REDD plus governance needs a driver and more fuel. The case of Quintana Roo, Mexico
REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the forest sector in developing countries. REDD+ has evolved from an original market approach that focused on buyers, sellers and a marketplace for carbon credits to a mechanism that also seeks to achieve non-carbon benefits such as biodiversity conservation and creation of socio-economic benefits. The sources of REDD+ financing have been public from both international donors and domestic sources. REDD+ now encourages land-use policies for addressing the underlying causes of deforestation external to the forest sector. REDD+ includes three phases: 1) readiness, during which national strategies are developed, forest reference levels are measured, and monitoring and safeguard systems are created; 2) early implementation, during which pilot activities are implemented to reduce deforestation at sub-national level and 3) results-based payments, which will provide financial compensation for verifiable results measured against forest reference levels. REDD+ governance involves actors at multiple government levels and from multiple sectors. Using an evaluation framework derived from the polycentric governance model, this thesis assesses the quality of governance in REDD+ in Quintana Roo, Mexico in terms of actors’ influence in decision-making, information sharing, knowledge exchange, financial coordination, conflict resolution, and creation of trust. The researcher conducted 23 semi-structured interviews with members of the REDD+ Work Group (government officers), the REDD+ Advisory Council (sector representatives) and ejidos (property regime where communities own collectively land and resources). The data were collected from July to December 2018. This research concludes that REDD+ governance in Quintana Roo needs a driver and more fuel. The driver will be one or a few specific actors who will direct the decision-making and implementation processes while promoting actors’ influence in decision-making, information sharing, knowledge exchange, financial coordination, conflict resolution and creation of trust. REDD+ early implementation (phase 2) also needs more fuel. In other words, more financial resources should be invested in activities to achieve significant results in reduction of deforestation and generating socio-economic benefits so the potential benefits of forest management can be more convincingly demonstrated.