Identifying and Working with Beneficiaries When Rights Are Unclear : Insights for REDD+ Initiatives | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
March 2013
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID:
Copyright details: 
CC BY 3.0 Unported

Expert statements indicate that annually
approximately 20 billion dollars will be needed to prevent
90 percent deforestation in tropical countries. Development
practitioners are eager to see the benefits from REDD plus
initiatives shared with local partners. Equally important to
understanding how local partners might benefit are questions
such as, who should derive benefits from REDD plus
initiatives, and how to ensure these initiatives reach the
affected households, individuals, communities, companies,
and government units. Getting benefit-sharing rights is
fundamental, as it will determine how REDD plus initiatives
serve a broader development agenda and prevent them from
centralizing decision making and enabling elite capture.
This paper examines how to address this challenge by
adopting a legal pluralism framework and discussing the
potential role of legal instruments such as contracts. While
the analysis focuses largely on REDD plus activities that
involve land, forests, and carbon sequestration, many of the
principles suggested are applicable in a broad sense to REDD
plus projects dealing with energy and other matters. This
paper explores the substantive legal issues and procedural
options for identifying beneficiaries in such contexts and
ways of working with them despite the legal uncertainty. It
gives considerable attention to process, an approach
reflecting the diversity of the situations on the ground. To
explore these issues, the paper draws upon several relevant
bodies of learning on forestry projects and programs,
including the literatures on land, tree and forest tenure,
legal pluralism, forest project design and implementation,
the protection of indigenous peoples, and resettlement
issues associated with development projects. The paper also
explores how contracts or agreements could be used to work
with the beneficiaries and clearly capture the different
parties' rights and responsibilities. It examines
experiences discussed in the literature, and reviews three
good practice projects. Lessons are drawn from both those
projects and earlier relevant experiences.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Nielsen, Robin


Well-managed forests have the potential to reduce poverty, spur economic development and contribute to a healthy local and global environment. The Program on Forests (PROFOR) was created in 1997 to support in-depth analysis, innovative processes and knowledge-sharing and dialogue, in the belief that sound forest policy can lead to better outcomes on issues ranging from livelihoods and financing, to illegal logging, biodiversity and climate change. Since 2002, the program has been managed by a core team based at the World Bank, with support from multiple donors.

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The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development.