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Document Abstract
Published: 2011

Local perspectives on REDD

Do local communities affect REDD+ activities?
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This paper presents the perspectives of stakeholders on REDD+ through several scientific publications and policy briefs citing case studies from Indonesia. It notes that local perspectives on REDD+ tend to differ from those at the international negotiation tables. To stakeholders living in tropical forest margins, the REDD+ debate is an additional complication in an already complex relationship with central governments and forest authorities. The report argues that the expectation of financial incentives for emission reduction has led to a debate on carbon rights which comes as an addition to the already complex layers of unresolved property rights.

Using case studies the paper shows a success story where stewardship agreements have led to conflict resolution over who controls the forests and forest margins. It also highlights the historical baggage of perceived injustice between state and local communities and the contest between national and provincial government authorities that complicates the debate on current efforts to mitigate climate change by emission reduction. It further presents a case that demonstrates a feasible way of containing and reducing transaction costs for the initial and subsequent phases of the processes of the REDD mechanisms. In another case study on social norms and their role on REDD+, the report indicates that villagers have a strong conservation belief system which operates by social norms. It concludes that setting up a market-based scheme such as Payment for Environmental Services (PES) should be done carefully by understanding the local dynamics and conditions for free and prior informed consent. The report makes the following recommendations.

  • Rules on agreements on stewardship in the forest margins need to be simplified for wider application.
  • There is need to synergise REDD+ initiative with the needs of national and local development, making low carbon development a local initiative to meet local needs.
  • Transaction costs need to be reduced to provide greater benefits for the real carbon players.
  • To reduce complexity there is need to create a ‘superbody’ for REDD+, which will manage the REDD+ mechanism to overcome the vulnerability of REDD+ policy in which actors have various levels of leadership and power.
  • To strengthen REDD+ policy support there is need to disseminate REDD+ knowledge to leaders to enable easy implementation.
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