REDD and Poverty

Village road, southern Bolivia

REDD and Poverty

Great hopes have been invested in the possibility of mitigating climate change through reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and simultaneously benefit poor people that depend on the forest for their livelihood.

Many issues remain to be solved before the final negotiations of a new international agreement on climate change that includes forest issues. If REDD succeeds in generating massive transfers of capital from the North to the South the hope is for this to be enough to achieve changes in forestry and ultimately halt deforestation and the contribution it makes to the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Around 1.6 billion people are, in one way or another, dependent on forests for their livelihood. A new international agreement that includes forests and forestry would most likely have great consequences for these people. A badly designed framework risks causing a situation where climate policy and global and national efforts to reduce poverty counteract each other.

Giving general recommendations on how a pro-poor REDD system should be designed is very difficult, since the circumstances where REDD is to halt deforestation differ greatly in terms of actors and drivers. If REDD is to succeed there is a need for well designed solutions that take into account the local and national context.

Since REDD is still under negotiation, the ongoing research can support the discussions by providing insights and conclusions from previous experience in the forest sector. During the spring 2009 Focali released an initial report with an analysis of four key documents in relation to REDD and poverty. The analysis identified seven key issues for REDD which was further reviewed by literature studies. The four key documents and the seven key issues can be found below. Focali also commissioned a case study in Cambodia describing the Oddar Meanchey REDD project, which has sought to make REDD work for the poor by linking a federation of existing community forestry projects to REDD funding via the voluntary carbon market.

The next phase of our work will foreground case studies of REDD preparations and poverty in Bolivia, Burkina Faso and Cambodia, to evaluate experience and knowledge on local and national level and its relevance for global interventions like REDD. The crucial questions we always bring to our analyses are: Can the poor benefit from REDD? If so, how can the poor benefit from REDD? 

More information can be found in the Focali report: Making REDD work for the poor - Inception report.


Key documents

Making REDD work for the poor. Peskett, L, Huberman, D, Bowen-Jones, E, Edwards, G and Brown, J, Poverty and Environment Partnership (PEP) Policy Brief, ODI, London, 2008

Moving Ahead with REDD: issues, options and implications. Angelsen, Arild, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia, 2008

Seeing REDD: Forests, Climate Change Mitigation and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Update for Poznań (UNFCCC COP 14). Griffiths, Tom, Forest Peoples Programme, 2008

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD): An Options Assessment Report. Angelsen, A., Brown, S., Loisel, C., Peskett, L., Streck, C., and Zarin, D. Prepared for the Government of Norway, Meridian Institute, 2009

Focali annual meeting 2022 – separate event webpage

It is once again time for Focali members, partners, and friends in our wider community to meet around current interlinked forest, climate and livelihood challenges. The Focali annual meeting, to be he ...

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