REDD+ Consultation and Participation
Stakeholder engagement is an important element of the safeguards agreed at the sixteenth UNFCCC international conference of the parties held in Cancun which requires “respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities”, as well as “the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular indigenous peoples and local communities” in REDD+.
In-line-with UNFCCC stakeholder engagement pillars, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change of Ethiopia in collaboration with World Bank is working to make Ethiopia REDD+ ready by implementing different activities, of which designing and conducting national stakeholder consultation and participation is one of the major tasks. In the readiness phase of REDD+, countries need to implement R-PP prepared by respective institutions. The R-PP outlined key activities that need to be implemented to develop REDD+ implementation nationally; among which the consultation and participation plan got due attention.
The overall objective of this National Consultation and Participation Plan is to provide a framework and platform for multilevel dialogue among all stakeholders to ensure ownership, transparency, effective and informed consultation and participation of the relevant stakeholders in the process of REDD+ Programme in Ethiopia. The design and implementation of the REDD+ Programme shall be guided by the core principles of stakeholder engagement: inclusiveness, transparency, participatory, consensus building, flexibility, effective communication, grievance and conflict resolution.
For effective and efficient engagement, stakeholders are mapped. The stakeholder mapping for the REDD+ program in Ethiopia showed that there are several important stakeholder groups who should be involved in the REDD+ process in the country. These include groups from local communities, traditional authorities/institutions, local and international nongovernment organizations (NGOs), academia, development partners/donors, relevant government institutions, private sector/investors and religious institutions. The identified stakeholders were analysed based on their potential contribution, involvement on implementation and accruing benefits from REDD+ process.
Stakeholders that are identified as implementers are organizations, which are involved or will be involved in implementing and managing REDD+ process. Stakeholders identified as contributors are those involved in funding, sponsoring and provision of technical support to the REDD+ process. Stakeholders categorized under beneficiaries are those benefiting or have the potential to be benefited from the REDD+ process. Thus, based on the above approach, stakeholders identified were categorized by type as governmental (federal, regional and woreda); nongovernmental, community based, academia, international, religious and cultural groups.
Issues for consultation were identified and tailor made for each stakeholder type (local authorities, regional and local officials, expert groups, community in general and forest dependent people). The tools and techniques of C&P were identified but no single best technique is recommended in any particular situation. Each technique is useful in relation to how it is used, how it is situated and how it is practiced. Thus, a good public consultation, participation and communication are likely to make use of a mixture of approaches. Moreover, cost effectiveness, breadth of distribution and reach, amount of time available and way of communication needs to be considered. Following this, a mixture of tools and techniques were identified for different stakeholders.
Institutional arrangement to conduct consultation and participation at different level and for different stakeholders were also prepared.
The overall objective of the National Consultation and Participation Plan is to provide a framework and platform for multilevel dialogue among all stakeholders to ensure ownership, transparency, effective and informed consultation and participation of the relevant stakeholders in the process of REDD+ Programme in Ethiopia.
The specific objectives of the consultation and participation plan are to:
- Guide dialogue and access to information among stakeholders (governments-all levels, communities, civil societies/NGOs, implementing agencies) to ensure their engagement in the programme from the design to implementation and monitoring phases;
- Ensure that REDD+ activities and implementation frameworks are informed by local stakeholder’s views and contributions by providing opportunity through which the voices and experiences of key stakeholders are captured and incorporated in decision making at all levels;
- Ensure transparency in all aspects including in costs, risks and equitable access and share of benefits by all stakeholders and sectors at all levels;
- Improve the quality of decision-making process by capturing the experience of civil society organizations, and the initiatives of other similar groups;
- Integrate the contribution of REDD+ to the national development priorities by guiding development of regulatory frameworks that are socially inclusive, transparent and support improvements in forest governance; and
- Comply with the international laws on human rights and other relevant policies on social and environmental safeguards.
Country Experiences on C&P in REDD+ Related projects
- Humbo and Soddo Community-Managed Natural Regeneration Projects
- Bale Mountains Eco-region REDD+ Project
- REDD+ Participatory Forest Management in South-West Ethiopia by Ethio Wetlands and Natural Resources Association (EWNRA)
- Oromia Forested Landscape Programme
- Experience of National REDD+ Secretariat
Basic principles of C&P process
The design and implementation of the REDD+ Programme shall be guided by the following core principles before, during and after the C&P process:
- Inclusiveness: target a broad audience of stakeholders both at national, regional (state) and local levels including those which are directly or indirectly affected by REDD+ activities (various social groups such as disadvantaged groups, women and youth);
- Transparency: all aspects of the Programme at all stages shall be discussed and communicated in a transparent manner to all stakeholders at all levels. The outcomes of all consultations and participation shall be properly recorded and reported, disclosed to the public timely in culturally appropriate form and languages. All stakeholders shall have full and equal access to all information about the programme;
- Participatory: the programme shall involve stakeholders in a truly participatory manner. It shall incorporate voices and concerns of all stakeholders at all stages of decision making processes from design to the implementation phase of the programme taking into consideration the existing participatory platforms, on-going interventions and earlier C&P initiatives conducted during R-PP formulation (if any);
- Consensus building: the process shall facilitate dialogue and two-way exchange of information taking into consideration all the views of community level stakeholders, their existing institutional structures, and cultural diversity, with the ultimate aim of building consensus and broad community support for the programme;
- Flexibility: the program implementation should learn by doing, and be flexible enough to incorporate new ideas, approaches and stakeholders as they emerge and found necessary to include;
- Effective communication: Information shall be tailor made for specific audience/stakeholders and shall follow a robust communication strategy, with a clear feedback mechanism; and
- Grievance and conflict resolution: the programme shall have mechanisms for stakeholders to reflect their concerns and grievances at any time and be heard. Any conflict arising in the process of implementing the programme shall also be resolved and redressed immediately using an established and transparent system.