REDD+

Forest reference emission levels

A national forest reference emission level and/or forest reference level or, as an interim measure, subnational forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels, is one of the elements to be developed by developing country Parties implementing REDD+ activities (according to paragraph 71 of decision 1/CP.16). The COP recognized the importance and necessity of adequate and predictable financial and technology support for developing such reference levels.

Reference levels are expressed as tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year for a reference period against which the emissions and removals from a results period will be compared. Thus, reference levels serve as benchmarks for assessing each country’s performance in implementing REDD+ activities. Reference levels need to maintain consistency with the country’s greenhouse gas inventory estimates.

Reference levels should be transparent, taking into account historic data and be flexible so as to accommodate national circumstances and capabilities, while pursuing environmental integrity and avoiding perverse incentives. Developing country Parties implementing REDD+ can use a stepwise approach to construct reference levels, incorporating better data, improved methodologies and, where appropriate, additional pools. They should also update their reference level periodically, taking into account new knowledge, new trends and any modification of scope and methodologies.

Developing countries aiming to implement REDD+ activities are invited to submit a reference level to the secretariat, on a voluntary basis and when deemed appropriate. The information contained in the submission should be transparent, complete, consistent with guidance agreed by the COP and accurate. The information provided should be guided by the most recent IPCC guidance and guidelines, as adopted or encouraged by the COP.

Each submission of a proposed reference level, in the context of results-based payments, shall be subject to a technical assessment. Each submission is technically assessed by an assessment team in accordance with the procedures and time frames established by the COP. The technical assessment process is conducted once a year and is coordinated by the secretariat. The full guidelines and procedures for the technical assessment of submissions from Parties on proposed reference levels are contained in decision 13/CP.19 and its annex.

Having an assessed national reference level or, as an interim measure, subnational reference levels in place is one of the requirements in order to be eligible for results-based payments in accordance with decision 9/CP.19. A link to the final technical assessment report should also be provided in the Lima REDD+ Information Hub.

Most relevant COP decisions: 4/CP.15, 1/CP.16, 12.CP/17, 13/CP.19



Technical assessment of submissions from Parties on proposed forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels

The COP, in its decision 13/CP.19, decided that each submission on proposed forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels, in accordance with decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 71(b), shall be subject to a technical assessment.

The guidelines and procedures for the technical assessment of submissions from Parties on forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels are contained in decision 13/CP.19 and its annex.

Each submission is technically assessed by an assessment team in accordance with the procedures and time frames established in these guidelines. The technical assessment process is conducted once a year and is coordinated by the secretariat.

Parties have been informed about the first technical assessment process in a message to Parties on 9 April 2014.

The secretariat informed Parties about the proposed timing for the technical assessments to be organized in 2016 and 2017 in a message to Parties on 19 February 2015.


Countries that submitted a proposed forest reference emission level and/or forest reference level