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Conflict and cooperation over REDD+ in Mexico, Nepal and Vietnam

DEV Key ContactPoshendra Satyal

Project Dates: 2014 - 2018

Project Status: Open

Funders: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and Department for International Development (DFID)


CoCooR (2014-2018) is an interdisciplinary cross-country project with a focus on an analysis of conflicts and co-operation over REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) in Nepal, Mexico and Vietnam. It centres on REDD+ and related forest-based climate change mitigation policies and financing mechanisms. The project starts from the premise that REDD+ may aggravate the protracted conflicts characterizing forestry in the Global South or cause new ones in the absence of a conflict-sensitive approach. Yet, the changes in cross-scale governance brought about by REDD+ may also provide unprecedented opportunities for transforming existing conflicts and promoting cooperation.

CoCooR seeks to strengthen the evidence on the impacts of REDD+ on conflict and cooperation in developing countries through national and local level case studies in Mexico, Nepal and Vietnam. These three countries, which are at advanced stages of REDD+, offer excellent opportunities for generating insights relevant to other countries. For the study, it applies insights from theories of environmental justice and conflict transformation, which is expected to generate novel understanding of cross-scale conflict and cooperation over forests.

CoCooR brings together a team of international scholars and practitioners. The team draws on recent advances in environmental justice research to examine how the production of injustices and politics of justice associated with the development of REDD+ affect conflict and cooperation over forests.

The project formally started in February 2014 and held its inception workshop in Norwich (9-11 May 2014). The CoCooR team also lead and organised a theoretical exchange event in Norwich on 12 May with participation of other projects from the NWO’s CoCooN (Co-operation and Conflicts over Natural Resources) programme. It also actively participated in the Second Norwich Think Tank on Environmental Justice (14-16 May) which led to the Second Norwich Declaration on Forest People’s Rights and REDD+ Safeguards

The CoCooR team has surveyed REDD+ conflicts in Mexico, Nepal, Vietnam and worldwide, and the national partners are currently undertaking investigation of local-level dynamics in six REDD+ demonstration sites (two sites in each case study country) and analysis of REDD+ safeguards processes at the national level; which will, in turn, help the team examine empirical results from comparative and theoretical perspectives. The research employs transdisciplinary methodology drawing on ethnography, discourse analysis and participatory research in a broadly inductive approach.

CoCooR will develop a conflict prediction checklist for REDD+ practitioners, produce recommendations on conflict-sensitive national safeguards processes for decision makers and provide relevant training to local communities, grassroots organizations, NGOs, government and project developers. By involving national institutions as equal partners, the project hopes to contribute to capacity development with regards to the ability to investigate, provide advice and implement tools for conflict-sensitive REDD+ policy and practice.

CoCooR will use the new knowledge on conflict and cooperation over forests and innovative theoretical understanding of cross-scale dynamics of conflict and cooperation to engage with REDD+ policy makers and other stakeholders in the three countries, South/Southeast Asia and worldwide, including innovative photovoice projects with local communities that provide a platform for them to tell their own stories and put forward their points of view. It also develops close linkages to other CoCooN projects and deepens the team’s integration in global networks of excellence in research and practice on conflicts, climate change, environmental justice and forests. 


CoCooR Project team:

  • Poshendra Satyal, University of East Anglia
  • Esteve Corbera, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • Horacio Almanza Alcalde, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico
  • Hari Dhungana, Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies, Nepal
  • Cam Hoang, Institute of Cultural Studies, Vietnam
  • David Gritten, RECOFTC – The Centre for People and Forests, Thailand
  • Gelsey Bennett, Winrock International, USA