Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation as well as ensuring conservation, enhancement of carbon stocks, and sustainable forest management (REDD+) emerged in global climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2005 as a mechanism aimed at incentivizing tropical forest countries to reduce their emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Ghana began its engagement in REDD+ in 2008 with the development of its Readiness Project Idea Note (R-PIN), and from 2010 to 2017, Ghana has been focusing on REDD+ Readiness, building the needed capacity, understanding, architecture and systems to support the implementation and monitoring of REDD+ projects and programmes. It is expected that Ghana will be ready from 2018 to implement a suite of activities and programmes to reduce deforestation.
Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed at the Conference of Parties (COP) in Cancun in December 2010 that seven safeguards should be promoted and supported when undertaking REDD+ activities, and these are known as the ‘Cancun safeguards’ (Decision 1/CP.16 Appendix 1 Paragraph 2). Furthermore, it was also decided in Cancun in 2010 to request developing countries to establish a system for providing information on how these safeguards are addressed and respected throughout the implementation of activities (Decision 1/CP.16, Paragraph 71 (d)) . These have become known as ‘Safeguards Information Systems’ (SIS). At the UNFCCC COP the following year in Durban in 2011 it was decided that countries must provide a summary of information on how all the safeguards have been addressed and respected (Decision 2/CP.17 Paragraph 63 and 64) .
The SIS provides information on how REDD+ social and environmental safeguards are being addressed and respected. The objective of a SIS, from the perspective of UNFCCC requirements is to demonstrate that the Cancun safeguards are being addressed and respected during REDD+ implementation. These are the basic objectives that every REDD+ country’s SIS should meet, and countries may initially choose to limit their SIS objectives to meeting these UNFCCC requirements. A further objective could relate to using information from the SIS to prepare a summary of safeguards information, which is also required by the UNFCCC for countries to access and obtain payments for REDD+ results.