Legal and institutional frameworks for payments for ecosystem services (PES) are evolving rapidly in response to new opportunities and challenges. The implications of existing and emerging law and policy, however, are not well-understood. The Katoomba Group's Legal Initiative works to provide clarity around legal frameworks for PES by providing analytical tools and conducting country-specific analyses. Some examples of this work are linked below.
In practice, the success of PES depends in large part on the legal and institutional framework in a particular place. As yet, however, there are few resources for understanding legal and institutional “readiness” for PES. In order to help fill this gap, a new booklet outlines a framework for assessing PES legal and institutional readiness in a particular jurisdiction.
Interest is rising in "nested" approaches to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon (REDD+). This issue brief explores key reasons for taking a nested approach and describes options for policymakers, while this 2011 report addresses the issues in more detail.
The legal framework for forest carbon projects in Ghana is a complex, and often unclear, mix of statutory and customary law. A detailed report commissioned by the Katoomba Group from The Rock and Partners, working with Ghanaian experts, attempts to shed some light on implications and uncertainties of the existing legal framework for carbon rights and benefit sharing.
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) may play an role in reversing mangrove degradation and loss in Vietnam's vital, yet threatened, mangrove ecosystems. Forest Trends and the Katoomba Group published a study examining and describing the relevant legal and regulatory context, thereby helping to build a foundation for mangrove PES. An issue brief and Vietnamese translation are also available.
One common issue for indigenous forest carbon projects is a lack of clarity about who has the right to credits generated on indigenous lands. In 2009, a study commissioned by Forest Trends from the law firm Baker & McKenzie which found that Brazil's indigenous Surui have rights to revenues from forest carbon projects on their land. This finding, described in more detail in the chapter on "Legal Aspects of the Surui Carbon Project" in the linked report, has important implications for all of Brazil's indigenous communities. Read more articles and news about the Surui .
Forest Trends developed a methodology for classifying and prioritizing potential REDD (or other forest carbon) projects in collaboration with local stakeholders and international experts in Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda. This process helped to lay the groundwork for successful REDD projects in those countries and led to the creation of a robust methodology that can be deployed elsewhere.