More than half of the villages involved with
REDD+ projects surveyed by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) said their
land tenure was insecure, according to an April
report. Nearly 20 percent have been unable to keep
unwanted people from using their forests.
But one of the central challenges of REDD+ is
funding, says William Sunderlin, lead author of
the CIFOR study. “In order for REDD+ to realize
its potential, it must successfully pay the opportunity costs of forest land conversion. ;e current
amount of funding is many orders of magnitude
smaller than that,” he says.
E;orts are underway to improve the outlook for
the REDD+ approach. Indonesia has begun creating a centralized land tenure map that will be used
to resolve competing claims on forest lands. Brazil
has made forest tenure reform an integral part of
its environmental goals. And the U.N. is working to safeguard the rights of indigenous people
impacted by REDD+ projects and secure funding.
“We need to create the enabling conditions
required for REDD+ to succeed, from good governance and sustainable ;nancial policies to equitable distribution of bene;ts,” Mr. Steiner said.
“;ese enabling conditions are themselves the
building blocks for an inclusive green economy.”
A BOOST FOR
South Africa’s sluggish economy is no longer
Africa’s largest: Nigeria claimed those bragging
rights this year. But South Africa’s laggard performance isn’t an isolated problem—it’s an obstacle to
sub-Saharan Africa’s overall growth, according to an
April 2014 International Monetary Fund report. ;at
raises the stakes for a new €100 million European
Union (EU) e;ort to bolster South Africa’s economy
through infrastructure projects there and in neighboring countries. ;e EU’s Infrastructure Investment
Programme for South Africa (IIPSA) launched last
year, and experts say it has the potential to address
the country’s infrastructure project backlog—if
South Africa can ;nd the necessary talent.
Building modern infrastructure is essential to
South Africa’s economic growth, and the country’s
ruling government understands this, according to
Gregory Skeen, PMP, professional engineer and
project development manager at Group Five Construction, Investments and Concessions, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Even after the country spent more than US$3
billion to build and upgrade stadiums, roads, railroads and airports for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, a
large backlog of projects remains in sectors including transportation, energy, telecommunications
and healthcare. Examples include a US$18.8 billion
expansion of the country’s rail network to boost
coal exports and the long-delayed Nuclear- 1 power
“;e real goal of many of these projects is long-term economic improvement,” Mr. Skeen says.
“South Africa’s economy grew by about 2 percent
in 2013. ;at’s okay for a developed economy, but
an emerging economy like ours needs more like
6 or 7 percent GDP growth to start reducing a
25-percent unemployment rate.”
He and other project practitioners say new EU-
facilitated projects can only help move the country
forward—provided the projects can overcome lin-
gering challenges that threaten their progress. ;e
EU has warned that without a substantial uptick
in infrastructure investments, whether public or
private, South Africa “faces various risks in meeting
—Achim Steiner, U.N.
The Twin Tower construction site in the fast-growing
business hub of Sandton, South Africa