Retreading negotiations on equity in environmental governance: case studies contrasting the evolution of ABS and REDD+

Authors Ituarte-Lima, C.
Year of Publication 2013
Type of Publication Book Chapter
Pagination 178-208
Open Access No


Irrespective of the type or scale of economy, biodiversity loss and climate change are over-riding concerns for all countries. In this context, the role of tropical rainforests, which host important biodiversity and hold large reserves of carbon, cannot be overemphasised. In 2009, the Bali Action Plan recommended the development of a market-based incentive mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Since then, there has been much discussion and debate over the ethical and equity aspects of such arrangements to various stakeholders. Concerns over equity in the realm of the environment or even specifically biodiversity are not new in the international arena. Lengthy negotiations related to the development of a protocol on access to genetic resources and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation (ABS) within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) process were initiated in 2004. What the discussions during the intervening period have taught us are useful lessons to manage expectations on rewards from incentives. These have to be tempered with realistic notions of rights of various stakeholders over bio-cultural resources, knowledge and property. Given that REDD-plus agreements can also be categorised as pertaining to bio-cultural agreements, we think that it would be useful for these discussions to take cognisance of some of the debates, especially those related to equity, within the ABS context.