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REDD in Zanzibar: Objectives, Actors, and Stakeholders

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February 29, 2012
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Today, I am very pleased to welcome Ingvild Andersen as a contributor to REDD+ EARTH! Currently, Ingvild is a MA Candidate in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo, where she is part of a group of students researching the social impacts of schemes to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and southeast Asia. In this post, Ingvild introduces us to her study area on the East African island of Zanzibar, and provides an overview of the actors and stakeholders involved in an emerging REDD pilot project there. In doing so, she points to some of the controversies inherent to sharing the benefits of REDD; indeed, while costs will likely accrue at the individual level, benefits will likely materialize only at the community- or infrastructural level (in the form of new schools, hospitals, and so on). Eventually, this asymmetry could have implications for the overall efficacy of the project itself. Enjoy!

Zanzibar, a group of Indian Ocean islands that constitute a semi-autonomous region in Tanzania, is preparing for REDD. Although Zanzibar is mostly associated with spice plantations and beaches that attract tourists, 23% of the total land area is covered with forests. These Zanzibarian forest areas are part of the East Africa Coastal Forests Eco-Region which is considered a hotspot for biodiversity. The rate of deforestation, however, is at about 1% per year (Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism 2001). Main forces of deforestation include use and clearing of forests for woodfuel, building materials, salt production, agriculture and residential areas (Department of Commerical Crops 2008). To combat deforestation, CARE International, the Department of Commerical Crops, Fruits and Forestry (DCCFF), and local NGOs are now receiving funding for a REDD pilot project in Zanzibar.

Funded by the Government of Norway, this pilot project has a value of almost NOK 40 million (US$ 7.2 million), which was made available for a four-year period that started in 2010. “Hifadhi ya Misitu ya Asili[1] – Piloting REDD in Zanzibar through Community Forest Management (the HIMA project)” is the project’s name. It has as its aim not only to decrease deforestation, but also to make sure local people benefit from these activities. Officially, this is to be accomplished through a pro-poor, gender-sensitive approach. Piloting carbon finance is an important part of the project, thus making way for REDD. CARE has worked for a long time in Zanzibar also with community forestry. The HIMA REDD pilot project therefore continues this previous work, but is also expanding to new areas. For example, 27,650 ha of community upland forest and mangrove in seven districts of the islands of Unguja and Pemba are to be protected, with an up-scaling planned beyond the first phase. Further, 16,000 rural households are among the target beneficiaries (CARE International n.d.).

As part of an anthropological research project on REDD coordinated by professor Signe Howell at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, I conducted six months of fieldwork in Zanzibar from January 2011. My focus was on the challenges of implementation of the HIMA project and REDD, and how the different stakeholders perceive their roles. For five of these months I stayed in a village where the HIMA project is being implemented in order learn more about local people’s perceptions and use of the forests, as well as their relationships to the other stakeholders. This village in the area of Kitogani lies inland on Unguja with a long mangrove area on one side and coral rag forests and bushland on the others. Some inhabitants have formal occupations, but most villagers rely on agriculture for subsistence needs and the sale of forest products for cash. In particular, the dependency on the business of woodfuel is very great in this village. A significant part of my fieldwork was also getting to know the implementing agencies, and I visited their offices frequently and accompanied them on fieldtrips to project areas. Along with formal interviews, participant-observation was the main data gathering technique that I utilized. This research forms the basis of my master’s thesis that is to be submitted in May this year – the findings and arguments presented here are therefore not yet completely developed.

In my thesis, I focus on the main stakeholders of the HIMA project and look into to what extent their characteristics and relationships affect the project and the possibilities for REDD, as well as what implications the main focus of the HIMA project has for the project’s aim of a pro-poor approach that reduces deforestation. I will argue that there are some aspects of the main stakeholders’ characteristics and relationships that can be positive for the project. Yet, the lack of other sufficient income opportunities to substitute for the sale of forest products for the villagers in the village where I stayed will make it hard to achieve a decrease in deforestation. If the business of forest products is in fact successfully limited it seems unlikely that villagers will be appropriately compensated. This is particularly so because the possible REDD funding for Zanzibar is expected to not be substantial enough for money to be distributed to individuals. Compensation to communities will indeed benefit villagers through community development projects, for instance, but new schools or health clinics can hardly make up for the loss of one’s major income source.

Further, I am also concerned with how commercial logging is viewed as a place-bound activity that happens in rural communities. I argue that the implementers do not pay enough attention to urban demand for firewood, charcoal, and building materials as well as other external factors. In addition, I identify people involved in transportation of these products, as well as rural and urban middle-men in the business, who could lose substantial parts of their income through the HIMA project. Because they affect the possibility of success as well as will themselves be affected by the project, I believe they too should be considered stakeholders.

References cited

CARE International (2012): Conserving Zanzibar’s Natural Forests  n.d. [cited February 13th 2012]. Available from http://careclimatechange.org/images/stories/Carbon/HIMA_2010.pdf.

Department of Commerical Crops, Fruits and Forestry (2008): Zanzibar National Forest Resources Management Plan 2008 – 2020. The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Environment.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Forestry and Beekeeping Division (2001): National Forest Program in Tanzania 2001-2010. Tanzania: The United Republic of Tanzania, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut