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Social inclusion

Participatory, rights-based policies, finance, and benefit-sharing are essential to realising the full potential of forests as a solution to climate change

Social inclusion is key in forest solutions & REDD+

No forest solution or REDD+ action will succeed and endure unless the diverse forest stakeholders and rightsholders are fully and effectively engaged in defining and implementing policies, partnerships and financing schemes. This is particularly critical in the case of indigenous peoples and local communities, as many international agreements and policies in the climate arena have clearly stated over the years, from the UNFCCC to global partnerships for sustainable development.

Forests are the homeland and primary livelihood of some 70 million indigenous peoples, as well as countless rural communities living in or around forests. These stakeholders have political, territorial, economic and land-tenure rights, claims, and needs that should be respected and promoted in REDD+. They also possess unique knowledge of forests and sustainable forest management that deserves recognition and support.

Social inclusion is ultimately about full and equal engagement of the diverse stakeholders and rightsholders to forge public policies and field actions. Hence a broad stakeholder engagement approach is required, so that diverse governmental sectors and agencies, civil society actors, indigenous peoples, development practitioners, the private sector and the development financiers, among others, work together to devise, implement and monitor forest solutions to the climate emergency.

How does UN-REDD work with social inclusion?

Since its inception in 2008, the UN-REDD Programme has systematically promoted social inclusion and gender equity in global, national, and local processes, including in policy formulation, programme governance and political decision-making around REDD+. This approach is based on the recognition that the people and communities that live within or near forests, and whose livelihoods depend on forests, possess knowledge, rights and livelihood practices that require respect and promotion in policy decisions and transformations related forest and land uses.

UN-REDD approaches and instruments to promote social inclusion

UN-REDD has developed and deployed a number of policies and instruments to support social inclusion in REDD+; these include:


UN-REDD Executive Board

UN-REDD Executive Board includes representatives from Indigenous Peoples as well as from civil society organisations. Likewise, UN-REDD policies require partner countries to establish similar participatory multi-stakeholder platforms to govern the REDD+ processes and projects supported by UN-REDD.


Guidelines on Stakeholder Engagement in REDD+ Readiness

Guidelines on Stakeholder Engagement in REDD+ Readiness, elaborated jointly with the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) through a two-year global consultative process. This guidance provides the basis for social inclusion, with a major focus on the participation of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in national REDD+ processes and policy-making; it has been widely adopted and applied by UN-REDD partner countries, with positive impacts (e.g.: Indigenous voices, a policy spark to protect the world's forests).


Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)

Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), together with a "Legal Companion", outlines existing international legal provisions and emerging national practices that recognise and promote the rights of indigenous peoples to have effective participation and influence in the decisions, policies and initiatives that affect them. The UN-REDD Programme recognises that the right to FPIC is key for effective stakeholder engagement and social inclusion, offering countries guidance and technical assistance to implement FPIC at country-level and in relation to the REDD+ agenda.


Guidance Note to countries

Guidance Note to countries on establishing and strengthening Grievance Redress Mechanisms provides guidance to countries engaged in REDD+ on how to provide stakeholders and rightsholders access to mechanisms to convey grievances and get them addresses during policy and programme implementation. This is very relevant for indigenous peoples and local communities, which historically lack access to such systems, and in view that REDD+ policies and finance overlap with land uses, tenure issues and resource rights.


UN-REDD Methodological Brief on Gender

UN-REDD Methodological Brief on Gender, and its companion "Checklist for Gender-responsive Workshops" builds on the experience and lessons of gender mainstreaming in REDD+. This methodological brief guides countries and stakeholders across the full policy and programmatic cycle for REDD+, at either national, jurisdictional or community levels. The UN-REDD gender marker assesses and monitors UN-REDD technical assistance and knowledge management services.


The Community-based REDD+ initiative (CBR+)

The Community-based REDD+ initiative (CBR+) empowers and further engages indigenous peoples and local communities in the building of national and jurisdictional REDD+ policies and schemes. A pilot phase was successful in promoting social inclusion in the national REDD+ agendas, informing a second phase that currently under consultation.


Digital inclusion

Digital inclusion – As the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transition, UN-REDD is pioneering approaches to mainstream participatory and inclusive virtual processes in public policy and international co-operation around REDD+.

Key tools or communities to link to

Recommended key documents