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Corruption risks in land-based solutions to climate change.

A focus on reforestation and afforestation projects.

“Nature-based” solutions to climate change require the acquisition of large swaths of land for reforestation, afforestation, conservation and renewable energy sources. However, corruption in the land sector is already widespread and this additional demand for land may aggravate pre-existing corruption risks, as well as causing new ones. National governments and project implementers of land-based solutions should therefore implement anti-corruption measures in projects and, most importantly, ensure that they take into account the communities (such as Indigenous Peoples) who may already live on the land.

23 October 2023
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Corruption risks in land-based solutions to climate change.

Main points

  • The “green land rush” occurs at a time when there is already pressure on land as a resource due to climate change and population increase. Studies show that the amount of land required to fulfil climate pledges by governments worldwide is equal to land the size of the USA.
  • This, along with other pressures, means that land-based solutions may exacerbate the risk of corruption when sequestrating land for climate change mitigation purposes.
  • These corruption risks include: political corruption and interference, bribery and embezzlement, and fraud.
  • Disputes over land rights are particularly concerning given that those most affected by land-based solutions are already marginalised in many countries, including rural communities and Indigenous Peoples. There is a concern that land-based solutions may worsen existing inequalities.
  • Potential anti-corruption measures include ensuring transparency, accountability and the participation of affected communities and Indigenous Peoples. People-centred approaches to climate mitigation should be at the heart of land-based solutions and other climate change mitigation solutions.

Cite this publication

Maslen, C.; (2023) Corruption risks in land-based solutions to climate change.. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2023:32)

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