Is REDD+ an opportunity for or a constraint for economic development in Central Africa?

REDD+ is a global phenomenon seeking to achieve reconciliation between economic growth and forest conservation and coincides with the ascendancy of devolved natural resources management policies, and creates opportunities for communities to be included in new, equitable and pro-poor approaches.

REDD+ projects are typically initiated by multi-lateral donors or international organisations and based on international agreements. This creates a sense of consensus at the highest level, however, perspectives at the national and subnational levels may differ. Experiences with devolved resource management regimes over the last two decades have demonstrated that the tendency to recentralize control and decision making is inversely proportional to the value of the resources. As forest values increase because of REDD+, this trend is likely to be reinforced, unless the implementation of REDD+ is based on the engagement of accountable local institutions.

Under these various difficulties, we will attempt to draw out the conditions under which REDD+ might work in Congo Basin countries. A facilitated debate will ensue around the following questions:
1. Is REDD+ perceived to be a development hindrance or opportunity in the Congo Basin?
2. How can REDD+ be constructed as a development opportunity in Central Africa?
3. What is the role of the private sector, civil society, local administration, and citizens in REDD processes?
4. How will local communities benefit from national and regional REDD projects when land tenure is still an issue and governance is still poor in many places?

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