Designing the REDD+ Academy - Bryan Hopkins

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The REDD+ Academy

REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a United Nations-supported scheme to help countries realise economic value from standing forestation. Within traditional economic systems, the only value a forest has is from its timber and the land deforestation releases for agricultural or other commercial purposes, whereas from a green economy perspective, forest cover provides value through its function in supporting an ecosystem, absorbing carbon dioxide and so on. Countries who take part in the REDD+ scheme can receive financial rewards for keeping and developing standing forest reserves rather than chopping them down.

Running a REDD+ scheme is challenging: for example, levels of forest cover must be monitored, financial rewards should not benefit just particular groups, and preserving forests should not have a negative impact on indigenous forest-dwelling communities. So to help countries think through the practicalities of implementing REDD+ the United Nations Environment Programme commissioned me to design the REDD+ Academy, a blended programme aimed at training government administrators, technical experts, academics and other influential professionals in all aspects of the scheme.

The programme I designed had two elements:
  • a learning journal, a practical manual summarising the key components and activities within a REDD+ programme and which encouraged learners to reflect on and identify actions they needed to take in their own national context
  • a face-to-face event, which could be delivered over a five to eight day period, based around short expert-led presentations and small group activities examining the local practicalities of implementation, which promoted greater levels of understanding through social learning processes.

To date the Academy has been delivered in Argentina (for the Latin American region) and Nigeria (for west Africa) and has proved to be extremely successful. The short video here provides some explanation of how the Academy's delivery in Argentina was received.
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