At the request of Panama, UNDP and FAO organized a videoconference on 22 June, 2012 to cover safeguard information systems (SIS) and examples of UN-REDD work related to this - particularly the Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria (SEPC) and the Benefits and Risk Tool (BeRT). The participants included a group of government counterparts (ANAM) and UN agency staff based in Panama (UNDP, FAO). The presentations and discussion were conducted in Spanish, as a webinar with videoconference capability, allowing a live power point presentation and interactive discussion among participants.  Read more.

From UNDP, Pierre-Yves Guedez and Fernando Pinel coordinated and facilitated the session, Silje Haugland presented, and Kimberly Todd and Leo Peskett participated.  From FAO, Maria SanzSanchez presented and Xinia Soto attended. The participants from Panama and a participant from Honduras were actively engaged in the subject, and provided useful inputs to the discussion.

Maria SanzSanchez (FAO) presented on the UNFCCC context for safeguards and SIS, summarizing key decisions, guidance and discussions from the UNFCCC sessionsheld in Cancun (December 2010) and Durban (December 2011 ) as well as an UNFCCC expert meeting on SIS, prior to the UNFCCC COP meeting in Durban. She also highlighted characteristics of an SIS and key components of a safeguard information system.

Following this, Silje Haugland (UNDP) presented on the UN-REDD Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria (SEPC) (process of developing the SEPC/objectives/relationship to the Cancun Agreements), the Benefits and Risk Tool (BeRT) (objective/use/current structure and revision process) and how both the SEPC and BeRT may contribute to development of SIS.

After the presentations, there was a discussion where the following topics were discussed:

·         How elaborate a SIS should be (complex vs. simple, flexibility in the approach, building on countries’ existing systems)

·         Frequency of reporting (still unclear; developed countries have to submit National Communications every 4 years, but the timing and frequency for submission of summary of information on safeguards has not yet been agreed upon for developing countries)

·         How much time it takes to develop a SIS (still unclear;  depending on the country)

·         Which countries have already advanced in developing a SIS (countries such as Indonesia, DRC, Tanzania, Mexico and Ecuador were mentioned; these countries primarily undertaking “gap analyses” and are still at an early stage)

·         It was agreed that there would be a follow-up webinar were the discussion would focus more on the current status of SIS development in countries;

o   Mexico and Ecuador (and possibly other interested countries) are invited to participate together with Panama in this next discussion.

Please find a recording of the video conference here:  The powerpoint slides can be found here.