World’s first accounting and verification framework for jurisdictional REDD+ programs and nested projects
The VCS Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) Framework is the world’s first accounting and verification framework for jurisdictional REDD+ programs and nested projects. It was designed as a market-ready accounting and crediting framework to catalyze high-impact forest conservation activities that produce important co-benefits for the communities that maintain them while also supporting national governments in reaching their long-term climate goals.
The JNR framework serves as a comprehensive carbon accounting and crediting platform for governments to guide development of their REDD+ programs and help nest REDD+ projects and subnational jurisdictions within these programs. It is rigorous enough to meet the needs of market-based mechanisms around the world, such as the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and is also aligned with the Paris Agreement, as such able to serve multiple markets.
Why Do We Need Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+?
Protecting and restoring forests, and improving forest management practices could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7 billion metric tons of CO2e annually. For the forest sector to reach this potential, policies and economic incentives need to be put in place to advance forest protection at all levels- from national policy to scaled up community-led forest conservation. Time is of the essence, and every tool and scale of implementation are needed to avoid catastrophic climate change and protect critical biodiversity.
Important efforts are underway in the form of government policies and programs supported through public finance (national and international) on the one hand and site-specific activities funded by private actors in deforestation and degradation hot-spots on the other hand.
Combining these interventions that are happening at different levels and supported by different sources of funding and expertise should allow for maximizing efficient deployment of resources while scaling up their impact. “Nesting” makes such a joining of forces possible, coherent and credible.
“Nesting” refers to a set of provisions aimed at ensuring project-level accounting is aligned with jurisdictional (e.g., national) strategies and methods. It includes criteria and requirements to ensure the alignment of baselines, monitored data, emission reductions and/or removals estimates and carbon accounting across levels, i.e., projects, subnational programs, and national programs.
REDD+ project nesting provides multiple benefits for projects as well as jurisdictional governments, local communities and forests by:
- Supporting the development and implementation of government-led REDD+ programs and helping countries to meet emissions reduction commitments while enabling greater GHG mitigation ambitions;
- Providing a pathway for projects to be transparently and robustly aligned with national REDD+ reference levels and other REDD+ program elements, which will allow these projects to be accepted much more readily into emerging market mechanisms (e.g., CORSIA) and provide longer-term financing certainty; and
- Enabling projects to efficiently drive private sector finance to high-impact, on-the-ground mitigation that goes beyond what government policies and programs can tackle alone.
How Verra Facilitates Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+
To facilitate the implementation of nested REDD+, the Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) framework was first released as part of the VCS in October 2012. It was developed with input from committees of government, academic, civil society and private sector leaders from 14 countries and six continents (see Advisory Committee on Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+). JNR is a practical and adaptable framework that ensures JNR programs maintain environmental integrity and jurisdictional sovereignty. It was specifically designed to facilitate private investment in REDD+ at multiple scales, and is therefore well-aligned with the Paris Agreement’s objectives of engaging the private sector, while linking to national efforts, as well as providing emission reductions to emerging compliance and voluntary markets.
Nearly all REDD+ projects globally use the VCS Program to quantify and credit their carbon benefits, facilitating their integration within the JNR framework. In 2019, Verra began to update the requirements for Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ programs and projects. Changes are being made to incorporate lessons learned and evolving scientific best practice. Two public consultations and extensive deliberation with a group of experts and practitioners have been held over the last 2 years. Updates are expected at the end of Q1 2021.
Why JNR Is a Robust and Credible Framework for Climate Action
The JNR Framework consists of several components that ensure the credible integration and scaling up of government-led and project-level REDD+ activities.
JNR Framework: This Framework lays out the robust and transparent accounting and verification approaches for government-led and integrated project-level REDD+ activities.
Accounting Methodologies: The JNR framework incorporates methodological guidance and is designed to ensure credible accounting, additionality and permanence, and to prevent leakage.
- Accounting is based on the latest scientific best practice that starts with a credible historical forest reference emission level (FREL). The JNR framework also sets the rules for monitoring, calculation of emission reductions and removals, safeguards and verification.
- Additionality under JNR is based on the determination of a rigorous reference level that provides a conservative benchmark for measuring reductions in GHG emissions such that any emission reductions and removals relative to the reference level are considered additional. Governments and projects must also put in place new policies and strategies to address deforestation and degradation.
- Leakage GHG emissions from activity shifting, market leakage and ecological leakage, are determined either directly from monitoring, or indirectly using sound scientific knowledge or research, providing credible estimates of likely impacts. Programs and projects first seek to mitigate (i.e., prevent) such leakage, and any leakage that does occur is then subtracted from the total jurisdictional GHG emission reductions and removals achieved by the jurisdiction during the monitoring period.
- Non-permanence risk in jurisdictional REDD+ programs and nested projects is assessed through the use of a risk analysis. Based on the risk analysis, a certain number of credits are deposited in a buffer account which holds non-tradable buffer credits to cover the non-permanence risk associated with jurisdictional programs and nested REDD+ projects. Where losses occur, credits are cancelled from the pool to ensure any issued units remain permanent.
Independent Auditing: JNR programs seeking to issue VCUs must follow the validation and verification assessment process, including an audit by an accredited, independent third party and expert panel. National and subnational REDD+ programs using JNR as guidance (e.g., on how to handle nesting of project activities) without seeking VCU issuance do not need to undergo validation or verification.
Registry System: JNR programs use the Verra Registry — a platform for tracking emission reductions and managing buffer contributions for the entire program — to register and issue VCUs, and manage their contributions to the non-permanence risk buffer. Those not seeking VCUs, or seeking a combination of VCUs and results-based payments (e.g., from FCPF or bilateral agreements) may also leverage the Verra Registry. The VCS Program registry system also provides a clear link between jurisdictional programs and any nested projects in the jurisdiction, providing a clear mechanism to prevent double counting and ensure emission reductions within the jurisdiction add up.
The Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+ (JNR) Framework was released in October 2012.
The JNR Framework was developed with input from committees of government, civil society and private sector leaders from 14 countries and six continents (see Advisory Committee on Jurisdictional and Nested REDD+). Verra thanks the Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA) for their generous support in the development of the JNR framework, and the Norwegian government for their support in piloting the JNR framework under the NICFI funding stream.
The JNR Framework was updated to Version 4 on 15 April 2021. Information about the update development process can be found on the JNR Version 4 page.
JNR Public Consultations
The JNR Version 4 updates are the result of two years of work that included extensive consultations with experts around the world and close engagement with members of the JNR Advisory Group and JNR Stakeholder Group — which include representatives from NGOs, government and the private sector — as well as two 60-day public consultations on proposed and draft updates held in November 2019 and October 2020.
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