Will REDD+ safeguards mitigate corruption? Qualitative evidence from Southeast Asia
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionin The Journal of Development Studies vol. 55 no. 10 pp. 2129-2144 10.1080/00220
High levels of faith and finance have been invested in REDD+ as a promising global climate change mitigation policy. Since its inception in 2007, corruption has been viewed as a potential impediment to the achievement of REDD+ goals, partly motivating 'safeguards' rolled-out as part of national REDD+ readiness activities. We compare corruption mitigation measures adopted as part of REDD+ safeguards, drawing on qualitative case evidence from three Southeast Asian countries that have recently piloted the scheme: Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. We find that while REDD+ safeguards adopt a conventional principal-agent approach to tackling corruption in the schemes, our case evidence confirms our theoretical expectation that REDD+ corruption risks are perceived to arise not only from principal-agent type problems: they are also linked to embedded pro-corruption social norms. This implies that REDD+ safeguards are likely to be at best partially effective against corruption, and at worst will not mitigate corruption at all.