Safeguards and Dangerguards: A Framework for Unpacking the Black Box of Safeguards for REDD+



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The idea and practice of safeguards – usually expressed as sets of environmental and social principles – have become integral components of the ongoing global policy efforts aimed at mitigating climate change through the mechanism of Reducing Emissions on Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). Donors, civil societies, business organisations and other different bodies are investing resources on initiatives aimed to propagate different guidelines and principles expected to be adopted, supported and promoted by national governments as safeguards. Yet, there is little research critically examining the different ideas, objectives and understandings embedded in the term and their implications for the purpose for which safeguards are designed for. The aim of this paper is to contribute to the discourse on safeguards by presenting REDD+ Safeguard Spectrum, a framework which can be used to unpack the many faces of REDD+ safeguards to guide their application and operationalisation at national and local levels. Focusing largely on the social goals espoused under REDD+, the paper characterises social safeguards of REDD+ into four categories—preventive, mitigative, promotive and transformative.


Albert Abraham Arhin


Forest Policy and Economics