To download the full Nesting Under ART paper, please click here.

ART issues credits only at the jurisdictional level, to national or large subnational governments. This is important not only for achieving results at scale, but also because acting at the jurisdictional level provides incentives to governments to improve forest governance: regulate land-use, enforce laws, promote forest incentives programs, and recognize Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ (IPLC) land rights.

However, a jurisdictional approach does not prohibit the government from working with a variety of stakeholders to achieve greater ambition. For REDD+ programs at the jurisdictional scale, it is anticipated and expected that the government will provide oversight and coordination, but that design and implementation will be done in concert with a variety of partners, including regional and local governments, Indigenous Peoples, local communities and the private sector.

While ART does not directly credit project-level activities, they can be implemented under a jurisdictional REDD+ program through a variety of scenarios. ART fully recognizes the important role that projects can play in implementing a jurisdictional REDD+ Strategy.  For example, project-level activities can target deforestation hot-spots and efficiently allocate the capital and human resources necessary to address immediate threats in high-risk areas.

Incorporation of project-level activities in a jurisdictional framework is broadly referred to as “nesting.” While this term is used in many different ways, under ART, nesting is the integration of the design and implementation of REDD+ activities at multiple scales within a jurisdiction to align the accounting of smaller-scale activities with jurisdictional systems and with national reporting.

TREES includes robust environmental and social safeguards; however, ART does not prescribe the way that governments work with Indigenous Peoples, local communities or the private sector. Rather, TREES intentionally offers flexibility to accommodate any number of approaches for nesting project-level activities or allocating benefits that best suit specific jurisdictional circumstances.

Any option agreed upon by the relevant parties for nesting or benefit sharing between governments and non-government entities – which could include communities, organized civil society, projects, or individual landowners – are permissible within ART. ART does not stipulate how this is done. However, it is important to note any agreement would be subject to TREES’ requirements regarding environmental and social safeguards, as well as double counting and double issuance.

For a description of options for nesting under ART and additional nesting FAQs, please download the full paper here.

The world’s forests are a critical solution to reduce and stabilize emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees as needed to avoid catastrophic effects of climate change. Forest conservation and restoration can provide over one-third of the solution needed in the next two decades, representing a gigaton-scale mitigation opportunity.

In addition, protecting and restoring forests is essential to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Keeping forests intact also secures the planet’s biodiversity and ecosystems and sustains livelihoods for millions of indigenous peoples and local communities that depend on the resources that forests provide.

REDD+ stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. REDD+ programs foster conservation, sustainable management of forests and (the “plus”) enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

To date protection of forests using REDD+ has been accomplished either through bilateral donor-funded initiatives or by corporations investing in project-level REDD+ activities, and there has been no widely adopted system for crediting of REDD+ at the national and subnational levels, which is what is needed to scale finance to reduce deforestation.

The Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART), is a global voluntary initiative to that seeks to reward countries for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, or REDD+. By enhancing transparency and credibility, ART aims to help unlock new, large-scale financing to facilitate sustainable land use and, in turn, protect forests.

ART will provide a rigorous standard and comprehensive process to transparently register, verify and issue REDD+ emissions reductions credits that embody the highest environmental and social integrity. Under ART, countries will generate verified emissions reduction credits by reducing their deforestation and degradation emissions below a specified crediting level and meeting other requirements detailed in the The REDD+ Environmental Excellency Standard (TREES).

Once issued, these serialized credits can be sold into voluntary or compliance markets, can be transferred under the Paris Agreement towards meeting NDCs and increasing ambition, or can be used as a donor pay-for-performance mechanism, providing financial incentives to the country to continue reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation.

Countries need to attract significant finance to fund the transition to sustainable land use without deforestation. And REDD+ funders need a credible and transparent way to ensure results.

The Warsaw Framework was developed under the UNFCCC to promote, recognize and reward reductions in emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; however, the framework itself was not designed to meet market requirements to secure large-scale financing for forests.

As a result, investments in REDD+ to date have largely been bilateral, or multilateral via the World Bank Carbon Fund and the Green Climate Fund. These structures have been invaluable to set the stage for REDD+, and establish significant norms and capacity. However, they were also not designed to meet market requirements to drive finance at scale.

Significant new sources of government and private-sector finance can be mobilized with more rigorous jurisdictional approaches to REDD+ that meet the highest technical, environmental and social standards and are aligned with Paris Agreement commitments. ART aims to provide confidence in the environmental integrity needed to unlock finance for REDD+ at national scale.

ART will provide a credible, independent program overseen by a Board and Secretariat including a rigorous Standard to quantify emissions reductions from REDD+ activities at a national scale and a comprehensive process to transparently register, verify and issue serialized credits that represent the highest environmental and social integrity and are fungible with emissions reductions units from other sectors.

ART is a voluntary framework that aims to create a path for forest countries and jurisdictions to have their REDD+ emission reductions assessed for high environmental and social integrity. The rigor and transparency of ART will be a global best-practice stamp of approval for REDD+, providing confidence to policy makers, donors and other market participants that will help channel new sources of large-scale finance to reward countries for reducing deforestation.

Notably, ART countries will have unique access to a guaranteed source of demand for the purchase of ART emission reduction credits: the Emergent Forest Finance Accelerator. Emergent aims to catalyze new capital flows into tropical forest protection and restoration globally by streamlining access to a wide range of REDD+ buyers.

There has been significant REDD+ implementation under other early action and pilot initiatives. ART will build on this work, aiming to promote greater ambition and to include more precise technical, verification, safeguard and registration requirements to create emissions reductions units that are fungible with those from other sectors.

ART’s governing Board and Secretariat will oversee the development and implementation of a Standard and comprehensive registration process to ensure emissions reductions of high environmental and social integrity. The ART will be consistent with UNFCCC decisions under the Paris Agreement, Warsaw Framework and the Cancun Safeguards, including social safeguards to recognize, respect, protect and fulfill the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and to promote sustainable livelihoods.

ART will include requirements for enhanced ambition, independent third-party verification by an accredited organization, the issuance of serialized national scale REDD+ emissions reductions on a transparent registry system, and full verified implementation of the Cancun Safeguards.

ART is focused on national-level REDD+ crediting, while allowing direct subnational participation with national government approval during a transition period through 2030 for jurisdictions that meet specific eligibility criteria. For countries that have already participated in REDD+ programs and have established MRV systems in place, additional work will be needed to meet the requirements of TREES, but can build upon the work already accomplished.

All countries will have to submit documentation as required by ART detailing crediting level determination, emission reduction calculations, and deductions for uncertainty, leakage and buffer contributions. The submission will undergo an independent third-party verification and be approved by the ART Board in order to be issued ART emissions reductions.

Emission reductions under ART will be almost certainly be different than those calculated under other programs as each program has its own approaches for determining uncertainty, risk of reversal and leakage and other aspects of emission reduction quantification. ART seeks to make treatment of these issues as quantitative as possible. In addition, under ART crediting baselines will initially reflect historical emissions levels.

ART REDD+ emissions reductions (ERs) may be purchased by companies and organizations to voluntarily reduce emissions or could be approved for use by companies in regulated carbon markets. Companies in hard-to-abate sectors such as energy and transportation will be attracted to the integrity that ART will offer for REDD+ emissions reductions. ART ERs may also be transferred between countries to meet Paris Agreement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and raise ambition.