Results-based payment (RBP), the main innovation brought by REDD+, has also been the most challenging to implement. Three key challenges for RBP are: what to pay for, how to set reference levels, and whom to pay; these challenges are at risk of biases, including a ‘cherry picking’ of numbers.
Current and emerging RBP initiatives are hybrid approaches. As such, they make compromises on key RBP principles, such as payment based solely on results, recipient discretion (on how to achieve results) and independent verification of results.
Minimising these risks requires learning from previous experiences to develop a clear rule book for the Paris Agreement, as well as institutional checks and balances. Managing these risks would help preserve the effectiveness (environmental integrity) and efficiency of RBP in REDD+, and thus its longterm political credibility and financing.