Why is REDD+ the answer and what was the question? A critical analysis of forest policy discourse in Tanzania

Start date: 27 January, 2014 End date: 27 April, 2014 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A26736 Countries: Tanzania Institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Grant recipient: Jodi Sugden Total grant: 8,000 DKK



This thesis explores and compares two periods of policy discourse on the problem of deforestation and forest degradation (D&D) in Tanzania, when two different solutions were being piloted: Participatory Forest Management (PFM), from 1995 to 2002; and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), from 2008 to 2014. High rates of D&D in Tanzania threaten exceptionally biodiverse forests and the energy supply of the majority of the population. So far, PFM has been unable to protect forests on a national scale. REDD+ is now receiving much political attention and financial support, but it is unclear whether it will succeed where PFM has not. Nine national policy and strategy documents are analysed using a methodological framework derived from the Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse. This analysis is supported by 15 semi- structured interviews with key stakeholders to the policy development process. Results show that the discourse of D&D in Tanzania supports standardised solutions based on a technical rendering of the problem and the assumption that the main cause of D&D is a lack of incentives for local actors, in spite of a lack of empirical evidence and the evident presence of more complex underlying drivers. This thesis argues that if this discourse is perpetuated, the underlying drivers of D&D will continue to be neglected, and strategies such as PFM, REDD+, and those that follow will not achieve their stated aims. The contributions of this thesis are two-fold: firstly, it facilitates a deeper understanding of Tanzanian forest policy, revealing aspects of the discourse which may be hindering the government’s ability to reduce D&D. Secondly, the findings of this thesis reveal a need for high quality empirical research on underlying drivers of D&D in Tanzania, as a first step towards more effective policies and strategies. It is recommended that case studies of the discourse of D&D be undertaken in all countries that aim to reduce it.