Amy E. Duchelle1, Claudio de Sassi1, Pamela Jagger1,2, Anne Larson3, Ida Aju Pradnja Resosudarmo1, Christy Desta Pratama1, Marina Cromberg1, William D. Sunderlin1
1Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia
2University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
3Center for International Forestry Research, Lima, Peru
Background: The 2015 Paris climate agreement consolidated the reduction of emissions through avoided deforestation and forest degradation and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) as a key strategy for mitigating global climate change. The REDD+ mechanism includes social safeguards that strive to protect and enhance local governance and wellbeing, ensure local participation and appropriate consent, and secure local rights to land and resources. While safeguards represent a key step for promoting social and environmental integrity in REDD+, the major challenge is in their operationalization and monitoring.
Methods: Through the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Global Comparative Study on REDD+, we evaluated social safeguard indicators at 22 subnational REDD+ initiative sites in Brazil, Peru, Cameroon, Tanzania, Indonesia and Vietnam. We carried out surveys in 150 villages and nearly 4,000 households (including control groups) in 2010-2012 (pre-intervention) and 2013-2014 (post-intervention) to assess local participation in REDD+ and evaluate the impacts of interventions on local livelihoods (e.g. tenure security, income, assets).
Results: We found a dominance of positive incentives applied at REDD+ sites, such as livelihood enhancements, in relation to other intervention types (e.g. punitive regulatory measures). There was significant improvement in household income and perceived wellbeing at the aggregate level, yet we found high variability between countries and study sites. While local knowledge of REDD+ initiatives increased over time, participation was still lacking, especially among women. There was limited attribution of changes in perceived tenure security and forest clearing to interventions on the ground.
Discussion: Our results reflect the persistent challenge of promoting full and effective participation of local people in conservation and development initiatives, with REDD+ being no different. They also highlight the challenge of linking local land tenure regularization to national-level processes for more effective tenure security outcomes. Finally, they underscore the need for ground-truthing REDD+ social impacts, particularly those related to local rights and participation, for which data may be limited in national and subnational surveys. Our findings will be useful to policy makers, practitioners and researchers interested in monitoring and supporting REDD+ safeguards in the post-2020 climate regime.