Reports & Analysis
Promoting Transparency and Integrity in REDD+
Efforts by the UN-REDD Programme and other organizations in the area of anti-corruption and REDD+ underscore the importance of setting up robust transparency and integrity frameworks and mechanisms for REDD+.
When it comes to REDD+, some of the most critical topics currently explored are in the area of democratic governance, and in particular on anti-corruption and transparency. Last year, for example, a flagship UNDP/UN-REDD Programme study, called Staying on Track: Tackling Corruption Risks in Climate Change (also available in French and Spanish), mapped out the corruption risks during both the design phase of national REDD+ mechanism and its implementation phase. The report also proposed a framework to examine these risks and made recommendations, such as conducting country-specific participatory corruption risks assessments, establishing multi-stakeholder decision-making and monitoring mechanisms, ensuring transparency and accountability in public financial management and strengthening the reporting mechanism. The UN-REDD Programme also organized a workshop on REDD+ and corruption with GTZ (now GIZ) at the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference last November to discuss corruption risks and their mitigation in the context of a REDD+ mechanism.
On the same topic, a recent U4 study focuses on three African countries: DRC, Kenya and Zambia. A study undertaken by Price WaterHouse Coopers for the Norwegian Development agency, with UNDP’s support, is underway, examining measures to counter corruption risks in REDD+ in DRC. The UNDP Panama Centre, in collaboration with the UN-REDD Programme and UNDP’s Global Programme on Anti-Corruption for Development Effectiveness (PACDE), is commissioning a study on the role of local governance institutions in tackling corruption in different decentralization contexts in Latin America, and the UNDP Bangkok Centre has initiated programming on anti-corruption in climate finance that includes a REDD+ component. The anti-corruption community is also eagerly expecting the upcoming release of Transparency International “Global Corruption Report: Climate Change” that will address REDD+.
This flurry of activities and work on anti-corruption comes from the realization that corruption in REDD+ would undermine the very confidence necessary to enact a change in the use of forest resources. It would also prevent equitable benefit sharing, discourage investors and undermine gender equality. There is a growing recognition that a lack of transparency, accountability and integrity would mean a much less effective, and much less sustainable, REDD+ mechanism.
Yet on the ground, national and local actors are mobilizing to build synergies between the REDD+ mechanism and anti-corruption initiatives. Sometimes this happens by adding a REDD+ component to existing anti-corruption capacity development programmes, such as those on investigative journalisms or citizen monitoring of budgets, or strengthening the capacity of national institutions and mechanisms that promote transparency. Support may also come through the implementation of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which has been signed by a vast majority of REDD+ countries.
The Programme has put emphasis on ensuring that a variety of national stakeholders, including civil society, governments, dedicated anti-corruption units, the judiciary, policy makers and law enforcement have the capacity and tools to tackle corruption risks in REDD+. By catalyzing the involvement of its in-house expertise and through guidance, trainings, partnership and technical advice, the UN-REDD Programme is well positioned to support efforts to promote transparency, accountability and integrity in REDD+ and mitigate corruption risks by strengthening preventive measures.