Can REDD+ Bring Equitable Benefit to the Marginalized Communities? Insights from Bangladesh

  •  Anar Koli    
  •  Md. Rakibul Hasan Khan    


Despite promising win-win outcomes of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program, how and to what extent it can bring real opportunities to forest communities remains debatable. Focusing on inequality and land tenure insecurity in Bangladesh, this study aims to find out whether and to what extent REDD+ can ensure equitable benefits and opportunities for the forest communities in an ethnic conflict area. Based on qualitative case studies on two types of community forest management (CFM) experiences in Bangladesh, the study finds that the distribution of various costs, benefits, and access to forest participation remain highly unequal among different groups within the communities. The existing institutional settings were not able to bring adequate opportunities for the marginal forest people to face the dominant power relation and bring equitable share for them. This study argues that without ensuring the decision-making space for marginalized groups, and without substantial changes towards the tenure complexity, the emerging REDD+ initiatives in Bangladesh can strengthen the dominant power and subsequently intensify the vulnerability of the marginalized people. A careful analysis of how weak institutions are helping to perpetuate inequality can thus help us to understand future risks of CFM–REDD+ relations.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.