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Research Report

A guide to learning about livelihood impacts of REDD+ projects

Pamela Jagger
Erin O. Sills
Kathleen Lawlor
William D. Sunderlin
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2010
Pages: 110
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-9)

    Since the Bali Conference of the Parties (COP 13) in December 2007, approximately 150 projects have been planned to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation and to promote the conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries; these are commonly known as ‘REDD+ projects’ (see Box 1).¹ Additional funding and support for REDD+, including these projects, was one of the few concrete outcomes of COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009 (Climate Funds Update 2010; Coria et al. 2010). One reason is REDD+’s reputation as a relatively quick, easy and low-cost way to slow down...

  2. (pp. 10-22)

    The debate over REDD+ is fed in part by the different places, assumptions, scales and methods employed to examine its carbon, biodiversity and livelihood implications. In particular, the different points of view are often based on very different assumptions about the alternative to REDD+: what would the world, or a particular region, look like without REDD+? This lack of consistency— and sometimes lack of explicit consideration—of the counterfactual scenario fuels the debate and provides little basis for systematically assessing the dimensions and conditions under which there are trade-offs or complementarities. Whilst it is probably not possible or even desirable...

  3. (pp. 23-31)

    Our discussion thus far has centred on causal inference by design (i.e. randomisation or quasi-experimental BACI, BA or CI) and on using statistical approaches to control for confounders and to estimate the effects of covariates within an impact evaluation framework. These methods are the most credible way to test whether a project has impacts, and to determine the size of those impacts. These methods can also be used to examine how outcomes vary across demographic and socio-economic groups, either by subgroup analysis or by regression models estimated with carefully selected samples (Worksheet 9). All of this is the ‘what’ of...

  4. (pp. 32-34)

    Evaluation of projects that are meant to serve as pilots or demonstrations is worthy of significant budget support. However, evaluation typically represents a very minor component of most conservation and development project budgets. Furthermore, in the context of REDD+, there is a heavy emphasis on carbon MRV, which can be very costly. In combination, these may make it challenging to allocate sufficient resources to high-quality, evidence-based evaluation of impacts on social welfare. There is a common perception that baseline and control group data collection is very costly, and that the skills involved in designing evaluation studies and processing and analysing...

  5. (pp. 35-36)

    This guide is solidly focused on evaluating the social impacts of REDD+ interventions. The aim of our discussion is to provide the rationale and tools for project proponents, donors, civil society organisations and local resource users to maximise learning from first-generation REDD+ projects. We have argued that evaluation of social impacts should not be an afterthought, or a minor addition to an M&E plan squarely focused on assessing the biophysical outcomes attributable to REDD+ projects. Rather, it should be a central component of the M&E plans and budgets of project proponents.

    Our discussion encompasses 4 core elements:

    1. A new standard...