REDD+ has the potential to deliver social and environmental benefits that go beyond the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions but which may also entail potential risks to people and the environment. These benefits and risks will depend on a number of factors related to national circumstances – such as how REDD+ actions are designed, how successful these actions are in addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, and the barriers to sustainable management, conservation and enhancement of carbon stocks as well as where, how and by whom these actions are implemented.
In order to protect against these potential risks while promoting benefits, seven safeguards are in place that must be supported throughout the implementation of REDD+ actions. These are known as the "Cancun safeguards", and were agreed to at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate held in Cancun in 2010 (COP16).
Subsequently, decisions on safeguards were adopted in Durban at COP17 and in Warsaw at COP19 with respect to the development of a safeguards information system and the provision of a summaries of information on how all of the Cancun safeguards are being addressed and respected throughout REDD+ implementation, thus completing the main UNFCCC safeguard requirements.
The UN-REDD Programme’s guidance and tools are designed to enable countries to take a flexible country approach to safeguards that reflects different national circumstances, contexts and capacities in order to respond to the requirements of the UNFCCC REDD+ on safeguards.
Components of a country approach to safeguards
A country approach to safeguards is a country-led process to respond to international REDD+ safeguards requirements (UNFCCC Cancun safeguards and other safeguards as appropriate), in a way that is harmonious with national policy goals, by building on existing governance arrangements, including:
Outcomes and Outputs
Key Recommended Resources
FAQs about Safeguards
Find Safeguards capacity building resources and learning tools here.
- UN-REDD Programme: Multiple benefits and safeguards
- UNEP-WCMC’s website: Carbon Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, exploring co-benefits
- SNV’s Multiple Benefits in South East Asia project website
- Forest Carbon Partnership Facility: Safeguards
- REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards (SES) website
- WWF’s Forest and Climate Program’s ‘Learning Sessions’ platform
- International Union of Forest Research Organizations publications.
- Virtual Space of Latin America Regional Program Working Group on Safeguards
- Climate Change Monitoring And Information Network (CCMIN), Safeguards page
- US AID FCMC Social and Environmental Soundness (SES) Resource Page