Why we are seeing red over India’s National REDD+ Strategy.

By Suhas Bhasme and Nitin Rai - India is a surprisingly recent entrant into the REDD+ arena. Surprising because almost all the forest land is state controlled and it would have been easy for a centralised forest administration to have formulated a REDD+ programme early on. However, the first steps towards a REDD+ were initiated by a USAID programme called Forest Plus in collaboration with the Indian government aimed at strengthening REDD+ implementation in India. REDD+ is being crafted as one of a number of instruments employed under the National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) to offset carbon emissions. To guide the implementation of REDD+ in India, the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change released in August 2018 the National REDD+ Strategy (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change , 2018); henceforth referred to as REDD+ Strategy. We report here our initial analysis of the REDD+ Strategy, to identify who benefits and who loses from the programme and what the social and environmental costs might be. We argue here that REDD+ centralises state control of the forest and is, therefore, an important political tool to make forests legible and investable even though actual financial flows are small...

A tale of two associations: institutions and governance of the green economy

By Frances Cleaver and Brock Bersaglio - In Ukwavila Village, situated in Tanzania’s Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor and bordering Ruaha National Park, two new organisations have been established in the last few years. One is an Irrigators Cooperative and the other is a Pastoralist Association. In this blog we use brief vignettes of these organisations, derived from initial fieldwork, to think through the relationship between the emergence and functioning of institutions, green economy interventions and the actions of local people.

The REDD debate: Some published studies on local impacts of REDD in various countries

Based on our published research on REDD in Tanzania we wrote an opinion piece in Norway’s biggest newspaper Aftenposten. This has led to a debate with the Norwegian Minister for climate and environment, Ola Elvestuen. In his latest response to us, he claims that our critique of REDD and Norwegian funding of forest conservation as climate mitigation is based on only one case study, and which in addition is not representative. Below, we provide the links to a few other studies of cases in different parts of the world with similar conclusions.

Norwegian climate policy affects the poorest

By Hanne Svarstad and Tor A. Benjaminsen - Many are aware that global climate change is likely to hit poor people the hardest. Few, on the other hand, know that there are measures to mitigate climate change in the Global South that today are implemented to the detriment of poor people. Even fewer are aware of Norway’s central role. This takes place in an extensive enterprise in which oil-rich Norway masquerades itself as a global climate saviour with no mention of its own contributions to climate change. "My heart hurts when I hear the name of that project. If you mention it again, I'll leave! " These are the words of a woman we interviewed in a village in the Kondoa district of Tanzania. The project she refers to is funded by the Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative, which is the Norwegian contribution to REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)...

Expanding large-scale agriculture in the name of the green economy in Tanzania

By Mikael Bergius, Tor A. Benjaminsen and Mats Widgren - Since the Rio+20 conference in 2012, the ‘greening’ of growth and economies has been framed as an opportunity for international capital flows to contribute to sustainable development. Critics of the emerging ‘green economy’ have, however, expressed concern about the effects on smallholder livelihoods from a ‘green development’ trajectory focused on ‘modernization’. This is an emerging scenario in our research on Scandinavian investments within the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) - the main Tanzanian initiative to implement the green economy in the country.

Grabbing Green? The institutionalization of the green economy in Tanzania

By Jill Tove Buseth - Policies increasingly discuss technological and financial aspects of the green transition, particularly in the global North. Less attention has been paid to the ways in which the green economy is being implemented in the global South, as well as to the governance implications of these green transitions. While the green economy in the global North often focuses on technological innovation in the energy sector, the green economy in the global South often infers transformed control over natural resources. Initiatives such as carbon and biodiversity offsetting, REDD+ and wildlife conservation are all examples of this. The green economy is also increasingly merged with investments aiming to increase productivity in the agriculture sector in Africa – also known as the ‘New Green Revolution’ in Africa...

If we ever have a ‘Green Economy’ would we know that we live in one?

By Dan Brockington - A move to a green economy requires changes in the way we make things, move, allocate resources, produce energy and consume stuff. It requires changes to our planning of cities, trade policy and budget allocations. It requires governments to do things differently and promote policies that encourage citizens, businesses and civil society to behave differently and have different aspirations. And that, these days, also entails some sort of measurements to tell whether or not the new policies are having the desired effects and creating the sort of change that a green economy requires...

Environmental governance and institutional bricolage

By Frances Cleaver - How can we best understand the ways in which environmental governance is enacted through institutions and the variable outcomes produced? Can an institutional focus illuminate how power is exercised, and the ways in which different actors respond to power dynamics? In this piece I outline how processes of institutional bricolage, and the exercise of agency by bricoleurs, shapes the governance of resources in the green economy.

Power and Strategies of Resistance – Visible, Invisible and Hidden Resistance

By Shai Divon - The British philosopher Bertrand Russell, recounts in his volume on power a story told by Confucius about a woman he saw wailing by a grave: “Your wailing”, said he, “is that one who has suffered sorrow on sorrow”. She replied, “This is so. Once my husband’s father was killed here by a tiger. My husband was also killed, and now my son has died in the same way.” The Master said, “why do you not leave this place?”. The answer was “There is no oppressive government here.” The Master then said, “Remember this my children, oppressive government is more terrible than Tigers”. This story epitomizes the complicated ecological interactions between humans and ‘nature’, as well as the added complexity occurring through the politics of ‘nature’...