Session on Benefit Sharing


The first thematic session of the 2nd GLOBE International Forest Forum was "REDD+ legislation and benefit sharing in the context of REDD strategy development". Recommendations from the 1st GLOBE International Forest Legislation Study were introduced by Darragh Conway of Climate Focus.

A panel composed of Deputy Joseph Ipalaka from the DRC, Congresswoman Yesenia Nolasco from Mexico, Tim Christophersen from UNEP and Maria Brokhaus from CIFOR discussed the importance of developing national legal frameworks for REDD+ benefit sharing.

Deputy Ipalaka and Congresswoman Nolasco shared experiences from the DRC and Mexico respectively. In the DRC, deliberations on benefit sharing arrangements are ongoing and will be a key political issue as the new national REDD fund is set up in 2014. Deputy Ipalaka emphasized that it will be crucial to ensure that local communities benefit from future REDD benefits and gave exampels of solutions considered in the DRC. In the longer term, this will also include recognizing the customary land rights of local communities to a greater extent. Congresswoman Nolasco highlighted legislation passed in Mexico in 2012, which includes provisions to ensure that local communities who manage forests will also benefit from revenue generated by REDD in these areas. She also gave examples from further work undertaken by GLOBE Mexico and the Mexican government in preparation of the national REDD+ strategy, and how benefit sharing and particularly the rights of indigenous peoples to REDD revenues are being taken into consideration in this process.

Tim Christophersen shared UNEP and the UN REDD programme's experience of working with 48 partner countries and 16 key partners in developing national REDD+ strategies. He also provided a broader, sustainable development approach by pointing to the multiple benefits of REDD beyond carbon emission reductions, as well as by highlighting benefit sharing arrangements under other international agreements, such as the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, which could be useful to look at in the elaboration of new mechanisms for REDD.

Maria Brockhaus from CIFOR shared analysis of benefit sharing arrangements in 13 countries, of which only four (Indonesia, Brazil, Tanzania and Vietnam) have national REDD+ programmes which regulate the distribution of REDD finance. She also highlighted central tradeoffs between efficiency/effectiveness and equity that legislators must tackle in determining who should benefit from REDD. Many legislators found the presentation useful and shared experiences of facing such 'dilemmas' in their own national legislation deliberations.

Other aspects which received particular attention in the discussions were the importance of determining the sources of finance for REDD+ as well as clarifying the legal nature of carbon, both key issues in determining who should benefit from REDD+. During the discussion, legislators from Namibia also asked other legislators from advice on how they could engage more actively in international programs for REDD+ including benefit sharing.

Key Findings: Benefit Sharing

1. Benefit sharing systems should address both rules and principles for benefit sharing and distribution mechanisms. In both cases the level of prescriptiveness that it is appropriate for the government to take in setting out common or minimum standards will depend on factors such as its authority over the land in question, whether the finance is public or private and the involvement of vulnerable persons such as indigenous communities.

2. Benefit sharing mechanisms should where possible build upon and be informed by existing laws. At the same time, the fact that such laws were often not designed with REDD+ in mind means that specific rules on REDD+ benefit sharing are in most cases also needed. The extent to which the REDD+ framework should incorporate existing rules will depend on factors such as their legal status/level of hierarchy, their direct applicability to and their appropriateness for REDD+.

3. In order to ensure certainty and enhance transparency and accountability, rules on benefit sharing should be adopted or explicitly provided for at relatively high level (e.g. through national legislation).

4. Countries will need to decide on what bases they wish to differentiate between different types of benefit sharing situations and the rules applicable in each. The choice of rules may depend on factors such as the source of finance, the role of the state in receiving and managing the finance, the number of actors who share rights over the land in question, the share of each actor's participation in land management, the attractiveness of the area for private investment (where this is envisaged or desirable).

5. Countries also would benefit from deciding to what extent payments will be linked to specific emission reductions/removals. Results-based payments at local level are complex and expensive to monitor; at the same time, beneficiaries will expect a certain amount of equity and correlation between their efforts and their payments.

6. Regional, national and/or sub-national REDD+ or climate funds are becoming increasingly common as a means of channeling REDD+ benefits from multiple sources to multiple individuals.