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«Assuming Women’s Represenation in Carbon Forestry Projects The Nile Basin Reforestation Project No. 3 in Uganda Doreen Ruta Assuming Women’s ...»

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Responsive Forest Governance Initiative (RFGI)

Supporting Resilient Forest Livelihoods

through Local Representation

Assuming Women’s Represenation in Carbon

Forestry Projects

The Nile Basin Reforestation Project No. 3 in Uganda

Doreen Ruta

Assuming Women’s Representation in Carbon Forestry Projects

Responsive Forest Governance Initiative (RFGI)

Research Programme

The Responsive Forest Governance Initiative (RFGI) is a research and training

program, focusing on environmental governance in Africa. It is jointly managed by the Council for the Development of Social Sciences Research in Africa (CODESRIA), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC). It is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). The RFGI activities are focused on 12 countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DR Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The initiative is also training young, in-country policy researchers in order to build an Africa-wide network of environmental governance analysts.

Nations worldwide have introduced decentralization reforms aspiring to make local government responsive and accountable to the needs and aspirations of citizens so as to improve equity, service delivery and resource management. Natural resources, especially forests, play an important role in these decentralizations since they provide local governments and local people with needed revenue, wealth, and subsistence. Responsive local governments can provide forest resource-dependent populations the flexibility they need to manage, adapt to and remain resilient in their changing environment. RFGI aims to enhance and help institutionalize widespread responsive and accountable local governance processes that reduce vulnerability, enhance local wellbeing, and improve forest management with a special focus on developing safeguards and guidelines to ensure fair and equitable implementation of the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and climate-adaptation interventions.

REDD+ is a global Programme for disbursing funds, primarily to pay national governments of developing countries, to reduce forest carbon emission. REDD+ will require permanent local institutions that can integrate local needs with national and international objectives. The results from RFGI Africa research will be compared with results from collaborators in Asia and South America in order to enhance RFGI comparative scope, and to broaden its geographic policy relevance.

RFGI Working Paper Series Editors’ Note James Murombedzi, Jesse Ribot and Gretchen Walters Struggles for controlover and access to nature and natural resources; struggles over land, forests, pastures and fisheries, are struggles for survival, self determination, and meaning. Natural resources are central to rural lives and livelihoods: they provide the material resources for survival, security, and freedom. To engage in the world requires assets that enable individuals, households, and communities to act in and on the world around them. The ability to accumulate assets and the ability to access government and market services depends partly on such resources along with the political-economic infrastructure – rights, recourse, representation, markets, and social services – that are the domain of government.

Democracy, which both enables and requires the freedom to act, is predicated on these assets and infrastructures. Since the 1980s, African governments have been implementing local government decentralization reforms aimed at making local government more democratic by making them responsive and accountable to citizen needs and aspirations; in many places this has been done through a decentralisation of natural resource governance to local administrations. In order to be responsive to individual, household and community demands, local governments, too, need resources and decision-making powers. There must be a public domain – a set of public resources, such as forests or fisheries, which constitute this domain of democracy, the domain of decisions and services that citizens can demand of government. Natural resources, when decentralized into the domain of local authority, form an important part of the resources of individuals, households, communities and governments, making possible this move toward local democracy.

iv Responsive Forest Governance Initiative (RFGI) Natural resources provide local governments and people with wealth and subsistence. While nature is not the only source of rural income, the decentralization of natural resources governance is a core component of local government reform.

However, governance reforms have been implemented in a context broadly characterized by an enduring crisis of the Western economic and financial systems, which in turn has stimulated privatization and liberalization in every sphere of life, including nature. The process has deprived local governments of public resources – depriving individuals and communities of a reason to engage, as a powerless government is not worth trying to influence. Privatization is depriving forestdependent peoples of their access to formerly ‘public’ or traditionally managed resources. National governments, as well as international bodies such as the United Nations programme, titled the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), further this trend as they collaborate with private interests to promote the privatization of natural resources. The resulting enclosures threaten the wellbeing of resource-dependent populations and the viability of democratic reforms.

The specter of climate change is deepening the crisis of enclosure. A key response to climate change has been the attempt to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through enhancing the capacity of forests in the developing world to store carbon, ostensibly for the benefit of the atmosphere as well as the communities who use these forests. UN REDD seeks to pay communities, through their national governments, to conserve their forests as carbon storage. A plus ‘+’ was added to REDD, forming REDD+, to call for improved ecosystems services, forest management, conservation, forest restoration and afforestation to enhance the capacity for carbon storage. Designed on the basis of similar payments for environmental services (PES) schemes, REDD+ has the potential to inject vast new sums of money into local resource use and governance. In the context of fragile local governments, nascent democracies and powerful private interests, such cash inflows result in the commercialization and privatization of forests and natural resources and the dispossession of local resource users. This financialization of natural resources grossly diminishes the scope for democratic natural resource governance schemes. To be sure, the implementation of REDD+ can also learn from and avoid the pitfalls experienced in these PES schemes, especially if they represent local interests in natural resource governance decision making.

The Responsive Forest Governance Initiative (RFGI) is an Africa-wide environmental-governance research and training program focusing on enabling responsive and accountable decentralization to strengthen the representation of forest-based rural people in local-government decision making. Since January v RFGI Working Paper Series Editors’ Note 2012, the programme has carried out 33 case studies in 12 African countries, with comparative cases Nepal and Peru, to assess the conditions under which central authorities devolve forest management and use decisions to local government, and the conditions that enable local government to engage in sound, equitable and pro-poor forest management. Aimed at enabling local government to play an integrative role in rural development and natural resource management, these case studies are now being finalized and published to elicit public discourse and debate on local government and local democracy. This Working Paper series will publish the RFGI case studies as well as other comparative studies of decentralized natural resources governance in Africa and elsewhere that focus on the interesction between local democracy and natural resource management schemes. Using the concepts of institutional choice and recognition, the cases deal with a comprehensive range of issues in decentralized forest management in the context of REDD+, including the institutional choices of intervening agencies; the effects of such choices on accountability and representation; and the relationships between local government and other local institutions. The series will also include syntheses discussing the main findings of the RFGI research programme.

Based at CODESRIA, and funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the RFGI is a three year collaborative initiative of CODESRIA, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). RFGI working papers and documents, including the background papers, the RFGI programme description, and the RFGI

Methods Handbook, can be found on line at:

- http://www.codesria.org/spip.php,

- https://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/forest/fp_our_work/ fp_our_work_thematic/locally_controlled_forests/lcf_projects_partnership/ responsive_forest_governance_initiative__rfgi__/

- https://sdep.earth.illinois.edu/programs/democracyenvironment.aspx This research has been made possible by the generous funding of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) under a joint research initiative by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

RFGI Working Paper No. 25 RFGI Series Editors: James Murombedzi, Jesse Ribot and Gretchen Walters Responsive Forest Governance Initiative (RFGI) Supporting Resilient Forest Livelihoods through Local Representation Assuming Women’s Representation in Carbon Forestry Projects The Nile Basin Reforestation Project No. 3 in Uganda Doreen Ruta © CODESRIA 2015 Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop, Angle Canal IV BP 3304 Dakar, CP 18524, Senegal Website: www.codesria.org ISBN: 978−2−86978−686−8 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission from CODESRIA.

Typesetting: Alpha Ousmane Dia Cover image: With permission from Marc Ribot for his Ceramic Dog: Your Turn (2012 Northern Spy Records/Yellowbird Records) Cover design: Ibrahima Fofana Distributed in Africa by CODESRIA Distributed elsewhere by African Books Collective, Oxford, UK Website: www.africanbookscollective.com The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) is an independent organisation whose principal objectives are to facilitate research, promote research-based publishing and create multiple forums geared towards the exchange of views and information among African researchers. All these are aimed at reducing the fragmentation of research in the continent through the creation of thematic research networks that cut across linguistic and regional boundaries.

CODESRIA publishes Africa Development, the longest standing Africa based social science journal; Afrika Zamani, a journal of history; the African Sociological Review; the African Journal of International Affairs; Africa Review of Books and the Journal of Higher Education in Africa. The Council also co-publishes the Africa Media Review; Identity, Culture and Politics: An Afro-Asian Dialogue; The African Anthropologist and the Afro-Arab Selections for Social Sciences. The results of its research and other activities are also disseminated through its Working Paper Series, Green Book Series, Monograph Series, Book Series, Policy Briefs and the CODESRIA Bulletin. Select CODESRIA publications are also accessible online at www.codesria.org.

CODESRIA would like to express its gratitude to the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), the Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA), the French Ministry of Cooperation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Open Society Foundations (OSFs), TrustAfrica, UNESCO, UN Women, the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the Government of Senegal for supporting its research, training and publication programmes.


About the Author



List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction

Women and Representation

Post Independence Forest Management in Uganda

Livelihood Status of Communities Neighbouring the Rwoho Central Forest Reserve (CFR)

2. Methods

3. Findings

The Rationale and Powers Transferred to RECPA

The Nature of Women’s Representation in Recpa

A Case of Pragmatic Responsiveness to Women’s Needs

The Nature of Interaction between the Different Local ActOrs in the Intervention and its Effect on Women’s Representation

Accountability Mechanisms Exercised by Women to have the Intervention Responsive

4. Conclusion


Ruta Doreen is a political scientist and gender researcher. Since 2000, she has worked with International development NGOs as gender advisor. Her research interests include feminist theory in Africa, natural resources governance and anti -corruption. She currently works as an independent researcher and associate development trainer at the Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke Training Centre for Development Cooperation, Arusha Tanzania.


Many individuals within the RFGI program have been generous with their time and advice during the production of this paper. For this, am very grateful.

In particular, the core team composed of Jesse Ribot, James Murombedzi and Gretchen Walter, your support was extremely helpful. All participants in this work and families that hosted me during my several field visits, I thank you very much.

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