Verra, the world’s leading standard setter for climate action and sustainable development, will release a new consolidated REDD methodology in Q3 of 2023. The updated methodology ensures that forest conservation credits issued with the certification of Verra’s flagship Verified Carbon Standard maintain the highest level of integrity. The new REDD methodology is an evolution of existing procedures for robust and transparent quantification of greenhouse gas emission reductions from high-quality forest conservation activities. Important innovations of this new REDD methodology strengthen projects’ vital role in mitigating climate change and reducing the loss of critical forests and biodiversity. They include:
- Allocated activity data using a single deforestation dataset for the entire jurisdiction ensures that projects don’t have to rely on reference regions to project future deforestation. Baseline data is allocated based on project areas’ vulnerability.
- Crowdsourced data for deforestation risk vetted and provided by Verra ensures that projects use best-quality inputs to determine the expected danger of deforestation across the jurisdiction.
Projects using existing VCS Avoiding Unplanned Deforestation and Degradation (AUDD) project methodologies will transition to this new REDD methodology as soon as data for their respective jurisdictions are available.
Verra will publish the draft methodology — which was open for public consultation in spring 2022 — when it is undergoing assessment by a validation/verification body so that stakeholders can familiarize themselves with it.
Once activity data are available for a jurisdiction, all projects in this jurisdiction (new, listed, or registered) can adopt the new REDD methodology. After a six-month grace period following the activity data release, the new methodology becomes mandatory, as set out below.
- Projects requesting pipeline listing with the status “under development” or “under validation” after the end of the six-month grace period must use the new REDD methodology. This includes projects that were already listed “under development” but requested a status change to “under validation” after the end of the grace period.
- Projects that are listed with the status “under validation” before the end of the six-month grace period may proceed with validation using any previous AUDD methodology (VM0006, VM0007, VM0009, VM0015, and VM0037) only if they can complete validation within one year of the start of the public comment period. Such projects will be allowed to verify using their registered baseline if they can complete verification before 1 January 2025.
- Projects that are registered and that initiate verification after the six-month grace period must use the new REDD methodology.
We anticipate that data for all jurisdictions with existing REDD projects will be available by 1 January 2025. Verra will inform all projects listed or registered on the Verra Registry when we begin to develop data for the jurisdiction in which they are located. Projects will be informed of activity data availability about ten months before using the new methodology becomes mandatory for a jurisdiction.
In the new REDD methodology, baselines are set at the jurisdictional level for six-year periods (the jurisdictional baseline validity period). If a project adopts the new REDD methodology in the middle of such a six-year period, it must immediately adopt the jurisdictionally allocated baseline. The project may maintain this initial baseline for the first six years. After those six years, the project’s baseline must align with the jurisdictional baseline current at that time.
For example, where a project adopts the consolidated REDD methodology in the second year of the jurisdictional baseline validity period, it would use that baseline for six years. Two years into the next jurisdictional baseline validity period, the project must align with the jurisdiction’s current baseline for four years. The project would update its baseline when the jurisdiction’s baseline is next updated.
Verra has identified five states of Brazil (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, and Rondônia), Cambodia, Colombia, Mai-Ndombe Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe as the first jurisdictions for activity data collection, risk mapping, and activity data allocation.
In the coming weeks, Verra will announce two opportunities related to the allocation data for these jurisdictions:
- A request for proposals for the development of jurisdictional activity data, risk maps, and allocation of data to AUDD projects; and
- A solicitation of materials for activity data (e.g., sample plot observations representative of the jurisdiction, including those developed for the national forest reference emission level) and risk map development.
We encourage any entity – project proponent, government, or other stakeholder – to respond with proposals and data.
If you have any questions about the consolidated REDD methodology or the AUDD project transition process, please see the frequently asked questions or contact Salvador Sánchez Colón, Manager, REDD+ Technical Innovation, (firstname.lastname@example.org). If your question is related to a project listed on the Verra Registry, please provide that project’s identification number in your email.