Locally based monitoring in Guyana: keeping an eye on wellbeing with the Makushi Amerindians

By Ben Palmer Fry

Environmental management, and more specifically conservation work, has historically been led by natural scientists. As a result, despite the best intentions, the people who populate conservation areas are not always entirely content with the conservation projects taking place around them; these interventions, though environmentally beneficial, don’t always have a subtle understanding of local communities and so can’t effectively monitor the social impact. It is, however, essential that this social monitoring takes place, as the longevity of any project depends inherently on the support of local people.

The policymakers who are compiling the REDD+ papers for the UNFCCC have an understanding of these linkages and so have included language that defines and preserves ‘social safeguards’, which simply means that the local people should never be disadvantaged by the implementation of a REDD+ project.