixth major extinction. The problem of environmental degradation, therefore, has manifested as a combination of threats and not as an individual threat necessitating an integrated approach to tackle the environmental challenges that have common drivers or a common origin such as deforestation and forest degradation in case of climate change and biodiversity loss. This paper talks about such an integration in the context of the Paris Agreement.

The objective of this paper is to assess the environmental safeguards in forestry activities under the CDM and compare them with REDD+ and emerging non-market approaches (NMAs) of the Paris Agreement; and their role in ensuring inclusion of biodiversity and adaptation elements. Based on this assessment, it is found that NMAs such as joint mitigation and adaptation (JMA) activities offer more opportunities to mainstream biodiversity conservation in climate change policies with social and environmental safeguards. Since guidelines and modalities for inclusion of land sector and NMAs have not yet been fully developed, it is worthwhile and practical now to include ecosystem benefits while deciding upon implementation of climate related forestry initiatives.

Different aspects of climate change and biodiversity policies have been compared through review of available literature. Flaws of the CDM in creating socio-environmental safeguards, considering type of eligible activities, nature and scale of eligible activities, sustainability of carbon sinks, environmental integrity and safeguards have been discussed under the heading 'Forests and biodiversity under the Kyoto Protocol'. The approaches of Kyoto Protocol are compared with those of the Paris Agreement which brings to fore the level of coverage of environmental services. Potential activities with environmental safeguards encouraged by the Paris Agreement and non-market 'joint mitigation and adaptation' approach in land based activities have been discussed under 'Role and importance of non-market approaches'.


CBD considers biodiversity as national resource and enjoins the Parties to protect and conserve biological diversity within their sovereign jurisdictions. It invokes the Precautionary Approach enshrined in the Preamble as "... where there is a threat of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity, the lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to avoid or minimize such a threat " (United Nations 1992a).

An editorial in the Nature Climate Change has warned that halting the threat of sixth extinction must begin in earnest, and cannot wait for greater certainty in our estimates of extant biodiversity and predictions of its fate (Nature Climate Change 2011). During the last century, the planet lost 50 per cent of its wetlands, 40 per cent of its forests and 35 per cent of its mangroves. Around 60 per cent of global ecosystem services have been degraded in just 50 years (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005).

Biodiversity makes an important contribution to both climate change mitigation and adaptation through various ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and regulation of microclimate. Biodiversity is also affected by climate change, with negative consequences for human well-being. Approaches to tackle climate change pay too little attention to the vital role ecosystem-based approaches can play in the efforts (Cowan et al. 2009). Forests provide local ecosystem services relevant for adaptation and global ecosystem service of carbon sequestration needed for mitigation (Locatelli et al. 2011).

Consequently, conserving and sustainably managing biodiversity is critical to addressing climate change (Secretariat of CBD 2009). Healthy ecosystems will be more resilient to climate change and hence better able to maintain the supply of ecosystem services. Therefore, ecosystems-based approaches should be an integral part of the overall adaptation and mitigation effort (European Commission). CBD defines ecosystem based adaptation as the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change (Secretariat of CBD 2009). Ecosystem services beyond carbon sequestration and storage are increasingly being recognized in their economic and commercial values. Biodiverse plantations and forests have a higher potential to create multiple revenue streams. The principles of biodiversity impact assessment and four key areas for incorporation into forest carbon project design are identifying biodiversity starting conditions and targets; developing a reference scenario and establishing attribution; choosing indicators and methods for measurement and monitoring; and eliminating sources of error (Pilgrim et al. 2011).

Forests are reservoirs of both- carbon and biodiversity, however, these were more seen as carbon sinks rather than ecosystems. Under the Kyoto Protocol, biodiversity was not considered as a resource to tackle climate change and increase adaptive capacity of the indigenous peoples. The distinction drawn between the use of carbon sinks in developed countries under Joint Implementation and their use in developing countries under the Clean Development Mechanism was a particular source of intricacy (Bettelheim and D'Origny 2002). This was a source of both uncertainty and potential legal challenge. CDM-related carbon sequestration initiatives often emphasized on fast carbon uptake through the use of fast-growing plant species which leads to lower long-term carbon sequestration in the ecosystem (Diaz et al. 2009). Also, this could negatively impact the biodiversity of the region in the long run. This is in spite of the fact that CDM rules and modalities require that an assessment of the potential impact on environmental and social aspects due to a project be given in the CDM Project Design Document (PDD) for Afforestation and Reforestation (A/R) project activities. This includes impacts on biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and impacts outside the project boundary of the proposed A/R CDM project activity (UNFCCC 2006). If any negative impact is considered significant by the host Party, project participants need to undertake a socio-economic/environmental impact assessment and submit a statement mentioning the remedial measures to address them. However, biodiversity was never central to sequestration initiatives under the CDM, and this is the reason as to why most of the CDM forestry projects could not deliver co-benefits such as increasing adaptive capacity of the people and safeguarding biodiversity.

It was after realizing the importance of existing forests in storing and conserving carbon, that REDD+ was introduced as another initiative at COP-13 to the UNFCCC in Bali. It aims to focus on 'policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries' (COP-13 2008). REDD+ could not gain much ground during the subsequent COPs but became established as UN-REDD. Many countries rich in natural diversity have now set up pilot REDD+ projects that are validated under voluntary schemes such as Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA). However, both CDM and REDD+ tend to commodify nature's services in different ways. As countries shift from debating climate change to implementing their proposed solutions, voluntary offsetting can help tackle climate change now and explore new avenues of emissions reductions that may be included in compliance programs in the future (Hamrick and Gallant 2017). With political will and the involvement of tropical regions, forests can contribute to climate change protection through carbon sequestration as well as offering economic, environmental, and sociocultural benefits. A key opportunity in tropical regions is the reduction of carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation (Canadell and Raupach 2008).

The carbon offsets markets of CDM have almost died down but there is still hope from the voluntary carbon markets. In the past year, nearly half of all offsets came from Asia, but the buyers placed higher value on offsets from Africa, Latin America, and North America (Hamrick and Gallant 2017). The reason for this could be the conservation of natural forests in those regions against the monoculture plantations that are being undertaken in most parts of Asia. This is evident from the fact that most carbon offsets were from REDD+ projects equivalent to 44.8 MtC[O.sub.2]e (Hamrick and Gallant 2017). While options and possibilities of potential activities under the Paris mechanisms are being explored, the inclination towards a non-market, sustainable, multibenefit approach for forest conservation is gaining weight.


The political negotiations under the UNFCCC aimed at cost-effective mitigation strategies for both developed and developing countries in order to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (Brown et al. 2004). The CDM under the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC was meant for north-south transfers. The purpose was to assist Parties not included in Annex I in achieving sustainable development and in contributing to the ultimate objective of the Convention (UNFCCC 1997), which is "to achieve.... stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" (United Nations 1992b). Apart from sequestration benefits, if forestry projects under the CDM were based on agroforestry and community engagement, they were more likely to satisfy the development component of carbon projects (Brown et al. 2004). In contrast, monoculture plantations pose a threat to land and water resources which are already at risk due to climate change. It is well known that clearing and logging reduce the standing stock of biomass, cause collateral losses from soil, litter and deadwood and also reduce biodiversity, and thus ecosystem resilience. This creates a carbon debt which can take decades to centuries to recover (CBD 2009). Forest projects must avoid logging and need to be sustainable while management practices must be accompanied by appropriate safeguards to avoid any resultant damages. Management actions, however, can reduce but not eliminate, risks to ecosystems and can increase ecosystem adaptability, for example, through reduction of other stresses and habitat fragmentation, maintenance of genetic diversity, assisted translocation, and manipulation of disturbance regimes (IPCC 2014). Management that focusses on green infrastructure as measure towards greening cities has the potential to meet several goals across sectors and may also be cost-effective, healthy and sustainable (Kabisch et al. 2016).

Forests and Biodiversity under the Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, excluded forest conservation in developing countries, where most emissions from deforestation are produced, over concerns of efficacy (Harris and Stolle 2016). According to Totten et al. (2003), the Kyoto Protocol discouraged the prevention of deforestation, while unwittingly encouraging some actions that could result in the destruction of ecosystems and their associated biodiversity. The loss of such biodiversity could undermine the climate adaptation services which complex ecosystems often deliver. This will further exacerbate the impacts of climate change, disproportionately affecting some of the most vulnerable populations in the developing world, where the greatest rates of biodiversity loss are being experienced.

The Kyoto Protocol provisions were problematic for biodiversity protection in two main ways. First, without a framework for avoiding trade-offs and minimizing negative ecological outcomes, the treaty encouraged potentially damaging afforestation and reforestation projects while excluding deforestation prevention options. Second, without fully accounting for the carbon emissions associated with some hydroelectric and bio-energy projects, the protocol promoted the development of such projects, even though their overall climate and biodiversity impacts can often be negative (Totten et al. 2003).

Grace (2004) found it unfortunate that while the Kyoto Protocol provides incentives for the establishment of sinks, it does not provide an incentive to protect existing mature ecosystems. Carbon sinks are found in tropical, temperate and boreal forests as well as the ocean. However, on a global scale the effect of the terrestrial sinks (absorbing 2-3 billion tonnes of carbon per year) is largely offset by deforestation in the tropics (losing 1-2 billion tonnes of carbon per year).

At a time when CDM forestry was a subject of debate and project guidelines were under discussion, a study by Tyndall Centre found that at the local scale, most CDM pilot projects could not deliver substantial improvements to their participating or surrounding rural villages, neither in terms of income nor in terms of diversification of production and other environmental or development considerations, such as biodiversity conservation or gender equality (Brown et al. 2004).

Caparros and Jacquemont (2003) expected that creating economic incentives for carbon sequestration by afforestation and reforestation would yield a sub-optimal over-plantation of fast growing alien species with a potential negative impact on biodiversity. Forest plantations for carbon storage are usually established using genetically uniform stock with high growth rates, but low adaptive capacity, which will ultimately diminish their performance in mitigation (Secretariat of CBD 2009). Although rotation plantations have a huge economic potential and serve for industrial raw materials, it ignores the biodiversity aspect which is central to climate change. Forest carbon projects that ignore either social or biodiversity impacts are arguably likely to have higher leakage and nonpermanence risks (Pilgrim et al. 2011).

Roshetko et al. (2017) reviewed 38 CDM A/R PDDs from Africa, Asia and Latin America and reported that in many cases, insufficient attention was given to the choice and sourcing of the planting material which can possibly affect the quality of the trees planted. Ma et al. (2014) stress that under A/R activities, appropriate approaches and concrete aims to achieve long-term sustainability are lacking and suggest that natural regeneration of forests rather than monocultures, and integration of ecological restoration into the CDM framework is a first step to tackle CDM forestry related concerns.

CDM A/R activities mostly relied on inaccurate carbon accounting methods and their socio-economic assessments were non-existent or lacked detail, casting doubt on the contribution of the activity to local and social development (Corbera and Friedli 2012). In certain projects, single species block plantations have restricted the land to single use which has particularly affected the livelihoods of small and marginal farmers, who have limited land to fulfil their multiple requirements (Aggarwal 2012). Market mechanisms have proven to be a highly problematic source of funding for climate change in terms of equity, efficiency and environmental and social effectiveness, and has also resulted in unintended negative consequences (GFC 2013). It is thus important as to how the non-market approach of the Paris agreement ensures social and environmental safeguards in land-based activities in future.

Sustaining biodiversity under the Paris Agreement

How the land sector is included in the climate deal will be crucial, both for ensuring effective mitigation, and for protecting human rights, food security, and biodiversity (CIEL 2015). The Paris Agreement notes the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including oceans, and the protection of biodiversity. It focuses on policy approaches and positive incentives for activities relating to 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; and alternative policy approaches, such as joint mitigation and adaptation approaches for the integral and sustainable management of forests, while reaffirming the importance of incentivising, as appropriate, non-carbon benefits associated with such approaches (United Nations 2015). There are several lessons to learn from CDM, and avoid repeating the mistakes in the new mechanisms. These lessons include: lack of biodiversity safeguards; lack of social safeguards; lack of detail in socio-economic assessments; promotion of potentially damaging afforestation and reforestation activities; lack incentives to stop or slow down deforestation; skipping the concept of adaptation that could increase social and environmental vulnerability; lack of synergies with other related conventions like CBD; and chances of double counting, leakage and non-permanence. Unlike what happened in the case of CDM, the Paris Agreement must ensure that mitigation and adaptation in the land sector will maintain ecological integrity. It should incentivise broader environmental benefits--such as enhanced biodiversity, water quality, habitat for wild fauna and flora, and soil fertility (CIEL 2015). In future, the rules of the CBD relevant to forestry should be considered while further elaborating the rules under the Paris Agreement. Table 1 provides a comparison of Kyoto Protocol (KP) and the Paris Agreement (PA) in terms of type, nature and sustainability of forestry activities.

REDD+ which is a more sustainable and biodiversityfriendly activity than CDM, is included in Article 5 of the Agreement, providing the necessary political signal to mobilize much-needed action around forests. It took nearly two decades of negotiations and refinement to establish forest conservation as a critical component of the global efforts to fight climate change (Harris and Stolle 2016).

For the success of the Paris Agreement, it would be important to secure land rights for indigenous peoples and local communities, and improve forest governance. International drivers of deforestation and degradation must be addressed, by tackling investment flows, commodity supply chains and demand side drivers (RFN et al. 2015). Reducing deforestation rates have been estimated to result in an annual benefit of US$183 billion in the form of ecosystem services. In addition, many households in developing countries, especially in Asia, derive as much as 50-80% of annual household income from non-timber forest products (Secretariat of CBD 2014). Non-carbon benefits basically increase the adaptive capacity of vulnerable societies and help them deal with the changes. Article 7 of the Paris Agreement "acknowledges that adaptation action should follow a country-driven, genderresponsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems, and should be based on and guided by the best available science,... with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions, where

appropriate" (United Nations 2015). Article 6 of the Paris Agreement introduced market and nonmarket options recognizing that some Parties would choose to pursue voluntary cooperation in the implementation of their NDCs. It establishes: (i) Cooperative approaches that involve the use of Internationally Tradable Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs); (ii) SDM that aims to deliver an overall mitigation in global emissions; and (iii) Non-market approaches to promote mitigation and adaptation (United Nations 2015). SDM that is seen as a successor of CDM could use the lessons that have already been learnt while implementing CDM. It must also examine the registered A/R CDM project activities worldwide for possibilities of being recognized under SDM, only if they have an element of environment integrity and if the rules of accounting forest carbon stock are re-adjusted /reframed to prevent leakage and ensure longevity of carbon stocks. Table 2 presents the forest carbon and non-carbon benefits under different approaches of the KP and PA; and shows how adaptation benefits have been given importance under the Paris Agreement.


Non-market approaches (NMA) have a significant role to play and the UNFCCC has a solid base for international cooperation that is non-market based (Marcu 2014). After the fall in the price of carbon and problems faced by market mechanisms, UNFCCC explored new options including that of NMA, which will be an important element of post-2020 action, however, with unclear direction on what constitutes NMA (Bagchi 2015). According to the Paris Agreement, these approaches shall aim to "promote mitigation and adaptation ambition; enhance public and private sector participation in the implementation of NDCs; and enable opportunities for coordination across instruments and relevant institutional arrangements" (United Nations 2015). However, a well-defined course on what activities would constitute as non-market options is yet to be detailed. Cooperation with CBD activities like Aichi Biodiversity Targets and, recognition of indigenous territories and community conserved areas (ICCAs), is also important to move ahead with land-based climate policies. ICCA approach is non-market based and can fit into the Joint Mitigation and Adaptation (JMA) perspective easily. The ICCA approach is at least as effective as the formal establishment of protected areas, and is far more sustainable from the social, cultural, economic, and financial points of view, protecting ancient cultures and livelihoods while not requiring a permanent external flow of funding in terms of compensation payments (GFC 2013). The benefits coming out of conserving the forests motivates the communities to protect them. Likewise, it is not particularly necessary to include market approaches for the conservation of forests as there are significant challenges in obtaining long-term finance (GFC 2013). However, the NMA includes grant and fund based approaches and will have to be government-driven.

Now, many developing countries, either with a higher rate of deforestation or with forests as a net sink have given higher value to forestry activities in their NDCs and have set significant targets to reduce emissions through forestry. The forests, thus, will be key to achieving the NDCs for many of the developing countries. A study (Grassi et al. 2017) shows that if NDCs are fully implemented, land use, and forests in particular, will emerge as a key component of the Paris Agreement turning globally from a net anthropogenic source during 1990-2010 (1.3 [+ or -] 1.1 GtC[O.sub.2]e [yr.sup.-1]) to a net sink of carbon by 2030 (up to -1.1 [+ or -] 0.5 GtC[O.sub.2]e [yr.sup.-1]), and providing a quarter of emission reductions planned by the countries. The question is: what path will the countries choose to achieve their forest related NDCs and what role is the NMA going to play. To achieve these goals and also for long-term sustainability, sustainable management of forests, community-led forest restoration and REDD+ are catching much more international attention than forestry activities that were primarily aimed at carbon sequestration like the A/R projects under the CDM.

The REDD+ is also seen as an example of a non-market based approach, however, there are differing opinions about whether REDD+ is solely a non-market approach or whether it should also have a market-based track, due to which, a joint mitigation and adaptation (JMA) mechanism for the integral and sustainable management of forests has been proposed as an alternative approach to REDD+ (UNFCCC 2014). This is so because in some cases, countries which received REDD+ funding such as Indonesia and Brazil have very high deforestation rates (GFC 2013). Many of the mitigation and adaptation measures implemented by some forest rich nations, for eg., ASEAN members, included issues like expansion of biofuel plantations, and dam building under CDM, and the inclusion of indigenous peoples' forests in REDD programmes without their consent. More concrete illustrations can be found in connection with the oil-palm plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia, which evicted indigenous peoples from their traditional lands (Gupta et al. 2014). This shows that market mechanism is not the only solution to mitigation or adaptation. Newer holistic strategies may provide safeguards and better aid in faster climate action.

However, as a part of JMA, REDD+ and other forest management activities must safeguard and enhance social and environmental benefits, incentivise the conservation of natural forests and their ecosystem services, and promote effective forest governance mechanisms. REDD+ activities carry both opportunities and risks for biodiversity. Opportunities include slowing habitat loss and recovery of degraded forest ecosystems, while risks include displacement of land use change to other ecosystems, including savannahs and grasslands, and afforestation or reforestation with non-native species or forests with low species diversity (Secretariat of CBD 2014). Care needs to be taken while devising criteria in the case of results-based payments and non-market REDD+. A framework is needed at the national level, to provide information on how the safeguards for local communities, natural forests and their ecosystem services will be ensured (Dube 2016).

In its decision, COP-19 recognised the importance of incentivising non-carbon benefits for long-term sustainability of REDD+ activities (UNFCCC 2013a). Under non-market approaches such as JMA, non-carbon benefits may be incentivised for co-financing REDD+ implementation by means of subsidies and /or tax regimes. Deferred loan repayment and interest free credit lines could also be options to incentivise these benefits. However, due consideration should be given to the fact that these incentives must be linked to the indicators of enhanced non-carbon benefits. This will lead to a hybrid structure in times to come where mitigation or carbon component is financed through market based mechanisms such as results based payments/ ITMOs/ SDM whereas the adaptation and other non-carbon benefits will be financed through alternative /non-market approaches such as JMA. Nonmarket approaches can be co-designed to fulfil the needs of both: carbon mitigation under the Paris Agreement and biodiversity conservation under CBD. The success of non-market approaches would lie in simplified yet robust procedures that ensure environmental integrity and social safeguards. As these mechanisms evolve, dynamic and tailor-made baselines depending upon the circumstances of the region may be adopted which could avoid leakage, double counting and unreliable estimations of emission reduction.

Joint Mitigation and Adaptation: Safeguard approach

This section stresses upon JMA as a holistic strategy that includes both market and non-market approaches but is more inclined towards ecosystem resilience and other important parameters needed for long-term sustainability. Back in 2010, during the 16th COP to the UNFCCC, it was decided to consider the establishment of market mechanisms that enhance the cost-effectiveness of mitigation actions taking into account environmental integrity. The (UNFCCC 2010) provided guidance and safeguards for policy approaches on issues relating to REDD+, conservation and sustainable management of forests, specifically mentioning that such approaches must be consistent with the adaptation needs of the country and promote sustainability. In 2011, the Bolivian government presented a proposal titled 'Sustainable Forest Life' at COP-17 in Durban which resulted in Decision 2/CP.17 noting that non-market-based approaches, such as joint mitigation and adaptation approaches for the integral and sustainable management of forests as a non-market alternative that supports and strengthens governance, could be developed (UNFCCC 2011).

A later submission by Bolivia titled "joint mitigation and adaptation for the integral and sustainable management of forests" (Bolivia 2014), recognized JMA as an approach to enhance local and national forest governance based on non-commodification of environmental functions of the forests. On the basis of the Bolivian proposals and upon the request of other Parties, the work to ensure environmental safeguards went on to the 19th COP, wherein the COP decided that developing country Parties should start providing, in their national communication or through other communication channel, the summary of information on how all of the safeguards referred to COP-16 decision are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the activities (UNFCCC 2013b).

As a follow-up to the above decisions, COP-15 recognized that alternative policy approaches, such as joint mitigation and adaptation approaches for the integral and sustainable management of forests, are one of the alternatives to results-based payments (UNFCCC 2015), as also referred to in COP-19 decision (UNFCCC 2013a). Through all these decisions, the safeguards are assured under the Paris Agreement. It now depends on how national governments implement and respect safeguard guidelines and what impact the operationalisation of present positive incentives will have in the context of Paris Agreement. Figure 1 compares the three major mechanisms: CDM, REDD+ and JMA in terms of their scope and advantages.

JMA aims at integral and sustainable management of forests as a non-market alternative that supports and strengthens governance and safeguards multiple ecosystem services and functions of the forests. Few examples of potential JMA strategies would be: watershed management along with forestry activities; reducing incidences of wild forest fires; protection of existing forest ecosystems, like mangroves; and Joint forest management that engages local communities. REDD+ and community conservation initiatives without considering the results-based payments are other non-market and JMA options. Figure 2 shows the multiple benefits targeted by JMA with respect to climate change and enviro-social safeguards.

The key dimensions of the JMA approach are: sustainably mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to climate change, biodiversity conservation, promotion of sustainable livelihood, halting the loss of forest cover due to inordinate change in land use patterns and ensuring reliable means of finance while discouraging the commodification of nature's services. JMA approaches are also subject to the specified set of methodological guidance on safeguards as prescribed by Decision 1/CP.16 (UNFCCC 2010). The UNFCCC recognizes that JMA may contribute to the long-term sustainability of the implementation of REDD+ activities. As per the decision of COP 21 (UNFCCC 2015), developing countries seeking to receive support for the design and implementation of alternative policy approaches may consider development of national strategies for the implementation of REDD+ activities that support the integral and sustainable management of forests and develop proposals that demonstrate as to how alternative policy approaches are contributing to REDD+ activities. The decision also reaffirmed the importance of non-carbon benefits associated with such approaches. Table 3 provides a comparison between the characteristics of Warsaw Framework for REDD+ and the Joint Mitigation and Adaptation approach for the integral and sustainable management of forests (JMA).

To integrate adaptation aspects, climate instruments need to go hand-in-hand with other conservation initiatives. An increase in adaptive capacity, a function of vulnerability, can significantly reduce damage risks at least in the near future. Although REDD+ activities alone may not be able to achieve all adaptation goals, it still has substantial adaptation benefits. If integrated with the positive aspects of JMA, REDD+ may also be helpful in enhancing resilience of forests against potential impacts of climate change as well as serve as a means of adaptation for forest dependent people. However, there are pros and cons for every strategy, for e.g., adding adaptation objectives to a mitigation project could strengthen its mitigation outcomes or weaken it and in some cases, associating adaptation and mitigation could lead to worse outcomes for both objectives (competition) or better ones (synergy) (Locatelli et al. 2015). Since adaptation would be an integral part of JMA activities, there are lesser chances of leakages and uncertainties. It is important that results of studies on pilot projects in REDD+ and other emerging mechanisms must be taken account of while preparing new guidelines for forestry initiatives. It is likely that doing this will ensure the robustness and acceptability of new mechanisms.


Synergies, dependencies and common drivers link biodiversity and climate change which need to be addressed in an integrated manner. It is known that biodiversity is central to climate change, however, it was left out of climate discourse for a long time. Market mechanisms like the CDM also could not take into account the value of pristine forests and biodiversity and therefore, it failed to ensure safeguards for the latter. But, recent developments point towards safeguarding and biodiversity conservation in land based forestry activities meant for climate change mitigation. An integrated ecosystem based approach is emerging under the Paris Agreement that presents an opportunity to explore and operationalize Joint Mitigation and Adaptation which has the ability to tackle several threats. Therefore, it is proposed that non-market REDD+ and JMA are better options for the inclusion of biodiversity in climate change policies because of their ability to ensure multiple benefits. While designing NMA activities, it is important to take into account the lessons learnt from the already implemented projects.


The authors thank Mr Raj Kumar Gupta (Independent Policy Analyst) for critically going through the manuscript and offering suggestions.


The views expressed in this paper are personal and do not reflect the official policy and position of any ministry or department of the Government of India.


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Programme Officers, NATCOM Cell, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, New Delhi-110003, India

TABLE 1 Comparison of activities between KP and PA

Activities                                Inclusion

Reducing emissions  In the forest areas where carbon stock is reducing
from deforestation  due to clearing of forests leading to land use
Reducing emissions  In the areas where carbon stock is reducing due
from forest         to decreasing density of forests, without change
degradation         of land use, low density to high density
Conservation        Conservation of forest carbon stock (e.g. creation
                    of protected areas)
Sustainable         Maintaining and enhancing the economic, social
management of       and environmental value of all types of forests
forests             for the benefit of present and future generations
Enhancement of      Conversion of forest area from low density to
forest carbon       high density class
stocks within
existing forests
Enhancement of      Creating forest on the land where no forest existed
forest carbon       e.g. CDM allows lands that did not contain forest
stock outside       since at least 50 years prior to the start of the
existing forests:   project activity (e.g. direct plantings/seeding and
Afforestation       assisted natural regeneration)
Enhancement of      Creating forest on the land that was previously
forest carbon       converted from forest to another land use e.g. on
stock outside       the areas where no forest existed on 31 December
existing forests:   1989, as per CDM rules (e.g. direct
Reforestation       plantings/seeding or assisted natural regeneration)

Activities                Type, nature and         Kyoto      Paris
                    Sustainability of Activities  Protocol  Agreement

Reducing emissions  Mixed forests, no logging,                 X
from deforestation  sustainable
Reducing emissions  Native species, no logging,                X
from forest         sustainable
Conservation        Community conservation,                    X
Sustainable         Community conservation,                    X
management of       livelihoods
Enhancement of      Native species plantation                  X
forest carbon       aiming at restoration
stocks within
existing forests
Enhancement of      Monocultures or mixed
forest carbon       cultures, logging allowed,                 X
stock outside       for 20 years (renewable) or
existing forests:   30 years (one time)
Enhancement of      Monocultures or mixed                      X
forest carbon       cultures, logging allowed,
stock outside       for 20 years (renewable) or
existing forests:   30 years (one time)

TABLE 2 Forest carbon and non-carbon benefits under different
approaches of KP and PA

Activities                  Carbon Benefits

Afforestation    Real, measurable, long term and
and              additional carbon sequestration up to
Reforestation    the life of the project activity
under CDM (KP)

REDD+            Real, measurable, long term and
(results-based   additional carbon sequestration/
payments         stabilization
under PA)
                 Internationally Tradable Mitigation
Cooperative      Outcomes (ITMOs)
Approaches (PA)
                 Reduction in emission levels in
Sustainable      the host
Development      party

Mechanism (PA)   Real, measurable, long term and
Non-market       additional carbon sequestration/
approaches (PA)  stabilization

Activities       Non-carbon benefits

Afforestation    Biodiversity, livelihood, local climate regulation
and              benefits are not mandated. However, impacts are to
Reforestation    be noted.
under CDM (KP)

REDD+            Biodiversity, livelihood, local climate regulation
(results-based   benefits are considered. Adaptation benefits not
payments         considered.
under PA)

Cooperative      Aims to promote sustainable development and
Approaches (PA)  ensure environmental integrity.

Sustainable      Co-benefits could come from forest based activities.
Development      Share of proceeds to meet the cost of adaptation.

Mechanism (PA)   Adaptation benefits in addition to mitigation and
Non-market       other ecosystem services.
approaches (PA)

TABLE 3 Comparison between REDD+ and JMA approaches

                                  Warsaw Framework for REDD+

Activities             Mitigation actions that promote sustainable
                       management of forests.
Coverage               Climate change mitigation
Treatment of           Non-carbon benefits as additional component of
non-car-bon benefits   activities.
Approach               Carbon-centric i.e. Only focused on mitigation to
                       climate change (tons of carbon removed and/ or
Finance flow           Routine based approach (ex-post results-based
arrangement            payments) based on the performance benchmarks
                       regarding forest reference levels.


Activities             Long-term mitigation and adaptation activities
                       resulting in sustainably managed forests.
Coverage               Climate change mitigation and adaptation
Treatment of           Non-carbon benefits as integral component of
non-car-bon benefits   activities.
Approach               Holistic approach (mitigation and adaptation)
                       recognizing the multiple functions of forests
                       (economic, social, cultural and climate change)
Finance flow           Needs-based approach (ex-ante sustained and
arrangement            long-term finance) according to joint mitigation
                       and adaptation needs of the activity.
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Author:Gupta, H.; Dube, L.C.
Publication:International Forestry Review
Article Type:Report
Date:Mar 1, 2018
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