Delivering community benefits through REDD +: Lessons from Joint Forest Management in Zambia
In implementing reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), significant attention is being paid to ensuring that communities stand to benefit. Safeguards to protect local people's rights and interests have been formulated in response concerns over the potential negative impact on communities of forest preservation. To fulfil safeguards, many sub-Saharan African countries are looking to community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). Current critiques of CBNRM projects outline the importance of project design and policy context in shaping whether or not communities actually stand to benefit. This paper explores these aspects in a case study of Joint Forest Management (JFM) in Zambia, and examines the role of Zambia's REDD preparedness programme in shaping them. The case study was evaluated using stakeholder and policy document analyses, informed by interviews, and tied into the broader forest governance network. The findings highlight the way in which the politics and policies of forest governance in Zambia shape the on-the-ground JFM project and influence community benefits. In the case studied, even with careful local-level project design, JFM would be hindered in its delivery of REDD safeguards. Therefore, for REDD to deliver community safeguards, it must be considered as a broader process of political and governance change.