Equity, REDD+ and Benefit Sharing in Social Forestry


Governments often make policy decisions based on how effectively and cost-efficiently the policy objective could be achieved. Equity effects are rarely part of the equation. While effectiveness and efficiency indicators can be more easily identified and agreed upon, equity is more challenging as it depends on the specific context in which decisions about the distribution of resources are made and on the experiences and perceptions of affected stakeholders. An assessment of equity will always be an expression of the fairness perceptions of different stakeholders and reflect, in part, the existing distributions of wealth, power and access to resources within the society or community.

In this brief, we highlight issues of equity and benefit sharing in the context of REDD+, building on insights and lessons from ongoing research at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

REDD+ is an incentive-based mechanism that provides payments for reduced carbon emissions. Results-based incentives are increasingly common in the field of natural resource management and include payment for ecosystem services (PES). By providing incentives to keep forests standing, REDD+ and PES aim to change the value of forests relative to other land uses and, in the process, affect policy and behavior change to maintain forests and practice sustainable forest management.