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How can a country join the REDD+ SES Initiative?

A country can join the REDD+ SES Initiative by submitting a letter of interest from the government agency responsible for REDD+ to the REDD+ SES Secretariat. Upon receipt of an indication of interest, the REDD+ SES Secretariat will start discussions with the country team to define how to support the development of the country REDD+ Safeguards Information System (SIS) using REDD+ SES.

Does the REDD+ SES Initiative provide funding to countries?

The REDD+ SES Initiative does not provide funding to countries. The development of SIS should be integrated into the overall REDD+ readiness budget at country level and the REDD+ SES Secretariat can assist with identifying potential sources of funding.

What kind of support does the Secretariat provide to countries participating in the REDD+ SES Initiative?

The REDD+ SES Secretariat provides technical support and capacity building to government and civil society in countries that participate in the REDD+ SES Initiative. This includes conducting capacity building sessions on REDD+ safeguards, SIS and REDD+ SES during workshops with country stakeholders, providing guidance on the establishment of multi-stakeholder platforms that oversee the implementation of REDD+ safeguards and SIS at country level, and providing technical inputs and guidance to country facilitation teams to develop a country SISSIS. In addition, the government and civil society teams that are facilitating development of SIS at country level have the opportunity to participate in exchange and learning workshops that bring together teams from the countries that participate in the REDD+ SES Initiative.

What is the difference between REDD+ SES and other safeguards mechanisms such as the Strategic Environment and Social Assessment (SESA) and Environment and Social Management Framework (ESMF) of FCPF, or the Country Safeguards Approach Tool (CAST) and Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria (SEPC) of UN-REDD?

Each country developing a REDD+ program needs a country approach to safeguards that ensures that the social and environmental risks and opportunities of REDD+ are effectively addressed. A country approach to safeguards can be conceptualized as consisting of the following elements:

  • policies, laws and regulations (PLR) that formally establish the safeguards for REDD+
  • a safeguards information system (SIS) for monitoring and reporting on safeguards implementation
  • a feedback, grievance and redress mechanism (FGRM) that enables stakeholders affected by REDD+ to receive feedback and appropriate responses related to the implementation of safeguards
  • institutions, processes and procedures that are essential for operationalizing the elements above.


While REDD+ SES supports the development of SIS, SESA/ESMF contributes mainly to definition of goals for safeguards through analysis of risks and opportunities of potential REDD+ strategies, and also to assessment of policies, laws, regulations and development of procedures to mitigate risks. UN-REDD CAST and SEPC support the planning of country safeguards approaches, definition of goals, and the assessment of policies, laws and regulations. To date, neither SESA/ESMF nor UN-REDD have tools that have been specifically designed to provide support for SIS, so REDD+SES has been the only international tool that focuses on support for SIS development. For more detailed information, please visit the Country Safeguards Approach page.


What is the difference between safeguards and standards?

There is no widely agreed definition of ‘safeguards’. For REDD+, the international community has so far agreed (for example in UNFCCC decisions) on a broad set of principles as ‘safeguards’ that should be promoted and supported, and a country-led approach to implementation and reporting through development of a system for providing information on how these safeguards are addressed and respected. Traditionally, the term ‘safeguards’ has been used to refer to the policies and procedures implemented by international financial institutions like the World Bank. These ‘safeguards’ consist of a set of policies and specialized tools to ensure that projects prevent and mitigate undue harm, acting as an ‘overlay’ to a country’s rules and institutions. ‘Standards’ provide a precise specification, often in the form of principles, criteria and indicators, to be used consistently to ensure the quality of products and processes. So standards can be used to define safeguards and also to assess their implementation.


What is the relation between REDD+ SES and social & environmental standards for REDD+ projects such as CCB Standards?

REDD+ SES is designed to be used by government-led national or sub-national (jurisdictional e.g. State or Provincial) REDD+ programs while social & environmental standards for REDD+ projects such as the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards are designed for site-based projects. Countries or jurisdictions implementing REDD+ programs may include site-based REDD+ projects within their boundaries. Information about standards implementation for these projects will be an important source of information to demonstrate how social and environmental safeguards are addressed and respected in the national or jurisdictional REDD+ safeguards information system.



REDD+ SES Initiative is developing guidance on nesting safeguards information systems including information from REDD+ projects that will be published on the website when it becomes available. For more detailed information, please visit the Nested Safeguards Information Systems page.


How does REDD+ SES address REDD+ safeguards defined in the UNFCCC Cancun agreement?

REDD+ SES provide countries with a tool to address the REDD+ safeguards listed in Annex 1 of the Cancun agreement (UNFCCC decision 1/CP.16 appendix 1) (with the proviso that REDD+ SES do not address issues related to accounting for greenhouse gas emissions) consistent with the guidance on systems for providing information on how safeguards are addressed and respected agreed at the Durban UNFCCC conference of parties (UNFCCC decision 12/CP.17 Guidance on systems for providing information on how safeguards are addressed and respected and modalities relating to forest reference emission levels and forest reference levels as referred to in decision 1/CP.16). A table mapping the correspondence between REDD+ SES principles and criteria and REDD+ SES safeguards as defined in the Cancun agreement is available at the end of REDD+ SES Version 2.


What does it mean when a country is ‘using’ REDD+ SES?

Countries are using REDD+ SES in different ways, which can be classified into three broad categories:

  1. REDD+ SES as good practice guidance: using some elements of REDD+SES content and process as good practice guidance for SIS (but not applying REDD+ SES).


  1. REDD+ SES as the basis for SIS: using REDD+ SES content and process as the basis for a SIS, but with substantial variations in process and content (partially applying REDD+ SES).


  1. REDD+ SES as a quality assurance standard: using REDD+ SES content and process with only minor variations to establish a SIS that meets international standards of SIS best practice (fully applying REDD+ SES).


The REDD+ SES Initiative has developed an International Review Mechanism that provides a formal review of the full process followed to apply REDD+ SES in the country in relation to governance, interpretation and assessment, i.e. the full ten step REDD+ SES process defined in the REDD+ SES Guidelines Version 2 (November 2012). This is undertaken once an assessment report has been published by the country and a report has been produced of the process used for the assessment (on completion of Step 10). The REDD+ SES International Review does not assess the content of the country’s assessment report (i.e. social and environmental performance versus the principles, criteria and indicators), but assesses the extent to which the REDD+ SES Guidelines have been followed. The REDD+ SES Guidelines require enhanced transparency and a strong country-led, multi-stakeholder process that is expected to lead to a fair and accurate assessment of social and environmental performance. The REDD+ SES international review assesses the extent to which a country can claim that is applying REDD+ SES, according to the three categories above.


Why does REDD+ SES have many indicators?

REDD+ SES has numerous indicators because each one assesses one important element of social and environmental performance, and REDD+ SES covers the full range of social and environmental risks and opportunities of REDD+ and each indicator assesses. REDD+ SES Version 2 has 64 indicators of which 46 are process indicators, 12 are policy indicators and 6 are outcome indicators. It is important to distinguish the full set of indicators that might be used to assess the social and environmental performance of REDD+ design and implementation (developed in steps 5-6) from the sub-set of these indicators that will be used for one particular assessment (which is defined in step 7). While the full set may comprise 64 indicators (or more, depending on country needs) the sub-set for the first assessment could be a smaller number of the indicators that are relevant to the progress of REDD+ program development and reflecting available capacity and resources.


What are the trade-offs between costs and credibility when using REDD+ SES?

The approach to information collection adopted by a country is determined by the country according to existing information systems, capacity and human and financial resources available. A low cost option could be to simply use secondary sources and not do any primary data collection. Nevertheless, this approach could be a first step to develop a relatively simple, low cost SIS and the rigor of the process could be increased for the next assessment. The REDD+ SES Initiative recommends that an assessment is repeated after 2-3 years. For more information detailed information, please visit the Options for monitoring and reporting information page.


Why doesn’t REDD+SES have third party verification like many other standards?

While a few countries or jurisdictions may choose to have independent auditors verifying a government program, most countries may not be comfortable with this option (e.g. for sovereignty reasons). REDD+ SES has a quality control mechanism through the REDD+ SES International Review that reviews the quality process used to develop the SIS and adherence to the full ten step REDD+ SES process defined in the REDD+ SES Guidelines Version 2 (November 2012). The REDD+ SES International Review does not assess the content of the country’s assessment report but assesses the extent to which the REDD+ SES Guidelines have been followed. It also assesses the extent to which a country can claim that is applying REDD+ SES (at level 1, 2, or 3 in ‘What does it mean when a country is using REDD+ SES?’ above).


For more information about the REDD+ SES International Review, please visit International Review.


Does REDD+SES promote gender equality?

Drawing from the action research Getting gender right in REDD+ SES conducted by the Women’s Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO), REDD+SES Version 2 and the Guidelines for the use of REDD+ SES at country level were developed to include strong gender considerations and provide, at present, by far the strongest of the REDD+ safeguards tools in terms of gender. In addition, the action research resulted in a guide to support countries in integrating gender in their REDD+ programs and particularly in their REDD+ safeguards content and process. For more detailed information, please visit REDD+ SES and gender.