Giancarlo Raschio, MEM

2010 Compton Fellow in Peru, Ghana

Towards a comprehensive national REDD+ strategy: a case study in Peru and Ghana

Mitigating climate change requires large-scale reductions in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from both developed and developing countries. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimate that emissions from land use change contribute 20% to 25% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions (Global Canopy Programme 2009). Therefore, forests play a key part in climate change mitigation (Ashton et al 2009). For that reason, during the Conference of the Parties (COP) at its thirteenth session in 2007 in Bali, a mitigation mechanism named REDD (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) was proposed. REDD aims to compensate tropical developing countries that want to protect and preserve their forest (Global Canopy Programme. 2009, Börner, J 2010).

The concept of REDD evolved from just avoiding emissions to enhancing carbon uptake, biodiversity conservation and promoting sustainable forestry practices, known as REDD+ (Lawlor, K.2010). Some developing countries with tropical forests are working to develop a national REDD+ strategy and to do so they need to get ready to implement those strategies (Angelsen 2008). To this end, interested countries need to develop an R-PP (REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposal) (Forest Carbon Partnership Facility 2010) where national regulatory and socio-economic strengths and weaknesses are assessed and actions to address main constraints are proposed in order to obtain funds from multilateral and international donors to implement these REDD+ national strategies (Karousakis, K 2007, Bosetti 2009).

However, during the development of their national R-PPs, developing tropical countries may overlook key socio-cultural interactions, regulatory gaps, and economic priorities, which affect a broad set of forest stakeholders (Celia A. et al 2010). Furthermore, each country presents a unique set of problems on land tenure systems (Cotula and Mayers 2009), local and national governance, deforestation drivers (Dei, G. 1992, Codjoe et al. 2009), ownership over carbon stored in trees (Muradian et al 2001, Wiggings et al 2004) and biophysical circumstances (Katoomba Group. 2009a, Capella 2009). Thus, when these factors are disregarded they might generate potential impacts for the implementation of a national REDD+ strategy. This project is an attempt to learn on the ground how local governance and socio-economic factors can impact the implementation of a national REDD+ strategy and present policy recommendations to manage those impacts in both countries.

My work takes as study cases the experiences of Peru and Ghana on the development of their R-PPs. Both are countries with highly diverse tropical forests, developing their R-PP under the FCPF guidelines, and both have been chosen as pilot countries to receive funds from the FIP (Forest Investment Program). However, the countries are mainly different in their governance (Irawan, S. 2009), social structure, cultural background, and economic realities. Those differences make Peru and Ghana ideal subjects to learn how the implementation of a national REDD+ strategy can be affected by a variety of local factors.