A REDD+ theory of change is expected to outline pathways using conditional incentives to achieve reduced emissions. But as practised, REDD+ has evolved into a diversity of measures, while the core element, conditionality, has rarely been applied.
Confusion arises when actors fail to distinguish between REDD+ as the outcome of reduced emissions and the framework to achieve them. Convoluted objectives, unclear donor commitments, and competing ideas about what REDD+ is and should pay for (compensation level, beneficiaries), complicate its implementation.
The way forward lies in recognising ideological differences for more constructive debates, clarifying technical objectives and embracing pragmatism in implementation.