At the request of the Sri Lankan Government an assessment was designed and conducted as part of the development of the country’s national strategy on REDD+. The assessment involved applying criteria from the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests (VGGT) to analyze the tenure implications for a wide array of proposed policies and measures (PAMs) to address deforestation and forest degradation. The assessment will help Sri Lanka to prioritize and make investment decisions among the PAMs. It is foreseen that the methodology could be applied in other countries.
The assessment identified the range of risks and benefits related to tenure associated with PAMs under consideration as part of the REDD+ Strategy. Some PAMs were deemed to have high risks or tenure implications such as actions to crack down on forest encroachment and improvements in land use planning coordination. On the other hand, some other potential actions such as conducting a forest inventory, were less associated with tenure issues. The VGGT provided the criteria by which to make these judgments as well as guiding principles to help adjust the PAMs to bring them in line with the principles of responsible tenure governance. The Cancun Safeguards and World Bank Environmental and Social Framework and Operational Policies were also referred to in building the framework for analysis.
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Deforestation and forest degradation account for approximately 11 percent of carbon emissions, more than the entire global transportation sector and second only to the energy sector. It is now clear that in order to constrain the impacts of climate change within limits that society will reasonably be able to tolerate, global average temperatures must be stabilized within two degrees Celsius. This will be practically impossible to achieve without reducing emissions from the forest sector, in addition to other mitigation actions.