15 June 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."

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Source: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

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Climate Action and UNEP are delighted to present the official Climate Action report for COP23, Bonn, Germany.