Section 1: REDDX initiative aims and background

Why is the initiative called "REDDX"?

“REDDX” stands for REDD eXpenditures and reflects the focus on tracking REDD+ finance from high level donor commitments, all the way down to how and when funds are actually expended/spent on the ground. Tracking commitments, disbursements and expenditures highlights the full chain of donors and recipients as well as the length of time it takes for committed funding to reach REDD+ recipient countries and for activities to be implemented. The REDDX initiative aims to reveal the pros and cons of various existing REDD+ financing architectures, encourage broader discussion around REDD+ finance, and support national and international REDD+ policy gaps and needs analysis.

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How is the REDDX data collected?

Forest Trends works in partnership with local in-country civil society groups to collect the REDDX data, and with national REDD+ Focal Points and other stakeholders to review the data and analysis.

REDDX National Partners start by mapping the REDD+ landscape, determining the main donors and recipients of finance before conducting several rounds of interviews to map flows of funding committed, disbursed and transferred down a chain of recipients. Typically, the National Partner works with the national REDD+ Focal Point to host a review and validation meeting with REDD+ stakeholders and ultimately draft a national report summarizing the findings and submit this data to the REDD+ Partnership Voluntary REDD+ Database (VRD).

By interviewing REDD+ donors and recipients in-country, the REDDX initiative is compiling new data on REDD+ financing that has never been publicly available.

REDDX methodology at a glance
Working on an annual cycle starting in January of each year for the collection of the previous years’ data, REDDX National Partners:

  1. Map the key donors, recipients and REDD+ activities in-country through a combination of researching publicly available information and conducting interviews;
  2. Map commitments, disbursements and expenditures as well as the nature of activities implemented through interviews with both donors and recipients and, to a lesser extent, through review of publicly available information;
  3. Conduct follow-up interviews with project managers for each REDD+ initiative to check data;
  4. When REDD+ finance is transferred from first recipient to secondary or even tertiary recipients, conduct additional interviews and follow-up interviews;
  5. Review REDDX data with national government REDD+ Focal Point. Typically, the National Partner and the REDD+ Focal Point will then host a national review and validation meeting with the main REDD+ stakeholders in-country, draft an annual national report on findings and submit the data to the REDD+ Partnership Voluntary REDD+ Database. It is important to note, however, that this collaboration is contingent on the support of the REDD+ Focal Point.
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Where is data for 2015?

The REDDX Initiative tracked REDD+ finance from 2009 through 2014. REDD+ finance information for subsequent years has not been tracked, as the REDDX Initiative came to a conclusion following the collection of REDD+ finance information for 2014.

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Why does this data not include all REDD+ activities?

REDDX aims to comprehensively track commitments, disbursements and expenditures as well as the nature of REDD+ activities/projects in the thirteen initiative countries. Given that this is a complex task involving thousands of intricate financial flows between organizations, not all activities can realistically be captured. 

REDDX relies on the interest and transparency of REDD+ donors, recipients and stakeholders who understand the value of this data in revealing the pros and cons of various existing REDD+ financing architecture. We promote a number of review and validation processes before data is published but ultimately rely on as many contributions as possible from those working in the REDD+ space. If you would like to report on any data that is missing or inaccurate, please contact us at reddx@forest-trends.org

REDDX is a multi-year initiative which will be able to integrate additional data, even from past years, annually at least through 2015.

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How is the REDDX initiative different from other tracking initiatives and the REDD+ Partnership's Voluntary REDD+ Database (VRD)?

Forest Trends' REDDinitiative contracts local civil society groups in-country to interview REDD+ stakeholders and collect primary data. REDDX is unique in its breadth and depth of public and private REDD+ finance tracking, and in its focus on capturing disbursements in addition to commitments.

However, Forest Trends only currently tracks this level of information in thirteen countries. To develop a better understanding of the global state of REDD+ financing, REDDX works with the following complementary REDD+ tracking initiatives:

The REDD+ Partnership’s Voluntary REDD+ Funding Database is a publicly available database of REDD+ finance submitted voluntarily by government REDD+ Focal Points, the major multilateral institutions and other organizations that are members of the Partnership. The VRD tracks pledges, commitments, and disbursements of REDD+ funding (as defined by the reporting party).

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Climate Funds Update tracks a wider scope of climate finance data which includes, but is not limited to, REDD+. The data is compiled through research of publicly available information and consultations with climate funds.

The Global Canopy Programme’s REDD Countries Database tracks REDD+ data including some financial commitments, working independently with in-country organizations. The focus of the REDD Countries Database has been on tracking REDD+ activities, with less emphasis on tracking and reporting REDD+ finance.

Transparency International aims to ensure that climate financing decisions and actions are conducted with sufficient transparency, accountability and integrity in order to prevent corruption from undermining effective adaptation and mitigation efforts. At the global level, TI is mapping key international institutions involved in the channeling of public climate finance (including REDD+), and assessing their independence, transparency, accountability and integrity (ie. vulnerability to corruption). The same assessment is being carried out at the country-level in six countries (Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Maldives, Mexico and Peru).


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Section 2: REDDX definitions

How does REDDX define "REDD+ finance"?

A working definition of “REDD+ finance” remains heavily debated within the international policy context. For the sake of this project and to promote consistency with other REDD+ tracking initiatives and broader international approaches to REDD+, the REDDX initiative defines “REDD+ finance” as:  

  1. International REDD+ Finance: Any international financial transfers earmarked to support REDD+ mechanisms or initiatives, as currently defined by the UNFCCC, that are developed with the aim of reducing net GHG emissions from the forestry sector.
  2. National REDD+ Finance:  Monies earmarked and spent for any activities or actions that fall within the scope of the REDD+ definition found within an individual country’s approved REDD Readiness Preparation Proposal (RPP) or other existing country REDD+ strategy.

REDD+ finance thus includes REDD-readiness activities at all scales, from site-specific REDD+ pilot projects, to national level policy development. However, given the wide variety of forest-based carbon sequestration projects under development throughout the world, and the fact that there is no single definition of ‘REDD+’, REDDX utilizes the following criteria in determining which site-specific forest carbon projects to track as part of REDDX, and which to exclude.

  • Projects tracked by REDDX:
    • REDD+ pilot or demonstration projects that have formal ties to the government, are intended to inform REDD+ policy development, and/or intend to integrate within higher-level jurisdictional carbon accounting schemes when these systems are put in place.
  • Projects not tracked by REDDX:
    • Independent forest carbon projects which are unaffiliated with national or subnational REDD+ policy development
    • Projects developed to generate and sell carbon credits on the voluntary carbon market, and which do not intend to integrate within higher-level jurisdictional carbon accounting systems
    • Afforestation/Reforestation projects, and projects seeking validation under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
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How does REDDX define "international NGOs/academia"?

“International NGOs/academia” includes international, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as environmental organizations and/or independent academic institutions with headquarters outside the recipient country. In general, academic institutions that are wholly funded by governments, such as some national universities and research centers are grouped under “donor governments”.
Many international institutions receive donor funding for REDD+ activities to be implemented at the international, regional and/or national level. This finance is typically spent in the following ways:

  • At headquarters on their own staff and operations supportive of donor and/or recipient country objectives;
  • At regional or national offices on their own staff and operations supportive of donor and/or recipient country objectives;
  • Passed on to other international organizations through sub-grants or consultancies to implement activities (these recipients may, in turn, pass on to additional organizations);
  • Passed on to other national organizations through sub-grants or consultancies to implement activities (these recipients may, in turn, pass on to additional organizations);
  • Passed on directly to local communities or households as payments for environmental services.
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How does REDDX define “commitment”?

REDDX defines “commitment” as a formal indication from a donor that they will fund REDD+ activities in a country. This “commitment” will be backed up by a legal or formal agreement specifying the total amount of funding for the recipient, a timeline for activities and a schedule for when finance will be disbursed and expended.

This is not to be confused with a “pledge”. Pledges of REDD+ finance are often made as announcements of support from donor governments with no legal or formal indication that this funding will be released, no terms for how it might be spent, and no guarantee that it will be fully used to support REDD+ activities.

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How does REDDX define “disbursement”?

A “disbursement” in the context of the REDDX initiative is the transfer of funds from a donor to a recipient or from a recipient to an additional recipient in the funding chain.

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How does REDDX define “expenditure”?

An “expenditure” in the context of the REDDX initiative is when REDD+ finance is actually spent or expended on REDD+ activities on the ground.

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Why is some of the data grouped or confidential?

In certain instances, donors or recipients requested that their information remain anonymous.

Forest Trends works carefully with National Partners to encourage transparency of all REDD+ finance information, seeking to make the information public wherever possible. By increasing transparency around REDD+ finance, REDDX provides donors with a more comprehensive picture of the REDD+ financing landscape, enabling them to make effective and efficient funding decisions  and to better utilize REDD+ as a mechanism to address climate change. For the most part, donors and recipients have been extremely supportive of this need to promote transparency and increase the level of information on REDD+ finance. In the rare cases in which donors or recipients request anonymity, Forest Trends has aggregated data to maintain confidentiality while still highlighting general trends, levels of funding and the REDD+ activities supported.

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Section 3: Donor commitments and disbursements

Why aren't donors disbursing funds that they have committed?

A short time lag between commitments and disbursements should be expected as grant agreements, and technical and administrative management structures for the funds are established. Financial commitments for REDD+ activities are often made for longer term projects or grants that span several years with the idea that activities and spending will be spread out over the period of the project. In a normal situation, disbursements should be expected to eventually “catch up” as all the committed funding is released for REDD+ activities.

Data collected by REDDX to date shows that there is significant variance in donor disbursement rates which is directly impacting when REDD+ activities are implemented on the ground. REDDX does not, however, attempt to determine the cause of delays (unless it has been publicly acknowledged by both recipient and donor).

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How does REDDX calculate disbursement rates, and why are they often so low?

REDDX shows disbursement rates as the percentage of total committed funds that have been disbursed by the end of a given year. In many instances, REDD+ finance commitments extend over multiple years, with annual commitment schedules predicting how much finance will be released each year throughout the life of the financing agreement. However, these annual commitment schedules are frequently modified and constantly changing, making it impossible to track them accurately. For this reason, REDDX is unable to calculate disbursement rates against annual commitment schedules. Disbursement rates are instead calculated as the fraction of all committed funding which will eventually be disbursed, making the disbursement rates appear low in instances where large, multi-year financing agreements have recently been signed.

Do slow disbursement rates mean that donors are just sitting on funds?

Not necessarily. There are many reasons why REDD+ finance can appear “stuck” with a donor or recipient. Required legal, bureaucratic, administrative, and consultative safeguard structures can all contribute to delays in disbursals or implementation. Many of these requirements are difficult for recipient countries to meet without sufficient project preparation support. Often, slow disbursement rates are a combination of both donors and all the recipients in a funding chain, ultimately slowing the rate at which REDD+ activities are implemented on the ground. REDDX will continue to monitor, analyze and report on trends in disbursement rates by region and institution, making this information available both in individual country reports and annual synthesis reports.

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Section 4: REDD+ activities

Does a "tick" against a specific category indicate that there is a fixed amount of funding going to support that REDD+ activity?

No. Most REDD+ projects will have components directed at multiple different types of REDD+ activities in-country. REDDX cannot disaggregate the relative breakdown of financial support going to these different REDD+ activities.

A “tick” against a specific category only indicates that there is at least partial funding for the indicated REDD+ activity. This means that donors or initiatives supporting stakeholder engagement and rights and tenure may be spending 90% of the funding on stakeholder engagement activities and only 10% of funding on rights and tenure, or vice versa.

REDDX data collection focuses on mapping the REDD+ activities in-country to reveal the types of donors funding different REDD+ activities, and to support country level gaps and needs analysis by identifying which types of activities are being overlooked.

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