From REDD to Green: A Global Incentive System to Stop Tropical Forest Clearing- Working Paper 282
In this paper, we develop and illustrate a prototype incentive system for promoting rapid reduction of forest clearing in tropical countries. Our proposed Tropical Forest Protection Fund (TFPF) is a cash-on-delivery system that rewards independently monitored performance without formal contracts. The system responds to forest tenure problems in many countries by dividing incentive payments between national governments, which command the greatest number of instruments that affect forest clearing, and indigenous communities, which often have tenure rights in forested lands. The TFPF incorporates both monetary and reputational incentives, which are calculated quarterly. The monetary incentives are unconditional cash transfers based on measured performance, while the reputational incentives are publicly disclosed, color-coded performance ratings for each country. The incentives include rewards for: (1) exceeding long-run expectations, given a country’s forest clearing history and development status; (2) meeting or exceeding global REDD+ goals; and (3) achieving an immediate reduction in forest clearing. Drawing on monthly forest clearing indicators from the new FORMA (Forest Monitoring for Action) database, we illustrate a prototype TFPF for eight East Asian countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. A system with identical design principles could be implemented by single or multiple donors for individual or multiple forest proprietors within one or more countries, as well as national or local governments in individual countries, tropical regions, or the global pan-tropics. Our results demonstrate the importance of financial flexibility in the design of the proposed TFPF. Its incentives are calculated to induce a massive, rapid reduction of tropical forest clearing. If that occurs, a TFPF for East Asia will need standby authority for disbursements that may total $10–14 billion annually for the next two decades. This financial burden will not persist, however, because the TFPF is designed to self-liquidate once all recipient countries have achieved clearly specified benchmarks. We estimate that the TFPF can be closed by 2070, with its major financial responsibility discharged by 2040.
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