Designing REDD+ to promote sustainable development and reduce poverty


From 2009-13 this IIED project looked at how REDD+ could be designed to promote sustainable development and reduce poverty, as well as reduce deforestation and forest degradation.

Lush forests in Ghana – one of the focus countries where REDD+ is relatively new. (Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT)

We investigated the practical economics behind different delivery mechanisms and the relative costs and benefits of different options for:

  • The way REDD+ programmes can be designed, and
  • International, national and sub-national level policies.

The project focused on three countries in sub-Saharan Africa – Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda – where REDD+ was relatively new, together with Brazil and Vietnam, where there were already established programmes to provide incentives to reduce deforestation or increase forest cover. 

Potential pro-poor impacts of different REDD+ models

Teams in each of the focus countries analysed models – many based on existing agro-forestry and payment for ecosystem services (PES) systems – which could be used for REDD+. These were all potentially pro-poor, as they involved smallholder farmers and forest-dependent communities.

The aim was to determine whether these pro-poor approaches could be cost-effective, taking into account opportunity costs as well as transaction costs, in particular, and the costs of social safeguard measures, such as benefit distribution systems. To find out more, read this briefing on the costs of REDD on a forest reserve in the Amazon region.

How do countries achieve 'high-biodiversity REDD+' in practice? This briefing presents a range of national and international policy options. Policy choices at local, national or international levels in these countries were also examined to see whether these supported pro-poor REDD+ models, and how they affected the cost-effectiveness in terms of cost per unit of emission reduction.

Poverty reduction in existing pilot projects

In each of the five countries, IIED and partners worked with selected REDD+ pilot projects to track implementation and improve understanding of their impacts on poverty reduction.

A key part of this work was a baseline survey of socioeconomic conditions of households, conducted in each pilot area prior to the initiation of REDD+ activities. Read a report with a synthesis of the five baseline surveys. The costs involved were also documented, in particular the transaction costs for the set up and operation of these pilot projects.

Lastly, we explored the relative merits of different types of payment formats from the perspective of the communities involved through focus group discussions and choice experiments (surveys of their preferred choices). 

REDD+ activities were piloted in:

  • Rio Negro Environmental Protected Area (APA) in Amazonas State, Brazil
  • Aowin Suaman District, Western Region, Ghana
  • Kilosa District, Morogoro Region, Tanzania
  • Ongo Community Forest, Masindi District, Uganda, and
  • Cat Tien and Bao Lam Districts, Bao Lam Province, Vietnam.


What people want from REDD+: assessing local views and preferences, Maryanne Grieg-​Gran, Essam Yassin Mohammed, Isilda Nhantumbo (2014), IIED Briefing

A strategic environmental and social assessment of Nepal's REDD+ atrategy, Barry Dalal-Clayton, Chandra Bhadra, Ram Bahadur Chhetri, Isilda Nhantumbo, Simon Milledge, Krishna Man Pradhan, Ajay Mathema, Simon Tilleard (2014), ICEM, IIED, SchEMS

Reducing deforestation and forest degradation in Nepal: an environmental and social management framework, Barry Dalal-Clayton, Chandra Bhadra, Ram Bahadur Chhetri, Isilda Nhantumbo, Simon Milledge, Krishna Man Pradhan, Ajay Mathema, Simon Tilleard (2014), ICEM, IIED, SchEMS

Views and preferences for compensation under REDD+ in Tanzania: Kilosa pilot project case study, Cecilie Dyngeland, Betty Waized (2013), Case study

What would it take to make REDD+ pro-poor? Maryanne Grieg-​Gran (2013), Project material

Assessing local preferences for payment formats in REDD+ interventions: a case study of the Ongo Community Forest, Justine Namaalwa, Gorettie N. Nabanoga (2013), Case study

Instituting REDD+: an analysis of the processes and outcomes of two pilot projects in Brazil and Tanzania, Arild Vatn, George Kajembe, Rubén Leiva-​Montoya, Elvis Mosi, Maria Nantongo, Dos Santos Silayo (2013), Report

Cost implications for pro-poor REDD+ in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, Matthew Ogonowski, Adrian Enright (2013), IIED Report

REDD+ compensation packages in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam: assessing the preferences of forest communities, Adrian Enright (2013), IIED Report

Local preferences for REDD+ payment formats in Brazil, The Bolsa Floresta Programme, RDS Rio Negro, Luiza Lima, Suelen Marostica, Maryanne Grieg-​Gran (2013), Report

Payment formats for REDD+ interventions: preferences and concerns in Aowin District, Ghana, Darley Jose Kjosavik, Rosemary Agbefu, Rosemond Agbefu, Gene Birikorang (2013), Report

The Kilosa District REDD+ pilot project, Tanzania: a socioeconomic baseline study, George C. Kajembe, Dos Santos A.Silayo, Adam B.S. Mwakalobo, Khamaldin Mutabazi (2013), IIED Report

What does it take to achieve pro-poor REDD+? Summary report from workshop held 29 November 2012, Doha, Qatar, Maryanne Grieg-Gran, Leianne Rolington (2013), IIED Report

Results of a baseline study for a REDD+ pilot area in Brazil: the Rio Negro APA and the Bolsa Floresta Programme, Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS) (2013), IIED Report

The Ongo Community Forest REDD+ pilot Project, Uganda: a socioeconomic baseline survey, Gorettie Nabanoga, Edward Ssenyonjo, Justine Namaalwa (2012), IIED Report

The Lam Dong REDD+ pilot area, Viet Nam: a socioeconomic baseline survey, Adrian Enright (2012), IIED Report

Socio-economic conditions in REDD+ pilot areas: a synthesis of five baseline surveys, Synne Movik, Gene Birikorang, Adrian Enright, George Kajembe, Luiza Lima, Suelen Marostica, Thais Megid Pinto, Gorettie Nabanoga, Maria Nantongo, Justine Namaalwa, Dos Santos Silayo, Arild Vatn (2012), IIED Report

REDD Working Papers: REDD and Sustainable Development – perspective from Tanzania, A. B. S. Mwakalobo, G. C. Kajembe, D. S. Silayo, E. Nzunda, E. Zahabu, S. Maliondo, D. N. Kimaro (2011), IIED

REDD Working Papers: REDD and sustainable development – perspective from Brazil, Thais Megid, Gabriel Ribenboim, Victor Salviati, Virgilio M. Viana (2010), IIED

REDD Working Papers: REDD and sustainable development – perspective from Viet Nam, Tim Holland, Richard McNally (2010), IIED

REDD Working Papers: REDD and sustainable development – perspective from Uganda, Gorettie Nabanoga, Justine Namaalwa, Edward Ssenyonjo (2010), IIED

REDD+ delivery models for different forest management regimes in Uganda, Justine Namaalwa, Edward Ssenyonjo, Gorettie N. Nabanoga (2006), Report