Illegal logging constitutes a grave threat to biodiversity. (Illustration photo: RoyLuck/

A new model for Payments for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) is being tried in Vietnam. The idea is that replacing cash with electronic payments will be more efficient, transparent, and less susceptible to leakage and local elite capture. But, to receive electronic payments, you need a bank account and smartphone. Obtaining these is challenging for some beneficiaries in remote areas who can neither read nor write. And leakage and local elite capture are not the only corruption risks confronting PFES.

David Aled Williams

Principal Adviser (U4) and Senior Researcher (CMI)