New publication: Assessing equity in national legal frameworks for REDD+: The case of Indonesia

Claudia Ituarte-Limaa, Constance L. McDermott, Mari Mulyani Assessing equity in national legal frameworks for REDD+: The case of Indonesia Environmental Science & Policy


Schemes for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing carbon stocks (REDD+) have raised concerns about their effects on forest communities and social equity more generally. National legal frameworks play a critical role in mediating these concerns within different country contexts, from the definition of fundamental constitutional rights to the articulation of specific REDD+ legislation. However, the complexity of REDD+ and its associated legal frameworks makes assessing the balance of rights, responsibilities, benefits and costs challenging indeed. This paper draws on a case study of Indonesia to illustrate how the application of an equity framework can help navigate this complexity.

The paper applies the McDermott et al. (2013) Equity Framework to assess core legal texts at multiple scales, including key articles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as Indonesia’s Constitution, its REDD+ strategy and selected legislation. We find that these selected legal instruments address the procedural issue of who is considered a relevant REDD+ stakeholder, including forest-dependent communities and private and public actors. Policies in the form of Ministerial Decrees also prescribe the distribution of carbon payments. However, the current legislation does not address critical contextual dimensions, including the distribution of bundles of rights and obligations regarding land and forest entitlements of forest-dependent people. Likewise, while there are Ministerial Decrees that spell out the distribution of rights and duties of different levels of government (central, provincial and local), there is no clear indication if the resources needed to ensure their respective attributions are equitably allocated. These results highlight the importance of adopting comprehensive frameworks for assessing equity that situate detailed analysis of specific REDD+-related laws within their broader legal and fiscal contexts.