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Outcome Story: Developing a roadmap for benefit-sharing in the early REDD+ actions areas in Mexico

Project summary information

Project duration: June 2013 to May 2015

Project funding: $208,000 in total investment from PROFOR

Project partners: CONAFOR-Mexico

Key deliverables: 

  • An initial stock-taking of benefit sharing arrangements in Mexico (country background report),
  • A webinar sub-activity to support the process of sensitization and inclusion of key stakeholders, and,
  • A sub-regional OAF stakeholder workshop for Yucatan (an early action area for REDD+).
  • A final report,‚ÄĚ Identifying Adequate Benefit Sharing Mechanisms for REDD+ Activities in Mexico‚ÄĚ, in Spanish and English.¬†
  • A short note on the lessons learned, ‚ÄúNotes on Implementing the OAF, Based on its Application in Mexico‚ÄĚ.

Overview of policy or practice situation the project sought to influence: The major objective of this activity was to develop a country roadmap for benefit-sharing arrangements, for Mexico, using PROFOR’s Options Assessment Framework (OAF). The OAF employs a participatory approach to analyze and improve benefit-sharing arrangements. The Framework was developed through a separate PROFOR-supported activity. Mexico became the first pilot for the Framework.

Nature of the policy or practice influence observed: The activity contributed to the development of an effective benefit-sharing arrangement for REDD+ areas. It identified the benefit-sharing arrangement most appropriate for Mexico.¬† It identified the legal, institutional and capacity gaps to be addressed to set in place the arrangement and it produced a roadmap on how the needed changes would be implemented‚ÄĒunder the overall leadership of CONAFOR.

Potential significance of influence: Establishing well-functioning benefit-sharing mechanisms is important to provide effective incentives to participants for undertaking, or refraining from, specified actions.  By providing a road-map on how Mexico can establish the benefit-sharing mechanism, most appropriate to its context and capacity, this activity has supported the implementation of the country’s REDD+ program, and contributed to sustainable forest management (as a higher order impact that Mexico would like to achieve).

Research design features that enhanced policy/practice relevance: The activity was developed at the request of CONAFOR and therefore addressed a direct need of the client. CONAFOR was fully-engaged in the development and implementation of the activity. This is a critical prerequisite for an OAF application to have an influence. There was strong stakeholder engagement throughout the implementation of the activity, not least because stakeholders were key to gathering the needed information, for the scoring of the B-S mechanism options, and for the finalization of the road-map, but also because this promoted consensus-building in support of reforms.

Key inputs, knowledge products, events or interactions that led to policy/practice influence: To influence policy/practice, it was deemed necessary to develop a step-by-step approach focused first on harvesting the available knowledge for the country on benefit sharing, second, on developing the understanding of the stakeholders for the OAF approach and finally, in its deeper application, geared to a diagnosis and recommendations for reform.  This was achieved by:

  1. Starting with a stocktaking of benefit-sharing experiences in Mexico,
  2. Sharing the stock-taking report with stakeholders and policymakers,
  3. Testing overall understanding and promoting further dissemination of the activity via a moderated webinar,
  4. Customizing the generic investigative questions of the OAF to the Mexico context,
  5. Gathering information via a stakeholder workshop in Yucatan, and
  6. Validation of the regional findings at a  national workshop in Mexico City, and the crafting of a roadmap for action, for CONAFOR to take forward.

Key policy or practice influence strategies: The overall strategy envisaged to influence policy, was to target CONAFOR as the most motivated and influential stakeholder. Including the stakeholders likely to be most influenced by any policy change was seen as critical to strengthening the confidence of CONAFOR to act on making changes. Thus, a wide spectrum of stakeholders was involved at each stage of the process (as mentioned in the previous subsection).

Enabling factors:

Political context: By the time of this project, Mexico had made significant progress in developing its REDD+ strategy and one of the key challenges was to explore flow-of-funds options which would ensure timely financial transfers to the households contributing to REDD+ activities. Such options need to be compatible with the country‚Äôs capacity and should be ‚Äúcorruption proof‚ÄĚ. The option chosen would need to have full support from the intended beneficiaries in Mexico‚Äôs early action areas for REDD+. This defined the political context for this exercise‚ÄĒa requirement needed for the implementation of REDD+, a government ambitious about implementing REDD+ schemes, and a beneficiary group willing to engage and support CONAFOR in its search to identify the most appropriate B-S scheme. ¬†

Access to networks: CONAFOR’s internal networks were mobilized to strengthen stakeholder participation at the national webinar and validation workshops, and to identify participants to the field workshop in Yucatan.

Other external factors: The activity caught the interest of IUCN who supported and were engaged in the activity. IUCN indicated its interest in applying the OAF approach to other provinces in the country and this contributed to the relevance and credibility of the exercise.

The most significant contributing factors in achieving the outcome: The commitment and the support of CONAFOR (which has already been alluded to) was a key factor to the success of this activity. Two factors were additionally important. First, the activity was developed and implemented on a day-to-day basis by a team of two local consultants. This team was well networked with the government and others and played a critical part in customization of the OAF approach to Mexico, in drawing-in stakeholders and in liaising between CONAFOR and the Bank.  Second, a strong two-person team from the Bank which was constantly interacting with CONAFOR and the local consultants to trouble-shoot as needed to keep the activity moving forward.

Current status:

The Action Plan, developed through this activity, was not carried forward into implementation. This was partly because of a reorganization within CONAFOR and a change in the focal point for REDD+ activities.  It was partly also because the anticipated FCPF allocation did not materialize and the Bank did not have the resources to persist with a focus on implementation.

However, Mexico has now become a Carbon-Fund country. Identifying feasible benefit-sharing arrangements is an integral part of this planning and so there is a strong likelihood that the Action Plan produced under this activity will be revitalized and used to trigger action.

Supporting references

Sources to corroborate the achievement of the outcome: Staff of CONAFOR, Adriana Abardia (local consultant).

References to the work of the project that contributed to the outcome: Final Project Report and Field-notes on implementation experiences.

Variables for the cross-case analysis, and type of answer:

  • Score that the project received¬†against¬†the project design rubric - Yes
  • Score that the project received against the project level uptake rubric - Yes
  • Whether the activity included engagement/ exchange of ideas,¬†and co-development of knowledge with target audience - Yes
  • Whether the activity was modified as a result of learnings from monitoring and reflection - Yes
  • Whether the activity was modified in the light of learning from other¬†projects/settings - No
  • Whether the activity involved collaboration with more than one¬†KNOWFOR¬†partner - No
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