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How to Achieve Effective Participation of Communities in the Monitoring of REDD+ Projects: A Case Study in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

1
Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Genscherallee 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany
2
Chair of Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology, University of Freiburg, Tennenbacher Str. 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(9), 794; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10090794
Received: 11 June 2019 / Revised: 2 August 2019 / Accepted: 10 September 2019 / Published: 12 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Economics and Human Dimensions)
Developing countries that implement the Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are required to ensure the effective participation of all stakeholders including indigenous peoples and local communities. Community-based monitoring (CBM) of REDD+ projects could contribute to meeting REDD+ monitoring, reporting, and verification requirements and to ensuring effective community participation. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the most advanced country in REDD+ implementation in the Congo Basin region, but the role of forest communities in REDD+ monitoring has not been adequately defined. Based on a Delphi survey, this study aimed to explore the factors that are crucial in achieving effective community participation in the monitoring of REDD+ projects. Out of 65 experts with in-depth knowledge of REDD+ and CBM in the DRC and elsewhere, 35 agreed to participate in the study. In three rounds, 19 feedbacks were received from the first round, 17 from the second and 14 from the third. Data were analyzed in a qualitative (MAXQDA) and quantitative (Microsoft Excel) manner. There was consensus among experts that, per definition, effective participation of communities in the monitoring of REDD+ projects must be a process characterized by a free and prior informed consent (FPIC), recognition of traditional knowledge and community rights, and involvement of communities in all steps of the monitoring process. In practice, the latter point poses several challenges as it requires capacity building, careful selection of indicators, adequate local institutional arrangements and a benefit-sharing system. Ideally, local CBM systems should be nested within the national forest monitoring system, but this will require more strategic efforts at the national level in the DRC, including a framework concept for the role of communities and CBM in REDD+ that can be further adapted to particular circumstances on the ground. View Full-Text
Keywords: community-based monitoring; forest; carbon; biodiversity; livelihoods; Delphi study community-based monitoring; forest; carbon; biodiversity; livelihoods; Delphi study
MDPI and ACS Style

Schmitt, C.B.; Mukungu, J. How to Achieve Effective Participation of Communities in the Monitoring of REDD+ Projects: A Case Study in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Forests 2019, 10, 794.

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