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Policy and Advocacy
Posted by: suvas chandra devkota at 5:25AM EST on August 19, 2010
Suvas Devkota and Sandesh Silpakar
Asia Dialogue on Community Forests and Property Rights in the Context of Climate Change was successfully carried out on August 11-12, 2010 in, Kathmandu, Nepal. More than 70 participant's representatives from 10 countries of ASIA including Nepal were participated and contributed to the discourse. Numbers of issues related on community forests, property rights and cldimate change were discussed during the dialogue. The whole dialogue process was confined Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Degradation-REDD and totally excluded adoption role of community forests in the climate change context.
It is known that rights of the community / Forest dependent community and Indigenous People (IP) through community forestry are advancing throughout the region in some extend. These countries have developed policies and legislations in place for advancing community forestry. Although the progress made is not to the desired extent but community forestry area is increasing, ownership right of communities is increasing and government is slowly and gradually trying to realize that if forest resource has to be restored and deforestation has to be reversed, then there is no other way than empowering the local community and handing over the responsibility to local community to govern the forest resources.
Lessons could be learnt from Australia, China, and Vietnam and to some extent Nepal on how tenure reform is directly related to forest degradations conditions. An example of Phillippines points that more the community based forest management, lesser is the degradation. However, more studies need to be done in this aspect.
The key minimum reform that should be done is to clarify a balanced role, responsibility and authority among the state, civil society and community. Tenure reform is not adequate, there should be tenure transformation. The transformation of tenure meaning the shift, the handover of ownership rights from state to community, so that the tenure rights to intervene to the resources are secure.
Drivers of deforestation: Some are related to forest, others are related to agriculture and there are many important driving forces that are related to political governance system particularly corruption, illegal logging, unclear tenure and colonial history meaning still the control and command system.
Important questions on discussion: What does REDD offer more than what we have now? What actually we lose if we adapt REDD? What we gain out of REDD plus or what we lose if we adopt it?
If REDD++ readiness mechanism is done unilaterally by state without equal partnership with CSO and communities, then it is likely that REDD plus will fail before it goes for the compliance stage.
If that does not happen then people will see REDD as a new form of colonialization, recentralization and another form of failure of state and market. Therefore participation of CSO and community as equal partners not just as token of partnership should be there.
Alternative definition of REDD means rights over resources, equity, devolution of power, democracy and development. REDD should follow governance and equity.
The compliance of just 1% of the total promise of $100 billion does not guarantee the implementation of REDD that goes in favor of communities. Psychology of Market saying that the rate of carbon credit might go by half. Therefore who benefits, who buys the carbon; that loses, the communities.
One common voice is needed. During this time of readiness, we should not worry just about financial mechanisms but we should also make sure that the information mechanism and the other institutional mechanism are in place and we learn ourselves at national and sub national level by doing some innovative project.
Is carbon just added value or there will be more conditions that will be imposed upon the communities? If the conditions are not acceptable and if the condition restricts the current access to forest for livelihood, then carbon would not be an added value, carbon would in turn restrict the users to access forest. Therefore, it should be very clear on this whether an added value is or not. From our experience from Asia, can we say that community forest be considered as important vehicle for REDD. If it is not, if people see different alternatives than CF, then there is very little prospect for REDD.
Only by securing community/IPs rights that forest would be managed wisely. State has to play an enabling role and communities will prove to be better managers of forests. REDD has both opportunities and challenges. fear that REDD will bring recentralization, fear that money will drive the policy rather policy driving the money, fear that the community rights and the human rights get compromised.
Posted by: Anne Bernier at 7:23PM EST on August 13, 2010
This blog was originally written by Anne Bernier, a former CARE Face-to-Face Recruiter in the DC area, and Eva Baker. Both are students at the College of William and Mary and wrote this blog while working at AidData. The original post is here.
While in Morocco this summer, Anne heard a lot about the government’s recent work to improve the status of women. In early 2004, the Moroccan Parliament overhauled the Moudawana, or Moroccan Family Code, giving women greater rights. The new family code removed provisions requiring women to obey their husbands and restricted polygamy. The reforms changed inheritance laws, allowed women freer access to employment and education, permitted Moroccan nationality to pass to children through either men or women, and empowered women to initiate divorce.
As Research Assistants for AidData, we wondered how Morocco’s donors would react to the domestic changes. As Nick Kristof has written, aid to women can have dramatic development effects.Did gender-related aid increase after 2004, perhaps to complement the reforms or as a “reward”? Or, did progress in the domestic legal code cause donors to shift aid away from women’s projects into other areas? For a quick comparison we keyword searched Morocco’s aid for the terms “gender,” “women,” “female,” and “girls” to flag projects with a significant women’s component in addition to those with women as the priority purpose. While the method isn’t perfect, as a first cut, we established a replicable and reliable sample of projects that would allow us to establish variation in allocation over time.
From the data we learned that despite a net increase in total aid to Morocco from 1999-2008, gender- related projects received around 1% of total aid both before and after the 2004 reforms. So, while gender- related aid did increase from $10,698,525 in 1999 to $16,307,016 in 2008 (and the number of projects went from 12 to 71 per year), we don’t see a dramatic change in allocation priorities by Morocco’s donors in either direction. This surprised us—donors had been clamoring for these reforms for years; but when they were passed we observe no obvious response on the part of these donors. This outcome is dissimilar to that noted by Chris Marcoux in the environmental issue area where change in aid is related to change in the domestic institutions of the recipient country.
But while there has been no major shift toward gender-related aid relative to other sectors in Morocco’s aid portfolio, perhaps donors became more targeted in the gender aid they were giving by focusing more directly on women’s rights, rather than traditional development activities thought to benefit women disproportionately. Thus, in our continuing quest to find a donor “response” to the reforms, we instead looked at the composition of projects within gender-related aid:
American project and this Spanish project. The real story lies in aid to women’s empowerment groups, civil society organizations, and gender-related rural development. From 2005-2008, projects in these sectors accounted for $70,873,272 of the total $108,723,601 in gender related aid, with Spain and the International Fund for Agricultural Development as the largest donors.
This shift from education and business to civil society projects is similar to the United Nations Development Fund for Women’s strategy. UNIFEM proposes to politically empower women by increasing political representation and mobilization and improving domestic legislation and its implementation. Domestic and international efforts in Morocco could also be viewed within the larger movement to raise women’s status as a critical component of economic development, as noted by Isobel Coleman in Foreign Affairs.
But these descriptive statistics say little about the actual results for women in Morocco. Other countries and women’s rights groups lauded Morocco for its reforms, but despite instances of progress, change has been slow. In particular, many women’s NGOs despair spotty implementation by conservative judges and the national government. To track the reforms’ results, we used Womanstats to look up the UNDP’s Gender-related Development Index (GDI), which uses literacy, school enrollment, life expectancy, and income levels to calculate the social and economic disparity between men and women. A high GDI shows a higher level of achievement for both men and women and higher gender equality.
Since 2003, Morocco’s GDI has risen steadily, although its rank has bounced around from 100, to 95, to 111. So while the achievement levels of Moroccan women have increased since the Moudawana reforms, Morocco has stayed roughly in the same place relative to the rest of the countries in the world. Although we found that donors reacted to the reforms in 2004, it was in a more nuanced way than we expected, given their sweeping changes. Whether that was appropriate will have to be debated elsewhere.