Argentina´s REDD+ National Strategy: Combining a participatory process with robust and consistent technical analysis

Addressing the land-use change pattern that includes deforestation processes is a complex issue.  It requires managing a complex dynamic of interrelations nationwide, where the interests of a variety of stakeholders need to be considered. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), through the REDD+ mechanism, calls for signatory parties to develop a national strategy to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation that includes concrete actions and measures. Latin American countries have followed different processes according to each national circumstances. Argentina’s case offers interesting attributes.    
Argentina has gone through a robust process to develop the national strategy, combining two equally important inputs, with the information on forest spatial distribution, cover and forest cover change. These include the results of a technically sound analysis of drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the inputs from a participatory process, based on the creation of spaces for multisector dialogue, carried out in two cycles of regional meetings. 320 participants were involved in each cycle (of which 33% were women), including representatives from the government, NGOs, CSOs, the private sector, academia, Indigenous Peoples, small scale farmers, and peasant organizations. Each meeting built a multi-sector, interinstitutional, multicultural, and provincial dialogue space. These spaces enabled a transparent and effective consultation process for the design and development of the REDD+ National Strategy.
Last January this public policy instrument, named in Argentina as the National Action Plan on Forests and Climate Change (PANByCC) was presented to the UNFCCC. Its development was coordinated by the National Directorate on Climate Change, in collaboration with the National Directorate on Forests, both within the Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development, with support from the UN-REDD National Programme. The technical analysis helped identify how the specific dynamics of forest cover loss occurs, and thus, to define potential actions and measures to adress the direct and underlying drivers of deforestation. However, if these potential actions and measures are not aligned with the visions and perceptions of the stakeholders involved in deforestation and the forest degradation processes, they risk successful implementation. In this context, the multisector dialogues played a central role for guiding the decisions on effective actions and measures. Identifying those that have support from social and political actors, makes their future implementation viable. In this way, Argentina defined PANByCC’s objectives, scope, and strategic axes.
In this process, efforts were made to come up with a consensus-based first draft of the PANByCC, to be presented in the second cycle of regional meetings. In addition to keeping the dialogue spaces open, this second cycle allowed for discussions on the axes, actions, and priority activities for the plan’s implementation in each province.
Strategic axes are defined as structural and operative. Through transversal actions, the structural axes allow to overcome barriers and needs for the implementation of the PANByCC. These axes include the strengthening of the governance, acknowledging native forests’ relevance as a social good, strengthening of local communities, knowledge management, and enhancing the capacity for management, control, and monitoring of native forests. On the other hand, each operative axis defines specific actions associated to a concrete mitigation measure of Argentina’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). These include forest zoning, sustainable management of native forests, conservation of productive landscapes, restoration, and the prevention of forest fires.
Forest zoning and sustainable management of native forests were prioritized in all forest regions of the country, thus becoming the priority pillars for the implementation phase. The consensus reached through this participatory process expects to reflect the considerations of each actor and group involved to facilitate reaching out PANByCC’s objectives. These objectives are: (i) reducing native forest vulnerability through strengthening its structures and those of the associated local communities; and (ii) reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and degradation of native forests.
PANByCC’s mitigation actions and measures will contribute to reducing 27 MtCO2eq by 2030, significantly contributing to reaching the NDC’s absolute target of not exceeding a net emission of 483 MtCO2eq by 2030. The scope of these objectives  are expected to contribute to the economic development of the country, as well as reaching Argentina’s commitments to the UNFCCC. In this way, Argentina moves towards an effective implementation of its PANByCC, as it does towards REDD+ implementation, given the submission of its Forest Reference Emissions Level  to the UNFCCC in January 2019, the progress on its National Forest Monitoring System and on its Safeguards Information System.