Community Forestry and REDD+ in Nepal
Reducing the rate and extent of tropical forest loss is a critical component of climate change mitigation efforts. A global agreement to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) seeks to transfer funds from developed countries to developing tropical forest countries such as Nepal in exchange for verifiable emissions reductions. Nepal already has a historic and successful Community Forestry management system in place. Consequently, Nepal is currently engaged in the challenging task of designing and implementing REDD+ strategies that are effective, efficient, and equitable, and can take advantage of some pre-existing Community Forestry institutions and processes.
To understand the strategic complexity of these tasks, our project team worked with the International Forestry Resources and Institutions on a World Bank funded project to complete a comprehensive litterature review and in-country interviews with relevant stakeholders. Issues that remain unresolved in the literature and interviews regarding Community Forestry and REDD+ in Nepal include monitoring, stakeholder engagement, benefit-sharing, and institutional arrangements at various political levels, among others. A total of 20 stakeholders in Bharatpur, Kathmandu and Shaktikhor were interviewed using qualitative in-person interviews, and ranged in occupation from governmental employees to members of Community Forestry User Groups. The project team desired to know whether individuals working on these issues in Nepal would share new knowledge concerning the aforementioned issues, whether that knowledge would support our detract from the available litterature, and if interviewees would agree or disagree based on discernible difference between employers.
This approach allowed the project team to analyze a spectrum of perspectives among interviewees on the current developmental and organizational processes an the mechanisms needed to effectively, efficiently, and equitably implement REDD+ in Nepal. Findings show that congruity exist among the conjectures provided by respondents despite their vested interest in their respective organizations, but that problems regarding undecided REDD+ policies and stakeholder engagement remain. Some of the incongruities arise from the uniquely Nepali issue of land tenure for Community Forests and will require extensive research and multi-stakeholder problem-solving before REDD+ moves forward in Nepal. Should these issues be addressed, the project team concludes that REDD+ could use existing Community Forestry institutions, in addition to other forestry management schemes, to bring equitable co-benefits and increased carbon storage to Nepal.
Joel DeBoer, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
Derrick Rosenbach, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
Jessica Whittemore, MS Environmental Justice