Upfront planning for long-term benefit sharing
Niger’s experience offers important lessons on benefit sharing: the distribution of results-based finance and non-monetary benefits to participating stakeholder groups. In addition to regular training, agricultural inputs and support received throughout the project, communities had also bought in and remained committed to the process – all of which was key to unlocking carbon credit payments. The right incentives in the right hands can boost success and sustainability of results-based programs, such as REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) or Payment for Environmental Services (PES). Achieving this winning combination requires careful consideration, especially as programs grow in complexity and scale.
More than 20 countries are developing jurisdictional-scale emission reductions and land use programs under the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and the BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (BioCF ISFL). Part of that process is designing benefit sharing arrangements that ensure all participating stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples and other vulnerable communities, are fairly rewarded for their role in program activities.
“The entire supply chain is involved, from cocoa famers and local communities to private companies to various government agencies,” explains says Neeta Hooda, who is one of the leads for the World Bank team supporting the program.
The program’s benefit sharing plan elaborates how this will be done. It describes the various beneficiaries, their eligibility, roles, and responsibilities, and the types of benefits to be transferred, including the scale, timing, and modalities for distribution. It details the conditions to be satisfied for the payment of the benefits, as well as appropriate indicators for monitoring, measuring, and verifying compliance. The plan is the result of extensive field study, broad stakeholder consultations at the local and national levels, and multiple expert reviews involving men and women from communities, the private sector, civil society, and government. This focus on inclusion and accountability will be a key part of this program’s success.
New resources and guidance
Ghana made use of FCPF and BioCF ISFL guidance on designing benefit sharing arrangements. This guidance is now available on an online platform, Designing Benefit Sharing Arrangements: A Resource for Countries. It walks users through a step-by-step process that breaks benefit sharing down into core elements. It also includes key findings from the FCPF and BioCF ISFL report Benefit Sharing at Scale: Good Practices for Results-Based Land Use Programs, authored by Conservation International.
“The time and resources required to develop benefit sharing arrangements are often underbudgeted,” explains Katie O’Gara, a Natural Resources Management Specialist with the World Bank. “This easy-to-use platform gives countries and development partners a clear road map for creating plans that consider and align the various needs, expectations, and goals of beneficiaries and the program.”
REDD+ and sustainable land use programs demand a high degree of stakeholder participation and cooperation to make them work. So too must the programs work for stakeholders. By sharing practical experiences and guidance, these resources on benefit sharing arrangements can help ensure everyone wins—people, program, and planet.
As other countries look ahead to what’s next, the lessons learned from these kinds of results-based climate finance programs show how they can help support a better, more resilient and more sustainable future.