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University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Society of Postdoctoral Scholars Research Symposium
Beckman Institute, 25 January, 2013
Carbon forestry and poverty alleviation:
The more things change, the more they stay the same
Emmanuel O. Nuesiri
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Geography Department and the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy (SDEP)
Abstract
Global carbon forestry programs such as the reducing emissions from
deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD)
promises to contribute to poverty alleviation. However, the design phase of
such programs show that the principal actors implicated in keeping forest
dependent people poor remain in the driver’s seat in designing the new
carbon forestry economy. Are we then to realistically expect a different set of
results? This paper addresses this problematic by presenting provisional
results from research carried out on a REDD program in Nigeria.
What is Carbon Forestry?
Carbon forestry involves market-based forest management
strategies that promote forest carbon sequestration as one of the
global mechanisms to mitigating the impact of climate change.
It includes initiatives such as Payment for Environmental Services
(PES) schemes; the Kyoto Protocols ‘Clean Development Mechanism’
(CDM); and the ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest
Degradation in Developing Countries’ (REDD) strongly supported the
World Bank and the United Nations.
Why Carbon Forestry?
Carbon forestry is expected to reduce the price of carbon in carbon
markets and consequently the costs of carbon emissions reductions
for polluting agents in the industrialized world
Source:
FAO. 2010.
Managing
Forests for
Climate
Change.
Rome: FAO
Figure 1: Estimated price of carbon in $US per tonne of carbon without
forest carbon (iter 1) and with forest carbon (iter 11)
Source: Tavoni M., B. Sohngen and V. Bosetti. 2007. Forestry and the Carbon Market: Response to Stabilize
Climate. Climate Change Modelling and Policy Research Report to the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei
Who are the global actors promoting Carbon Forestry?
Carbon forestry is promoted through the World Bank and the
United Nations supported by governments and industries.
Activities are coordinated by the Forest Carbon Partnership
Facility (FCPF) hosted by the World Bank. Members include:
Governments: The European Commission and Governments of Australia,
Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands,
Norway, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States of America
Private Sector & NGOs: BP Technology Ventures Inc., CDC Climat*, The
Nature Conservancy
Collaborators: The UN-REDD Programme
*CDC - Caisse des Dépôts Group is a major investment firm based in France
Carbon forestry through REDD
REDD
The reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in
developing countries (REDD) initiative is part of a portfolio of strategies for
climate change mitigation being considered by the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The World Bank through the FCPF and the United Nations through the UNREDD Programme are working with interested donors and governments in
the developing world to build capacity to identify and manage large tracts of
forest as carbon forest under the REDD initiative.
Verified carbon sequestered under the REDD initiative will be sold in
international carbon markets. The REDD initiative commits governments in
developing countries to equitably compensate poor forest dependent
people who may suffer loss of livelihoods from enclosure of forestlands.
Research Interest
Questions
1. Who determines the benefit sharing mechanism in REDD?
2. How much compensation will poor forest dependent people receive?
3. What measures are there to ensure equity in the compensation regime?
Case study
The UN-REDD Programme in Nigeria, West Africa.
Context
Nigeria is wealthy oil exporting country with a population of 160 million
people; 60% live on below US1 per day. Poverty is linked to inequitable
distribution of wealth and massive corruption. It has a federal system of
government with 36 states and federal capital territory, Abuja.
The UN-REDD has a US$4 million programme in the country, which includes a
pilot carbon forestry project in Cross River State (CRS) in south-east Nigeria.
CRS has about 3 million people and 50% of Nigeria’s forest cover; it does not
have oil revenues, income is mainly from tourism.
3
2
REDD Project Areas
1: Akpabuyo Mangroves
2: Ekuri Cluster
3: Mbe Mountains Cluster
1
Figure 2: Maps showing REDD Pilot
Project Areas in Cross River State
Research Design
Theory
This study is primarily influenced by the social theories of Nancy Fraser. In
her article ‘Reframing Justice in a Globalizing World’ (Fraser 2005), she
argues that social equity is influenced by economics, cultural identity, and
the structure of governance systems. To understand and influence the social
world, one must therefore pay attention to the ‘politics of redistribution’, the
‘politics of recognition’, and the ‘politics of representation’.
Hypothesis
The UN-REDD commitment to equitable benefit sharing for forest users
impacted by its carbon forest projects is operationalized by an engagement
with the politics of redistribution, recognition, and representation.
Data was collected through:
• Published and grey document reviews
• Field work carried out in Nigeria between August to October 2012
• Personal interviews of research participants in key institutions at the
local, national and international scale.
• Field visit to Ikoi Esai community in the Ekuri Cluster project area
Results
The Nigeria REDD readiness program commenced in 2012 after a 2 year
consultative process; the program will last till 2015, by which time the
country will be ready to enter into the carbon trading market. The Nigeria
program is in its readiness phase, when technical and managerial capacity
is being built at the national and state level.
1.
Who determines the benefit sharing mechanism in the UN-REDD
Nigeria Programme?
The ‘Nigeria REDD+ Readiness Programme’ document states on page 52
under Outcome 3 ‘Institutional and technical capacity for REDD+ in Cross
River State strengthened’ that:
‘Specific activities will include…developing the benefit-sharing distribution
and carbon trading systems that would underpin REDD+ in CRS, and
developing a registry and rules for REDD+ initiatives.’
Results (contd.)
2. How much compensation will poor forest dependent people receive?
The readiness document does not discuss how much compensation forest
dependent people will receive. However, timber revenues in Cross River
State was shared on a 50:50 basis between the state and the communities
with rights to the forest where the timber was harvested.
Interviews reveal that the timber sector was rife with corruption so there is
no accurate data on how much revenue it generated. Corruption in the
sector led the state governor in 2008 to ban logging indefinitely.
The ban is upheld by a taskforce led by an American conservationist who
has lived in the state for the past 20 years. He and his team encounter
regular violent skirmishes with illegal loggers in the state; working with the
security services, the American carries a shotgun at all times.
Figure 3: Timber
forcefully impounded
from illegal loggers
The illegal loggers consist of
merchants from other parts of
Nigeria; community
collaborators; disloyal forest
department staff; and state
level political leaders.
Results (contd.)
3. What measures are there to ensure equity in the compensation regime?
The UN-REDD foundational framework document states that the UN-REDD will
ensure equitable payment distribution and reduce corruption by promoting
‘strong democratic processes in local institutions’ (UN-REDD 2008, pp. 12).
The UN-REDD Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria document,
states that the UN-REDD will ‘ensure the full and effective participation of
…forest dependent communities, with special attention to the most vulnerable
and marginalized groups’ (UN REDD 2011, pp. 4).
The UN-REDD states in its ‘Report of the Eighth Policy Board Meeting’
document that its environmental and social safeguards are ‘a voluntary guiding
framework’ (UN-REDD 2012, pp. 4). Ensuring equity in benefit sharing in the
Nigeria pilot thus lies with the Cross River State government.
Discussion
‘You cannot stand by the road and ban the bush’
(Senior forester in Cross River State who opposes the log ban)
The UN-REDD Nigeria Programme engages with the economics of carbon
trading and with the necessity of recognizing the rights of the different groups
with claims to the forest in Cross River State. However, it steps back from
questioning the governance structures in the state.
The fact that the state governor could not address corruption in the logging
sector other than to ban the activity; and could not enforce the ban through
regular security apparatus but depends on a militia type team headed by an
expatriate conservationist, indicates severe governance dysfunction.
Nigeria holds regular elections to appoint its leaders at national, state, and
local level. These often rule by arbitrary order like this log ban bitterly opposed
by local people who depend on the resource for sustenance. This type of
governance structure cannot ensure social equity.
Conclusion
This study examines the UN-REDD carbon forestry project and its potential to
contribute to poverty alleviation in Cross River State, Nigeria. This is because
the UN-REDD Programme articulates a commitment to equitable benefit
sharing of REDD revenues. The study is informed by Fraser (2005) theory that
that social equity is influenced by economics, cultural identity, and the
structure of governance systems. She refers to this as the ‘politics of
redistribution’, the ‘politics of recognition’, and the ‘politics of representation’.
The study hypothesizes that ‘the UN-REDD commitment to equitable benefit
sharing for forest users impacted by its carbon forest projects is operationalized
by an engagement with the politics of redistribution, recognition, and
representation’. The study finds that the UN-REDD engages with the politics of
redistribution and recognition but not the politics of representation. The Cross
State government responsible for ensuring equitable benefit sharing of REDD
revenues, has a dysfunctional governance structure.
The study concludes that the UN-REDD carbon forestry project in Cross River
State, Nigeria is unlikely to contribute to local poverty alleviation.

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