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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 189-199

Defining Solutions, Finding Problems: Deforestation, Gender, and REDD+ in Burkina Faso


1 Current affiliation: Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala; Research undertaken at: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
2 Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

Correspondence Address:
Lisa Westholm
Current affiliation: Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala; Research undertaken at: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg
Sweden
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.164203

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Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) is a policy instrument meant to mitigate climate change while also achieving poverty reduction in tropical countries. It has garnered critics for homogenising environmental and development governance and for ignoring how similar efforts have tended to exacerbate gender inequalities. Nonetheless, regarding such schemes as inevitable, some feminists argue for requirements that include women's empowerment and participation. In this paper we move beyond discussions about safeguards and examine whether the very framing of REDD+ programs can provide openings for a transformation as argued for by its proponents. Following the REDD+ policy process in Burkina Faso, we come to two important insights: REDD+ is a solution in need of a problem. Assumptions about gender are at the heart of creating 'actionable knowledge' that enabled REDD+ to be presented as a policy solution to the problems of deforestation, poverty and gender inequality. Second, despite its 'safeguards', REDD+ appears to be perpetuating gendered divisions of labour, as formal environmental decision-making moves upwards; and responsibility and the burden of actual environmental labour shifts further down in particularly gendered ways. We explore how this is enabled by the development of policies whose stated aims are to tackle inequalities.


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