Forests and Climate Change

Forests and Climate Change

The Social Dimensions of REDD in Latin America

Anthony Hall

Controlling deforestation, which is responsible for about one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, has become a major tool in the battle against global warming. An important new international initiative – Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) – provides economic incentives to forest users to encourage preservation of trees. Nearly all Latin American countries are introducing national REDD strategies and pilot schemes.

Chapter 7: Catering for Diversity: Governance and Institutions

Anthony Hall

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental geography, environmental sociology, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


Having taken due account of the diverse socio-economic contexts within which livelihoods are played out and natural resources exploited, policymakers, planners and practitioners of REDD+ must establish suitable systems of governance and certain project design parameters. These should fit both the needs and realities of stakeholders in their role as guardians of forest ecosystem services, as well as the wider institutional context within which they operate. Both the World Bank’s FCPF and the UN-REDD programme lay strong emphasis on institutional strengthening and capacity-building as part of ‘readiness’ preparations. Furthermore, the inclusion of REDD+ within Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) under the UNFCCC underlines governments’ responsibilities in this connection. Chapter 7 will therefore consider the related aspects of alternative governance structures for REDD+, and aspects of their institutional design. GOVERNANCE The design and governance of development and PES projects, including those under the aegis of REDD+, is usually framed in politically neutral terms as a ‘technical’ exercise. However, the form of governance exercised will determine which stakeholders’ control and exercise power over landuse and forests. Since these resources invariably underpin the livelihoods of forest-dwellers, the nature of governance strategies is fundamental. These include key elements such as: people’s involvement in decision-making, the distribution of benefits (monetary and non-monetary), the degree of transparency and accountability in design and implementation, as well as the credibility of stakeholders involved. Ultimately, a governance regime and its suitability for managing the resources in question will determine the wider legitimacy of REDD+ and its capacity to successfully...

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