Uganda’s Approach to Safeguards
REDD+ countries have been guided to determine an approach to safeguards as constituted by the existing governance arrangements and processes – policies, laws, regulations, institutions, etc. that countries can draw on to respond to international REDD+ safeguards requirements in a way that is harmonious with national policy goals.
Since the Cancun safeguards were agreed in December 2010, countries have been developing their approach to safeguards following a conceptual framework for a Country Safeguards Approach (CSA), albeit in slightly different format. In general, CSA involves: the following elements, among others:
- the country’s legal framework of policies, laws and regulations (PLR);
- an institutional framework defining the roles, responsibilities and procedures of the different entities;
- feedback and grievance redress mechanisms to enable stakeholders to make complaints and seek redress related to safeguards; and
- a safeguards information system (SIS) to provide information on how safeguards are addressed and respected.
In this regard, the actual safeguards at country level are the country’s policies, laws and regulations which ensure that the Cancun safeguards are ‘addressed’. These policies, laws and regulations (PLRs) are implemented through institutions, processes and procedures which ensure that the Cancun safeguards are ‘respected’. Therefore, ‘Country Safeguards Approach’ (CSA) ensures that relevant policies, laws and regulations are implemented and reinforced through effective institutional processes and procedures, informed by a safeguards information system and strengthened by a feedback and grievance redress mechanism, together, effectively addressing the risks and opportunities of the REDD+ strategy and activities in compliance with UNFCCC decisions related to the Cancun safeguards.
In summary, the CSA identifies and implements the country’s own safeguards that address the specific risks and opportunities of the country’s REDD+ strategy and the country context, through a country-led and -owned approach. The CSA builds on and strengthens the country’s existing legal and institutional frameworks and information systems.
Also, the goals of the country safeguards approach have been identified through clarification of the Cancun safeguards in the context of Uganda. This involved adopting and lightly adapting the Cancun safeguards as principles of the National Safeguards Standards and developing country-specific criteria that reflect the conditions needed in Uganda to meet these principles. These criteria show how the Cancun safeguards are ‘addressed’ for REDD+ in Uganda. They reflect the safeguards in place in Uganda (the country’s policies, laws and regulations or PLRs) and additional commitments or requirements that the country is making for the implementation of REDD+ such as procedures specified in the ESMF and other safeguards frameworks. The full text of the Principles and criteria of Uganda’s National Safeguards Standards can be accessed here.
Uganda’s approach to safeguards is characterised of the following features
A: SESA of REDD+ Strategy options
SESA of REDD+ Strategy options that involved an assessment of the likely positive and negative environmental and social impacts of the REDD+ National Strategy Options. The Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) assessed the likely positive and negative environmental and social impacts of the REDD+ Strategic Options; generated recommendations to the REDD+ Strategy work to address legal, institutional, regulatory and capacity gaps to manage environmental and social priorities associated with the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation; and provided inputs to the REDD+ implementation planning process so that environmental and social factors are addressed appropriately in the future REDD+ plans. Finally, the SESA has checked that the recommendations have been integrated into the National REDD+ Strategy.
B: Stakeholders engagement
Stakeholders engagement in defining PLR and Safeguards through; i) constituting and facilitating at local, subnational and national level platforms for stakeholder consultations and participation in the assessment of REDD+ issues, designing REDD+ Strategic options, development of REDD+ Implementation frameworks (SESA/ESMF, BSA, FGRM, SIS, PF and IPPF), developing FREL, MRV, etc. Specific platforms for engaging with special interest groups e.g., Vulnerable and Marginalized groups (Forest dependent indigenous people), women, youth were facilitated; ii) Functional SESA Taskforce that supported the REDD+ process in order to ensure that Safeguards standards and requirements are pursed in all REDD+ process activities.
C: Building capacity
Building capacity for understanding and addressing safeguards through: i) Awareness and sensitization of general public about the safeguards standards and requirements that Uganda’s REDD+ process was expected to address; ii) Training and capacity building aiming at increasing the knowledge and understanding of Safeguards of different stakeholder categories at subnational and national levels. Training and capacity building included production and dissemination of information about safeguards,
D: Respecting Safeguards:
Respecting Safeguards: the following safeguard tools and framework have been developed to guide the country in the efforts to respecting safeguards (ESMF, BSA, FGRM, SIS, PF and IPPF). These tools have been disclosed and training undertaken with selected stakeholders to enhance the capacity for applying these tools. In addition, the identified policy gaps (Table 4-1) are being addressed through an ongoing Forestry Policy Review.
E: Developing Safeguards Information System (SIS)
Developing Safeguards Information System (SIS): whose objective is to capture and report on performance of REDD+ safeguards to UNFCCC, Uganda government and public at large. The SIS adopted and lightly adapted the Cancun safeguards as principles of the National Safeguards Standards and developed a country-specific criterion for meeting Cancun Safeguards and principles. The criterion takes into account the safeguards in place in Uganda (the country’s policies, laws and regulations or PLRs) and additional commitments or requirements that the country shall make for purposes of implementing REDD+ such as procedures specified in the ESMF and other safeguards frameworks.
In addition, the following safeguards tools and frameworks have been put in place:
- The Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF)
- Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF)
- The Process Framework (PF)
- Indigenous Peoples’ Planning Framework (IPPF)
- Feedback and Grievances Redress Mechanism (FGRM)
- Benefit Sharing Arrangements (BSA)
- Gender Strategy
The preparation of these frameworks applied standard procedures, emphasizing technical analysis of issues and stakeholder consultations and inputs. These tools provide reference for compliance with safeguards standards. Through the working of the Taskforces and dedicated training in the development and application of these tools, there is reasonable workforce to spearhead the application of these frameworks. more so, CSOs/NGOs have experts in most of these frameworks and will support their institutions in monitoring compliance with the safeguards.