Inclusion and Benefit Sharing in REDD+, The Case of Oddar Meanchey

Start date: 1 March, 2012 End date: 13 April, 2012 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A15118 Countries: Cambodia Institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Grant recipient: Inge Boudewijn Total grant: 15,000 DKK


Abstract - Inclusion and Benefit Sharing in REDD+, The Case of Oddar Meanchey

Equitable benefit sharing and inclusion are important in REDD+ programmes in order to make sure REDD+ projects function successfully. When these issues are taken into account, elite capture can be avoided, active participation among rural population promoted and perverse incentives avoided.

Oddar Meanchey is a poor province in northwestern Cambodia that is struggling with multiple drivers of deforestation. Here, an existing Community Forestry (CF) programme is to be linked up with a REDD+ project. In this province, many potentially vulnerable groups of people are present, and their needs are to be taken into consideration for their own benefits as well as the success of the REDD+ project.

People's desires from REDD+ funding in this region, as found in interviews, were relatively split between increasing the potential for forest protection and improving community development, indicating the perceived importance of forest protection by the local population as well as potential for developmental benefits of REDD+.


Currently, the CF leaders only see those that are participating in patrols of the forest as 'active members'. Only 'active members' are able to receive (monetary) benefits from REDD+ when they become available. CF leaders were found to often consider those that do not participate to be lazy or uninterested, but many interviewed people expressed an interest in becoming (active) members of CF, but found themselves restricted by other factors such as household/work related duties, sickness or old age or simply not being invited to join the CF programme.


Such restrictions to 'active membership' of CF, and therefore potentially REDD+ benefits in the long run, disproportionally affect the poorest as they are often those that require more time for their tasks and duties. This is unfortunate, as the poorest could gain substantial benefits from REDD+, and were generally interested to participate, meaning they would contribute when their needs are taken into consideration.


Cultural expectations relating to gender roles are very important in everyday life in Oddar Meanchey, and Cambodia as a whole. Activity level of women in CF and REDD+ is currently generally low, with very few women as compared to men actively participating. This is partly due to the fact that women carry the main responsibility for the household and children and other cultural expectation regarding appropriate tasks for men and women.

In addition to the poorest and women, many other groups could become excluded from equitable benefit sharing, such as the elderly, the sick, migrants, people who live far away from the forest and the disabled, amongst others.


Finally, there is also the case of random exclusion where it is unclear what the common denominator is for the people that find themselves excluded; it could be due to a leader that is striving for more power for him/herself and their friends and relatives, and/or involved in illegal activities.


Generally, interest in being (active) members was high among all those interviewed, indicating that other non-members face other restrictions to membership – issues that can and should be addressed by REDD+ implementing partners in the region.