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REDD In Madagascar: An Overview of Progress
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Author: Barry H. Ferguson.
Language: English
No. of Pages: 27
Dimensions: 210mm x 297mm x 3mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 1520
Shelving Location: Papers & Articles: Natural History: Conservation
Estimated Value: £0.50
Purchase Date: 3 February 2010
Purchased From: Log In to view this
Price Paid: Log In to view this

REDD In Madagascar

An Overview of Progress

REDD, Forest Governance and Rural Livelihoods: the Emerging Agenda.
Centre for International Forestry Research (2010).
Stapled Printout


Madagascar is well known as a 'Biodiversity Hotspot', a global priority for conservation, due to it high levels of endemic species and the significant levels of anthropogenic habitat loss. It is also well known as one of the world poorest nations, with poverty being one of the drivers of deforestation.

The island has been a focus for much international conservation attention and intervention since the late 1980's, with the establishment of various new policies and strategies for conservation, as well as the creation of new national institutions serving various functions for forest monitoring and management. Madagascar has indeed been something of a testing ground for various new models of conservation interventions, with Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs), Community Forest Management (CFM) and Payments for Ecological Services (PES) among the new policies tested and implemented across the country. Most recently, following a Presidential Declaration in Durban in 2003, Madagascar has started a significant expansion of its protected area system, moving from a protected area network based principally on strict conservation areas, to a system which, in 2009, includes new categories of protected area which have many more residents, and tolerate many more human uses of natural resources than the older style reserves. Many of these new protected areas are based on community forest management agreements where certain rights and responsibilities are transferred to local community associations through time-bound contracts. Since the declaration in 2003, the protected areas network has more than tripled in size.

Success in combining conservation and development, in projects which strive to ensure that peoples livelihoods do not suffer from protecting biodiversity, has remained somewhat elusive. Some critics argue that a fundamental problem remains unsolved, namely that efforts at land tenure reform and the design of forest policy at the community level neither confers ownership, nor permanent use rights to forests, and that well established customary tenure systems are being ignored by a dogmatic state. This situation appears to provide a disincentive for both conservation and the uptake of long term forest management strategies by communities. Tenure is by no means the only challenge associated with establishing operational and effective community forest. Further issues also include: insufficient allocation of (donor) funds and capacity support to communities, a lack of viable livelihood alternatives, a dysfunctional forest service and a mismatch with the 'Malagasy ethos', traditional institutions and hierarchies, and, perhaps most significantly, that views vary widely on what is the best and most legitimate use of forests.

The emergence of 'REDD' has been seen by the conservation movement in Madagascar as a prime opportunity for providing much needed resources to simultaneously improve the impacts of conservation projects and to enhance local livelihoods. At present Madagascar is seriously engaged with the REDD process, both in country through a national working group and five pilot REDD projects, as well as internationally through participation in projects such as the Forest Carbon Preparation Fund (FCPF) USAIDs Translinks Project. Madagascar is considered to have a high potential for both REDD and Clean Development Mechanism funded activities, due to its high rates of deforestation (0.53% pa for the period 2000-2005) and relatively low forest cover (15.88% of land area). The current state of knowledge on deforestation trends and capacity to monitor it is excellent, although most of this work has been donor and NGO led, and done on an ad hoc basis. The Malagasy state has a great need for improved capacity and additional resources to be allocated in order to take responsibility for its own forest cover monitoring. The five REDD Pilot Projects are also led by non state actors, with five international NGOs (WWF, WCS, CI, Good Planet and Inter-Cooperation) and a range of donors (USAID, GTZ, Air France, Biocarbon Fund and CI) taking the lead in their implementation. Three of the projects ('CAZ', 'COFAV' and 'Makira') are already preparing to sell carbon credits on the voluntary market using the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB). Makira, which is WCS led is doing this through a NGO-Government agreement (the Makira Carbon Company), and the other two projects which are CI led, are working through NGO technical and financial support for Government project submission. The remaining two projects are not currently intending to sell carbon credits. The first, REDD-FORECA (GTZ/IC) is focused solely on generating knowledge and capacity building for REDD issues, whereas PHCF (WWF/Good Planet) has both a research programme to develop methodologies and is establishing new protected areas, undertaking habitat restoration and transferring forest management to communities. At least six other REDD projects are understood to be under development in Madagascar, and in addition there are at least another six carbon forestry projects which could provide important input into REDD developments on the island. Information on these is presented.

Two main recommendations emerge from this review:
  1. Community Forest Management will be the Basic Building Block for REDD in Madagascar – but it needs a lot more support to make it work: Protected areas, based on strict conservation in corridors and core zones, and with community use zones in the periphery or buffer zones, make up the main body of field sites where REDD is being tested on the ground. Most legally recognised community forests are at present not fully operational (indeed some are totally non operational), and as these are the basic building blocks of a future REDD regime, very significant efforts are going to be needed to improve this situation. Scaling up of investments in livelihood alternatives for forest communities, and more time and capacity building is needed to ensure such alternatives work. The means of communication with all parts of the communities concerned should be improved; all too often many members of the communities lack a good understanding of the rules and procedures of community forestry. The forest administration needs to be reformed at the base level, forest officers are still illegally bribing and fining farmers and the national forest observatory admits that it is unable to do much about this. Finally, more committed efforts are required to ensure that good governance in local forest management associations (COBA's/VOI's) is operationalised.
  2. Many Malagasy could be considered as 'Indigenous Peoples' and 'Forest Dwellers' and as such they should have legal rights over their lands including forests. There appears to have been a downplaying of the existence of forest-dwellers in Madagascar, as well as a reluctance to recognise that many of Madagascar's ethnic groups could be argued to be formally classified as 'indigenous'. This is linked to the unwillingness of the Malagasy state to recognise customary tenure over forests, which as a real functioning system has been well documented. The state appears not to want to cede ownership of the forests to rural people as would be required of them were ILO Convention 169 (1989) and the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples (UNDRIP, 2007) to be carefully considered. Unfortunately many anthropologists and social scientists specialising on the people of Madagascar, and their customary tenure systems, are somewhat disengaged or distant from contemporary policy debates. It is very important that space is made at the national level to better incorporate knowledge of the Malagasy customs and systems which are de facto managing the rural lands and forests. If this space is not created, and if policy does not change radically, a combination of tradition and an ineffective state will continue to undermine many forest conservation efforts, and lead to violations of the human rights of the indigenous rural Malagasy and / or the failure of REDD.

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This item was kindly donated to the Madagascar Library collection by Barry Ferguson.
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