What are the Cancun Safeguards?

In November 2010, during the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it was decided that Parties implementing REDD Plus activities are to promote and support the seven safeguards in accordance with national circumstances and respective capabilities. These Safeguards, later called the ‘Cancun Safeguards’, were laid out in paragraph 2 of Appendix I to Decision 1/CP.16.

Slide Safeguard A Safeguard B Safeguard F Safeguard C Safeguard D Safeguard E Safeguard G Cancun Safeguards

Benefits of Implementing the Cancun Safeguards in Malaysia

The Cancun Safeguards – which aim to safeguard against social, environmental and governance risks as well as enhance benefits – can play a vital role in ensuring that the implementation and outcomes of REDD Plus in Malaysia are effective and sustainable. Implementing the Cancun Safeguards can provide a number of benefits to the forest sector and beyond:

  • Because the Safeguards can reduce potential negative impacts while promoting positive outcomes, the quality of REDD Plus implementation can be strengthened.
  • The Safeguards pay particular attention to issues such as reducing the risks of reversals as well as social and environmental concerns, that can improve the sustainability of REDD Plus actions, results and finance over the long-term.
  • The Safeguards, including through explicit attention to building on existing national processes, can help to ensure that REDD Plus contributes to broader national goals and programs, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, national forest policies, and biodiversity conservation priorities.
  • Adherence to the Safeguards can also help to build confidence among relevant partners and stakeholders and provide assurance that REDD Plus is meeting expectations of environmental sustainability and social equity. The Safeguards and the operation of the Safeguards Information System (SIS) can promote greater transparency across REDD Plus implementation, consistent reporting on REDD Plus actions, more accessible information for stakeholders, and improved data sharing across sectors.

According to the relevant UNFCCC decisions, countries implementing REDD Plus should meet three main requirements in relation to the Safeguards:

  • The Safeguards need to be ‘addressed’ and ‘respected’ throughout REDD Plus implementation.
  • A national-level SIS needs to be put in place.
  • Summaries of safeguards information (also known as Summary of Information, or “SOI”), reporting on how the safeguards have been addresses and respected, need to be produced periodically.