Lessons from the forest: BRINGING POWER TO THE PEOPLE



Posted on 31 October 2013  | 
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Tropical rainforests are home to the greatest diversity of life on Earth. Almost 50% of the world’s known species live in these forests and over 1 billion people are relying upon them for their livelihoods. In 2007 Norway pledged the amount of 3 billion NOK per year to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in tropical forests through the initiative REDD+. The initiative also aims to secure sustainable development and benefit people and livelihoods.
 
Globally, 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity and 2.6 billion people depend on wood, charcoal and farm waste for cooking and heating. Lack of access to modern energy services harms people, the environment, contributes to climate change and is one of the major barriers to sustainable development. In 2011, Norway launched yet another ambitious global initiative called Energy+ that aims to increase access to renewable energy and at the same time reduce or avoid carbon emissions.
 
The involvement and integration of civil society into all stages of REDD+ development have been and still are crucial to achieve long term success. Creating trust, credibility, local capacity, knowledge and expertise as well as strong governance systems and transparency are all key elements that come from a strong civil society involvement and participation. Engaging civil society in the design and implementation of Energy+ is believed to be as important for Energy+ as it has been for REDD+. Without proper consultation through all phases of development, Energy+ cannot achieve the desired outcomes and success.
 
In this report we examine the role of civil society and define critical contributions needed for Energy+ to achieve the desired outcomes. Due to similarities between REDD+ and Energy+ we assume that lessons learnt from five years of REDD+ can shed a light on how Energy+ should be developed. After five years of Norwegian REDD+ engagement, what are the lessons learnt on the role of civil society and what recommended actions and opportunities do these lessons translate into, on a short and long term for the development and implementation of Energy+? 
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