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REDD Option Assessments

Fit-for-purpose expert reports helped UN Climate negotiators understand and consider options for dealing with technical forestry issues that would inform UN Climate negotiations.

The Challenge
  • Halting global deforestation was a priority for international United Nations climate change agreements in the mid-2000s. But with negotiators’ limited understanding and agreement around complex forest and climate issues, progress was stalling.
The Partners
  • United Nations climate change negotiators
  • International teams of experts from governments, civil society, research institutions, climate funders, and multilateral institutions
The Outcome
  • With Meridian’s facilitation support, teams of experts developed practical reports on complex issues that were sticking points in UN REDD+ negotiations.
  • These reports helped UN climate change negotiators understand the issues and solutions—and ultimately establish landmark REDD+ rules in the 2015 UN Paris Agreement.


Project Overview

Global deforestation is responsible for more CO2 emissions annually than the entire European Union. Deforestation and forest degradation became a big focus of the United Nations Climate negotiations in the mid-2000s. To support the years-long process of settling the technical rules for REDD+ (Reducing Deforestation and forest Degradation, plus the sustainable management of forests, and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks), Meridian facilitated the development of half a dozen “options assessment” reports to help negotiators understand an increasingly complex set of scientific matters relevant to forests and climate in the negotiations.

The reports were requested because negotiators wanted timely assessments that explained challenging issues and helped them understand the problems—and the range of forest- and land-use-related solutions—that could be included in formal agreements. As a trusted third party, Meridian was uniquely positioned to meet informally with negotiators in order to find out what they needed to know. We then convened a team of internationally recognized experts to write fit-for-purpose reports to support the schedule required by the negotiations.

We ran meetings between the authors and negotiators on report drafts, discussing the possible implications of different solutions. We also convened in-person and online consultations with other experts and stakeholders from around the world to help inform the reports. Once final, the reports were translated into multiple languages to make them more accessible.

REDD+ was ultimately included in the 2015 UN Paris Agreement on climate change. This was a huge win for the forest and land use communities, because it created powerful incentives for reducing forest and land degradation globally. The Meridian-facilitated option assessment reports provided important bases for UNFCC decisions on REDD+. Today, building upon these foundations, Meridian continues to work extensively on REDD+ implementation.