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Moving from Global Advocacy to Country-level Actions on Anti-Corruption for REDD+

The UN-REDD Programme highlights results and outcomes of its regional capacity building efforts on anti-corruption for REDD+, undertaken over the past two years.
By: Estelle Fach and Tsegaye Lemma

Since 2011, the UN-REDD Programme in collaboration with UNDP’s Global Programme on Anti Corruption for Development Effectiveness (PACDE), Regional Centres and UNDP Country offices, has organized four regional workshops in Nepal, Thailand, Peru, and Zambia on the theme of anti -corruption and REDD+. These events connected over 300 REDD+ and anti-corruption officials and practitioners and helped develop a common understanding on:

  • Why the issue of anti-corruption in REDD+ should be addressed – as corruption will undermine the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of REDD+, and hence its sustainability;
  • What are corruption risks in REDD+ , i.e. both existing corruption as a driver of deforestation and degradation, and new corruption risks that could be brought about by REDD+;
  • How to mitigate them - by developing corruption risk management capacities that builds on national REDD+ systems and existing national anti-corruption initiatives.
Africa regional workshop to strengthen transparency and accountability in REDD+, Lusaka, Zambia, April 2012

These events have allowed national stakeholders to discuss the sensitive topic of corruption in a safe and facilitated setting, and ways to address it jointly through country-tailored solutions.

There is now greater momentum among partner countries to explicitly address corruption risks in REDD+ processes which can be witnessed from the action plans initiated in almost all the countries that participated in the workshops. 
There are at least 10 countries now carrying this work forward: Viet Nam has integrated detailed anti-corruption activities and budget lines to its Phase 2 funding proposal; Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Nepal, Peru and the Philippines are receiving funding and technical support on the topic of anti-corruption and REDD+, under the targeted support modality of the UN-REDD Programme; and Indonesia and Nigeria have integrated anti-corruption as main components of their participatory governance assessments.

Unprecedented in-country mechanisms have also been triggered, bringing together government practitioners from the REDD+ and anti-corruption sectors which previously had little interaction.

Countries have also done a good job of adapting tools that were used in regional workshops for their national settings. For example, DRC, the Philippines and Viet Nam, have replicated the anonymous online survey (which allows respondents to provide their perceptions of corruption risks without giving their names) in their respective settings.

Fawark Hlawn Ching and Shree Kumar Maharjan, AC-REDD Workshop, Bangkok, Thailand, October 2011

Lessons Learned
Engaging participants prior to the workshop through, for instance, online surveys has proven valuable not only to design the sessions according to needs but also to get participants thinking about and discussing the issue. Moreover, disaggregated results from online surveys conducted before the events revealed some differences in perception of corruption risks. For example, for all corruption risks listed in the surveys, civil society participants and indigenous peoples perceived the likelihood of risks much greater than what’s perceived by government officials.  The second difference emerged in the way men and women perceive corruption risks in REDD+. For instance, in Latin America and the Caribbean, women were more preoccupied than men about nepotism when hiring REDD+ personnel.

We’ve also learned that although politically sensitive, open conversations about corruption are possible with minimal tensions. As a basis for discussion, the anonymous online perception survey, referred to above, has allowed participants to focus on solutions rather than risks during events. Similarly, encouraging government representatives from anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) and REDD+ coordination offices to prepare joint presentations helps lessen potential tensions.

On regional anti-corruption work in Africa:

“This is a well-functioning cross practice effort that manifested so well on the ground with the regional REDD+ workshop on Anti- Corruption. This is exactly the kind of partnering in-house that brings great dividends to our national stakeholders and also shows our donor community the best of UNDP and the UN.”

Kanni Wignaraja, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Zambia

Finally, not all ACAs, or anti-corruption national plans, are at the same level of knowledge and capacity regarding climate finance in general or REDD+ in particular. ACAs demonstrated overall willingness to work on the issues in a cross-sectoral manner with the relevant REDD+ ministries, especially when already engaged in combating illegal activities in the forest sector.

In regions where ACAs exist, it is easier to identify actors that may become responsible for coordinating anti-corruption action for REDD+. In others, such as in Latin America, other actors such as ombudspersons, prosecutors, general comptrollers, and courts of audit can all be considered – which may necessitate tackling coordination challenges.

This body of work is part of the UN-REDD Programme’s overall efforts to support countries in their efforts to prevent corruption in REDD+, as per its 2011-2015 Strategy and “Support to National REDD+ Actions- Global Programme Framework Document” (both documents are also available in French and Spanish on un-redd.org).

Estelle Fach and Tsegaye Lemma are global advisers on governance and anti- corruption for REDD+ at UNDP for the UN-REDD Programme. They work with UN regional and country teams in the governance and REDD+ areas to support national efforts to strengthen transparency and accountability in REDD+.





In this issue


Solomon Islands and Pakistan Move Forward with their National REDD+ Roadmaps

DRC Shares Lessons with Tanzania on Forest Monitoring Systems for REDD+

UN-REDD Partner Countries Increase their REDD+ Technical Expertise

Indonesia and UN-REDD to Host Global Symposium on REDD+ in a Green Economy

UN-REDD Launches Independent Evaluation of National Programme in Panama

UN-REDD Underscores Tenure as a Success Factor for REDD+

Features & Commentary

Cambodia’s REDD+ Pilot Projects Contribute to Settlement of Forest Disputes
By: Heang Thy

UN-REDD Launches Guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent for REDD+
By: Gaya Sriskanthan

Moving from Global Advocacy to Country-level Actions on Anti-Corruption for REDD+
By: Estelle Fach and Tsegaye Lemma

Understanding REDD+ and FLEGT Linkages Through Country Experiences
By: Emelyne Cheney and Marjo Maidell

Reports & Analysis

Latest UN-REDD Policy Brief Now Available in French and Spanish

Call for Comments on UN Guide to Support Respect of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights by Private Sector

New Report on Economics of Forest Carbon Projects

New Go-REDD+ Issue Links REDD+ with Poverty Reduction

Looking ahead

FPIC and Anti-Corruption workshop with COICA
7 April, 2013: Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

REDD+ Safeguards and Conflict Resolution workshop
9-13 April, 2013: Paraguay

Multiple Benefits Mapping workshop
8-24 April, 2013: Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, Tanzania

Latin America National Forest Monitoring System workshop
23-26 April, 2013: Tena, Ecuador

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