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REDD+ in Africa: contexts and challenges

Belachew Gizachew, Rasmus Astrup, Pål Vedeld, Eliakimu M. Zahabu and Lalisa A. Duguma

Natural Resources Forum, 2017, vol. 41, issue 2, 92-104

Abstract: REDD+, a climate change mitigation mechanism that values carbon in tropical forests, is expected to provide Africa with a range of environmental and socio‐economic benefits. Drawing on a vast array of literature and personal experiences, this review analyzed particular features and challenges that REDD+ implementation has faced on the continent. The distinct contexts and major challenges regarding governance, finance and technical capacities are discussed, and mechanisms to fill these gaps are suggested. Radical land tenure reform and a perfect safeguard mechanism that transfers forest land and carbon to the communities are unlikely. REDD+ should rather look for systems that respect local institutional arrangements, and allow forest‐based communities to participate in decision‐making and benefit sharing, particularly benefits from emerging REDD+. Finances for REDD+ infrastructure and the results‐based payment are in short supply. While negotiating for potential external sources in the short term, Africa should generate domestic financial resources and look for additional payments for ecosystem services. Africa should also negotiate for forest monitoring capacity building, while strengthening local community forest monitoring. This review contributes to an improved understanding of the contexts and challenges to consider in the capacity and policy development for REDD+ implementation.

Date: 2017
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