Unprecedented Cooperation Established on Anti-Corruption for REDD+ in Africa
At a recent workshop in Zambia, participants from seven UN-REDD Programme partner countries, civil society and Indigenous Peoples organizations in Africa signed a joint statement on why and how to deal with anti-corruption efforts related to REDD+.
The workshop entitled, "Strengthening Transparency and Accountability for REDD+ in Africa", kick-started initial country action plans and energized collaboration between national anti-corruption practitioners and REDD+ teams. Organized jointly by the UN-REDD Programme and UNDP’s Programme on Anti-Corruption for Development Effectiveness, with strong support from UNDP’s Zambia office, this workshop gathered close to 80 participants from seven UN-REDD Programme partner countries from anti-corruption commissions, national REDD+ teams, civil society and Indigenous Peoples organizations and UN staff.
"You are doing groundbreaking work in unchartered territories, and your efforts can serve as a model for climate finance", said Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP’s Director of the Energy and Environment Group during a High Level Policy Dialogue that was opened with a key note address by the Honorable Wylbur Simuusa, M.P., Zambia’s Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.
During the event, working groups composed of Anti-Corruption Commissions, national REDD+ teams and civil society shared ideas and experiences to determine what specific corruption risk were most likely and impactful in their countries. They also reflected on finding country-tailored solutions that build on both existing anti-corruption efforts and ongoing REDD+ processes. Using the results of an anonymous online survey taken prior to the workshop, participants drafted initial country action plans tailored to the specific corruption risks their countries face in REDD+.
UNDP's regional anti-corruption policy advisor for Western Africa, Luc Damiba, summarized three challenges and opportunities for preventing corruption in REDD+ in Africa. The first challenge, he noted, relates to the coordination of national REDD+ activities in connection with national efforts to fight corruption, first at a national level and and then in terms of cooperation between African countries. The second challenge focuses on the management of corruption risks in relation to decentralization and local involvement in the management and protection of forest resources. Finally, the third challenge is on access to information for everyone. Practitioners will indeed have to address how information needed for transparency will reach the grassroots level so that it is effectively used to hold decision-makers to account.
Participants also made commitments of joint work. These included for example plans of Kenya’s Ethic and Anti-Corruption Commission to dedicate a professional to work specifically on climate change and REDD+ issues; the planning of a joint workshop by Nigeria’s Cross River State and UNDP on the issues of anti-corruption for REDD+; and enhancing the existing cooperation between UNDP’s anti-corruption programme and the National REDD+ Coordination in Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In a final joint statement (English/ French), participants highlight the relevance of the cross-disciplinary theme of anti-corruption and REDD+, offer findings and recommendations, commit to further work and ask the UN-REDD Programme and partners for support to carry on this ground-breaking work.
The workshop, held in Lusaka on 24-26 April 2012, was the third of a series of regional dialogues that seek to bring together REDD+ and anti-corruption practitioners, raise awareness on the importance of preventing corruption in REDD+ and provide tools on how to do so. Similar workshops were held last year in Kathmandu, Nepal and Bangkok, Thailand.
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