The Role of Parliaments in REDD+ Financial Architecture: The cases of Brazil and Mexico

Deforestation and forest degradation are among the main anthropogenic contributors to climate change. REDD+ has emerged in the international climate negotiations as an effective economic instrument with which to internalise market failures deriving from deforestation and forest degradation, plus delivering positive social outcomes. Brazil and Mexico are currently designing their national strategies by which the scheme is to be adopted. Yet, one of the political and academic questions than remains unsolved is how to build up REDD+ financial architecture, given that joint synergies between national and international, public and private funds are required to fully operationalise REDD+ in the countries. In this context, parliaments play an important role in providing regulatory answers to promote foreign and private financial flows. This dissertation analyses the areas whereby the Brazilian and the Mexican Congresses can add to REDD+ financial architecture by contrasting current financial concerns, as perceived by key actors engaged in REDD+ dynamics (government, civil society, private sector and academia), with relevant national pieces of legislation. Semi-structured interviews with the countries’ key REDD+ actors were undertaken alongside a legal analysis. The results indicate that insufficient funds, lack of transparency, unclear liability and property rights, as well as excessive bureaucracy, are Brazil’s major financial concerns, which have already found echoes in the new regulatory advancements. In the Mexican case, given its community-based forestry configuration, REDD+ actors perceive, apart from transparency and implementation capacities, burdensome fiscal schemes and policy harmonisation as the main financial concerns. The study concludes that, since all financial aspects are intertwined, the degree by which parliaments can provide strong bricks to REDD+ financial architecture depends on how responsive they are to integrate REDD+ national particularities into harmonised regulations – and not isolated pieces of legislation -and to understand the arising synergies between laws at the pace REDD+’s donors’ and investors’ expectations are evolving.
Autora: Thalía Viveros Uehara