Organizations in civil society contribute to the Climate and Forest Initiative

The support provided to civil society organizations by Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative has contributed to valuable capacity building of civil society at local and national level, according to a new evaluation of the initiative.

How much:

Since 2007, the Norwegian government has granted up to NOK 3 billion annually to programmes for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries through Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative. Between 2009 and 2012, 40 civil society and research organizations received a total of NOK 650 million for local, national and international projects in connection with this initiative. This support has now been evaluated and includes fieldwork in four countries: Indonesia, Peru, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The considerable competence and capacity of civil society in this field are viewed as preconditions for succeeding in establishing mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD mechanisms). Input, critical appraisals and proposals from civil society may help in establishing robust strategies and agreements for reduced greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

In Peru, the authorities use the approach of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as a basis for their national implementation of REDD+. In Indonesia, the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) has contributed to ensuring that newly established women's groups have received completely new sources of revenue.

Increased competence

Many of the organizations have contributed to a substantial increase in capacity and competence regarding climate and forests in civil society both locally and nationally. Several organizations have also achieved an increase in interest and knowledge. The evaluation also shows that most of the projects are well adapted to national processes. Efforts to provide information about and to safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples as well as of others who depend on the forests for their livelihood have represented an important and positive contribution to national forest and climate plans.

The pilot projects have focused on development of communities and improvement of their livelihoods. Although many of the projects are still in early stages, many of them have contributed positive results.

Phasing out must be planned

The findings show that civil society organizations and research institutions will continue to be important players in achieving the goals of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative. However, the team emphasizes that because the grant will not necessarily be renewed, it is necessary to have a phasing-out plan that adjusts the level of expectations among indigenous and forest-dependent people.

Recommends better follow-up and learning

Despite these positive findings, the evaluation team believes that it should be possible to learn more from the ongoing experiences than is currently the case. The team believes that Norwegian authorities have paid too little attention to overall monitoring of the whole portfolio of initiatives. The systems for reporting results and experience from the individual projects are not adequate either.

- With a more comprehensive and strategic approach to the management of the portfolio and improved systems for reporting and knowledge management, the opportunities for learning would be better. Resources should therefore be allocated to find good solutions for reporting – including reporting from initiatives and organizations that receive only part of their funding from Norway. The evaluation team believes that this will contribute to improved and more real-time learning and provide a better basis for adjustments during the process. An objective should be to make the benefits greater than the sum of the individual projects.

Published 26.09.2012
Last updated 16.02.2015