FAQs

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 will highlight 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 finally for activities to be implemented. The REDDX initiative aims to reveal the pros and cons of various existing REDD+ financing architecture, 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 submitting 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 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, 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 is contingent on the support of the REDD+ Focal Point.
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Where is data for 2013?

Starting in January of each year, REDDX begins to compile data for the previous year. We expect data collection to be completed by early Summer of each year with data clean-up, validation and publication completed by Fall, if not earlier. This timeframe also allows us to take into account different donor financial accounting and reporting periods which have tended to run from January to December and from April to March annually, respectively. In addition, occasional updates may also be made quarterly.

Therefore, 2013 data will be collected January – June 2014 and will likely be published in Fall 2014, if not earlier.

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What other countries will be involved in the REDDX initiative and when will their data be available?

REDDX is currently active in fourteen countries:

Africa 
Ethiopia– scoping 
Ghana – 2011 data reported; 2012 data coming Fall 2013 
Liberia – 2012 data reported 
Tanzania – 2012 data reported 
Democratic Republic of Congo – scoping

Latin America 
Mexico – scoping 
Ecuador – data updated through 2012
Brazil – completed feasibility studies
Guyana – scoping 
Colombia – 2012 data reported 
Peru – scoping

Asia Pacific 
Indonesia – scoping 
Vietnam –data updated through 2012
Papua New Guinea – scoping

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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 fourteen initiative countries. Given that this is a complex task involving thousands of intricate financial flows between organizations, not all activities can realistically be captured, especially during the first year. 

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' REDDX contracts local civil society groups in-country to work independently to interview REDD+ stakeholders and collect primary data. REDDX is therefore unique in the breadth of public and private data tracked and the focus on expenditures data.

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 commitments, pledges and disbursements of REDD+ funding (defined by the reporting party).
reddplusdatabase.org/faq

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.
www.climatefundsupdate.org

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 other forms of REDD+ finance.
www.theredddesk.org

Tropical Forest Group tracks all US government pledges and commitments for REDD+. The Tropical Forest Group has developed a database of all instances where US government agencies have stated either financial flows for sustainable tropical forestry or quantitative forest impacts (such as hectares protected, trees planted, kilometers of firebreaks, etc). The goals of the database are to improve transparency around US government REDD+ finance and to monitor how well the US is meeting its fast start finance REDD+ pledge of $1 billion.
www.usreddfinance.org

Transparency International is aimed at helping ensure that climate financing decisions and actions are conducted with sufficient transparency, accountability and integrity to prevent corruption from undermining effective adaptation and mitigation. At the global level, TI is mapping key international institutions involved in the channeling of public climate finance (including REDD+), and an assessment of 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).
www.transparency.org

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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.
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How does REDDX define "international NGOs/academia"?

“International NGOs/academia” includes international, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such environmental organizations and/or independent academic institutions with headquarters outside the recipient country. In general, academic institutions that are funded by governments, such as 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. Their 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 (and who may, in turn, pass on to additional organizations);
  • >Passed on to other national organizations through sub-grants or consultancies to implement activities (and who may, in turn, pass on to additional organizations);
  • >Passed on directly to local communities or households for 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 spent.

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 this might be spent, and whether this will be fully spent on REDD+ activities.

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How does REDDX define “disbursement”?

A “disbursement” in the context of this 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 this 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, and where possible, allow us to make the information public. By increasing transparency around REDD+ finance, donors will have a more comprehensive picture of the REDD+ financing landscape and be able to make the most effective funding decisions while better assessing REDD+ as a mechanism addressing 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. To date, only two organizations have requested anonymity. In these cases, Forest Trends has aggregated data to maintain anonymity while highlighting general trends, levels of funding and the REDD+ activities supported. This data therefore will appear grouped and will not be associated with an organization or location.

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Section 3: Donor commitments and disbursements

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

The REDDX maps the timing of the disbursal of committed funds.

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 finance and 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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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, safeguard, administrative, and consultative 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, which ultimately, slows the rate at which REDD+ activities are implemented on the ground. Additional analysis of the reasons for slow disbursement rates will be available as part of a broader Forest Trends’ REDD+ Finance Report to be published Fall 2013.

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Section 4: Recipient types and location

When will REDDX begin to whole chain of finance flow, including transfers from the donor to first, second, and third recipients?

There are two main reasons why the REDDX initiative does not currently show all of the funds that have been transferred from international institutions to additional recipients in-country.  

  1. In some instances, it is likely that slow disbursement rates from donors mean that the first recipient of the REDD+ finance has not yet received the funding to transfer this sum onto additional partners or in-country offices. Additional tracking over the next three years will start to highlight when funding is either expended/spent by an international institution in-country or transferred to a local organization.
  2. The first round of REDDX data collection focused on mapping the main donors and first recipients of funding for REDD+ activities between 2009 and 2011. In subsequent rounds, some partners have been able to identify second recipients. Additional data collection focusing on both second and third recipients will begin to highlight what happens to REDD+ finance committed to international institutions and when it reaches the country.
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Section 5: 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 different types of REDD+ activities in-country. REDDX cannot disaggregate the relative breakdown of financial support going to different REDD+ activities into different categories.

A “tick” against a specific category only indicates that there is at least partial funding for the indicated REDD+ activity. This means that donors seemingly 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.

The first round of REDDX data collection has focused on mapping the REDD+ activities in country and starting to reveal the types of donors funding specific, different REDD+ activities. Additional data collection in the next three years will focus on determining the relative amounts of donor funding supporting different REDD+ activities to support national and international REDD+ gaps and needs analysis.

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