In the first decade of the 21st century, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) emerged as the most prominent global mechanism to integrate the role of forests in climate change.  It was touted as a win-win situation for biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and local livelihoods. Since its formalization in 2006, more than 300 REDD+ initiatives have taken off with mixed results. The mechanism has been enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015, and its implementation is transitioning from smaller, isolated projects to larger, jurisdictional programmes with support from bilateral and multilateral agencies.

However, the performance of REDD+ in halting or reversing deforestation remains questionable. Centre for Science and Environment's research shows that REDD+ has largely failed to achieve its objectives. Large-scale finance for REDD+ has been a major issue as carbon markets have not materialized and international funding commitments for REDD+ have been much lower than expected. REDD+ implementation costs have been high and benefits for local communities from REDD+ projects have been minimal.

This report is an assessment of the REDD+ implementation experiences in India, Kenya and Tanzania. It highlights the need to rethink the REDD+ mechanism based on these experiences and the findings emerging from new research on the potential of forests to mitigate climate change.