Safeguards ensure that social and environmental issues are taken into account in design, implementation and evaluation of activities. Safeguards aim at avoiding potential risks and social and environmental damage resulting from activities and ensuring social and environmental benefits from activities and adoption of good practices.
The application of safeguards requires to first identify potential risks and benefits – direct and indirect - and potential good practices to protect against harm and promote benefits. Based on this analysis, policies, measures and institutional procedures are implemented to protect against adverse effects or undesirable social or environmental impacts and to promote good practices that facilitate positive impacts and sustainability.
REDD+ Safeguards under the UNFCCC
To address potential social and environmental risks of REDD+ such as loss of biodiversity, land grabbing, loss of livelihoods and promote multiple benefits including improved governance and livelihoods and increase in biodiversity, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have agreed that seven safeguards should be promoted and supported when undertaking REDD+ activities. These safeguards were agreed at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) in Cancun in December 2010 and are known as the ‘Cancun safeguards’ (Decision 1/CP.16 Appendix 1 Paragraph 2).
When undertaking the activities referred to in paragraph 70 of this decision, the following safeguards should be promoted and support:
(a) That actions complement or are consistent with the objectives of national forest programmers and relevant international conventions and agreements
In addition to the safeguards agreed under UNFCCC, countries may want to define their own safeguards to address country-specific social and environmental risks and/or to promote social and environmental benefits of the implementation of REDD+ such as equitable sharing of benefits or contribution of REDD+ to the objectives of sustainable development of the country.