jeudi 4 juin 2009

Good governance key to success of payments to tackle deforestation and climate change

Paying people to protect forests can be an effective way to tackle deforestation and climate change but only if there is good governance of natural resources, says a study funded by Norway ’s Government and published on 5 June by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

It warns that such payments alone are not enough. They will be effective only if key economic, cultural, institutional and information conditions are met, and if payment schemes monitor impacts on poor communities to ensure equity and avoid social harm.

The results will be shared on 5 June at a meeting in Norway organised on behalf of the Norwegian Ministries of the Environment and of Foreign Affairs.

The report comes as government negotiators meet in Bonn to hammer out a global policy to address climate change. The deal will have forest conservation at its heart as deforestation and forest degradation accounts for about 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The new study by researchers at IIED, the World Resources Institute and the Center for International Forestry Research looked at existing efforts to pay people in developing nations to protect ecosystems in return for the services — such as fresh water, wild foods and climate control — they provide.

It aimed to see if such payments could be used to help tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, an approach known as REDD that is gaining international support under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Effective and equitable governance will be the key to successful payment schemes,” says lead author Ivan Bond , a senior researcher at IIED. “Unfortunately, governance tends to be weakest in the very places where deforestation is greatest. Communities need clear land rights if they are to gain from payments that flow to their countries in return for forest protection.”

The Norwegian Government commissioned the study to inform the design and implementation of its Climate and Forest Initiative (N-CFI), which will provide hundreds of millions of dollars each year to instigate early action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and to ensure that a mechanism to reduce these emissions become part of a new and more comprehensive climate regime.

The researchers reviewed 13 schemes that make payments for ecosystems services in Africa, South-East Asia and Latin America and concluded that performance-based payments can be part of REDD but only if important preconditions are met.

If they are not, the money would be better spent on improving forest governance, institutions and policies at local, regional and national levels. The authors note that where governance is weak, there are risks that elites will capture the flow of funds while poor local communities, with weak land tenure, will lose out.

“Schemes involving payments for ecosystem services have been criticised in the past, but we found little evidence that payments cause harm,” says Ivan Bond of IIED. “What is important in applying this approach to REDD projects is that payments alone are not enough. Other key conditions must be met.”

The report’s authors urge the Norwegian Government to pay close attention to the impacts the N-CFI’s pilot projects have on poor households.

“Massive levels of funding are set to flow into REDD schemes so it is important that money is not spent on projects that are ineffective at protecting forests or that end up harming the poor,” says Peter Hazlewood of the World Resources Institute. “As this is such a new area of policy it is essential to share knowledge about what works and what does not. The N-CFI can play a critical role in learning lessons from early project experience and facilitating South-South exchanges.”

The report also found that paying landowners to conserve forests is likely to be a cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but that costs are likely to be higher than those suggested by the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, in particular costs to meet capacity development needs.

The countries covered by the case studies are: Bolivia , Brazil , Ecuador , Indonesia , Mexico , Mozambique , Namibia , Tanzania , Vietnam and Zimbabwe .

To download the report, under embargo until 5 June, visit

Contacts for interview are listed below….


Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg launched the N-CFI in December 2007 at the UN climate change negotiations in Bali, Indonesia with funding of up to NOK 3 billion (US$430 million) a year.

“Payments for ecosystem services can create incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation,” says Norway ’s Minister of the Environment and International Development, Erik Solheim, in an introduction to the study.

”They are, however, not a universal panacea,” he adds. “A crucial issue is the overall national and forest governance framework. Under conditions of weak governance it is very difficult for payments for ecosystem services to be effective.”

Ivan Bond will present the report’s findings at a Workshop on Payment for Ecosystem Services on Friday 5 June at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Polhøgda, Lysaker ( Oslo ). This workshop on compensation and incentives for the maintenance of ecosystem services is organized by the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) on behalf of the Norwegian Ministries of the Environment and of Foreign Affairs. Its aim is to highlight the most relevant experiences, preconditions and best practices with PES, and to provide operative suggestions for Norwegian involvement in such themes.

For a list of REDD-related side events taking place during the current UN climate change negotiations in Bonn , see-

For interviews, contact:


Ivan Bond,

Senior Researcher

International Institute for Environment and Development

3 Endsleigh Street

Tel: 44 (0) 207 388 2117


World Resources Institute

Peter Hazlewood

Director, Ecosystems and Development

People and Ecosystems Program

World Resources Institute

10 G Street NE, Suite 800

Washington, DC 20002

Tel: +1 (202) 729-7887


International Center for Tropical Forestry Research

Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff

Senior Scientist Climate change

Forest and Governance Program

Center for International Forestry Research

P.O. Box 0113 BOCBD

Bogor 16000


Tel: +62 (251) 8622 622


Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Jon Heikki Aas

Senior Adviser

Section for the Environment and Sustainable Development

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway

Tel: +47 22 24 36 17

Fax: +47 22 24 95 80

Norwegian Ministry of the Environment

Leif John Fosse

Senior Adviser

Climate and Forest Initiative

Section on Climate and Energy

Ministry of the Environment, Norway

Tel. +47 22 24 59 13

Fax +47 22 24 95 63

To any other queries, contact:

Mike Shanahan

Press officer

International Institute for Environment and Development

3 Endsleigh Street

London WC1H 0DD

Tel: 44 (0) 207 388 2117

Fax: 44 (0) 207 388 2826


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