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REDD+, Indigenous peoples, The role of the state, NGOs and other actors, Monitoring, Implementation and tenure rights

This brief summarises relevant findings regarding the emergence
of the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest
Degradation (REDD+) scheme in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
It draws evidence from several Masters theses published by
Norwegian institutions between 2009 and 2012 as well as from
presentations in the Beyond Carbon conference organized by
the University of Oxford in March 2012. The various studies show
how REDD+ is introducing new actors and new mechanisms in
order to access benefits derived from forests. At the domestic
level, the new actors and mechanisms translate into diverse
contexts of entrenched inequalities and information asymmetries
and are thus leading to very different outcomes: whether
enhancing community-based forest management, promoting
forest peoples’ dispossession. We here shed some light on the
plurality of contexts and outcomes so far examined:

  • Although most countries implementing REDD+ acknowledge the importance of Indigenous Peoples’ participation, long histories of discrimination have led to Indigenous inclusion characterized by a paternalistic attitude and a lack of legitimacy among those who represent indigenous communities in national REDD+ policy arenas.
  • With the exception of Brazil, poor technical capacity remains the main barrier to ensure adequate monitoring and implementation of REDD+ programmes.
  • National and international NGOs are seen as experts in many cases and play crucial roles in shaping REDD+ national strategies, introducing their own interests and agendas. Lack of investment in capacity building among local government institutions is evident and may contribute to the failure of REDD+ projects in the long-term.
  • Tenure rights to the land and the forest remain unclear in all regions. Expectations of the economic benefits from REDD+ have led to increasing conflicts between and within local communities, including violent dispossession of land in Indonesia and dubious contracts for carbon rights by private companies in Amazonia. The opportunity cost of activities associated with deforestation such as mining, hydrocarbon extraction, hydroelectric development, logging, agribusiness and ranching remains a political issue at the national level in many cases, and risks outcompeting the economic benefits from REDD+.

Insights from the fiels, December 2012. Norwegian REDD Research Network