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Session Overview
8-HP020: Climate Change Mitigation Measures, Social Justice & Peace. Is It Possible to Move from Hindering to Helping?
Thursday, 08/July/2021:
12:30pm - 1:45pm

Session Chair: Prof. Dirk-Jan Koch, Radboud University, Netherlands, The

Session Abstract

The amount of funding available for climate change mitigation measures available in the Global South is rising fast. However, it is much less clear what the effects, let alone the unintended effects, of these billions of investments are, especially with respect to social justice and peace. What happens to indigenous people living of forests when the official title owners are compensated for conserving the forests? What happens to latent land conflicts when suddenly lands are valued for conservation? How can we ensure that climate mitigation measures contribute to social justice & peace instead of hindering them?

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Are Forest Carbon Projects in Africa Green but Mean?: A Mixed-Method Analysis

Dominique Schmid

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain

To meet global climate goals many nations are transitioning to a “green economy” with the double aim of not compromising on their economic growth. As a climate change mitigation strategy, emission reduction projects, such as those related to forest carbon, are being developed around the globe. Framed under a multiple-win narrative, such projects are praised by multi-lateral organisations as initiatives that simultaneously mitigate climate change and foster socio-economic development in project countries. A great deal of scholarly literature, however, has found that projects fail to deliver on the promised benefits and can even have security implications. This study contributes to an emerging body of literature on the undesired effects of climate change mitigation interventions in the Global South. Research into the security implications of climate change mitigation actions remains scarce and the current evidence is largely drawn from case-by-case analysis. Using a multi-level logistic regression model based on the geo- spatial information of 22 forest carbon projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, this study finds that community contestation drastically increases after project implementation in that also violent conflict increases in the wider project landscape. The qualitative findings of one sampled case, provides further evidence of this relationship by documenting not only conflict events but also multiple risk-multiplying factors.

Mai-Ndombe: Will the REDD+ Laboratory Benefit Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities?

Marine Gauthier

Graduate Institute, France

REDD+ acknowledges that forests are home to indigenous peoples. It opens the way to development co-benefits for particularly marginalized communities. In Mai-Ndombe (Democratic Republic of Congo), significant REDD+ investments from a myriad of REDD+ actors are being made that could generate benefits but also pose substantial risks. This research paper investigates how the REDD+ regime complex in Mai-Ndombe has (or has not) addressed the different risks hindering indigenous peoples rights and livelihoods and what are the possible ways for it to actually benefit them. Bridging International relations’ analysis of regime complexity with a postcolonial critical anthropology approach, it first maps the complexity of all the different projects and programmes at stake, and then identifies the risks and solutions based on a political ethnographic work conducted over 7 years. It turns out that REDD+ regime complex in Mai-Ndombe is marked by (a) a lack of identification of the risks for it to actually hinder rather than help indigenous interests and (b) a strong emphasis on institutionalized participation as a mean to actually integrate benefit indigenous communities, which actually ends up reproducing postcolonial dynamics. This research concludes that looking at indigenous peoples’ struggles is a way to find solutions to the deterritorialization of climate politics and programmes, and to overcome domination mechanisms which often hinder fair access to benefits. Reterritorialization through participatory mapping, acknowledgement of local territorial knowledge and traditional land tenure, critical analysis of domination mechanisms are yet to be fully integrated within REDD+ in order to allow the regime to actually fulfil its objectives. Fully integrating indigenous peoples ex-ante could allow the emergence of a territorialized and fair REDD+ approach which would in turn benefit the most local rung of climate governance: on indigenous lands, where the carbon is being stored.

Consequences of Payments for Environmental Services for the Wellbeing of Upstream Farmers in the Cidanau Watershed, Indonesia: A Case Study

Lonneke Jansen

Radboud University, Netherlands, The

As a consequence of the increased awareness of the importance of nature conservation to mitigate climate change, Payments for Environmental Services (PES) have gained popularity. However, studies into the consequences of PES have shown mixed results and there is a scarcity of rigorous impact evaluations. On the one hand, there has been a growing interest in the potential of PES schemes to contribute to poverty alleviation. On the other hand, scholars have expressed their concerns about the potential negative unintended consequences of PES schemes, such as the marginalization of indigenous people and increased conflicts over land rights and resources. Problematic is that studies that aim to address the consequences of PES beyond the environmental objectives, often hold rather limited understanding of human wellbeing. Such research tends to focus too strongly on external ‘objective’ measures of welfare. Offering a more holistic, person-centred and positive approach, a wellbeing framework is introduced to the discussion about the intended and unintended consequences of Payments for Environmental Services. One kampung in the Cidanau watershed in Indonesia was selected to explore the consequences of PES for the wellbeing of upstream farmers. The findings of the case study contribute to the PES literature by 1) identifying neutral and positive unintended consequences and 2) identifying new unintended consequences. Finally, it is argued that wellbeing theory offers a useful framework for academic and policy thinking about Payments for Environmental Services.

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