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Tackling corruption for governing REDD in the Philippines

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G.M. Anda
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National efforts aimed at reversing forest degradation in the Philippines have taken on a new dimension in the context of recent international focus on actions aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change. This issue paper is sought to provide policy considerations for the implementation of “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD) in the Philippines. The paper addresses the possible challenges REDD may face in terms of the Philippines’ governance context, focusing in particular on issues of rent-seeking and corruption in the forestry sector. Findings include:

there is keen interest in participating in REDD schemes in the Philippines
however, effective enforcement, regulation and monitoring of environmental policies is undermined by rent-seeking in the system of securing permits, licenses and concessions to exploit natural resources
existing problems of corruption in the forestry sector imply that current institutional and legal mechanisms are likely to provide only a weak accountability check on REDD schemes

Policy implications contain:

a locally-organised multi-stakeholder REDD council could actively be involved in identifying, monitoring and evaluating REDD projects
certain civil society organisations appear to have robust understanding of forestry challenges, and this expertise should be further harnessed for the benefit of REDD
management bodies and oversight functions for REDD are likely to be strengthened by the institutionalisation of an international monitoring component
transparency of information on forest inventories, carbon baselines, success criteria, and project goals, should be a norm in REDD implementation
to ensure that measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) activities for REDD will be protected from manipulation, formal MRV activities would be needed