Public Policy & Economics
WHRC COP17 Forest Day
The 5th annual Forest Day event will be held in conjunction with the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa. Forest Day is sponsored by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and is a forum for scientists, practitioners, forest communities, and other stakeholders to gather and discuss issues related to forests and global climate change. For further information, please visit CIFOR’s Forest Day website at http://www.forestsclimatechange.org/events/forest-day/forest-day-5.html.
This year, WHRC’s Glenn Bush has the honor of serving as a focal point for one of eight sessions on topical issues in forest conservation and climate change. He will facilitate discussions between participants on social, political, and biophysical issues surrounding how REDD+ is unfolding on the ground. Below see Dr. Bush’s biography and abstract below for more information, or visit http://www.forestsclimatechange.org/events/forest-day/forest-day-5/issues-marketplace/theme-1-how-is-redd-unfolding-on-the-ground-an-exploration-of-the-social-political-and-biophysical-issues.html.
Glenn Bush is an environmental economist specializing in welfare economics, resource valuation and environmental cost benefit analysis. His work has been applied to forest conservation and management strategies focused on forest-adjacent households and assessing the micro-economic determinants of forest conservation. His current research focuses on developing and testing combined econometric and spatial models on the drivers and determinants of land cover change. He has worked in Central and Eastern Africa since 1996 as well as Central and Southeast Asia, as a researcher, project manager, and consultant, on natural resource management and conservation projects in the public and private sector.
As the REDD+ policy develops, we are asking more and more of it to deliver on natural forest carbon conservation in the tropics in a socially acceptable and environmentally sound way. What can REDD+ really do and how is it being realized at the project and national levels? Conflicts must necessarily arise from any large-scale policy-driven scheme to fundamentally change the use of the landscape, but how are the concerns of different stakeholders being represented and addressed? To what extent have safeguards been adopted or made effective in the piloting of projects and development of national REDD+ programs?
In a world of scarce resources there are distinct trade-offs in choices of land use. REDD+ implementation is politically challenging at the national and local levels; governments, industrial agricultural groups, family and peasant farmers have to make tough decisions over scarce resources. How does forest conservation and all that REDD+ promises stack up next to increasing, local, national and international demands for food, fibers and fuel? How are different national interests in forested lands being addressed, especially where different ministries and economic agents have overlapping jurisdiction over the exploitation and management of resources?
The technical requirements for MRV are highly complex. There is clearly a human resource capacity constraint, in developing the volume of competent project and national level forest monitoring personnel, to roll out a robust national carbon accounting system. Adding to the complexity of MRV are standards related to biodiversity conservation with all of the commensurate technical challenges of monitoring flora and fauna. How are national programs and projects coping or planning to meet these needs?
How REDD+ is implemented at a national and sub-national level will differ widely between nation states owing to the multitude of different social, environmental and economic conditions. Whilst no one combination of actions will provide a panacea for all contexts, we have a lot to learn from one another's successes and failures in forest management efforts around the world. Sharing these experiences will provide a fundamental opportunity to make REDD+ functional in the future.