This seminar is hosted by the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests
Speaker: Michael Richards PhD, Natural Resources Economist, Forest Trends
Titile: "Pro-poor REDD: Is it possible? How will we know? Safeguards, standards and social impact assessment"
Summary: In recent years there has been an increasing focus on the social impacts of REDD+, and especially concerns about its potential negative poverty or equity impacts. This has resulted in a quite contested literature, a plethora of safeguards and standards, and some strong anti-REDD+ advocacy from NGOs. There has however been less focus and clarity on how these safeguards and standards can be cost-effectively implemented. Michael will firstly review the debate about whether REDD+ can be pro-poor, and will put the case that more effective social impact assessment (SIA) combined with the “free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) process” can go a considerable way to reducing the risk of negative social impacts, and enhancing the likelihood of positive social outcomes, both as regards national and project level REDD+.
Biography: Michael is a natural resources economist with over 30 years’ experience on forestry, agriculture and rural development issues. He currently works for Forest Trends, an NGO based in Washington, DC, that specializes in payments for ecosystem services (PES), but he is based in Oxfordshire. One of his main areas of work over the last 4 years with Forest Trends has been on how to improve the social analysis of REDD+. Prior to Forest Trends he worked for 8 years with ODI, and on long-term assignments in Ghana, Honduras, Malawi, Mexico and Sri Lanka. He has worked extensively on policy, institutional and methodology issues around PES, on the economics of participatory forest management, and on a range of policy, institutional, tenure, governance and trade issues related to sustainable forestry. He has a PhD by Publications from the University of Glamorgan, an MSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of London, and a BA in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge.