Social Dimensions of REDD+: Seeing the People for the Trees
This brief outlines a discussion and conclusions reached at a workshop on the social dimensions of REDD+, which goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation to include the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
With respect to REDD+, social and environmental soundness includes attention to social and environmental safeguards and standards, stakeholders, multiple social and environmental benefits (REDD+ co-benefits), benefit sharing, social and environmental impact assessments and evaluations, governance, land and resource tenure, carbon rights and human rights, conserving natural capital, building social capital, and sustainability.
USAID wants to ensure that REDD+ activities at a minimum “do no harm” to people or the environment and “do good” by bringing social and environmental benefits. The workshop centered on gender issues vis-à-vis REDD+; issues of effectiveness and efficiency; and enhancing equity, governance and democracy.
The brief concludes that donors and implementers need to understand the human uses of – and values attached to – forests. Social differences affect how people interact with forests and how forests can serve human needs. Thus, there is growing recognition that practioners must fully address and incorporate the social dimensions of REDD+, if it is to succeed.