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High levels of faith and finance have been invested in REDD+ as a promising global climate change mitigation policy. Since its inception in 2007, corruption has been viewed as a potential impediment to the achievement of REDD+ goals, partly motivating 'safeguards' rolled-out as part of national REDD+ readiness activities. We compare corruption mitigation measures adopted as part of REDD+ safeguards, drawing on qualitative case evidence from three Southeast Asian countries that have recently piloted the scheme: Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. We find that while REDD+ safeguards adopt a conventional principal-agent approach to tackling corruption in the schemes, our case evidence confirms our theoretical expectation that REDD+ corruption risks are perceived to arise not only from principal-agent type problems: they are also linked to embedded pro-corruption social norms. This implies that REDD+ safeguards are likely to be at best partially effective against corruption, and at worst will not mitigate corruption at all.

David Aled Williams

Principal Adviser (U4) and Senior Researcher (CMI)

REDD Integrity

Nov 2011 - Oct 2014