Democratic Representation in Ghana’s REDD+ Process

Project Team Leader: Marfo, E.

Background

Stakeholder participation and consultation at the national and sub-national levels is an important pillar for the development of REDD+. Ghana claims to have developed its REDD Readiness Plan through a highly participatory and consultative process using the notion of stakeholder representation in designing the institutional architecture for participation. The rhetoric of democratic representation is highly visible in Ghana’s constitution and forest policy statements but to what extent was the espoused democratic principles regarding representation implemented by intervening authorities who designed and implemented the REDD Readiness strategy consultative process.

Th e study explores the politics of institutional choice for democratic representation of REDD+ actors, by examining espoused visions of democracy against actual commitments in practice. Th e study argues that representation is an illusory and highly symbolic feature of the REDD+ participatory process in Ghana. Democratic representation remains a highly conceptual notion compared to the practice of participation. Institutional choices for stakeholder representation were instrumental in the sense of getting various stakeholders listed as having participated in the process than representation of substantive interests.  In e ffect, current understanding of representation under institutional choices for stakeholder participation approaches is very far from the desired democracy outcomes of responsiveness and accountability.