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In a significant stride towards addressing climate change and safeguarding Papua New Guinea’s precious forests and forest dependent communities, the country’s National REDD+ Safeguards Guidelines were launched this week.

REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, plus conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) is a critical initiative that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by conserving and sustainably managing forests.

The National REDD+ Safeguards Guidelines are intended to prevent or minimize negative impacts or unintended consequences of REDD+ implementation at the national, sub-national and project levels and to ensure that they are implemented in a manner that respects the rights and interests of customary landholders and local communities.

During the launching, Minister for Environment, Conservation and Climate Change, Simo Kilepa described the safeguards guidelines as a significant step forward for the country in recognizing, addressing and respecting the people’s rights as customary landholders. The very foundation upon which our Constitution is built.

“The REDD+ Guidelines are a testament to the country’s undying endeavor towards recognizing, addressing and respecting our people’s rights as customary landholders whilst pursuing economic prosperity.”

“The Guidelines will significantly provide the Government of today and successive governments hereafter with the necessary guidance to ensure regulatory oversight is maintained for carbon offset projects through the public service machinery.”

“Importantly, the guidelines guarantee the rights of customary landholders and local communities are protected during their interactions with carbon project designers, developers, investors and or parties working on behalf of proponents,” said Minister Kilepa.

Minister Kilepa further commended the management and staff of Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) for their tireless efforts in making the launch a reality.

The four REDD+ Safeguards Guidelines launched includes; National REDD+ Development Guidelines, National REDD+ Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) Guidelines, National REDD+ Benefit Sharing and Distribution Guidelines and National REDD+ Grievance Redress Mechanism Guidelines.

These Guidelines were developed through interactive process including extensive national stakeholder consultation, ensuring that REDD+ initiatives effectively address climate change, promote sustainable forest management, respect the rights of local communities and generate positive social and environmental co-benefits.

CCDA’s Acting Managing Director William Lakain, thanked key stakeholders and partners who were instrumental in ensuring the completion of the REDD+ Safeguards Guidelines for Papua New Guinea.

“On behalf of CCDA, I thank the valued stakeholders for their invaluable on-going support thus far in the design of the National REDD+ Mechanism and guidance in the development of the National REDD+ Safeguards Guidelines,” Lakain said.

“I also thank our development and funding partners, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their financial and technical support over the years towards the completion of the guidelines,” he added.

“The Guidelines will also provide the administrative guidance in regulating the carbon market space moving forward,” said Mr. Lakain.

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