New research on smallholder carbon projects points to key role of local institutions

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A recent working paper takes a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach, assessing four agricultural carbon projects in East Africa.

Getting the details of agricultural carbon projects right requires paying close attention to local institutions. These entities – including community groups, local NGOs and local governments – are  pivotal in encouraging the participation in carbon projects and adoption of carbon-sequestering farm-based activities. They contribute to the monitoring and tracking of results and ensure the fair distribution of benefits to smallholder farmers. But many of the smallholder carbon projects currently in operation were developed by external, often international, organizations. How, then, can local institutions develop the capacities to assume the long-term management of these projects?

A recent working paper produced as part of the CGIAR Systemwide Program on Collective Action and Property Rights (CAPRi) and the CGIAR Research Program on  Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) begins to address this question through participatory action research (PAR) with four agricultural carbon projects in East Africa. Building on a research project focusing on the institutional arrangement of agricultural carbon projects in sub-Saharan Africa, and drawing on lessons from community-based natural resource management, collective action, and community development, it outlines tools used in the research as well as initial findings. The PAR activities, conducted across the diverse projects at different stages of development, revealed a wide variety of challenges for local level institutional development. To address these hurdles, the research also identified opportunities for project managers and participants to develop innovative solutions to strengthen local institutions as they assume greater control and oversight of carbon projects in coming years.

Originally published on the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature blog: click here for the full article and working paper.