The Evolution of International Policy on REDD+

The Evolution of International Policy on REDD+


The article traces the background and history of REDD+ starting from gaps identified in the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol (i.e. the lack of projects to reduce emissions due to deforestation in developing countries), to the early beginning of RED or reduced emissions from deforestation, and finally to its evolution as embedded in the Paris Agreement of 2015 as REDD+ (Article 5).


The evolution of REDD+ has taken in many forms. From its simple concept of rewarding developing countries for decreasing their annual deforestation rates, it has included degradation in the equation. Soon enough, principles of conservation, sustainable management, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks were part of the “+” or added co-benefits. REDD+ still is continuously evolving with the inclusion of social and environmental safeguards, and non-carbon benefits. Additionally, REDD+ is moving towards a more landscape-based approach and not solely as a forest-based mechanism.

The article presents a clear review of the policy processes including landmark decisions made by the Conference of Parties (CoP).

Lastly, the review also discussed past and current challenges to REDD+ namely: 1) criticisms and opposition to it, mainly from civil society organizations, environmental NGOs, and Indigenous Peoples; 2) measurability or the MRV (measuring, reporting, and verification) since many developing countries not only have data gaps on its forestry inventory systems but also lack the technical know-how on remote-sensing and forest inventory.


Skutsch MM. The Evolution of International Policy on REDD+. Oxford University Press; 2017. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.43.


  • Center for Research in Environmental Geography, National Autonomous University of Mexico