Earlier this week, REDD-Monitor wrote a post about a CIFOR InfoBrief on the “REDD+ Governance Landscape” in Brazil. While the brief is interesting, I was concerned that those critical of, or opposed to REDD were excluded from CIFOR’s study.
CIFOR’s InfoBrief was written by a team of researchers: Leandra Fatorelli, Maria Fernanda Gebara, Peter May, Shaozeng Zhang and Monica Di Gregorio. REDD-Monitor had some questions for them. Their answers are posted here in full and below their answers are the stances or positions that were offered to organisations taking part in CIFOR’s study:
REDD-Monitor: The CIFOR Brief on “REDD+ Governance Landscape” in Brazil appears to exclude the views of many representatives from Brazilian civil society who are critical of, or opposed to REDD. How were the organisations that took part in the study selected?
Maria Fernanda Gebara: The organisations were selected together with a panel of experts in REDD+ in Brazil. The experts covered a broad spectrum of social actors (academia and scientific community, civil society organizations, businesses organizations, government agencies and international actors) and the main criteria for actors’ selection was their involvement in the formulation and development of national REDD+ strategies and policies at the federal level. The methods were common to all countries that participated in the study and you can find more information on CIFOR’s page about it. Please, consider that the study is a first phase of a before and after comparison and interviews were realized in 2010 (which means that actors that are relevant today might not have been back then).[*]
Leandra Fatorelli: The research team put together an initial list of policy actors that were relevant to the REDD+ policy domain based on previous studies (Working Paper on context of REDD+, media coverage and researchers expertise). This list was modified (additions and deletion) by an expert panel of people from different type of organizations that are involved in REDD+ policy making processes in Brazil (both state and non-state actors). The list was validated by the expert panel was used to conduct the broader policy network study.
For the study, the criterion for inclusion of an actor in the network is ‘mutual relevance’. We consider members of the policy network (core organizations) those that are ‘relevant to the national REDD+ policy domain’, which means that in the policy network the included actors are those that take each other into account in their actions, according to organizations own perceptions.
REDD-Monitor: The Brief includes a list of issues that participants in the study agreed were significant. Could you please provide a full list of the issues with which participants in the study were presented. When was this part of the study carried out?
Leandra Fatorelli: The interviewees answered a stances section (in total, 35 stances) regarding subtopics on REDD+ (co-benefits, challenges, technical aspects, etc) but for the InfoBrief we only analysed the stances related to governance and coordination.
We published a full paper on which the policy brief is based, and it is available here.
You can access the overall policy network analysis methods in this paper, and the full questionnaire for the study is available in Appendix 1. In this appendix, you find in the Table 4 – Organizational Stance on International and National REDD Issues (1-35), all the stances related to the study. The analysis for this paper only focused on the stances that were relevant for governance and coordination.
The data collection of this part of the study was carried on between 2010 and 2011.
REDD-Monitor: Why did the research team not consider whether Brazil’s forests and people might be better off without REDD, given that deforestation rates in Brazil fell from 2004, i.e. before REDD started?
Maria Fernanda Gebara: Brazil was one of the leading countries on REDD+ and the study aims to compare different countries’ strategies and measures for REDD+. It would be somehow weird to leave Brazil out and assume it is better off without REDD+. Brazilian reductions are mainly based in command and control measures and these measures alone are starting to fall apart, especially in the current government. See for example: Strengthening Brazil’s Forest Protection in a Changing Landscape.
Leandra Fatorelli: In addition, the aim of the study was to investigate the policy making processes related to REDD+ in Brazil.
REDD-Monitor: Friends of the Earth, Brazilian Amazon is listed as one of the international organisations in the REDD information and collaboration networks in the study (the fact that it isn’t in either network raises the question why it is listed at all). Friends of the Earth, Brazilian Amazon is a Brazilian NGO. Unfortunately, it seems that the research team was taken in by the fact that Roberto Smeraldi’s organisation “Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brasileira” uses the words “Friends of the Earth” in its name. The reality is that Smeraldi’s organisation is neither a member nor an ally of Friends of the Earth International. At least one member of the research team is fully aware of this. Peter May was Associate Director of Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brasileira from 2005-2012.
Maria Fernanda Gebara: We know “Amigos da Terra Amazonia Brasileira” has been translated to Friends of the Earth Brazilian Amazon but, in fact, is not affiliated with Friends of the Earth International. But it was only because of the need to put the name in English along with the Portuguese which also appears in our work, not to represent any position of Friends of the Earth International or that represented by the entity in Porto Alegre. Maybe we need to correct this in the online version to avoid friction.
REDD-Monitor: Why were the following organisations (and others who are critical of REDD) not included in the study: Movement of Landless Peasants (MST), Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional (FASE), Via Campesina, Carta de Belem, Amazonlink, World Rainforest Movement, Terra de Direitos, or Conselho Indigenista Missionário (CIMI)? Oh, and the real Friends of the Earth, Brazil.
Maria Fernanda Gebara: Again, many organizations that are relevant now might not have been at that time. Carta de Belem is not an organization but an event – that we included in our list of events in the survey. We made an effort to include organizations that were active in the REDD+ arena at the national level that time, including GTA, CNS, COIAB etc. FASE has been included in the second phase of the research (being implemented now), but not MST, Via Campesina, Amazonlink, WRM, Terra de Direitos and CIMI. Our understanding, together with the panel of experts, was that these organizations are more active at the local level and not too much at the national one. In fact, they were never mentioned as missing organizations from the list by any actor we interviewed (which sometimes happened). CIFOR has another whole module to understand how REDD+ is being implemented on the ground and this is an important distinction on the methods applied by the study.