Community perceptions of REDD+: a case study from Papua New Guinea

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [University of Sydney]On: 11 March 2013, At: 15:12Publisher: Taylor &amp; FrancisInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office:Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Climate PolicyPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscriptioninformation:</p><p>Community perceptions of REDD+: a casestudy from Papua New GuineaMatthew Leggett a &amp; Heather Lovell aa School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP, UKVersion of record first published: 04 Aug 2011.</p><p>To cite this article: Matthew Leggett &amp; Heather Lovell (2012): Community perceptions of REDD+: a case studyfrom Papua New Guinea, Climate Policy, 12:1, 115-134</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Full terms and conditions of use:</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantialor systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.</p><p>The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that thecontents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae,and drug doses should be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall notbe liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings, demand, or costs or damages whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of thismaterial.</p></li><li><p>Community perceptions of REDD+: a case studyfrom Papua New GuineaMATTHEW LEGGETT*, HEATHER LOVELL</p><p>School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9XP, UK</p><p>REDD projects have received considerable attention for their potential to mitigate the effects of climatic change. However, theexisting literature has been slow to assess the impacts of proposed REDD projects on the livelihoods of forest communities inthe developing world, or the implications of these local realities for the success of REDD+ initiatives in general. This studypresents ethnographic research conducted with communities within the April-Salomei pilot REDD+ Project in Papua NewGuinea (PNG). Several cases of institutional biases and uneven power relationships have been exploited by local elites to preventlandowners from making free and informed choices about their involvement in the project, although landowners and localcommunities are well positioned to capture forthcoming project benefits. By underestimating the scale and impact of traditionalshifting cultivation practices, the credibility of the REDD+ project design and the value of any future carbon credits arecritically undermined. Based on the actual practices found in PNG, the authors radical proposal is to call for a halt on REDDdevelopment in PNG while institutional enabling conditions are improved, comprehensive landowner consultations conducted,and detailed mapping and genealogical surveys of landowners completed. Without these developments, future REDD+projects in PNG are unlikely to benefit either the global climate or local development.</p><p>Keywords: avoided deforestation; community participation; forest communities; land tenure; Papua New Guinea; REDD+; usagerights</p><p>Les projets REDD ont recu beaucoup dattention pour leur potentiel a` mitiger les effets du changement climatique. Cependant, lalitterature courante a ete lente dans lestimation des impacts des projets REDD proposes sur la subsistance des communautesforestie`res dans les pays en developpement, ou la portee des realites locales sur le succe`s des initiatives REDD+ en general.Cette etude fait lexpose dune recherche ethnographique menee avec des communautes au sein du projet pilote REDD+ April-Solomei en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinee. (PNG). Plusieurs circonstances de partis pris institutionnels et de relations depouvoir irregulie`res ont ete exploitees par les elites locales pour faire obstacle aux proprietaires fonciers dans leur information etliberte de choix en ce qui concerne leur relation au projet, bien que les proprietaires et communautes locales soient bien placespour recevoir les benefices futurs du projet. En sous-estimant lampleur et limpact des pratiques traditionnelles de cultureitinerante, la credibilite de la structure des projets REDD+ et la valeur des credits carbone futurs sont gravement compromis. Surla base des pratiques actuelles en PNG, la proposition radicale des auteurs est dappeler a` la halte au developpement de REDDen PNG, en attendant que les circonstances institutionnelles soient ameliorees, quune meilleure consultation des proprietairessoit menee, et quune enquete geographique et genealogique detaillee du regime foncier soit conclue. Sans cesdeveloppements, les futurs projets REDD+ en PNG seront peu susceptibles de faire beneficier soit le climat mondial soit ledeveloppement local.</p><p>Mots cles : Communautes forestie`res; deforestation evitee; droits dusufruit; Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinee; participation des</p><p>communautes; REDD+; regime foncier</p><p>n case study</p><p>n *Corresponding author. E-mail:</p><p>CLIMATE POLICY 12 (2012) 115134</p><p> # 2012 Taylor &amp; Francis ISSN: 1469-3062 (print), 1752-7457 (online)</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity of</p><p> Sydn</p><p>ey] a</p><p>t 15:1</p><p>2 11 M</p><p>arch 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>1. Introduction</p><p>International policies towards tropical forest conservation are changing rapidly. Tropical forests play a</p><p>vital role in supporting the livelihoods ofmillions of the poorest communities in the developing world</p><p>aswell as a unique biological diversity (Huberman, 2007, p. 3; IUCN, 2009). However, it is onlywith the</p><p>growth of international concern regarding rapid climate change that concerted efforts have beenmade</p><p>to place an economic value on the ecosystem services provided by the vast carbon storeswithin tropical</p><p>forests and to develop a mechanism that provides financial rewards for reducing forest destruction</p><p>(Asquith et al., 2002; Corbera, 2005; Oestreicher et al., 2009).</p><p>The first steps towards the creation of such amechanismwere takenwith the implementation of the</p><p>Kyoto Protocol in 1997 (UNFCCC, 1998), under the United Nations Framework Convention on</p><p>Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, although the original agreement committed industrialized</p><p>nations to significant reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), by excluding the emis-</p><p>sions reductions achieved by the avoidance of deforestation from the Protocols carbon accounting and</p><p>trading scheme (Wainwright and Wehrmayer, 1998), it controversially failed to provide a financial</p><p>incentive for developing nations to curtail deforestation. As a result, a further proposal to compensate</p><p>countries with revenue generated from carbon finance was introduced by the nations of Papua New</p><p>Guinea (PNG) and Costa Rica at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 11) in</p><p>2005, on behalf of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN) (Wainwright and Wehrmayer, 1998;</p><p>Howes, 2009; Oestreicher et al., 2009). The proposal, entitled Reducing Emissions from Deforestation</p><p>in Developing Countries; Approaches to Stimulate Action, called for the development of an initiative</p><p>to reward countries that promoted a reduction in emissions from the deforestation anddegradation of</p><p>forests with payments generated from international markets selling carbon credits. This initiative,</p><p>REDD as it has become known, was widely supported. By COP 13 in 2007, the initiative had</p><p>become REDD+ and further encompassed conservation, sustainable forest management and theenhancement of forest carbon stock. The process of developing and piloting a flexible mechanism to</p><p>capture thefinancial incentives from the cessationof deforestationwas thereby instigated (Wainwright</p><p>and Wehrmayer, 1998).</p><p>The development of a functioning REDD+mechanism fromaproposal onpaper into a set of policiesand actions that can be effectively implemented at a project level is now of paramount importance.</p><p>Research has shown that the destruction and degradation of the worlds forest accounts for between</p><p>12% and 18% of annual GHG emissions, and remains one of the principal anthropogenic drivers of</p><p>climate change, with only the energy and industry sectors responsible for more annual global emis-</p><p>sions (IPCC, 2007). Statistics further demonstrate that, despite global efforts to reduce GHG emissions</p><p>from all sectors since Kyoto, current global trends indicate a rapid and inexorable increase, with emis-</p><p>sions from tropical deforestation remaining a key catalyst in this rise (Angelsen, 2008). Critically, it has</p><p>also been argued that the impacts of climatic change also threaten to undo decades of development</p><p>(UN-REDD, 2009).</p><p>PNG is a country emblematic of the challenges facing developing rainforest nations in the Global</p><p>South. Despite its rich natural resources (recent surveys indicate that between 50 and 70% of the</p><p>countrys 46.4 million hectares remain covered with largely undisturbed lowland rainforest) and a</p><p>relatively stable political climate, the country remains extremely poor, with an estimated 40% of</p><p>the population living on less than US$1 a day (UNDP, 2009; AusAID, 2009; Shearman et al.,</p><p>2009). A heavy reliance on extractive mining and forestry projects has historically contributed</p><p>most to the nations GDP, but has simultaneously threatened the future livelihoods of the 87% of</p><p>the population who depend on natural resources for their subsistence needs (WHO, 2007; Shearman</p><p>et al., 2009). Recent papers have argued, not uncontroversially, that current rates of forest</p><p>116 Leggett and Lovell</p><p>CLIMATE POLICY</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity of</p><p> Sydn</p><p>ey] a</p><p>t 15:1</p><p>2 11 M</p><p>arch 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>degradation and deforestation remain comparable to those found in the Amazon basin, with recent</p><p>projections indicating that, by 2021, 83% of commercially accessible forest in PNG will have been</p><p>cleared or degraded (Shearman et al., 2009; Filer et al., 2009). In the context of carbon emissions,</p><p>the scale of the deforestation and degradation of PNGs forest becomes clear: approximately 98%</p><p>of the countrys carbon emissions are generated from land-use change and forestry (Shearman</p><p>et al., 2008, p. 4, 2009; WRI, 2009).</p><p>The significant challenges faced by PNG are further magnified when examined in light of the over-</p><p>whelming complexity of the nations cultural and political landscape, where governmental and non-</p><p>governmental institutions struggle tomeet the diverse needs of over 800 language and ethnic groups in</p><p>a nation where most communities remain accessible only by foot (WHO, 2007). The REDD+mechan-ism is therefore of crucial interest to PNG for both its potential climate mitigation benefits and its</p><p>capacity to generate additional gains for both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development,</p><p>including contributing to poverty reduction and strengthening indigenous rights (Corbera, 2005,</p><p>p. 43; Howes, 2009).</p><p>TheGovernment of PNG therefore remains conspicuous at the forefront of global REDDdiscussions,</p><p>and efforts to develop functioning REDD+ projects, both in the Voluntary Carbon Offsets (VCO)market and at a national level, are ongoing. After the establishment of the PNG Office for Climate</p><p>Change and Environmental Sustainability (OCCES) in 2008, the April-Salomei Forest Management</p><p>Area (FMA), located in the Hunstein Range, a remote region of East Sepik Province, was initially ident-</p><p>ified as the first of four pilot REDD+ project sites in PNG.An investigation of the April-Salomei project forms the empirical basis for this article, drawing on</p><p>ethnographic research conducted with rural communities situated within the proposed April-Salomei</p><p>project area in the period May to July 2009. The research sought first to assess the development and</p><p>structure of the proposed April-Salomei REDD+ project, then to evaluate local community awareness,understanding and willingness to participate in it, and, finally, to analyse the implications of the</p><p>project for community livelihoods. The article is structured as follows. In Section 2, relevant literature</p><p>on carbon markets, forests and development is reviewed. The existing literature has largely failed to</p><p>examine the impacts of existing or proposed REDD+ projects on the lives and livelihoods of forestdwelling communities in the developing world, or the implications of these local realities for the</p><p>overall success of REDD+ initiatives (due at least in part to a lack of functioning projects on theground). Thus, the focus in this article is on the few existing community-based studies of REDD+(Asquith et al., 2002; Cotula and Mayers, 2009) as well as other community-based research that has</p><p>sought to identify and describe unequal power relations and their implications for the management</p><p>of natural resources (Bass et al., 2000; Brown et al., 2000; Huberman, 2007; Bumpus and Liverman,</p><p>2008). In Section 3, the background to the April-Salomei Sustainable Forestry project in PNG is dis-</p><p>cussed, with an outline of events and decisions that led to its establishment in 2008. As relatively</p><p>little detailed community-based research on REDD+ within communities has been conducted (Huber-man, 2007), the research methodology is briefly outlined in Section 4, and some of its limitations are</p><p>considered in this context.</p><p>In Section 5, the three main findings are presented and analysed: (i) that communities in the study</p><p>region were neither fully aware of the existence of the April-Salomei project nor understood the</p><p>concept of REDD+, despite it being in the advanced stages of project design; (ii) that communityand government elites had exploited institutional biases and uneven power relationships to actively</p><p>prevent indigenous landowners from making free and informed choices about their involvement</p><p>with the REDD+ project; and (iii) that the existing project design had seriously underestimated theextent of traditional shifting cultivation practices on the forest area and failed to account for this</p><p>impact within the REDD+ project design.</p><p>Community perceptions of REDD+ 117</p><p>CLIMATE POLICY</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity of</p><p> Sydn</p><p>ey] a</p><p>t 15:1</p><p>2 11 M</p><p>arch 2</p><p>013 </p></li><li><p>In Section 6, it is argued that the findings of the study emphasize the critical value of an anthropo-</p><p>logical and community-based perspective of institutional power disparities when designing and devel-</p><p>oping REDD+ projects and that the impact of the subsistence strategies of rainforest dwellingcommunities in determining project success or failure must be recognized.</p><p>2. A review: carbon markets, forests and development</p><p>To date, existing academic research on the architecture and application of REDD initiatives has focused</p><p>principally on the macrolevel mechanisms that determine and regulate carbon markets. Industry</p><p>research and debate has primarily focused on t...</p></li></ul>


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