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Make Sure the Poor Don’t Miss Out on REDD, Says IUCN

Make Sure the Poor Don’t Miss Out on REDD, Says IUCN

Cancun, Mexico, 7 December, 2010 (IUCN) - Governments need to put more attention and resources into making sure vulnerable people get their fair share of benefits from REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), according to IUCN.

A new analysis by IUCN of 17 countries that have submitted budget proposals to the World Bank shows that they are to invest triple the amount of money in measuring and reporting on the carbon in forests than on national capacity building and consulting with local people.

Vulnerable groups, such as women, indigenous people and the poor, risk being sidelined if REDD initiatives fail to adequately inform and engage them and build their capacity, according to IUCN.

“It is encouraging to see in these proposals that hundreds of millions of dollars are now being committed to REDD, but our estimates show that only $30 million or so are dedicated to training and consulting local people, compared with nearly $100 million to research on how to quantify the carbon of forests," says Stewart Maginnis, Director of IUCN’s Environment and Development.

In Ghana, a country which is leading the way in REDD readiness work, $3 million has been budgeted to develop a methodology for measuring, reporting and verifying the carbon in forests, and only $800,000 to training and consulting local people. Investments like this might seem significant, but a recent study by IUCN and The Forest Dialogue shows there is virtually no knowledge of what REDD entails at the local level, both among rural communities and district officials. More money is needed to make sure that the citizens of forest countries are active participants in framing a solution, IUCN says.

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“If we are to see transformational land use change, then $800,000 is a rather limited investment”, says Wale Adeleke, IUCN Forest Project Facilitator in Ghana.

"Governments and donors need to get the balance right," says Consuelo Espinosa, IUCN’s Senior Forest and Climate Change Officer. "There has to be more equality between investing in the science of carbon counting and investing in the process that will actually make REDD happen, namely capacity building, consultation and participation of the rural poor. If we don't get the balance right, the people most in need of benefiting from REDD will lose out."

This “pro-poor” approach to REDD, which puts disadvantaged communities at the forefront of forest conservation, is consistent with a wider effort to foster ‘transformational change’ in the way forests are valued and managed.


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