Germany's REDD+ Early Movers Programme

Last updated: 8 March, 2016

The German REDD Early Movers Programme (REM) is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the KfW Development Bank and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The REM programme promotes forest conservation and is designed to strengthen performance-based payments for demonstrated emission reductions and provides accessible bridging finance for countries which have already taken independent action towards mitigating climate change. 


The REDD Early Movers Programme is a global programme for REDD designed to reward pioneers in forest conservation. By providing financial support for the REDD interim phase, it aims to assist in closing funding gaps and actively counter the frustrations of particularly engaged partner countries (Early Movers) related to the pace of the current REDD process. 

The REM programme provides support to developing countries through financial contributions and targeted technical assistance: (1) Wherever possible, performance-based payments are made ex-post on the basis of conservative proxy indicators and robust baselines. Such payments are considered “non-market based” (i.e. purchased emission reductions are retired by the German Government); (2) REM can also provide ex-ante incentive payments to promote forest conservation in countries where the establishment of a results-based scheme is foreseeable in the near future; particular “readiness” gaps directly linked to the implementation of a results-based scheme can be closed via targeted technical assistance. The combination of different financial modalities and the possibility to actively support REDD activities through the provision of targeted technical cooperation assures a high level of operational flexibility and allows tailoring the programme to specific country needs. Prior to programme start, REM tries to agree upon a benefit-sharing mechanism linked to already established implementation structures to allow an immediate operative kick-start.

In 2012, the programme engaged in its first transaction by compensating and retiring emission reductions from avoided deforestation generated by the State of Acre/Brazil. The programme expects to support additional REDD programmes in 2013/2014.

Design Features

Deforestation. Over the Programme's duration, the scope may be widened to encompass forest degradation.

The REDD Early Movers programme intends to support emission reduction efforts undertaken at a national, sub-national or biome level, following a jurisdictional approach. Eligibility criteria require sub-national or biome approaches to be coherently integrated and aligned with national strategies and policy goals related to emission reductions and avoidance of deforestation. Project-level initiatives are not supported. 

For the construction of reference levels, REM prefers the usage of historical deforestation data (not projections) to ensure transparency and credibility. Where a sub-national or biome level approach is pursued, the methodology applied should be compatible with the construction of a national reference level.

In order to receive (non-performance based) support from the REM programme, a reference emission level must be set up in the first half of the funding period. If an applicant aims to receive performance-based payments, a reference level should be established prior to the programme start and its methodology assessed by the REM programme in dialogue with the applying country.

REM seeks to internalise additionality through conservative baseline setting and carbon content estimates that allow the assumption that emission reductions achieved are additional. Furthermore, the requirement that participating countries or jurisdictions need to contribute significantly to emission reductions from REDD through an “own contribution” (see Leakage and Permanence/Reversals) underlines REM's conservative approach.

No specific requirements beyond measures adopted for conservativeness. REM considers that a focus on sound national and sub-national approaches will reduce displacement. 

To mitigate risk of non-permanence, REM encourages participating countries to have in place adequate measures and relies on conservative estimates. Furthermore, retiring a share of emission reductions as a country’s (or subnational jurisdiction’s) own contribution is encouraged or, alternatively, a buffer mechanism could be designed. For example, to address the risk of reversals, Acre agreed to retire one additional tCO­2e for each tCO2e that is being compensated by the REM Programme as its own contribution. 

REM follows principles formulated by the German development cooperation including participation, empowerment, do-no-harm, free prior and informed consent, improvement of living conditions through benefit-sharing arrangements, and the participation of Indigenous Peoples, small-scale farmers and forest-dependent communities. In addition and prior to programme start, REM identifies (and potentially supports the establishment of) quantifiable benefit-sharing programs in the respective partner country (or subnational jurisdiction) that comply with the safeguard framework in place, and which are directed towards the improvement of living conditions through equitable benefit-sharing.

Other than adherence to the Cancún safeguards and those required for German forest sector cooperation, no additional environmental safeguards have to date been explicitly outlined. 

REM principles emphasize transparency and accountability. Eligibility criteria include effective consultations and safeguards.

The design of a monitoring system is the responsibility of the applicant country or jurisdiction. Through REM's eligibility criteria, the applicant has to justify its approach which is then analysed in dialogue with REM and checked according to best practice criteria. 

To qualify as an Early Mover within the context of REM, a country (or jurisdiction) is required to document registry management arrangements prior to programme entry to ensure that emission reductions are not compensated twice.

Cooperation is based on a bilateral agreement between the REM Programme and the respective country. Contractual agreements stipulate the requirements for payments. The verification of emission reductions can be done either by an independent panel of experts or an accredited third party reviewer. The exact determination of the process is part of the bilateral negotiations.