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Greening Governance Seminar Series: The Political Economy of Forests: REDD+, Good Governance and Land Rights

REDD+, too good to be true? Experts weigh in on the framework’s potential to stop deforestation, improve governance and strengthen indigenous land rights.

Efforts to achieve the Paris Agreement will not succeed if tropical deforestation continues business as usual. Protecting forests is among one of the most affordable, efficient strategies to curb greenhouse gas emissions and advance sustainable development. Yet forests continue to be an undervalued asset. Every year, a tropical forested area the size of Austria is cleared. Left unchecked, this deforestation will release 169 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the next 35 years, squandering one-sixth of the world’s emissions budget.

The good news is that science, economics and politics have aligned in support of a major international effort to reverse tropical deforestation. But one critical factor of the equation is still missing: finance. 

REDD+, a global framework to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, enables developing countries to receive results-based payment from wealthy nations for forest-related emissions reductions. Pilot programs in Brazil and Indonesia show that REDD+ funds not only help countries stop deforestation, but they can also improve governance and empower indigenous communities to secure land tenure.

Join Frances Seymour, author of Why Forests? Why Now? and land rights expert Peter Veit as they discuss the benefits and limitations of REDD+, the international community’s role in financing forest protection, and the challenges that Indigenous Peoples still face when registering their land.


  • Frances Seymour, Distinguished Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute
  • Peter Veit, Director, Land and Resource Rights Initiative, World Resources Institute


    Mark Robinson, Global Director, Governance, World Resources Institute

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About the Series

WRI's Greening Governance Seminar Series bridges the divide between the governance and environmental communities to identify solutions that benefit people and the planet.

  • Why do some environmental policies succeed in one country but fail in another?
  • What will it take to transform the Paris Agreement’s ambitious commitments into actionable policies?
  • How can decision-makers engage a range of stakeholders, from average citizens to Fortune 500 companies, to build support for policies that protect natural resources and the communities that depend on them?
  • How can governments sustain this environmental action across election cycles?

Many of the answers to these questions are, at heart, issues of governance.

Increasing public participation in environmental decision-making can deepen civil society’s commitment to climate change mitigation and yield more equitable, effective policies. Enhancing government transparency equips communities with the information that they need to engage in these policy-making processes. Strengthening accountability frameworks helps ensure that governments make progress on their Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets. In short, good governance can improve climate and environmental outcomes.

Yet the governance and climate communities continue to work in silos, conducting research and implementing programs that remain largely divorced from one another.

WRI’s Greening Governance Seminar Series seeks to bridge this divide by bringing together leading experts from both fields to discuss the intersection of their work, the most pressing environmental governance issues at hand, and solutions that benefit people and the planet.

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