In 1992, 197 Parties adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a response to tackle global warming. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted by the Parties to the UNFCCC, which strengthened the Convention by setting legally binding emission reduction requirements for 37 industrialized countries. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. The UNFCCC divides countries into three (3) main groups according to differing commitments, namely (a) Annex I Parties, (b) Annex II Parties, and (c) Non-Annex I Parties. Malaysia became a Non-Annex I Party to the UNFCCC when it ratified the Convention in 1994. Malaysia also ratified the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement in 2002 and 2016 respectively.
In response to global deforestation and forest degradation, and during the 13th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC in Bali, Indonesia in 2007, Parties agreed under the Bali Action Plan on a climate change mitigation approach designed to incentivise developing countries to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. This mitigation approach is known as “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” or REDD. A year later, at the 14th meeting of the COP in Pozna, Poland, the concept of REDD was expanded to “REDD Plus” or “REDD+” to include “the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.” The implementation of REDD Plus activities is voluntary and depends on the national circumstances, capacities and capabilities of each developing country and the level of support received.