Comparative study on national REDD+ strategy in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand (REDD+ in the Mekong)

The Warsaw Framework for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), adopted at COP19 of the UNFCCC mandates that to be eligible for REDD+, participating countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand need to develop national policies and measures for REDD+ implemen- tation. To complete this national REDD+ strategy, participating countries will have to provide information on key topics such as safeguards, grievance mech- anisms, benefit sharing mechanisms, drivers of deforestation and degradation, measuring, reporting, verification (MRV) and monitoring, and national REDD funds. The main objective of this research project is to compare the processes, challenges and opportunities that Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand have and/or will face in the development of their REDD+ national strategies.

Research questions 

1.     How can Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand ensure that their national safeguards frameworks address all the potential REDD+ social and environmental risks while at the same time taking into account national sovereignty and legal contexts?

2.     What factors should the three countries take into account to establish effective, efficient and equitable national REDD+ grievance mechanisms?

3.     To what extent do stakeholders in the three countries consider REDD+ as a mechanism that will help contribute to empowering forest-dependent communities to exert a greater influence on local land use policy and practice?


1.     Social and environmental safeguards: To document lessons learned on the gaps between legal contexts in the three countries in comparison with the requirements of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted decisions on safeguards and Safeguards Information System, in particular the Cancun Agreements and the Warsaw Framework on REDD+. The research team will also explore the potential social and environmental impacts, including gender considerations, of an elaborate versus a minimalistic design for safeguards information system in the three countries.

2.     Grievance mechanism: To compile a list of criteria that stakeholders in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand identified as important factors that need to be taken into account to establish effective, efficient and equitable national REDD+ grievance mechanisms.

3.     Impacts of REDD+ interventions: To document cases on the impacts of REDD+ readiness processes on dis/empowering forest-dependent communities, including gender considerations, to exert greater influence on local land use policy and practices.


Methodologically, this study utilises qualitative comparative analysis that includes methods such as key informant interviews, observations of REDD+ policy processes, and extended archival research to answer the proposed questions. Stakeholders will be grouped into three levels (international, national, and local) to correspond with their engagements in the REDD+ policy processes in the three countries and categorized as governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples/local groups, private sector, and academic/ research institutions.

Key informant interviews

The research team in each country will aim to conduct up to 80 in-person, semi-structured interviews with the different groups of stakeholders. 

Participant observation

In addition to compiling individual accounts, empirical observation on how the different groups of stakeholders engage in REDD+ policy dialogues/processes is required to understand how stakeholders are engaged/disengaged in these arrangements and processes that produce and examine the various existing policies and measures in the three countries. These arrangements in general include (1) National Climate Change Committee, (2) REDD+ Advisory Group, (3) REDD+ Taskforce, (4) REDD+ Taskforce Secretariat, and (5) the Technical Teams and/or Working Groups.

Policy impacts expected

Researchers in this research project will ensure close collaboration with REDD+ coordination arrangements in the three countries. For example, representatives from government and non-government institutions were consulted in the design of the original concept note, and this full proposal, especially on the questions that they considered important for a national REDD+ strategy. This participatory approach ensures that stakeholders in the three countries are informed about the research as it progresses, thus ensuring the credibility and relevance of the research findings. Finally, various meetings, conferences and training events are conducted at the national and local level in the three countries to increase awareness on REDD+ and to welcome comments from various stakeholders on how the different components for a REDD+ national strategy (e.g. safeguards, grievance mechanisms) should be designed. Therefore, researchers in this project will seek opportunities to present our on-going results at these venues.

Lead contact

Pheakkdey Nguon

Department of International Studies Royal University of Phnom Penh Russian Federation Boulevard, Phnom Penh, Cambodia