Two Seminars in Norway Tackle Corruption in REDD+
The UN-REDD Programme recently participated in two seminars in Norway, looking at the complex issue of preventing and combating corruption in REDD+.
Last month, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the Anti Corruption Resource Centre/Christopher Michelsen Institute (U4/CMI) hosted back-to-back seminars which brought together dozens of country representatives, civil society and other international experts to discuss how countries are addressing corruption risks in REDD+.
More than 35 participants from the Government of Norway, civil society and development agencies attended Norad’s seminar on 14 June entitled, "Why preventing and combating corruption is crucial for the success of REDD+". This seminar was part of Norad’s Climate and Environment Seminar series. Ms. Estelle Fach, a Programme Analyst for the UN-REDD Programme, presented the Programme's approach on how paying attention to corruption risks in REDD+ is not only a matter of international commitments, but also a matter of equity, efficiency, effectiveness and therefore sustainability. She summarized what corruption risks are, and how REDD+ presents opportunities to mitigate them. She also highlighted how more and more, governments in REDD+ countries are recognizing the pragmatic and reputational risks of not addressing corruption risks in REDD+, and taking action.
Indonesia’s ongoing Participatory Governance Assessment examines corruption as a cross-cutting issue by assessing the effectiveness of different regulations, practices and actors. The Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Peru, and Bhutan are also planning to undertake nationally- adapted REDD+ Corruption Risks Assessments (RCRA) this year and capacity development plans, with support from the UN-REDD Programme and other partners. Viet Nam has also proposed a range of anti-corruption activities in REDD+. This includes building on its work in the areas of benefit distribution systems and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as a basis for a mechanism to handle complaints. Viet Nam is also developing measures to ensure open and effective access to information, as well as identifying legal ambiguities and loopholes that can create a space for corruption and recommendations to provide improved incentives to avoid corruption. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a dedicated staff member to identify, in consultation with national stakeholders, entry points for anti-corruption measures for REDD+ aligned with the country's readiness process and promote new and existing transparency instruments.
Seminar participants discussed how governance efforts such as meaningful participation and promoting citizen’s demand for accountability through participatory governance assessments are conducive to preventing corruption. They also highlighted the need for additional technical inputs to promote transparency and accountability in different elements of a national REDD+ strategy, such as access to information in a standardized and simplified form within a certain period and cost.
Read more about how the UN-REDD Programme supports its partner countries in their anti-corruption efforts for REDD+.
At the U4/CMI seminar on 15 June, panelists from Norad, UNEP/Interpol’s LEAF project, the UN-REDD Programme and two independent researchers focusing on the Ghana, Guyana and the Philippines, discussed the challenges and current actions countries are undertaking in the area of corruption prevention and REDD+. The following, among other issues were highlighted:
- The various and involving faces of corruption in the natural resources management and extractive sectors, and how these lessons learned can inform the vast range of actions required for REDD+;
- The importance of strengthening the implementation of existing legal frameworks designed to combat corruption;
- The role that REDD+ readiness has played in fostering and promoting dialogues between civil society organizations and their government;
- The necessity of a dual approach that combines prevention approaches and strengthened law enforcement, and how each of these may be potentially funded by REDD+ revenues;
- The relevance of anti-corruption commissions in playing an active role to prepare, prevent, punish corruption in REDD+;
- The role of civil society beyond a watchdog role;
- The continued need for country-specific research, developed through participatory means, on both the existing corruption and anti-corruption environment and new corruption risks and anti- corruption opportunities brought about by REDD+.
A summary of the proceedings and a video of the seminar will be available from the U4 web page dedicated to REDD Integrity in the coming month.