UNRISD Paper Examines Social Dimensions of the Global Political Economy of REDD+

30 December 2011: The UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) has published a paper on how different actors bring the social dimension into the negotiating process for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) at the global level.

The paper notes that the emergence of REDD+ has brought new actors, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and human rights groups, to the green economy negotiating arena whose interests go beyond the economy and the environment. It also notes that, while most of the research on REDD+ focuses on methodologies and policy approaches, there is limited information on how actors participate in policy processes and how they affect these processes. Overall, the paper looks at the different stages of global REDD+ to analyze power from historical, structural and social dimensions.

The paper starts with a conceptual framework for the analysis and the methodology used. It describes the dominant narratives around REDD+ and which actor-networks are supporting them. The second section introduces the history of REDD+ negotiations with a focus on the major contentions. Key actors and ideological drivers in REDD+ are identified. The paper examines how power shapes negotiating spaces around REDD+ and the strategies and coalitions being used by forest dwellers' advocates in order to influence global REDD+ negotiations. This is followed by an analysis of power configurations, how REDD+ governance structures are being set up globally and the key decisions that have implications for the social dimension of REDD+ policies. The paper concludes with a reflection on the key issues for a political economy of REDD+ under a post-Kyoto agreement.

This paper, authored by Rocío Hiraldo and Thomas Tanner, is part of the UNRISD Occasional Paper series produced in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in preparation for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) with the objective of promoting discussions on the social dimensions of green economy and sustainable development. [Publication: The Global Political Economy of REDD+: Engaging Social Dimensions in the Emerging Green Economy]