.
.
.

How can we build secure property rights into REDD mechanisms? (13 answers)

Question
8
Helpful Votes
Guest portrait
Private
There is concern about REDD becoming a reality when there is considerable uncertainty and inequality in access to and ownership of land and forests. We want to reward stewards and also help to improve the well being of some of the poorest people, those who live in and use forests, pastures, fallows and other areas that may be attractive to carbon markets. What are the best entry points and opportunities for increasing these benefits through improved land and resource rights.

Most Helpful Answer

2
Helpful Votes
Guest portrait
Private
Apr 20, 2010
To react to the question I choose to draw an analogy between the current fashionable concept of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) for REDD across the developing world and the PES based Agri-Environment Schemes (AES) which are already in place on my own family farm in Northern Ireland.

Reports on the northern ireland department of agriculture and rural development (DARD) websites show that despite over a decade of investment the AES schemes have failed to bring habitats into favourable condition over the initial 9 year period: http://www.dardni.gov.uk/cms_monitoring


Here in Northern Ireland we have:

1. Clear undisputed private land tenure almost everywhere.
2. No corruption in the civil service or judiciary.
3. Adequate financial resources allocated to make payments to farmers (in fact rental of land to plant wild bird friendly plants is 10x more profitable than for crop or livestock leasing!).
4. Political stability.
5. Absence of poverty.
6. Farmers have access to credit (to allow absorbing cost of AES/PES measures 12 months before recieving the PES payment).
7. Fixed price for AES contracts for a 10 year period (ie not vulnerable to 'biodiversity market fluctuations').
8. History of severe opression/exploitation by the state, colonial powers and their allies are now a distant memory for Irish farmers - so trust of the state is ok.
9. Adequate skills and systems within the authorities to allow monitoring of compliance with, and impacts of AES/PES.
10. Existence of functional farmers unions and environmental lobby groups to ensure a mediated process which both delivers for farmer livelihoods and biodiversity.

If PES struggles to have the desired impact on biodiversity in Northern Ireland where we have all of the ten things in place - how can it possibly be expected to work in developing countries without fundamental changes.

My prediction is that REDD will lead to masses of elite capture of resources. In time some examples of REDD having a negative impact on poor and marginalised forest people will emerge, carbon prices will prove volatile, elite capture by NGOs and Governments will be uncovered and then a backlash will ensue making REDD look like a bad idea after all. Then sometime between about 2015 and 2020 a "stocktaking exercise" will happen, followed by another forest conservation fashion coming into vogue (remember ICDPs, Ecoregion Conservation, CBNRM...).

For many cases I believe that REDD is not at all the cheap quick fix, or low hanging fruit that its advocates seem to think. It is certainly worth doing, but it will need costly and time consuming reforms to happen.

If REDD is going to happen as part of UNFCCC processes I suggest three courses of action:

1. The first thing we need to do is dramatically reform forest tenure in the developing world - and we need to be upfront about it. It is not right to hide behind the exuse of national sovreignty when poor forest people, who have very well established and legitimate customary tenure are being denied a decent living or proper rights to the resources they need to live on.

2. Secondly, conservation needs to reorder itself conceptually - for poor forest people in the developing world without savings or access to credit - PES (REDD) payments &/ real livelihood alternatives need to come BEFORE they are required to stop cutting trees down to live.

3. Thirdly, the policy processes around REDD and forest policy need to become more transparent and inclusive, to ensure that the human rights of forests peoples and community views and aspiration have genuine voice at the negotiating table.

All Responses

  • 0
    Helpful Votes
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Apr 21, 2011
    Hello - The FRAMEweb Team is following up on some of our discussions to find out if the information shared was useful - I see this discussion has received 8 helpful votes, so I'd like to know why! We're compiling some information about our work and the FRAMEweb site and would like to hear from you. Was this discussion useful? Did you learn anything knew? Did you find it helpful or informative? Please let me know - you can either post here, or send me an email! - Carmen
  • 0
    Helpful Votes
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Apr 15, 2011
    Elvis:

    I have just posted a resource in the tools and resources section of this community of practice. It's called "tree passports/certificates in Ghana" and describes a practice developed by the Ghanaian Forest Commission and promoted by IUCN. The practice basically involves registering and documenting trees planted by individual farmers. These certificates or "passports" can be passed on to children. I can send you contact information for IUCN colleagues in Ghana if you would like to know more.

    Regards,
    Tom
  • 0
    Helpful Votes
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Mar 23, 2011
    Dear All, I am following the fantastic discussions with alot of interest, I work for an Organisation (www.treeaid.org.uk) that promotes mini, small and medium enterprises based on Non wood forest products in the Sahel regions of Africa. Currently in Burkina faso, Ghana and Mali. As the sector is getting more attention and businesses are cropping up esp. around Shea and shea products, issue of land rights are bound to surface. TREE AID is also interested in REDD, Forest finance and PES for our small holders, but the issue of land rights and tenure is complicated especially in Ghana.
    For those of you who have long experience in Ghana and have undertaken research, what's the way forward.
    Engagement with the Traditional Rulers , REDD can use some of the carbon finance to secure land for the poor, adjacent Dwellers etc . Barry's comparism is superb, permit me to share the ideas with Colleaques here.
  • 0
    Helpful Votes
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Jul 22, 2010
    While not directly related to REDD and climate change issues, I wanted to share something from my own home state of Vermont in the USA which is the first to start what they are calling a "Landscape Auction" for a major watershed. In effect they are creating a PES to place value on the natural capital in the area, but on a scale that is obtainable by local community members and businesses. It's the first of it's kind that I know of, and it's receiving a lot of press in this rural state. If you're interested, here's the story in the regional newspaper: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2010100717004

    The group holding the auction has a website here: http://www.whiteriverpartnership.org/index.php/news/landscape-auction
  • 0
    Helpful Votes
    Guest portrait
    Private
    May 6, 2010
    You can also find out more about this project and see where it's being implemented on the GeoExplorer - http://gis.frameweb.org/searchActivity.htm?hdnObjectID=69
  • 0
    Helpful Votes
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Apr 29, 2010
    In Cambodia the Oddar Meanchey Community Forestry REDD project has linked REDD with a group of 13 community forestry sites. Communities have negotiated 15-year renewable Community Forestry and Carbon Conservation agreements to secure both rights to manage forest and rights to benefit from carbon. Income generated by the sale of credits will be channelled to local communities to finance their forest protection efforts and livelihood initiatives. Additional information on the project is available at: http://www.pactcambodia.org/Programs/Program_CFP.htm
  • 0
    Helpful Votes
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Apr 22, 2010
    There is another question that was just posted to this discussion that is focused on biodiversity, Ecosystems Services, and poverty alleviation in Southern Africa. Some of you may have some grassroots examples for him (see related question at the bottom of this string on the website, or go to the discussion tab of this community and check out George's question).
  • 0
    Helpful Votes
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Apr 21, 2010
    Great! I may also be attending the SCB so hopefully we have a chance to discuss this in greater depth. I am supposed to produce a paper on "institutional issues in REDD in West Africa." This is unofficial, not USAID sponsored or endorsed, but is based on both scholarly and USAID work over the years. I am writing with Rebecca Asare who now works for Forest Trends in Ghana but just finished a PhD at Yale on cocoa farmers in Ghana. We are interested in both "organic" and "non-organic" groups that might be foundations for REDD or other carbon efforts. So cocoa farmer associations could be an example of an "organic" (already formed and functioning) group whereas in Kenya (realize that that is NOT West Africa) Community Forestry Associations (CFAs) are being organized BY the government (Kenya Forest Service) around forest stations. That is one dimension. The other huge dimension is of course pilot REDD activities crafted by NGOs with communities vs./and the emerging national REDD frameworks that will/may mandate monitoring and benefit flows from the national level. I know a lot of this is speculative, but we want to think about implications on the ground for farmers and forest-users. Obviously land tenure and property rights is a critical dimension not just of benefit but up front as these policies are being devised in shaping actions of those who do and may control land and forest resources. These issues were discuss in Lisa and Matt's talk.
    -- Updated Apr 21, 2010 --
  • 1
    Helpful Vote
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Apr 21, 2010
    Diane - you are right of course that it is not only the poor cutting trees down, indeed the poorest people in the forest dependent communities I work in in southern Madagascar exploit less than the slightly less poor. (and commercial harvesters take advantage in some places too of course). 

    I also agree with the idea of legalising extractive activities for the local communities as well, without the legal opportunities to do so local people are sometimes forced into producing for the black market (therefore lower % profit), or working for bosses who pay the bribes &/ fines or who found a loophole (forest exploitation on prison camp land in one of my study sites!).

    You make a very good point also about focusing on hard commodities - this is an ongoing debate in the UK at the moment as farming, forestry and manufacture have declined so much and some believe that our economy has become too dependent on financial services and markets - does the current recession, and further vulnerability to the markets in the north give us a logical lead into thinking that market based solutions on 'soft commodities' like forest carbon will not have the same vulnerability?

    I am writing up my comparison between PES Northern Ireland (NI) and PES(REDD) Madagascar, hopefully for a panel session as SCB in July - and of course NI and Madagascar have very different contexts, but I think sometimes the analytical lens from the north can still be very useful for the south...
  • 1
    Helpful Vote
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Apr 20, 2010
    I found Barry's analysis of the difficulties of PES/REDD compelling and would like to share it with others in my office who are working on these issues. One small area of discussion: it is not only poor people cutting trees for survival as often the heaviest exploiters of timber are both commercial and artisanal harvesters, where communities get little benefit precisely because they do not have rights to the forest. Legalizing artisanal forestry (e.g., "pitsawing") and charcoal and putting into place clear property rights and benefit streams to communities from these commodities is one possible way forward. Call me old fashioned but I am a believer that we should continue to focus on improving benefits from "hard" commodities such as timber, charcoal, coffee, cocoa in and around forests rather than markets for carbon. These are not going away, they are not fads and they can help to secure property rights. What do you all think?
  • 2
    Helpful Votes
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Apr 20, 2010
    To react to the question I choose to draw an analogy between the current fashionable concept of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) for REDD across the developing world and the PES based Agri-Environment Schemes (AES) which are already in place on my own family farm in Northern Ireland.

    Reports on the northern ireland department of agriculture and rural development (DARD) websites show that despite over a decade of investment the AES schemes have failed to bring habitats into favourable condition over the initial 9 year period: http://www.dardni.gov.uk/cms_monitoring


    Here in Northern Ireland we have:

    1. Clear undisputed private land tenure almost everywhere.
    2. No corruption in the civil service or judiciary.
    3. Adequate financial resources allocated to make payments to farmers (in fact rental of land to plant wild bird friendly plants is 10x more profitable than for crop or livestock leasing!).
    4. Political stability.
    5. Absence of poverty.
    6. Farmers have access to credit (to allow absorbing cost of AES/PES measures 12 months before recieving the PES payment).
    7. Fixed price for AES contracts for a 10 year period (ie not vulnerable to 'biodiversity market fluctuations').
    8. History of severe opression/exploitation by the state, colonial powers and their allies are now a distant memory for Irish farmers - so trust of the state is ok.
    9. Adequate skills and systems within the authorities to allow monitoring of compliance with, and impacts of AES/PES.
    10. Existence of functional farmers unions and environmental lobby groups to ensure a mediated process which both delivers for farmer livelihoods and biodiversity.

    If PES struggles to have the desired impact on biodiversity in Northern Ireland where we have all of the ten things in place - how can it possibly be expected to work in developing countries without fundamental changes.

    My prediction is that REDD will lead to masses of elite capture of resources. In time some examples of REDD having a negative impact on poor and marginalised forest people will emerge, carbon prices will prove volatile, elite capture by NGOs and Governments will be uncovered and then a backlash will ensue making REDD look like a bad idea after all. Then sometime between about 2015 and 2020 a "stocktaking exercise" will happen, followed by another forest conservation fashion coming into vogue (remember ICDPs, Ecoregion Conservation, CBNRM...).

    For many cases I believe that REDD is not at all the cheap quick fix, or low hanging fruit that its advocates seem to think. It is certainly worth doing, but it will need costly and time consuming reforms to happen.

    If REDD is going to happen as part of UNFCCC processes I suggest three courses of action:

    1. The first thing we need to do is dramatically reform forest tenure in the developing world - and we need to be upfront about it. It is not right to hide behind the exuse of national sovreignty when poor forest people, who have very well established and legitimate customary tenure are being denied a decent living or proper rights to the resources they need to live on.

    2. Secondly, conservation needs to reorder itself conceptually - for poor forest people in the developing world without savings or access to credit - PES (REDD) payments &/ real livelihood alternatives need to come BEFORE they are required to stop cutting trees down to live.

    3. Thirdly, the policy processes around REDD and forest policy need to become more transparent and inclusive, to ensure that the human rights of forests peoples and community views and aspiration have genuine voice at the negotiating table.
  • 0
    Helpful Votes
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Apr 20, 2010
    Outside of the Cities, state, freehold or leasehold land nothing will work unless statutory trusts are established in which land is vested for the benefit of its residents and as a bulwark against open-access regimes taken advantage of by governments and resource plunderers alike. It is an extraordinary recommendation for the State to encourage carbon trading, seemingly oblivious of its pitfalls and vehement criticism from numerous quarters such as the Indigenous Environmental Network at the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in Bangkok in October 2009, calling for the rejection of REDD in Climate Treaty and predicting ‘dire consequences for Indigenous peoples, biodiversity and the climate alike if the new, post-2012 climate treaty being debated here allows tradable carbon credits to be produced from projects such as the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM)’. And at the same talks, Rising Tide North America, Carbon Trade Watch and the Mobilization for Climate Justice exhorted people to join global climate action to spread the word about one of the biggest financial scams in history – carbon trading. All things will come from land that is protected and held by communities. My experience in the field confirms the necessity for community empowerment to be an autochthonous movement based on the indigenous cultural and religious norms, and having as little as possible to do with CBNRM-type joint programmes attempted by foreign aid and Government.
  • 1
    Helpful Vote
    Guest portrait
    Private
    Apr 19, 2010
    Isn't the real question: how can we possibly implement REDD without secure (semi-secure) property rights?

    If people living with trees are deterministic of land use, isn't it true to say REDD will only work if they get direct payments for the carbon they produce much as they do for soya or, in the case of CBNRM, wildlife?

    Which leads to two more comments:
    1. Why is nobody in REDD seeming to learn from CBNRM, cash payments in CAMPFIRE for example?

    2. At almost every talk I go to, the speaker ends by saying -"its all about property rights in the end". Yet REDD seems so frenetic and crisis drive that it is not seriously contemplating sorting out the fundamental problem - the lack of secure property rights for the poorest people and their wild resources.

    If it does not address the underlying causes, how can it possibly work?!?!?

Related Items

Page Information

Popularity of this question:
#7 of 61 items
8 Helpful votes
At this page:
13 Answers 2 Pages Emailed
6856 Page Views 0 Attachments Downloaded
0 Meta-card Views 0 Videos Downloaded
4 Relationships and Highlights
ID5069
Date CreatedMonday, April 19, 2010 3:40 PM
Date ModifiedMonday, April 19, 2010 3:40 PM
Version Comment: