This report is an output of the first iteration of a process of real-time evaluation of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI). This strand of evaluation addresses NICFI’s contribution to the development of an international regime to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) within a broader climate change agreement, and covers the period from the launch of NICFI to the end of June 2010. The other strand (published separately) examines NICFI’s support to the formulation and implementation of national REDD+ strategies.

Norway’s contribution to the advancement of REDD+ within the international negotiations on a climate change agreement beyond 2012 has been substantial. It is unlikely that this section of the draft climate change agreement would have developed to its current form without the input of NICFI. The greatest overall risk to further progress is that a climate change agreement will not be achieved. Norway needs to consider what might happen in a situation of gradual evolution. NICFI represents an innovative but huge investment by Norway. Its massive size and wide scope mean it carries substantial political risk. It is essential to minimize this risk through continuing to engage and hold both widespread public support and hence widely based political support. There has been some criticism from within Real-Time Evaluation of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative   xxi

Norway, predominantly on the grounds that REDD+ is a mechanism for off-setting emissions rather than reducing them. This criticism is one that is applied more widely to REDD+ and is not specific to NICFI, but it does emphasise the importance of Norway being seen to achieve success through NICFI, with both regard to the  prospects for inclusion of an effective and equitable REDD+ mechanism in the  post-2012 climate regime and with regard to identifiable support for Norway’s  general developmental objectives.

The biggest operational risk is that initiatives will become bogged down in circular discussion and negotiation on details, either within a post-agreement committee stage or within the institutions of the UN-REDD programme, FCPF, FIP and members of the Interim REDD+ Partnership. Effort is needed to clarify a number of things, including Norway’s specific objectives but in particular the nature of present and potential REDD transactions in terms of expectations, benefit sharing, responsibilities, etc. This clarification process should help frame the relevant social and environmental conditions and should also point the way to a clear progression from initial donor-based support to a fully fledged international fund or market-based system.