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The “Cancun Safeguards”


The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), at its 16th meeting in 2010, adopted the Cancun Agreements, under which it was agreed that Parties which decide to implement REDD+ should promote and support seven safeguards throughout the implementation of the five REDD+ activities.

Referred to as the “Cancun safeguards”, under the Appendix of the Cancun Agreement, these seven safeguards aim to enhance the benefits of REDD+ and avoid or minimise harm. They are as follows:

a) That actions complement or are consistent with the objectives of national forest programmes and relevant international conventions and agreements;

b) Transparent and effective national forest governance structures, taking into account national legislation and sovereignty;

c) Respect for the knowledge and rights of Indigenous Peoples and members of local communities, by taking into account relevant international obligations, national circumstances and laws, and noting that the United Nations General Assembly has adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

d) The full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular Indigenous Peoples and local communities, in the actions referred to in paragraphs 70 and 72 of this decision;

e) That actions are consistent with the conservation of natural forests and biological diversity, ensuring that the actions referred to in paragraph 70 of this decision are not used for the conversion of natural forests, but are instead used to incentivize the protection and conservation of natural forests and their ecosystem services, and to enhance other social and environmental benefits;

f) Actions to address the risks of reversals; and

g) Actions to reduce displacement of emissions.


In addition to supporting the seven safeguards, Parties were requested to meet two other safeguards requirements: establish a safeguards information system (SIS) to demonstrate how the seven safeguards are being addressed and respected throughout the implementation of the REDD+ activities; and provide a summary of information on this to the UNFCCC.


National approach to the safeguards


International safeguards requirements aim to ensure that any social and environmental risks of REDD+ activities are minimized and that the benefits of REDD+ are enhanced. A national approach to the REDD+ safeguards allows a country to meet these international requirements in a way that accords with national goals and circumstances and makes full use of existing systems in the country.

There is a recognition that REDD+ safeguards approaches need to be designed to meet the unique needs and circumstances of specific countries. Components of a national approach to safeguards include three core elements:

     I.        Policies, laws and regulations in the country that address the safeguards;

    II.        Institutional mandates, procedures and capacities to ensure that the safeguards  are being respected; and,

   III.        A safeguards information system that makes information available on how REDD+ safeguards are being addressed and respected.

Through its National UN-REDD Programme, Myanmar is developing its country approach to safeguards and its SIS, with guidance from the Technical Working Group on Stakeholder Engagement and Safeguards (TWG-SES).

Myanmar has used a step-wise and iterative method to develop its approach to the REDD+ safeguards. It builds on existing policies, laws and regulations (PLRs), institutions and information systems as far as possible, and allows Myanmar to meet international safeguards requirements, in harmony with national goals. It has involved the consultation and participation of stakeholders at national and sub-national levels, and is strongly linked to the design of REDD+ Policies and Measures (PAMs) and the development of the National REDD+ Strategy. The development of Mongolia’s safeguards approach has consisted of six main steps:

1: Develop a Safeguards Roadmap, and determine safeguards goals and scope

2: Assessment of potential benefits & risks of REDD+ Policies and Measures (PAMs)

3: Review of Policies, Laws and Regulations (PLRs) and clarification of safeguards in the Myanmar context

4. Identification of information needs and structure for SIS

5. Review of existing information systems and sources

6. Identification of SIS design options, building on existing systems


For more information, please see the download links below.


Myanmar Safeguards Roadmap (Eng and MM version)



Myanmar benefits and risks summary by Safeguards 2018 (Eng version)


Myanmar National Clarification of UNFCCC REDD+ Safeguards (Eng & MM version)



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