The recognition of the need to protect, restore and sustainably manage forests – as part of broader efforts to keep the planet's temperature from rising above 1.5°C – was among the biggest wins of the Paris Agreement. The important role of forests to mitigation and adaptation efforts is reflected in a broad range of “forest climate finance” mechanisms.
Research and advocacy on these various funding mechanisms have so far largely focused on the technical environmental details of protecting forest habitats. But corruption can turn well-intentioned initiatives into useless investments, either directly because funds are embezzled or indirectly because it enables illegal logging, nullifying any positive effects of climate finance initiatives. Corruption can also make such initiatives an instrument to cause harm to local people and environments.
Corruption in the forest sector is widespread and is a critical facilitator of every aspect of forest crime, which is valued upwards to US$100 billion annually.
This study is an attempt to identify gaps, obstacles and opportunities for improving governance of forest climate finance to the benefit of communities in recipient countries and the planet. The report, which is based on the results of joint research with Fern, looks at forest climate finance flows and examines the governance of forest climate finance in six forest-rich countries across three continents: Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Indonesia, Peru and the Republic of Congo.