This report examines the impact of the REDD+ agreement between Guyana and Norway on indigenous communities in the country. Through literature review, analysis of secondary data, and interviews with indigenous chiefs and other informed stakeholders, it aims to understand the concerns, hopes, and fears of indigenous communities at the start of the agreement, and the effects, if any, that communities have faced from REDD+. Concerns at the inception of the agreement focused on long-standing issues with land rights, and a sense of lack of consultation. There were hopes, however, in the potential economic benefits that could accompany REDD+. Implementation of REDD+ in Guyana has proved slow, and the cash (or other benefits) received by communities has been small. Deforestation has risen—due to increased mining activity—and costs incurred by REDD+ have been minimal. This has created an overall air of scepticism regarding the future of the initiative. Future developments of REDD+ could be stronger through its indirect effect on changing donor actions, and broader policy thinking in Guyana; but major challenges exist in creating an opt-in mechanism that is fair for all indigenous communities, integrating REDD+ with the extractives industries such as mining, and keeping a focus on low-carbon development in the light of major new oil finds.
This paper is part of the CGD Climate and Forest Paper Series. The full series is available here.
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