Policy in Focus Analyses Human Development without Deforestation
The IPC-IG and UNDP Brazil launch a new Policy in Focus on ‘Development without Deforestation’
Brasilia, August 18 2014 – This latest issue of Policy in Focus, ‘Development without Deforestation’ aims at contributing to the growing literature dedicated to promoting human development while simultaneously preserving forests of the Global South. Achieving human development without deforestation is undeniably crucial to safeguarding the global economic system and preserving life on earth.
This Policy in Focus was made in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Brazil . The contributing authors present some of the ongoing discussions concerning the frontier regions of the Amazon and the Himalayas, including the themes of deforestation, degradation and their juxtaposed or complementary relationship with development.
According to Carlos Castro, coordinator of the Sustainable Development and Productive Inclusion Unit at UNDP Brazil and one of the editors of the issue, “it is always a great challenge to secure sustainable development in frontier areas in forest regions”. Thus the issue includes thirteen articles bringing this problem to the forefront of the deforestation and development debate.
The frontier areas of forests are one of the main loci of interaction between biophysical and human elements, which in turn determine the rate of landscape transformations. Therefore the first article ‘On the Concept of the Frontier’ seeks to better understand this often overlooked issue.
The UNDP and the State Environment Secretariat of Mato Grosso developed a project in the Northwestern region of the state, financed by the Global Environment Facility, which demonstrated sound alternatives for development in the Amazon region. Accordingly, the standing forest is generating income which is considerably higher than the income derived from the surrounding deforested areas. This project is thoroughly explored in the second and third articles of the issue, ‘Integrated Conservation and Development Projects in the Amazon: an Interdisciplinary Evaluation with Lessons for Forest Frontiers’ and ‘A Policymix : Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity with Poverty Reduction in the Amazon’.
It should be noted that the projects that best demonstrated forest preservation did so through support for cooperative infrastructure and institutional arrangements, thus highlighting the essential role of adequate governance. Therefore the following articles ‘Developing Forest-sector and REDD+ Governance: a Multi-stage, Multi-level and Multi-stakeholder Approach in Nepal’ and ‘The Necessity of Land Governance: Sustainable Development in the Amazon’ better explore how to achieve legitimate governance, in carbon emissions trading and the land market in general.
In a related discussion, ‘Integrating Livelihoods and Land-use Change at the Frontiers of Deforestation’, the article describes the international debate regarding policies opposing land sparing and land sharing. The author takes the position that it is desirable for both policies to be integrated into a mixed strategy to achieve human development without deforestation.
The seventh article, ‘Beyond the Panacea: a Critical Assessment of Instruments of Deforestation Control’, provides a critical assessment of the instruments for controlling deforestation. The objective is to go beyond the ‘panacea’ of the search for an ‘optimal’ instrument, recommending engaging with an informed mix of various types of policies.
‘Deforestation in the Himalayas: Myths and Reality’, tackles forest degradation in the forest region that stretches across Nepal and India. The authors use detailed micro-level datasets, thus providing reliable short and long-term policy recommendations.
Socio-economic issues pertaining to frontier regions are dealt with from the ninth to the eleventh article. ‘Property Rights, Deforestation and Violence: Problems for the Development of the Amazon’, analyses the origins of violence in the region tracking it back to a lack of adequate property rights institutions, using detailed datasets. ‘Social Policies and Forest Frontiers: the Consequences for Agricultural Land-use in the Brazilian Amazon’, describes the consequences of Brazilian social policies, such as Bolsa Familia and social security, for decisions regarding land use in the Amazon. ‘Sustainable Settlements in the Amazon’, takes on the defence of an alternative social policy: the establishment of low carbon sustainable agriculture settlements.
In the penultimate article of the issue, ‘Marketing of Agroextractive Products: Problems and Solutions’ explores how new initiatives to promote the commercialisation of agroextractive products should have a strong focus on the real needs of peasants and artisans, ecosystems and society as a whole. Lastly, ‘Modelling of Deforestation Scenarios for the Northwest of Mato Grosso’, demonstrates that if improved governance is not urgently adopted, the region will endure severe losses.
It is hoped that this issue of Policy in Focus helps to further discussions around the halting of deforestation and the improvement of public policies dedicated to the promotion of environmental conservation and human development. The ultimate goal is establishing a long-term approach to development which renders forests more valuable standing than cut down, making forest use and conservation more socially and economically viable.
This article is based on ‘The Frontiers of Interdisciplinary Research on Development without Deforestation’ by Guilherme B. R. Lambais, included in the issue.
Author: Ashleigh Kate Slingsby
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)
Short URL: http://pressroom.ipc-undp.org/?p=16492