Review of Guyana LCDS Consultation Process
For countries aspiring to REDD financing, choices on the scope, reference level, distribution mechanisms and financing streams under REDD will affect the extent of benefits. Countries with high forest cover and low deforestation rates will stand to benefit more from reference levels premised on projected baselines and distribution mechanisms based on carbon stocks, whereas countries with high forest cover and high deforestation rates will stand to benefit more from reference levels premised on historic baselines and distribution mechanisms based on avoided deforestation. Either way, the design of an appropriate REDD strategy must be able to address, through carefully targeted financing, the actual or projected drivers of deforestation (RED) deforestation and degradation (REDD) or enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+). Credible negotiating positions are only achievable when broadly owned and deliverable strategies have been thought through by those who affect the fate of the forest at a national level. Substantive consultation with the multiple forest user groups is essential – especially where there are question marks over land and forest rights. As REDD initiatives proliferate, there is urgent need to develop and adhere to best practice guidelines in multi-stakeholder consultation.
An early example of such a consultation process comes from Guyana – where high forest cover and low deforestation rates have led to the emergence of a ‘Low Carbon Development Strategy’ that attempts to avoid projected deforestation and to retool society along a low-carbon development pathway. In order to build ownership of such a strategy and provide workable incentive both for avoided deforestation and low carbon development a comprehensive consultation process was designed around the initial framework document. IIED advised on and independently monitored the process. Building in adequate time and resources for such consultation will be pivotal in the emergence of credible REDD strategies and negotiating positions, whatever form these take.