REDD+ capacity building and piloting new concepts with stakeholders
Pressure by the 370 million inhabitants of Central and West Africa on the 328 million hectares of forests of the sub-region is of major concern as the rate of deforestation and forest degradation intensifies year after year. REDD+ is a financial approach proposed to developing countries as a way to conserve or restore forest expected to contribute towards stabilizing global climate. This framework requires substantial investment in monitoring systems, legal reform on land tenure, and benefit sharing mechanisms. The emerging carbon markets are creating “green grabs” for forest which defavourise local people; participatory approaches need to be developed and industries need to be held accountable. In some cases, lack of engagement with local people has created significant problems at the local and national levels. Many countries in PACO are challenged to meet the demands for the UNREDD+ system. And even if they do, governance systems in each country will need to be in place for it to work, something which is not likely given that many states do not have basic monitoring capabilities in place. Many approaches focus almost strictly on monitoring the carbon balance which many governments find difficult to address. Other issues, such as gender, are not treated as cross-cutting issues making uptake of ideas difficult in REDD+ platforms. There are additional challenges on working with local people in terms of how projects are administered at the local level and how benefits are shared. In 2013-2016, we intend to work with stakeholders to build capacity in REDD+ issues, including gender, while also piloting benefit sharing mechanisms and guidelines to community engagement.