The Government of Fiji’s effort to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and sustainable forest management practices (REDD+) required a mechanism for responding to complaints, disputes, and grievances arising from the readiness and implementation phases of the Fiji National REDD+ Programme. The Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, with funding from the World Bank, awarded Integra a contract in 2017 to develop a feedback and grievance redress mechanism (FGRM) for all stakeholders in the National REDD+ Programme.
The purpose of this FGRM consultancy was to advise the Fiji REDD+ Programme on the design of a consistent, legitimate process to receive feedback and address conflicts that arise from the REDD+ readiness process and subsequent implementation of REDD+ activities. Integra’s team provided expertise in REDD+ and climate change policy, environmental governance and resource management, national capacity building, grievance redress and dispute resolution, indigenous and customary land rights, and innovations for communication solutions for communities to design and implement the FGRM for Fiji REDD+. The design of FGRM followed key principles and guidance, including the United Nations’ “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework (ESF)/Safeguard Polices (10+1), the Fijian Constitution (2013) and the nation’s written laws and regulations regarding indigenous rights, and used appropriate and accessible methods that were suited to local and national needs.
With a focus on compliance and donor requirements and with a respect to the agreements of the UNFCCC, Integra completed the following four phases of the FGRM:
Phase 1: Research and Analysis
– Identified and analyzed legislation and policies that impact REDD+.
– Analyzed Fiji’s existing institutional capacity and mechanisms used to respond to and resolve conflict.
– Identified existing and potential grievances and conflicts that may arise as a result of REDD+.
Phase 2: Design of the FGRM and Reporting Forms
– Designed a FGRM for REDD+ that took into consideration both formal and informal networks for redress.
– Included strategic choices based on purpose and functionality of the FGRM, as well as integrating the mechanism into the National REDD+ Strategy.
– Developed standard feedback and grievance redress forms that can be used by iTaukei Village Headmen and Forest Officers to record and report issues and grievances for both the REDD+ readiness (potential sites) and implementation stages.
Phase 3: Training of Trainers and Communication Strategy
– Conducted training for targeted groups on the FGRM process, to include the use of the recommended reporting and recording forms.
– Developed a communications strategy to inform all stakeholders about the existence of the FGRM and instructions of operation. The communication plan includes aspects of stakeholder-targeted communication channels, facilitators, multipliers and possible timelines.
Phase 4: Validation
– Presented findings and recommended design to the REDD+ Secretariat and Steering Committee for acceptance and approval before institutionalization of the FGRM.
– Working alongside other Fiji REDD+ Readiness activities, to support the National REDD+ Strategy that defined and detailed social and environmental safeguards (SESA); monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of carbon emissions reductions; and identification of drivers of deforestation in Fiji.