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Social Safeguards for REDD+ in Mexico’s Watershed Management Program
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Case studies on environmental governance are essential to improve comprehension on howto implement international agreements. This study focuses on seven social safeguards relevant toREDD+. The existence of these social safeguards is examined in Mexico’s watershed managementprogram in La Sierra Madre and La Costa of Chiapas. The watershed management program is anotherPayment for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme similar to REDD+. Questionnaires and interviews wereused to conduct primary research with participants of the water management program. Upon theexamination of the collected data the safeguards were analysed on their sufficiency for REDD+.REDD+ itself could not be examined as it is still in the stage of preparation at the time of the research.Results varied between each safeguards. A complaint mechanism does exist but is underutilized andgenerally dysfunctional. Local knowledge is considered and used as the watershed managementprogram has a flat hierarchy of decision-making. However this is only the case at the lowestinstitutional level of the Comités de Cuenca. The higher the level the less likely it is that localknowledge will be considered. This is reflected in the social safeguard of full and effectiveparticipation, which is only fulfilled at the lowest level. There are no barriers to participation when itcomes to implementing and evaluating the mechanism on a local scale. However the design of it isdone on institutional levels beyond the reach of locals. The application of free, prior and informedconsent is upheld within the mechanism, as everyone participates by his or her own free choice.Marginalized stakeholders such as women, indigenous people and youth are also free to participate;unfortunately, little is done to encourage them to do so. As a result few to none are present, turning theComités de Cuenca into decision-making bodies for comparably wealthy and influential citizens at thelocal scale. The benefits acquired from the mechanism mostly go to e.g. work-committees where muchof the funds are distributed as income to temporary workers from the local community. According toparticipants of the Comités and managers alike, the decision-making process is equal to the waydecisions were made before the arrival of the mechanism.It could be observed that some social safeguards are in place, however, none of them sufficiently forREDD+. In regards to implementation of REDD+ the most challenging social safeguard will be theconcept of “free, prior and informed consent”. This holds true as long as REDD+ will be implementednationally. If that will be the case the government would have to convince locals across the country toparticipate in REDD+, including those that already announced their opposition in the Declaration ofPatihuitz (Declaration of Patihuitz 2011). Without legitimization there will be little participation andcommitment on the side of local people, which is crucial to make REDD+ work. Hence it isrecommended that the mechanism takes a process-oriented focus in order to legitimize the mechanism.

Abstract [en]

implement international agreements. At the 16th Climate Change Conference, the United Nationsformally agreed to launch a new Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme called ReducingEmission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Controversy exists concerning socialand environmental safeguards, which are additional rules aimed at preventing harm to civil society andnature. This study focuses on seven social safeguards that could be identified through a review ofinternational law. These are: complaint mechanism; consideration and usage of local knowledge; fulland effective participation; application of free, prior and informed consent; inclusion of marginalizedstakeholders; equitable benefit-sharing; and the use of traditional methods for decision-making.This study examines the existence of these social safeguards in Mexico’s watershed managementprogram of La Sierra Madre and La Costa of Chiapas. The watershed management program is anotherPES scheme similar to REDD+. Questionnaires and interviews were used as a means to conductprimary research with participants of the water management program. Upon the examination of thecollected data the safeguards were analysed on their sufficiency for REDD+. REDD+ itself could notbe examined as it is still in the stage of preparation at the time of the research.It could be observed that some social safeguards are in place, however, none of them sufficiently forREDD+. In regards to the implementation of REDD+ the most challenging social safeguard will be theconcept of “free, prior and informed consent”. This holds true as long as REDD+ will be implementednationally. If that will be the case the government would have to convince locals across the country toparticipate in REDD+, including those that already announced their opposition in the Declaration ofPatihuitz (Declaration of Patihuitz 2011).As REDD+ is another governmental mechanism it needs to fulfil specific requirements in theChiapanecan context in order to function properly. One of the most important foundations is to createtrust between stakeholders which has been lost during decades of conflict and corruption. This trust canbe established by committing to the guidelines of the social safeguards with particular focus on theinclusion of marginalized stakeholders and transparency. Hence it is recommended that the mechanismtakes a process-oriented focus in order to legitimize the mechanism. Without legitimization there willbe little participation and commitment from local people, which is crucial to make REDD+ work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 48 p.
Keyword [en]
Sustainable development, environmental governance, REDD+, watershed management, Chiapas
National Category
Public Administration Studies Environmental Sciences Law (excluding Law and Society)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-176121OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-176121DiVA: diva2:534318
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
Presentation
2012-03-27, Uppsala, 21:26 (English)
Uppsok
Life Earth Science
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2012-06-21 Created: 2012-06-15 Last updated: 2012-06-28Bibliographically approved

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