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The Social Dimensions of REDD+

The Social Dimensions of REDD+
Towards an Equitable Forest Climate Policy
  • Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) is an important potential income source for developing countries and forest-dependent communities.
  • Making REDD+ work for the poor will largely depend on their ability to access and manage emission reductions (carbon rights).
  • The governance of benefit-sharing will affect the social sustainability of REDD+.
  • Community forestry provides us with many lessons and insights on these issues, many of which can be applied to REDD+ projects.

Deforestation and forest degradation are the second leading cause of global warming, responsible for about 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. New proposals to use international financial mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) have radical implications for the ways in which tropical forests are valued internationally. These, in turn, entail significant social risks and opportunities, particularly for indigenous peoples and forest-dependent local communities.

In the context of a developing carbon market, equitable outcomes will partly depend on the authority to manage and trade emission reductions. Property rights to carbon are complex and contested, but are an essential ingredient for effective carbon markets.

REDD+ is potentially a significant source of monetary benefits or revenues for tropical forest countries. How such benefits should be shared nationally between different stakeholders is a central pillar in achieving effective and equitable REDD+ regimes.

A number of countries have made efforts to reconcile goals of sustainable natural resources management and poverty alleviation. One of these countries is Tanzania, where community forestry offers significant insights for the design and implementation of REDD+ initiatives.

Related Resources
The Social Development Department of the World Bank and REDD-net offer a series of papers, policy notes and case studies drawing insights from existing REDD+ processes and the broader development literature.

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