Safeguards and co-benefits
There is no formally agreed definition of ‘safeguards’. The term has been used by multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank to refer to measures or policies that guard against undue harm from investment or development activities – known as a ‘risk-based approach’. In contrast, safeguards related to REDD+ within UNFCCC COP decisions aim to prevent REDD+ activities from causing harm to biodiversity and people, and also help REDD+ realise multiple benefits, beyond simply emission reductions. This appears to follow a ‘rights-based approach’ to safeguards, prioritising the protection of the individual rights of those potentially affected by a REDD+ initiative.
For example, safeguards that require respecting land tenure rights of local communities will not only improve the success of REDD+ implementation, but could also deliver significant economic benefits. Tenure security could help to engage and include communities in the design, implementation and monitoring of REDD+ projects, minimising the risk of future land disputes and reducing the risk to investors engaging in REDD+ initiatives (see pages 134-136). Adequate safeguards could ensure that the implementation of REDD+ can contribute to other national priorities such as poverty reduction and sustainable development.