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Mexico Tackles the Complexities of Benefit Sharing in REDD+ with a PROFOR Tool

Selene CastilloThis blog posting was submitted by Selene Castillo, Natural Resources Analyst at the World Bank.

In late March, stakeholders gathered in Mexico City for the culminating event of a PROFOR-led activity – Developing a Road Map for Benefit Sharing using the Options Assessment Framework. The overarching goal of this work is to assist REDD+ stakeholders in identifying appropriate benefit sharing mechanisms and provide guidance on next steps, all through the application of a PROFOR tool – the Options Assessment Framework (OAF). Based on its standing as a REDD+ country and the demand expressed through the government, Mexico is the first country to use this tool for this application.

What does this “application” entail? The quick version of the application process in Mexico is described in the diagram below. The main points to consider are i) this process is heavily participative and ii) the tool – in any application – needs to be customized to include only questions that are relevant for the country. Through a regional workshop held in Yucatan, Mexico – an Early REDD+ Action area – earlier this year, we gathered valuable information from stakeholders in the Yucatan Peninsula on what should be priority issues in order to develop an appropriate benefit sharing mechanism. With this information, we headed to Mexico City to have a different type of workshop. As opposed to the on-the-ground actors around the tables in the regional workshop, our national workshop carried a more policy-oriented group of actors, including representatives from federal and state government (e.g. Ministry of Agriculture, National Forestry Commission), international and domestic NGOs, academia and forest producer associations, totaling 30 participants. 

The workshop centered on discussing, validating and solidifying the results from the regional workshop in order to develop a road map that the Mexican government can use to design a national benefit sharing mechanism tailored to their needs and capacities. The participants were divided into working groups, each covering one key capacity that the OAF considers as essential for building an appropriate benefit sharing mechanism. These are: i) institutional capacity ii) legal frameworks iii) fund management capacity and iv) monitoring capacity.

From the start of the event, the energy in the room was high. Given the small community working on REDD+, most participants knew each other from previous collaborations. However, this did not stop them from challenging each other, questioning decisions, and sharing their perspective. As a facilitator for one of the groups, I can vouch that there were no issues with participation, which worked great for the format of the exercise that the OAF promotes. In fact, one significant accomplishment from this workshop was the inclusion and active participation of representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture. As in many countries, this sector is not as involved as it should be in REDD+ decisions given the close link to land use change. We hope their insights – as well as that of the rest of the participants – will form a more robust picture of what is needed and what can be done in actionable terms for Mexico to establish an appropriate benefit sharing scheme.

The results of the workshop are currently being analyzed to produce the road map for the government of Mexico. When this happens, we will be sure to share the results. In addition, application of the tool in more countries is being planned, so stay tuned!