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Review
Peer-Review Record

Results Based Payments for REDD+ under the Green Climate Fund: Lessons Learned on Social, Environmental and Governance Safeguards

Forests 2020, 11(12), 1350; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121350
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1350; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121350
Received: 20 October 2020 / Revised: 11 December 2020 / Accepted: 15 December 2020 / Published: 17 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue REDD+: Protecting Climate, Forests and Livelihoods)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

Major comments:

  1. The paper should be re-cast to appeal to a wider readership.  It sometimes has the feel of a report just for the GCF board, or possibly the boards of other mechanisms that provide results based finance.  Yet the paper contains analysis and conclusions that are relevant for a wide group of readers interested in the implementation of REDD+.  You should especially make sure that the paper is read by representatives of countries interested in REDD+ and results based finance for REDD+. This applies throughout the paper, beginning in the abstract. 
  2. The materials and methods are not adequately described in the two sentences in lines 86-89.  At the minimum you need to indicate the following about the semi-structured interviews and focus groups:  how many people involved, how were people selected, when were they held, etc.  Also how were the document reviews conducted?  Was this all conducted in-house in the GCF or with representatives of the countries involved?
  3. I found it difficult to follow the ex post / ex ante discussion on lines 167-173.  You need to be more specific about what part of REDD+ is ex-post, programmatic and stepwise, and how you are reaching that decision.  
  4. The GCF scorecard is first mentioned on lines 196-197, and in the next paragraphs, but with insufficient description of its origin (do other GCF programs also involve such scorecards or was this an ad hoc decision for REDD+?  How common is the pass / fail approach in the GCF or other similar financing institutions.  
  5. Notably, no verification procedure was adopted. (line224-225). Why is this notable?  Is this inconsistent with other GCF finance or other types of global environmental finance (eg GEF).

Minor comments

  1. The last line of the abstract (lines 30-35) should be rephrased to be more definitive.
  2. The statement on lines 102-104 is really unclear.  "... applicable standards should be tailored to ...".  Does the should emanate from the UNFCCC guidance, from the GCF or from this analysis?
  3. The guidance provided by UNFCCC is described differently in lines 64-65 from lines 146-147.
  4. Too little information provided to justify statement on lines 100-102. Interviews with whom?
  5. I don't like the format with the bold bullets as a fourth level of sub-heading in a relatively short paper.  
  6. Table 1 doesn't make much sense because the items in the left columns are the same for both UNFCCC decisions iv and v.
  7. Line 258 mentions environmental and social safeguards but above governance safeguards are also mentioned.  Are there no governance safeguards in the GCF mechanisms?
  8. It is unusual to end the paper with a bullet point rather than something more encompassing.

Author Response

Major comments:

  1. The paper should be re-cast to appeal to a wider readership.  It sometimes has the feel of a report just for the GCF board, or possibly the boards of other mechanisms that provide results based finance.  Yet the paper contains analysis and conclusions that are relevant for a wide group of readers interested in the implementation of REDD+.  You should especially make sure that the paper is read by representatives of countries interested in REDD+ and results based finance for REDD+. This applies throughout the paper, beginning in the abstract. Response: We have addressed this comment and changed the paper in writing and in substance. The paper presents the key findings of a comparative analyses that we conducted. Its main findings are important to share globally so that others may learn as well. The key financing entity to provide REDD+ results-based payments is the GCF of course. REDD+ countries, donor countries and other entities accessing to or providing results-based finance are an audience which can indeed benefit from the findings of this article, yet in a differentiated manner. This has been further expanded accordingly.
  2. The materials and methods are not adequately described in the two sentences in lines 86-89.  At the minimum you need to indicate the following about the semi-structured interviews and focus groups:  how many people involved, how were people selected, when were they held, etc.  Also how were the document reviews conducted?  Was this all conducted in-house in the GCF or with representatives of the countries involved?Response: Materials and methods section has been further expanded so to address comments from reviewers.
  3. I found it difficult to follow the ex post / ex ante discussion on lines 167-173.  You need to be more specific about what part of REDD+ is ex-post, programmatic and stepwise, and how you are reaching that decision.  Response: The discussion on the ex-post and self-reported nature of Cancun safeguards reporting has been further expanded and clarified in the new Discussion section. Please refer to lines 195-197, 244-258, 370-378.
  4. The GCF scorecard is first mentioned on lines 196-197, and in the next paragraphs, but with insufficient description of its origin (do other GCF programs also involve such scorecards or was this an ad hoc decision for REDD+?  How common is the pass / fail approach in the GCF or other similar financing institutions.  Response: Rationale, relevant content and implications on safeguards with regards to the scorecard has been further expanded. Please see lines 206-221, 240-244.
  5. Notably, no verification procedure was adopted. (line224-225). Why is this notable?  Is this inconsistent with other GCF finance or other types of global environmental finance (eg GEF).Response: This idea has been expanded and clarified, see lines 195-197.

Minor comments

  1. The last line of the abstract (lines 30-35) should be rephrased to be more definitive. Response: The abstract as a whole has been reframed and restructured based to address all comments.
  2. The statement on lines 102-104 is really unclear.  "... applicable standards should be tailored to ...".  Does the should emanate from the UNFCCC guidance, from the GCF or from this analysis? Response: The argument has been further expanded, see lines 316-320.
  3. The guidance provided by UNFCCC is described differently in lines 64-65 from lines 146-147. Response: all references to UNFCCC guidance have been double checked and clarified where required.
  4. Too little information provided to justify statement on lines 100-102. Interviews with whom? Response: methods and materials section has been expanded further to clarify this.
  5. I don't like the format with the bold bullets as a fourth level of sub-heading in a relatively short paper.  Response: all sections have been restructured including to address this comment.
  6. Table 1 doesn't make much sense because the items in the left columns are the same for both UNFCCC decisions iv and v. Response: table has been eliminated.
  7. Line 258 mentions environmental and social safeguards but above governance safeguards are also mentioned.  Are there no governance safeguards in the GCF mechanisms? Response: The Cancun Safeguards contain social, environmental and governance principles while the GCF’s ESS are only social and environmental. Language clarified yet please note that this paper does not intend to analysis or compare the safeguards as such, therefore this distinction has not been elaborated further.
  8. It is unusual to end the paper with a bullet point rather than something more encompassing. Response: addressed.

Reviewer 2 Report

Clarify at the beginning / first mention that the Concept Notes are part of the Funding proposal, or the relation between the two, since CN are dealt with in the Funding proposal part (3.2.2).

Not sure the structure of the document is okay. Part 3.1. is rather a description of the context than the result of the study. Parts 3.1.1. and 3.1.2 of the Results are a description of the instruments: this does not answer to “how to assess the requirements” or lessons learned in this regard. Parts 3.2.1 and 3.2.2 partially answer the problematic. The “Key findings” of the study (l. 303) thus refer to part 3.2 only.

The “Materials and Methods” chapter is very short and could be a bit more specified.

There is no Discussion section of the results nor of the methodology. This part is missing. Some elements can be extracted from Part 3 and from the conclusion to feed in the discussion.

Also there is extensive knowledge available from the processes of preparing ERPAs in the FCPF Carbon Fund on lessons learned on social, environmental and governance safeguards. These elements could be brought into the discussion. The GCF REDD+ RBP pilot program is indeed only in the very beginning and some lessons learned from FCPF seem to me adequate to be discussed in this framework.

Some minor observations are found in the attachment

Comments for author File: Comments.docx

Author Response

  1. Clarify at the beginning / first mention that the Concept Notes are part of the Funding proposal, or the relation between the two, since CN are dealt with in the Funding proposal part (3.2.2). Response: references to concept notes and funding proposals have been clarified, please see lines 89-93, 185-195.
  2. Not sure the structure of the document is okay. Part 3.1. is rather a description of the context than the result of the study. Parts 3.1.1. and 3.1.2 of the Results are a description of the instruments: this does not answer to “how to assess the requirements” or lessons learned in this regard. Parts 3.2.1 and 3.2.2 partially answer the problematic. The “Key findings” of the study (l. 303) thus refer to part 3.2 only. Response: Structure and framing of the document have been significantly adjusted to address all comments.
  3. The “Materials and Methods” chapter is very short and could be a bit more specified. Response: Materials and methods section has been further expanded so to address comments from reviewers.
  4. There is no Discussion section of the results nor of the methodology. This part is missing. Some elements can be extracted from Part 3 and from the conclusion to feed in the discussion. Response: Discussion section has been included including information moved from previous section 3.1 and further expanded accordingly.
  5. Also there is extensive knowledge available from the processes of preparing ERPAs in the FCPF Carbon Fund on lessons learned on social, environmental and governance safeguards. These elements could be brought into the discussion. The GCF REDD+ RBP pilot program is indeed only in the very beginning and some lessons learned from FCPF seem to me adequate to be discussed in this framework. Response: Methodological assumptions and limitations, including with regards to other entities providing RBPs i.e. the FCPF’s Carbon Fund, have been further expanded in the methods and materials section. Please note this paper was never intended to analyze or contrast the GCF against the Carbon Fund for the following reasons for the reasons exposed in the methods.
  6. Some minor observations are found in the attachment. Response: all minor observations in the attachment have been addressed throughout the document. Please note the article has been significantly restructured and thus edits most likely will not be found in the lines where observations where provided originally.

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

Overall, the authors have done a good job of addressing my earlier comments.  The relevance of the study, the materials and methods, and the implications are now much more clearly stated. 

My main concern is the use of very long sentences throughout the paper.  I would suggest that the paper be edited to ensure readability. 

I'm also somewhat concerned about the length of the abstract. Is this within the journal's guidelines? 

  

Author Response

  • Regarding the readability and length of sentences, edits have been made across the paper including on grammar.
  • The abstract has been adjusted to comply with the journal's guidance for abstract length.
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