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The Implications of Local Governance for REDD+: A Case Study From the Ecuadorian Amazon

Collen, Anthony LU (2011) In IIIEE Master thesis IMEN41 20111
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
Recognising the critical role of forests in addressing Climate Change, a proposal being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” mechanism, or REDD+. REDD+ aims to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by providing economic incentives to developing countries and local forest inhabitants to conserve, manage or enhance their forests. REDD+ will require the active participation of communities for the conservation of communally owned forests on their land. In this context, the quality of local governance of common property becomes increasingly relevant. Nonetheless, not all communities have developed institutions for effective... (More)
Recognising the critical role of forests in addressing Climate Change, a proposal being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” mechanism, or REDD+. REDD+ aims to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by providing economic incentives to developing countries and local forest inhabitants to conserve, manage or enhance their forests. REDD+ will require the active participation of communities for the conservation of communally owned forests on their land. In this context, the quality of local governance of common property becomes increasingly relevant. Nonetheless, not all communities have developed institutions for effective collective management of forest resources, and thus some communities are more effective than others at managing these resources sustainably under changing conditions. In turn, weak local governance structures may severely hamper achieving REDD+ goals.
Using the “Programa SocioBosque” (SocioBosque) national incentive based conservation programme in Ecuador as a case study, the objective of this paper is twofold; firstly, to assess whether the local institutions guiding the participation of Amazonian communities in SocioBosque reflect robust self-organization, and secondly, to evaluate the implications of local organization on meeting REDD+ environmental and social goals. The research addresses this objective through fieldwork collecting empirical data from four Amazonian communities participating in SocioBosque. SocioBosque makes a suitable case study to address this objective since it is designed within similar parameters of the REDD+ framework, over 90% of contracts are communal, and SocioBosque aims to become a certified REDD+ programme eligible for international funding. Methodologically, the thesis author applies aspects of the Theory of Common Pool Resource (CPR) management supported by concepts from New Institutional Economics (NIE). Specific attention is paid to institutions that regulate the flow and distribution of information, participation in decision-making, as well as local revenue distribution and community governance.
This research finds that communal governance structures related specifically to SocioBosque in these Amazonian communities are largely not reflecting the characteristics of robust self-organization conducive to sustainable management of communal forests. Furthermore, findings suggest that weak local governance may exacerbate difficulties in securing social safeguards for REDD+. The author concludes that more explicit attention to the role that local institutions have in effectively managing common pool resources is required in the preparation phases of REDD+. Furthermore, external rules to counter weak local governance in REDD+ projects not informed by commons and institutional lessons risk being incoherent with local institutions. (Less)
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author
Collen, Anthony LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN41 20111
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
REDD+, Governance, Communities, Institutions, Safeguards
publication/series
IIIEE Master thesis
report number
2011:17
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
2174245
date added to LUP
2011-10-19 11:52:58
date last changed
2011-10-19 11:52:58
@misc{2174245,
  abstract     = {Recognising the critical role of forests in addressing Climate Change, a proposal being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” mechanism, or REDD+. REDD+ aims to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by providing economic incentives to developing countries and local forest inhabitants to conserve, manage or enhance their forests. REDD+ will require the active participation of communities for the conservation of communally owned forests on their land. In this context, the quality of local governance of common property becomes increasingly relevant. Nonetheless, not all communities have developed institutions for effective collective management of forest resources, and thus some communities are more effective than others at managing these resources sustainably under changing conditions. In turn, weak local governance structures may severely hamper achieving REDD+ goals. 
Using the “Programa SocioBosque” (SocioBosque) national incentive based conservation programme in Ecuador as a case study, the objective of this paper is twofold; firstly, to assess whether the local institutions guiding the participation of Amazonian communities in SocioBosque reflect robust self-organization, and secondly, to evaluate the implications of local organization on meeting REDD+ environmental and social goals. The research addresses this objective through fieldwork collecting empirical data from four Amazonian communities participating in SocioBosque. SocioBosque makes a suitable case study to address this objective since it is designed within similar parameters of the REDD+ framework, over 90% of contracts are communal, and SocioBosque aims to become a certified REDD+ programme eligible for international funding. Methodologically, the thesis author applies aspects of the Theory of Common Pool Resource (CPR) management supported by concepts from New Institutional Economics (NIE). Specific attention is paid to institutions that regulate the flow and distribution of information, participation in decision-making, as well as local revenue distribution and community governance.
This research finds that communal governance structures related specifically to SocioBosque in these Amazonian communities are largely not reflecting the characteristics of robust self-organization conducive to sustainable management of communal forests. Furthermore, findings suggest that weak local governance may exacerbate difficulties in securing social safeguards for REDD+.  The author concludes that more explicit attention to the role that local institutions have in effectively managing common pool resources is required in the preparation phases of REDD+. Furthermore, external rules to counter weak local governance in REDD+ projects not informed by commons and institutional lessons risk being incoherent with local institutions.},
  author       = {Collen, Anthony},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  keyword      = {REDD+,Governance,Communities,Institutions,Safeguards},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Master thesis},
  title        = {The Implications of Local Governance for REDD+: A Case Study From the Ecuadorian Amazon},
  year         = {2011},
}