Tenure Rights and Benefit Sharing Arrangements for REDD

A Case Study of Two REDD Pilot Projects in Cambodia

Master's Thesis, 2010

88 Pages, Grade: B


Table of Contents



Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Acronyms

1.0. Introduction
1.1. REDD in Cambodia
1.2. Problem Statement
1.3. Research Objectives and Research Questions
1.4. Thesis Outline

2.0. Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
2.1. Theoretical Framework
2.1.1. Resource Tenure: Use and Ownership Rights Land Tenures Forest Tenures Carbon Rights
2.1.2. Indigenous People and Local Community Rights
2.1.3. Benefit Sharing
2.1.4. Discourse Coalitions
2.1.5. Rules of the Game
2.2. Conceptual Framework
2.2.1. Tenure, Forest Dependent Communities and REDD
2.2.2. Benefit Sharing and REDD
2.2.3. Discourse Coalitions
2.2.4. Rules of the Game

3.0. Research Methodology
3.1. Research Strategy
3.1.1. Selection of Research Location
3.1.2. Stakeholder Analysis
3.1.3. Selection of Respondents
3.2. Method of Data Collection
3.2.1. The Telephone Interview
3.3. Data Analysis
3.4. Validity and Reliability
3.5. Limitation of the Study

4.0. The Forestry Sector of Cambodia and Land Tenure Systems
4.1. National and International Significance of Cambodia’s Forests
4.2. Policies and Legislations Governing Cambodian Forestry
4.3. Land Tenure systems in Cambodia
4.4. Forest tenure systems in Cambodia
4.4.1. Permanent Forest Reserves Production Forests Protection Forests Conversion Forests
4.4.2. Private Forests
4.4.3. Protected Areas
4.5. Forest Tenure in Cambodia vs the Sunderlin Classification

5.0. Tenure Systems and Benefit Sharing Arrangements under the Two REDD Pilot Projects
5.1. Community Forestry Carbon Offset Project in Oddar Meanchey Province
5.1.1. Background
5.1.2. Land and Forest Tenures under the Project
5.1.3. Carbon Rights
5.1.4. Benefit Sharing Arrangements
5.1.5. Conflict Resolution Mechanism
5.2. Seima Protection Forest REDD Pilot Project in Mundulkiri province
5.2.1. Background
5.2.2. Land and Forest Tenures under the Project
5.2.3. Carbon Rights
5.2.4. Benefit Sharing Arrangements
5.3. Tenure Right Arrangement Analysis
5.4. Explaining Tenure Rights and Benefit Sharing Arrangements under the Two REDD Pilot Projects
5.4.1. Discourse Coalitions
5.4.2. Rules of the Game

6.0. Discussion, Conclusions and Recommendations
6.1. Discussion
6.1.1. Tenure Rights and REDD
6.1.2. Tenure Right Arrangements under the Two REDD Pilot Projects
6.1.3. Benefit Sharing Arrangements under the Two REDD Pilot Projects
6.2. Conclusions and Recommendations
6.3. Personal Reflection
6.4. Theoretical and Societal Relevance







Deforestation and forest degradation account for up to 20% of the total annual anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, current approaches to address climate change include strategies to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD). Even though REDD is still under discussion within the UNFCCC framework, many REDD pilot projects are being implemented across the tropics. Securing local communities’ tenure rights and their equitable access to forest conservation benefits are critical in REDD because local communities could be excluded from REDD benefits if their land and forest access rights are not adequately addressed.

In Cambodia, two REDD pilot projects: Community Forestry Carbon Offset Project (CFCOP) in Oddar Meanchey province and the Seima Protection Forest Project (SPF) in Mundulkiri province, are being implemented. This study aims to contribute to the development of an effective REDD mechanism in Cambodia by examining land and forest tenures and benefit sharing arrangements under the two REDD pilot projects in Cambodia. The paper employs concepts of discourse coalitions and rules of the game to explain tenure rights and benefit sharing arrangements in the two projects. The study is based on literature review, analysis of key text documents and interviews with 19 respondents from government, civil society, donor community, community and private sector involved in the two REDD pilot projects and from outside.

Results show that all forestlands in Cambodia belong to the state and various forest tenure regimes exit in Cambodia. These forest regimes include forest concessions, community forests, protection forests, protected areas, private forests and economic land concessions. Currently, the two REDD pilot projects are being implemented in community forests and protection forests. In both projects, local communities are granted forest access rights. In addition, the projects have legitimized tenure rights of local communities in the project areas as provided for through the Land and Forestry Law in Cambodia. The study also indicates that revenues from carbon credits generated by the projects will be shared with the local communities. According to the Government Decision No.699, more than 50% of net revenues will be channeled to local communities in the CFCOP while the sharing of the revenues in the SPF is still under consideration. The study offers lessons that could guide other REDD projects in securing local communities’ forest access rights and their rights to benefits from forest conservation.

Keywords: REDD, Tenure rights, Benefit sharing, Community Forestry Carbon Offset, Seima Protection Forest


First and foremost, I am extremely grateful to my supervisor Dr. Ingrid J. Visseren Hamakers. I have had the privilege to work and learn under you. Many thanks for embracing my research idea; your patience, guidance, support and encouragement kept me going. I appreciate your mentoring and special interest in my competence.

I would like express my gratitude to Professor Paavo Pelkonen, Professor Timo Tokola, Professor Promode Kant, Dr. David Gritten, Dr. Celeste Lacuna-Richman, Dr. José Ramón González, Dr. Blas Mola Yudego and Dr. Eugine Lopatin. It was a great opportunity for me to learn under you. My appreciation goes to Pradipta Halder, Surya Bahadur Magar, Roland Hörnfeldt and Marjoriitta Möttönen for providing all the support in solving the administrative and practical problems throughout the whole two years of the Master Science of European Forestry programme (MScEF). I am indebted to European Commission (Erasmus Mundus Program)/ MScEF Consortium for providing me the scholarship for the MSc.

I would like to thank all my friends in the MScEF programme for making my academic and social life in Europe memorable and cherish every moments. My special thank to my friends who stood by me during this long drive to the completion of this thesis: Robert M. Ochieng, Buruh Abebe Tetemke and Arun Bose.

My special appreciation to Professor Gérard Buttoud at the French Institute of Forestry, Agricultural and Environmental Engineering (ENGREF) for inspiring my interest in international forest policy issues during my internship in Nancy, France.

I am grateful to all key respondents for cooperation in providing me with their valuable opinions, particularly to Dr Keo Omaliss from the Forestry Administration (Cambodia’s REDD focal point), Amanda Bradely from the Pact Cambodia, and Leslie Durschinger from the Terra Global Capital for critical discussions during the interviews.

Last but not least, I would also like to express my very sincere thank to my parents, brothers and sisters for the love, care, support and encouragement. You all are my strength and inspiration in my life.

List of Figures

Figure 1 FCPF members in Asia

Figure 2 FCPF members in Africa

Figure 3 FCPF members in Latin and Central America

Figure 4 Map of UN-REDD Programme Members

Figure 5 Conceptual Framework

Figure 6 Distribution of Respondents by Stakeholder Group

Figure 7 Property Regimes in Cambodia

Figure 8 Forest Tenure Regimes in Cambodia

Figure 9 Map of Community Forestry Carbon project sites in Oddar Meanchey Province

Figure 10 Proposed revenue flow of the project

Figure 11 Map of Siema Biodiversity Conservation Area or Siema Protection Forest

List of Tables

Table 1 Tenure analysis based on Sunderlin’s categories .

Table 2 Stakeholder roles and benefits

Table 3 Tenure arrangement analysis of the projects

List of Acronyms

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1.0. Introduction

Deforestation and degradation of the world’s forests are continuing at an alarmingly high rate (FAO, 2005). FAO (2005) estimated the current global annual rate of deforestation at 13 million ha. Asia is one the regions with the highest rates of deforestation in the world. FAO (2005) estimated that the region’s forests were decimated at an annual rate of 800 000 ha in the 1990s. While the region recorded a net gain of 1 million ha per year over the 2000 - 2005 period, it is worth noting that this was mainly as a result of massive forest plantation establishment over the period in China, India and Bangladesh (see e.g., Kanninen et al., 2007).

Deforestation is still high in the South and Southeast Asia region, with a rate of about one percent on average, which is significantly higher than the global average of 0.22% (FAO, 2005). The high deforestation in the region does not only have tremendous impacts on biodiversity and local livelihoods but also on carbon emissions and hence on the world’s climate. The IPCC (2007) estimated that deforestation and forest degradation account for up to 20% of the total annual anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and that most of this deforestation occurs in the tropics. As such, tackling deforestation in the tropics offers an opportunity for addressing climate change.

At the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP-13) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2007, the Bali Action Plan highlighted the important of policy approaches and positive incentives for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)1 (UNFCCC, 2007). The UNFCCC introduced REDD as the financial mechanism to reduce emission from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (Huettner et al, 2009; Miles and Kapos, 2008). Developing countries would be paid by developed countries for the service of avoided deforestation and degradation under the REDD mechanism (Ebeling & Yasué, 2008). Peskett et al. (2008) believe that REDD can not only maintain carbon stock to reduce GHG emissions but also offers benefits for biodiversity and other ecosystem services and poverty reduction in developing countries.

At the COP14 of the UNFCCC in Poznań, Poland (2008), REDD was hotly debated and the concept of REDD-plus or REDD+ was introduced. At COP15 in Copenhagen, Demark REDD was heavily discussed (UNFCCC, 2009). The discussion focused mainly on the REDD+ mechanism that finances not only forest conservation, but also sustainable forest management and enhancement of carbon stocks (Ibid.). The Copenhagen Accord recognizes the crucial role of REDD, the need to enhance removals Cambodia is one of the countries in the Southeast Asia region with the highest deforestation rates. Over the 2000 - 2005 period, Cambodia lost its forests at an annual rate of two percent (FAO, 2005). Deforestation has posed challenges for Cambodia for decades. Dealing with deforestation is not an easy assignment for the government due to the complexity of causes of deforestation. Furthermore, international pressure was put on Cambodia to control deforestation and ensure sustainable management of its forests (De Lopez, 2002). According to Sokhun et al. (2009), the main drivers of deforestation in Cambodia, are illegal logging, land conversion from agricultural encroachment, fuelwood consumption, lack of sustainable forest management capacity, and lack of (financial) incentives to conserve forests, as well as timber demand from other countries. The REDD mechanism can help Cambodia to achieve sustainable forest management and halt deforestation while also delivering climate change mitigation benefits (Poffenberger, 2009).

1.1. REDD in Cambodia

Cambodia ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1995 and acceded to the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. In 2003, the Cambodia Climate Change Office (CCCO) was established under the umbrella of the Ministry of Environment (MOE). The CCCO acts as the secretariat of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) focal points for Cambodia; and it is also responsible for national GHG inventory. The CDM is one of the flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol that allows developed countries to reduce emissions by implementing an emission-reduction project in developing countries (UNFCCC, 2007).The country completed its National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for 1994 in 2001. At the time, Cambodia was a net carbon sink country with a net total carbon removal of 5,142 Gg of CO2 equivalent (Sokhun et al, 2009). The assessment showed that Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) are the main source of GHG emissions (with 63%) followed by the agricultural sector (with 28%). The CCCO is currently preparing the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for 2000. Rapid economic growth in the garment and tourism industries, electricity consumption and vehicle ownership will all have contributed to a significant change in the relative contributions of GHG emissions in Cambodia (Sokhun et al, 2009). In 2006, a primary estimate of carbon emissions due to land-use change and logging in Cambodia was conducted by Sasaki (2006), which showed that between 1993 and 2003, annual carbon emissions amounted to about 13.7 TgC, owing to deforestation and logging.

The Forestry Administration (FA) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (MAFF) is the responsible authority of REDD and acts as the national REDD focal point in Cambodia. The Technical Working Group Forest & Environment (TWGF&E) also plays a key role in REDD development in Cambodia. The body is the formal coordination mechanism and high level coordination for multi-stakeholder dialogues on forest and environmental issues among the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) represented by different ministries/agencies and development partners, civil society and the private sector. It is responsible for preparing a national REDD strategy, including policies on the distribution of financial flow from REDD projects. By January 2010, the Cambodia REDD taskforce was created to develop the REDD national readiness roadmap that set out the activities to be implemented over the next few years and to establish a national REDD programme. The taskforce comprises of relevant experts from key agencies, including the Forestry Administration (FA), the Ministry of Environment (MOE), the Ministry of Land Management and Urban Planning (MLMUP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Regional Community Forestry Training Centre for Asia Pacific (RECOFTC). The national readiness roadmap is expected to be finalized in 2010 by the taskforce. In addition, the United Nations Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries or UN-REDD (see below) is going to work closely with Cambodia this year in order to assist the process by providing over US$1 million in the next couple of years (UN-REDD, 2010). The national readiness roadmap will focus on the management of national REDD readiness, development of the REDD strategy, reference emission level for REDD, monitoring system, implementation framework, social and environmental safeguard policies and consultation and awareness raising of stakeholders (Omaliss, 2010).

The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) strongly supports the REDD mechanism and believes not only that REDD will help to reduce GHG emissions, but also contribute to alleviating poverty, improving forest governance, and enhancing sustainable forest management in the nation (FA, 2008). Butler (2006) estimates the potential earnings from REDD for Cambodia at between US$ 85 - US$875 million per year, depending on the extent of forest protected for REDD and market price of carbon credits, and that REDD can increase the country’s GDP by between 1.7% - 18.5%. The large tracks of forests in Cambodia make it a suitable country for REDD. Indeed, the country is already participating in both the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank and the UN-REDD.

The World Bank was asked by developed and developing countries to create a facility for demonstrating activities for REDD in developing countries. Therefore, consultation has been made with a number of countries and organizations, including environmental NGOs. This consultation strongly focused on the value of developing the facility in partnership with a broad range of actors—an approach that can balance the interests of potential donors and buyers, recipients and sellers and other stakeholders. In June 2007, the momentum started to gain support from the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany (World Bank, 2009). In addition, the summit declared to support the World Bank’s endeavor to form a global forest carbon partnership. As a result, the World Bank launched the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) at 13th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-13) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali. In June 2008, the FCPF came into action in order to build the capacity of developing countries in tropical and subtropical regions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (Ibid.). In March 2009, Cambodia was admitted to be a member of the FCPF. As of June 2010, the FCPF has selected 37 countries across Asia, Latin and Central America and Africa (Figure 1, 2, 3).

Figure 1 FCPF members in Asia (http://www.forestsclimatechange.org)

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Figure 2 FCPF members in Africa (http://www.forestsclimatechange.org)

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Figure 3 FCPF members in Latin and Central America (Ibid.)

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The UN-REDD program is a collaborative partnership between the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It is a multi-donor trust fund which was established in July 2008 for donors to pool resources and provides funding for the REDD program. It aims to assist developing countries to get ready to participate in the REDD mechanism through supporting capacity building of national government and promoting stakeholder’s involvement. Furthermore, the UN-REDD Program works in close coordination with the FCPF at both the international level and national level to support processes for REDD readiness and contributes to the development of national REDD strategies. The program offers technical advices to address deforestation and also facilitates consultation among stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities. In October 2009, the policy board of the UN-REDD program officially admitted Cambodia to participate in the UN-REDD program as the observer country with other 12 countries (UN-REDD, 2009). Currently, the UN-REDD program supports REDD readiness activities in nine pilot countries: Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Indonesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam and Zambia (Figure 4).

At the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference on 27 May 2010, distinguished delegates from governments, civil society, indigenous peoples, and private sector from more than 50 countries agreed to endorse and launch the Multilateral Interim REDD Partnership initiative. This partnership aims to serve as an interim platform for the partners to scale up REDD actions and finance REDD initiatives 2. Within the partnership, the developing and developed countries are able to work together to reduce deforestation while continuing the negotiation on REDD initiative under the UNFCCC.

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Figure 4 Map of UN-REDD Programme Members (UN-REDD Programme, 2010)

Cambodia has submitted its Readiness Plan Idea Note (R-PIN) to the FCPF. This R-PIN development has been based on the current REDD pilot project in Oddar Meanchey province while REDD Readiness or R-Plan is under preparation. In 2008, the Forestry Administration, with the support of the Community Forestry International (CFI) launched the Community Forestry Carbon Offset Project (CFCOP) in Oddar Meanchey province (Sokhun et al., 2009). Furthermore, the Seima Protection Forest project was also launched with the support of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in the Seima Protected Forest in Mondulkiri province in 2009. In addition, the Wildlife Alliance has also proposed another forest areas in the Southern Cardamoms of Southwest Cambodia for a REDD pilot project (Gold, November 2009). This thesis takes a close look at the Community Forestry Carbon Offset and the Seima Protection Forest projects because they are the only two REDD pilot projects that are being carried out in Cambodia. The Community Forestry Carbon Offset is the first project that involves twelve community forestry sites located in the Northwestern part of Oddar Meanchey province. The Seima Protection Forest, the first REDD-based wildlife protection project, is the second pilot project in Cambodia.

1.2. Problem Statement

According to Scherr and Sthapit (2009), REDD implementation will generally face major methodological, institutional and governance challenges (see also Boucher, 2008; Asthon and Clairs, 2009). The success of REDD implementation will depend on the national level institutions and the design of these institutions, which are based obviously on the country’s economic and legal systems, domestic policy priorities, existing institutions, and the availability of resources (Streck et al., 2009). In addition, a REDD initiative could negatively affect the rights, livelihoods and land tenure of forest dependent and indigenous communities (Griffiths, 2007; Angelsen et al., 2009; Cotula and Mayers, 2009; Global Forest Coalition, 2009; Phelps et al., 2010). If REDD is not well designed, the rights over land and resources of the forest dependent communities may be lost and they can be physically displaced from forests. Furthermore, many authors have argued that REDD overlooks the rights, tenure, and engagement of forestdependent and indigenous peoples (Dooley et al., 2008; Egle and Palmer 2008; Sunderlin et al., 2008; Cotula and Mayers, 2009; Barry et al., 2010).

Tenure rights are central to improving livelihoods of forest dependent communities (Angelsen, 2008; Cronkleton et al, 2010). Tenures cover ownership and access to natural resources and are, therefore, at the heart of people’s ability to benefit and derive income and subsistence from the resources (World Resource Institute et al., 2005; Cronkleton et al., 2010). They are considered as the key mechanism for shaping the distribution of risks, costs, and benefits arising from resources. In the context of REDD, local communities could be excluded from REDD benefits if land tenure or use and access rights are not clear (Huettner et al., 2008). As a result, tenure security plays a vital role in the structure of incentives that underpin successful forest management (Ostrom and Nagendra, 2006; Sunderlin et al., 2008; Campbell, 2009).

In most countries, forest laws do not recognize the rights of local and indigenous communities to their lands and forest resources (Colchester, 2004). It is recognized that the success of REDD will depend on the support of forest communities and indigenous peoples which will happen only when their rights to their lands are respected (see e.g. Cotula and Mayers, 2009; Hatcher and Bailey, 2009). To safeguard and make local and indigenous communities benefit from carbon markets, rights over carbon need to be clarified (Smith and Scherr, 2003; Bond et al., 2009). Furthermore, forest carbon rights of local communities can be protected with supportive legislations by national governments (Smith and Scherr, 2003). However, how issues of tenure and carbon rights have been addressed in the two REDD pilot projects in Cambodia have not been carefully investigated. It is also not clear how carbon rights will be allocated among the stakeholders and it is not known whether the carbon credits of the projects have been allocated to stakeholders based upon tenure rights.

For REDD scheme, revenues will be generated from selling carbon credits in the carbon markets. As a result, significant amount of money will be brought to developing countries. Developing an equitable mechanism for sharing REDD benefit (revenues) is a central challenge for REDD. Equitable benefit sharing mechanism can ensure the effective incentives to local communities and avoid conflict over individual interests. It is also likely to address deforestation and forest degradation in REDD projects (Peskett and Harkin, 2007; Coad et al., 2008). However, how such benefits should be shared nationally or locally between different stakeholders has not been carefully explored. The benefit sharing mechanism is also taken into account in this study since lack of clear tenure rights and benefit sharing arrangements could undermine the development and implementation of national REDD strategy if they are not carefully addressed (Angelsen et al., 2009).

A study on REDD in Cambodia by Van Beukering et al. (2009) did not exhaustively analyze the tenure and benefit sharing issues of the REDD scheme but acknowledged the importance of clarifying property rights and benefit sharing. There is a need to look into tenure rights over forests and lands and benefit sharing scheme in order to understand constraints and opportunities in adoption of REDD mechanism in Cambodia. Furthermore, very little research on the REDD initiative has been done in Cambodia. For instance, Svadlenak-Gomez (2009) conducted a case study on the potential impacts on the wellbeing of forest-dependent people under the REDD initiative in Cambodia and some other countries but did not offer a full picture of tenure rights and benefit sharing issues within the pilot projects under the study. This thesis analyzes tenure rights over land and forests and also examines how carbon credits will be appropriated among stakeholders in the two REDD pilot projects in Cambodia. This study contributes to the national debate on the national REDD strategy development regarding tenure rights and benefit sharing arrangements and also illustrates relevant lessons learned from the REDD pilot projects in Cambodia.

1.3. Research Objectives and Research Questions

The objective of this study is to contribute to the development of an effective REDD mechanism in Cambodia by examining land and forest tenures and benefit sharing arrangements under the two REDD pilot projects in Cambodia. To meet this objective, the following research questions are addressed:

1. What land / forest tenure arrangements exist in Cambodia? Are these tenure arrangements defined in any legislations or soft laws?
2. What land tenure arrangements are inherent in the two projects? Do these tenure arrangements recognize the rights of local and indigenous communities to their lands and are these rights reflected in legal documents?
3. What benefit sharing arrangement has been put in place for the sharing of REDD benefits under the two projects? Does the mechanism channel the resources to the local level?
4. How do discourse coalitions and rules of the game influence tenure rights and benefit sharing arrangements under the two REDD pilot projects?

1.4. Thesis Outline

This thesis report consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 provides the overall introduction on the political history of the REDD mechanism and its evolvement in Cambodia. This chapter further elaborates upon the problem statement and the research objectives for this study. Chapter 2 discusses the theoretical framework used for this study, namely the concepts of resource tenures, indigenous and local community rights. The Chapter further discusses the concepts of discourse coalitions and rules of the game. This chapter also explains the operational framework developed for the study by using the concepts in the theoretical framework. Chapter 3 explains the methodology adopted for this study. It consists of research strategy adopted for this study, stakeholder analysis

(SA) and different methods used for data collection. Chapter 4 describes forestry sector in Cambodia and the national and international significant of Cambodian forests. It also explains existing land and forest tenure regimes in Cambodia. Chapter 5 presents the tenure rights and benefit sharing arrangements under the two REDD pilot projects in Cambodia. It explains how discourse coalitions and rules of the game influence the tenure rights and benefit sharing arrangements in the projects. Chapter 6 discusses the results of the study, draws conclusions, and makes some recommendations. Finally, it presents my personal reflection and highlights the theoretical and societal relevance of the study.


2.0. Theoretical and Conceptual Framework

This chapter elaborates upon the theoretical basis of the study. The chapter starts with the concepts of resource tenures, indigenous people and local community rights and benefit sharing. It further discusses the concept of discourse coalitions and rules of the game. The last section presents the conceptual framework.

2.1. Theoretical Framework

Tenure right issues have received consideration amount of attention in REDD debate (e.g. Griffiths, 2007; Dooley et al., 2008; Peskett et al., 2008; Cotula and Mayers, 2009). Many authors (e.g. Sunderlin et al., 2008; Brown et al., 2008; Cotula and Mayers, 2009) recommend that REDD projects should be designed to advance the rights of forest- dependent peoples by increasing their tenure security and creating direct livelihood benefits. To deliver these co-benefits, land/forest tenure reform, clarity over carbon ownership rights (as distinct from land tenure) and provisions to ensure equitable distribution of REDD benefits (Cotula and Mayers, 2009). In most countries, unclear tenure is a major challenge for REDD implementation (Davis et al, 2009; Cotula and Mayers, 2009). Davis et al (2009) have employed the governance analysis methodology to analysis REDD Readiness Plan Idea Notes (R-PIN) of 25 countries, submitted to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank. Regarding land tenure, there are four important criteria, including a land tenure system that is non-discriminatory and provides clear rights over land and its associated values, legal recognition of indigenous peoples rights to land, mechanisms for resolving conflicts over tenure rights, and institutions and systems that uphold the rights of forest dependent people.

2.1.1. Resource Tenure: Use and Ownership Rights

Resource tenure refers to systems of rights, rules, institutions and processes regulating resource access and use (Bruce, 1998; World Resource Institute et al., 2005; Cotula and Mayers 2009). According to the World Resource Institute et al. (2005), tenure rights are synonymous with property rights. They offer the legitimate access and use of resources to individuals as well as communities such as the right to fell timber, collect fruit from trees or fallen branches. However, tenure is not only a legal concept (see below) but also a complex social institution because it often relates to traditions, practices and customs (informal) as well as formal rules (World Resource Institution et al., 2005). Tenure systems define who owns and who can use what resources for how long, and under what conditions (FAO, 2002).

Tenure systems can be subdivided into two main categories: customary tenure and statutory tenure systems. Customary tenure systems are determined at the local level and are often based on oral agreements while statutory tenure systems are applied by governments and are codified in state law (ITTO, 2009). Tenure covers ownerships and access to natural resource and is, therefore, at the heart of people’s ability to benefit and derive income and subsistence from resources (World Resource Institute et al., 2005). It is considered as the key mechanism for shaping the distribution of risks, costs, and benefits arising from resources. FAO (2002) identifies the various types of tenure as follow:

- The right to use the resource (the “usufruct” right) or control how it will be used  The right to exclude others from unauthorized use
- The right to derive income from the resource
- The right to sell all or some of these rights to others, either permanently, or for a limited time (e.g. a lease)
- The right to pass these rights down to one’s successors (the right of descendants to inherit land or resource rights)
- Protection from illegal expropriation of the resource
- An obligation not to use the land in a way that is harmful to others
- An obligation to surrender these rights through a lawful action, (e.g., in a case of insolvency, the rights are surrendered to creditors; in the case of default on tax payments, the rights are surrendered to the state).

There are many forms of resource tenures but land tenure is the most fundamental tenure because it underpins most other resource use rights (Deininger et al., 2003; World Resource Institute et al., 2005). Hundreds of millions of people live on forestlands with no or weak land and resource tenure security (Sunderlin et al., 2008). There are various reasons for tenure insecurity. In some cases, the customary arrangements may be clear and well accepted at the local level but are contradicted / nullified by statutory laws. Because land tenures are the most fundamental tenure, they are elaborated below. Land Tenures

According to the FAO (2002), land tenure is the relationship, whether legally or customarily defined, among people, as individuals or groups, with respect to land and associated natural resources (water, trees, minerals, wildlife, etc.). Land tenure is an institution in which rules are devised by societies to regulate behavior (FAO, 2002). However, land tenure also means the right to hold land rather than the simple term of land holding and refers to the bundle of rights and responsibilities, under which land is held, used, transferred, and succeeded (Bruce, 1998; La Croix, 2002). For instance, one may have tenure on land but may not have taken possession of it and that is the so- called resource tenure.

Land tenure systems determine who can use what resources for how long, and under what conditions (FAO, 2002). Land tenure is often categorized into private, communal, open access, and state ownership (Feder and Feeny, 1991; FAO, 2002). Private land tenure is the assignation of rights to a private party such as individual, a group of people, or a corporate body such as a commercial entity or non-profit organization (FAO, 2002). Communal tenure is a right of commons and exists within a community where each member has a right to use independently the land holdings of the community (Ibid.). For example, community members can have the right to graze cattle on a common pasture. Open access means that no specific rights are assigned and no one can be excluded for using it (Ibid.). State ownership refers to property rights that are assigned by some authority in the public sector (Ibid.). Furthermore, land tenure systems are characterized by country or type of economic system, as formal (created by statutory law) or informal (unwritten customary), and as imported or indigenous (Bruce, 1998).

In many tropical forest countries, statutory or formally recognized property rights, explicitly acknowledged by the law, coexist with informal land uses, regulated by customary rules (FAO, 2002). In many countries around the world, some national governments aimed to eliminate customary land tenure while most forest communities are seeking formal legitimacy to secure their customary rights (ITTO, 2009). Land tenure usually focuses on public interest and distinct tenure arrangements apply to forest resources as well (Lynch and Talbot, 1995). Forest Tenures

FAO (2007) defines forest tenure as a broad concept including ownership, tenancy and other arrangements for the use of forests. It is the combination, whether legally or customarily defined, of forest ownership rights and of arrangements for the management and use of forest resources. Forest tenure is not different from other tenure systems because it determines who can use what resources for how long, and under what conditions. The necessary components of forest tenure include excludability, duration, assurance, and robustness (FAO, 2007). McCulloch et al. (1998) define each component as following:

- Excludability allows those with rights to a particular piece of land to exclude those without rights.
- Duration refers to the period for which the right is granted. Right holders, such as local communities or farm households, only feel secure when the time horizon is sufficient to allow them to reap the benefits of investments.
- Assurance is an institutional framework capable of enforcing rights.
- Robustness refers to the number and strength of rights that can be possessed

In Southeast Asia, for example, long-term forest dwellers such as indigenous peoples and local farmers often have de facto access to forests, but their tenural control over trees, timber, and the right to manage forest is often limited and unrecognized in law (Lynch and Talbott, 1995). In Indonesia, for instance, the traditional system of forest tenure (called adat) recognized by many forest dwellers has often been ignored by the government (World Resource Institute et al., 2000). Forest tenure security is important because it is often the foundation for the social identity, personal security, and cultural survival of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities (Sunderlin et al., 2008). It also has a crucial role in determining who benefits from forest ecosystem services (World Resource Institute et al., 2002; Sunderlin et al., 2008). As a result, tenure security plays a strong role in the structure of incentives that motivate protection or destruction of forests.

Sunderlin et al. (2008) distinguish between the public domain and the private domain of forestlands in the “legal” forest estate. Moreover, the “public” and “private” domains are further subdivided into two categories, yielding four tenure categories:

Public lands administered by government typically include all forests in the legal forest estate that are owned and administered, exclusively, by the government. Community use of these forests is usually prohibited. Note that this category includes some protected areas (IUCN, 2002) and forestlands awarded as concessions for logging, agro-industrial or plantations, and mining.

Public lands designated for use by communities and indigenous peoples are lands set aside on a semi-permanent but on a conditional basis. Governments retain ownership and the entitlement to unilaterally extinguish local groups’ rights over the land. In this arrangement, local groups are able to sell or alienate land through mortgages or other financial instruments. Although the distribution of rights between government and community in this category is different in almost every country, governments invariably retain strong authority to extract and manage forest resources (White and Martin, 2002).

Private lands owned by communities or indigenous peoples refer to forestlands where rights cannot be unilaterally terminated by a government “without some form of due process and compensation” (Ibid.). In theory, private landowners typically “have rights to access, sell or otherwise alienate, manage, withdraw resources and exclude outsiders” (Ibid.). However, in some situations, these rights are awarded to private landowners and others where some of these rights are conferred to people on public, designated for community use forestland. The legal right of the government to terminate a land contract without or with due process and compensation serves as the chief criterion for distinguishing public from private forest tenure.

Private lands owned by individuals or firms are the lands where the rights cannot be unilaterally terminated by a government without due process or compensation. Carbon Rights

It is generally known trees absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and as a result, attention has been paid to the storage of carbon in forests. Carbon credits are the potential source of income that will derive from REDD project. They give a right to the benefit and risk arising from carbon sequestration in a particular plot of forestland. The risk is also likely to occur when the amount of real carbon on the forestland are not represented the carbon rights (or credits). In addition, the rights can be converted into monetary value where a market exits for GHG offsets. As a result, carbon credit scheme policies to offer incentives for carbon sequestrated in trees are being developed (Taylor et al., 2010). Clarity of carbon rights is a key for REDD scheme, particularly the definition of carbon rights.

Several authors (Angelsen, 2009; Cotula and Mayers, 2009; Costenbader 2009) have defined carbon rights differently. Angelsen (2009) defined carbon rights as the claims on the benefit streams from carbon pools, for example, the benefit from a specific parcel of forest. Cotula and Mayers (2009) define carbon rights as a form of property right that ‘commoditize’ carbon and allow trading. The rights to carbon can be separated from broader rights to forest and land (Costenbader, 2009). They can also define management responsibilities and liabilities (Cotula and Mayers, 2009). In addition, they are usually registered on the land title and should be perpetually enforceable or established over long time frames to ensure permanence for buyers. For example, Australia was one of the first countries to establish carbon rights, which are an adaptation of traditional ‘ profit à prendre ’ rights (defined as the right to take profit from something on another person’s land) (Ibid.). These exist perpetually on the land title and define liability for re-emission, and therefore ensure permanence of emissions reductions.

In contrast, there has been an issue in establishment of carbon right in New Zealand (Costenbader, 2009). In 2002, the government decided to retain ownership over credits or debits from carbon from plantation on both public and private land. This decision led to substantial decline of plantation establishment and also a net reduction of production forest area in New Zealand. Many forest industries argued that landowners should own the right to forest carbon in their forest. In 2007, the policy decision was eventually reversed, and credits and liabilities for forest carbon were devolved to forest owners as part of a new emissions trading scheme (Peskett and Harkin, 2007). Based on this experience, it is suggested that the removal of carbon right from landowners is likely to cause problem and that is important for carbon right to be defined by national regulations. The issues concerning carbon rights included how the rights are defined, how they work in place where ownership is not clear, and whether legal institutions are strong enough to protect the rights (Angelsen, 2009).

2.1.2. Indigenous People and Local Community Rights

Indigenous and local communities are key stakeholders in managing forest ecosystems (see e.g. Alcorn, 1993). According to the United Nation Permanent Forum on Indigenous People Issues (2007), indigenous people refer to those who inhabited a country or a geographical region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived. The new arrivals later became dominant through conquest, occupation, settlement or other means (UNPFII, 2007). The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is an important international instrument which recognizes and upholds the rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP, 2007). This declaration explicitly affirms the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and upholds state obligations in this regard in many of its provisions (Ibid.). The FPIC is a rights-based principle representing a particular expression of the right to self- determination, related rights to lands, territories and natural resources, the right to culture, and the right to be free from racial discrimination (MacKay, 2004).

The article 10 of the UNDRIP (2007) states:

‘ Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return. In addition, states shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources by respecting to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples. ’

Furthermore, the FPCI is also recognized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No.169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ILO Convention No. 169), that offers a range of rights and protections for indigenous peoples, with a particular emphasis on the right of indigenous peoples to be consulted on and participate in decisions that affect them. In addition, the FPCI is also on the agenda of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN-REDD programme (see e.g. Cariño, 2005; UN- REDD, 2009).

2.1.3. Benefit Sharing

The concept of benefit sharing has remarkably been recognized in social science research. Benefit sharing concerns on what is owed to individuals, communities or even populations (Simm, 2007). For instance, it would be unfair if a rich country went into a poor country, exploited some of its natural resources such as fauna and flora, made a marketable product and earned vast revenues from it without sharing the benefits with the poor residents (Berg, 2001).

However, benefit sharing is a technical term, which was popularized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In this international convention, there are three particular means for benefit sharing: appropriate access to genetic resources, appropriate transfer of relevant technologies and appropriate funding (Glowka et al., 1994). The Conference of the Parties to the CBD decided in 2004 to create an international regime on access to genetic resources and sharing of the benefits arising out of their utilization through an Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regime (Oli et al., 2007). However, despite its prominence debate across various fields, the concept of benefit sharing has never been clearly defined (Schroeder, 2007).

According to IUCN (2009), the underlying concept of benefit sharing is financial revenues from extraction and commercialization of natural resources should not only benefit the agent who directly or indirectly exploits the resource but a wider constituency of stakeholders. There are two main reasons to share benefits: create incentive and create legitimacy. For REDD initiative, incentives are rewarded to individual or communities for achieving reduced emission from deforestation or enhancing forest carbon stock. Since forestlands are protected for carbon sink, the majority of local communities will be affected. As a result, the local communities and stakeholders need to view REDD activities and benefit sharing as legitimate to make sure that they are treated fairly and equitably. In addition, if benefit sharing from REDD scheme is not seen as legitimate and politically acceptable, the scheme will not work because of possible conflict of interests and flouting of regulation (IUCN, 2009). The legitimacy can build up the confidence of investors in the project as well as carbon credit buyers. In addition, the benefit sharing mechanism is not only an agreement between stakeholders but also the broader institutional set-up in place to deliver and to manage such monetary benefits (Ibid.).

2.1.4. Discourse Coalitions

Various authors have defined discourse and discourse coalitions differently (Arts et al., 2006; Foucault, 1970; Hajer and Versteeg, 2005;). Hajer and Versteeg (2005) defines discourse as an ensemble of ideas, concepts, and categories through which meaning is given to social and physical phenomena, and which is produced and reproduced through an identifiable set of practices. They point out that discourse is not a synonym of discussion because it refers to a set of concepts that structures the contribution of participation to a discussion. However, the concept of discourse can also refer the views and narratives of the actors (Arts et al., 2006). For example, the sustainability discourse plays a significant role in bringing together notions such as economic, ecological and social sustainability, a belief in the possibility to integrate economy and ecology (Veenman et al., 2009) to achieve sustainable development.

Howarth (2000, cited in Buizer, 2009 and Bulkeley, 2000) conceptualizes discourses as systems of social relation. Discourses are organized into formed rules and resources allocation or the way that actors form (Buizer, 2009). Coalitions refer to a group of actors who share same normative understandings in a given policy domain. They can also be viewed as coalitions of people or organizations that join forces around a certain discourse (Leroy and Arts, 2006; Buizer, 2009).

According to Hajer and Versteeg (2005), a discourse coalition refers to a group of actors that, in the context of an identifiable set of practices, shares the usage of a particular set of story lines over a particular period of time. Hajer (2005) elaborated that the concept of practices embedded routines and mutually understood of rules and norms that provide coherence to social life. Story lines refer to a condensed form of narrative in which metaphors are used. For example, acid rain can be considered as a metaphor because one may see it as the biological phenomenon while other indentifies acid rain as the environmental issues that need to be addressed (Hajer, 2005).

2.1.5. Rules of the Game

Rules or rules of the game have been defined by various authors (Ostrom, 1986; Immergut, 1992; Arts and Van Tatenhoven, 2004). "Rules" refer to generally agreedupon and enforced prescriptions that require, forbid, or permit specific actions for more than a single individual (Ostrom, 1986). Furthermore, rules may evolve over time as people develop shared understandings of what actions or outcome must, or must not be done in particular situations (Gardner and Ostrom, 1991).

‘Rules of the game’ delineate a policy domain by defining the possibilities and constraints for policy actors to act within that domain (Arts and Van Tatenhoven, 2004). They specify the procedures for policy-making and allocation of tasks and competences among actors in a given policy domain. These rules determine the actors to involve or not to involve in policy formulation and the relationship between them (Arts and Van Tatenhoven, 2004). Rules of the game can be formal or informal.


1 Where REDD includes also enhancement of forest carbon stocks, sustainable forest management and conservation and certainly, it is referred to REDD-plus or REDD+. of GHG by forests and the need to establish a mechanism (including REDD+) to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries.

2 REDD+ Partnership Document (Adopted, May 27, 2010), Available at: http://www.oslocfc2010.no/pop.cfm?FuseAction=Doc&pAction=View&pDocumentId=25017

Excerpt out of 88 pages


Tenure Rights and Benefit Sharing Arrangements for REDD
A Case Study of Two REDD Pilot Projects in Cambodia
Wageningen University
Forestry / Forestry Economics
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
3605 KB
REDD, Tenure rights, Benefit sharing, Community Forestry Carbon Offset, Seima Protection Forest, Cambodia, Climate Change
Quote paper
Donal Yeang (Author), 2010, Tenure Rights and Benefit Sharing Arrangements for REDD, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/156550


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