Despite euphoria at international level there is a growing concern that participatory forest conservation projects established with climate finance might not lead to the assumed win-win solution expressed in policy rhetoric of addressing both forest degradation and persistent poverty. Based on two climate financed forestry (pilot) projects in Ethiopia, this paper shows that the strong reliance on organizational blueprints and the focus on crafting institutions concealed the more pertinent issues at stake, in particular the unequal distributions of natural resources as result of the enclosure of the commons. The logic and rules on which the projects have been designed have been superimposed on existing social relations of power and prevailing organizational configurations, leading to aggravation of conflicts over resources as result of social exclusion, elite capture and even state-sanctioned land grab. This does not only points to the elusiveness of the quest for the best organizational model to implement such forestry projects, but also questions the faith in climate finance mechanisms at international level and the effectiveness of the efforts made by advocacy groups to establish safeguards to minimize possible negative outcomes at local level.
- Climate financing
- Conflicts over natural resources
- Land grab
- Market environmentalism