Monday | May 5th     13.15 - 14.45

Climate change: Low-emissions development and societal welfare – trade offs, risks and power struggles in forest and climate change policy arenas

Hosted by Center for International Forestry Research


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Policy change beyond the forestry sector is required to avoid deforestation and forest degradation effectively, efficiently and equitably, and to realize synergies with adaptation. Government agencies, development and environmental NGOs, indigenous rights groups, businesses, political parties, research organizations and think tanks, and civil society forums have been working for decades to improve land management and promote sustainable forest use. However, interests within and outside the forestry sector in REDD+ countries have been linked for decades to political power and economic growth, for example, by allocating forest resources (rents) to individuals and groups to build political support and coalitions, while falling short of societal interests as a whole.

When analyzing REDD+ progress towards results-based payments, these conflicting interests become obvious. Our findings show an initial ‘no-regrets period’, a honeymoon characterized by cooperation and goodwill. During this early period, countries seem to embrace REDD+ as a general idea, and segments of the international community provide the dowry in the form of finance and investments to strengthen technical capacity. However, in most REDD+ domains a ‘power struggle period’ follows, during which conflict and contestation become dominant. Such struggles tend to intensify when policy actors must decide on the concrete details of their national REDD+ strategies in the absence of obvious short-term win-win outcomes.

This session addressed the question of how to overcome these power struggles and manage trade offs and risks to realize an effective, efficient and equitable REDD+ implementation, and potential synergies with adaptation.


Questions the session addressed:

  • How are the risks and trade offs associated with different scales, levels and jurisdictions being considered? Where are the power struggles, and who can broker and bridge across multiple dimensions of governance to ensure an equitable low-emission development?
  • How to ensure that measured performance indicators go beyond the politically convenient and reflect the outcomes and impacts to achieve goals that are consistent with the vision of green development. How can a firm financial foundation be established for REDD+, and in the interim, what kinds of incentives can be effectively applied so that REDD+ can be performance-based?
  • How to realize synergies with adaptation? Those benefits won’t come automatically, and REDD+ policies and initiatives need to do more than business as usual mitigation activities in order to achieve adaptation outcomes.

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