Lessons from environmental and social sustainability certification standards for equitable REDD+ benefit-sharing mechanisms

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Key Lessons

  • If REDD+ benefit-sharing mechanisms (BSMs) are to be equitable, they require clear objectives with appropriate strategies or indicators. Private sector schemes related to standards, whose objective is the equitable distribution of the benefits generated through certification, tend to lack adequate rules and guidelines for operationalizing an equitable benefit-sharing process.
  • At the local level, support and capacity building are needed to strengthen intermediary institutions in order to improve governance and increase legitimacy when deciding how to share benefits.
  • Systematic measures for identifying marginalized groups and supporting their greater participation in the design, implementation and monitoring of BSMs can help to avoid perpetuating existing inequities.
  • A minimum price-setting mechanism established between buyers and sellers will consider the overall implementation costs of standards and help mitigate farmer risks. A thorough consideration, accounting and attribution of REDD+ costs is essential as a basis for price setting to ensure that suppliers of reduced carbon emissions are compensated for the costs they bear.
  • The inclusion of pre-financing enables participation of poor stakeholders in implementation activities, helps to mitigate market and other risks incurred by the participating smallholders and raises acceptance of the standards. Phased-released benefits that are maintained throughout the project lifetime strengthen conformity to conditional performance.
  • Equity requirements can come with higher transaction and implementation costs. A place-based policy that aims to achieve equity to adjust for changing contexts while maintaining accountability should be considered as a way of reconciling equity and efficiency.


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