TNRC Original Research

Image representing TNRC's four focus areas: wildlife, fisheries, forests, and finance

Targeting Natural Resource Corruption

Harnessing knowledge, generating evidence, and supporting innovative policy and practice for more effective anti-corruption programming

Original Research

Peru, Madagascar, and Vietnam

Using a political ecology approach (combining analysis of environmental change with political-economy and ethnographic-type analysis), teams of international and locally-based researchers led by the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Center studied selected conservation projects to identify the social, economic, political and environmental factors that facilitate and drive corruption, and how they affect efforts to address it. Key findings are outlined in the following U4 publications:


U4 Brief | E-payments in Vietnam’s forest sector: An effective anti-corruption innovation?

This Brief presents evidence from field research on whether, and under which conditions, payment for forest environmental services (PFES) e-payments help to reduce the potential for corruption in benefit distribution. Since 2018, an electronic payment mechanism for PFES has been introduced by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Vietnam Forest and Delta Program (VFD Phase 2) to tackle the risks associated with cash. The introduction of forest sector e-payments has been viewed as promising in theory--it is more efficient, secure, and transparent than cash, reducing costs and streamlining payments. The goal is to contribute to the further improvement of PFES management and sustainability in Vietnam and to examine current issues challenging the success of the PFES e–payment system.

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U4 Issue | Corruption, informality and power: Explaining the limits to institutional approaches for tackling illegal logging in Peru

Policies and strategies implemented to combat illegal logging in Peru appear to have had limited success. This paper explores the topic of corruption as a facilitator of deforestation in Peru and argues that addressing it requires an understanding of the role of political and informal power arrangements that shape individual and collective behaviors. In addition, it emphasizes that forest governance outcomes can only be strengthened by considering the networks, actors, powers, and interests that interact with wider conditions.

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Malawi, Uganda and Peru

The Basel Institute on Governance is leveraging its considerable experience working on the nexus of corruption and IWT, particularly its hands-on relationships with wildlife management and anti-corruption authorities, to deliver a multi-year research initiative focused on corruption risks in investigation and prosecution of wildlife crime. The first phase of work involved field research to map corruption risks in the prosecution chains in Peru, Malawi and Uganda and to develop recommendations for partners in those countries.

The Basel Institute is also drawing on its research on social norms that drive corruption in IWT to partner with TRAFFIC to deliver a multi-year package of work researching and testing behavioral approaches for reducing corruption in natural resource sectors.

Additional Research

TRAFFIC is delivering multi-year empirical research on the use of big data to identify corruption risks in the awarding of forest access agreements.

Image attribution: © naturepl.com / Jen Guyton / WWF; © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF; © Georgina Goodwin / Shoot The Earth / WWF-UK; © Hkun Lat / WWF-Aus