The Rights-Based Approach to Climate Interventions

Community Inclusion– The importance of including local communities in the Carbon Credits Discussions

Paper Presented by ZELA’s Deputy Director at the Africa Voluntary Carbon Credits Market Forum held in Victoria Falls: 5 July 2023


Carbon Credit Markets around the world are emerging as important platforms connecting commerce, climate change, emission reduction or removal, sustainability, and ecosystem protection. With two carbon credit projects that have been verified and listed on carbon credit markets namely Kariba REDD+ and the Cookstoves project, as well as several pending applications subject to the new Carbon Credit Framework requirements, Zimbabwe has not been left behind in the carbon credit trading race.[1] A Carbon Credits Exchange Platform was also launched in Victoria Falls. Carbon markets are trading systems where carbon credits are bought and sold based on the trade of one carbon representing one tonne of carbon dioxide reduced or removed from affecting the climate. Voluntary and compliance (mandatory) markets have emerged.[2]

Globally, businesses are increasingly accounting for their emissions by buying carbon credits from certified activities or projects that support community development, protect the environment, and reduce or remove emissions from the atmosphere. All this is based on carbon dioxide which one may not see or touch. The carbon credits are supposed to be measurable, verifiable emission reductions from climate action projects. It is now generally accepted that carbon trading is supposed to bring benefits to communities, protect ecosystems, restore forests, or reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Carbon credits can be traded in the following sectors; energy, forest, agriculture, mining, transport and aviation, industrial manufacturing and processing, and waste that enhances conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

In previous years, a lot of carbon credit projects started without adequate attention to community needs, free prior informed consent and without respect to environmental concerns or land tenure rights.  In Latin America for example, it has been reported that in the Amazon Basin where indigenous people live, carbon projects have not yet succeeded in providing Indigenous Peoples access to financial benefits from the protection of the carbon in their forests.[3] Further, some voluntary carbon credit projects have been criticised as lacking transparency in their measurement, verification and reporting as well as limited community benefits. Several challenges already noted in REDD+ projects include unclear long-term demand for REDD+ credits, lack of clear regulatory and policy frameworks, unclear land tenure regimes, multiple corruption opportunities with the REDD+ framework especially through illicit financial flows, possible speculative processes, and malpractices.[4]

Many countries have paid insufficient attention to the apportionment of revenues amongst forest governance actors, and most benefit-sharing arrangements lack clarity as a result.[5] Zimbabwe has not yet adopted national legislation to regulate the carbon markets. However, the country developed a Carbon Credit Framework to promote, institutionalise and regulate trade in carbon on both the Compliance Market under the Paris Agreement and the Voluntary Market governed by independent bodies.

The importance of Community rights and Inclusion in Zimbabwe; The law

Community inclusion is indispensable in carbon credit trading discussions and in the design and implementation of carbon credit projects. Several factors make community participation and inclusion important. Community participation and sustainability are now viewed as treasured concepts in the carbon credit market. It is said that the inclusion of community benefits and sustainable development goals in the design and implementation of carbon credit projects increases the value of carbon credits on the carbon credit market or exchanges.

What may also make community participation essential in carbon credit projects is the emerging concept of a social licence to operate that is often associated with responsible business practices. Projects that are not underpinned by community consent, consultation or benefits are bound to be rejected or resented by the community. The concept of corporate social responsibility or social investments may also compel businesses involved in carbon credit trading to implement or promote community participation and benefit sharing. It means companies have to plough back some of their profits into community projects. If the right conditions are created, successful benefit-sharing can help guarantee public support, promote environmental integrity and thus inspire investor confidence.[6]

From a legal perspective, Zimbabwe does not currently have a comprehensive legislative framework on carbon trading, except for the sparse mention of carbon credit financing in the Electricity (Solar Water Heating) Regulations, 2019 Statutory Instrument 235 of 2019. The regulations are meant to regulate the installation, licensing, operation and maintenance of solar water heating systems for the production of sanitary hot water to save electricity. The regulations encourage owners or occupiers of premises to investigate the inclusion of solar water heating systems into a project to be registered under any carbon finance mechanism that may be established including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) This provision was clearly an effort to promote a carbon market system in Zimbabwe. Carbon finance is defined in the regulations as a mechanism that facilitates financial reward through carbon credits for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by emitters. “Clean Development Mechanism” is defined as a mechanism that allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide, which can be traded or sold, or used by industrialised countries to a meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. The regulations do not themselves establish the carbon finance mechanism but refer to any carbon finance mechanism that may be established including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This leaves a legal gap in the area of Clean Development Mechanism and Climate Financing. Therefore, carbon credit projects in Zimbabwe have not been regulated- they are largely voluntary and based on agreements between local authorities, communities and project proponents.

Text from a model Climate Change Bill developed by stakeholders in Zimbabwe in 2016 indicates stakeholder intentions to establish a National Climate Change Fund and a Carbon Trading system that would set the procedure, licencing and registry for carbon trading including model guidelines for benefit sharing for projects. It is also understood that efforts are underway at the Government level to develop regulations that may largely be reflective of the principles and provisions in the 2023 Carbon Credit Framework for Zimbabwe. The Framework seeks to promote community benefits through a defined revenue benefit sharing and distribution model calculated in percentages, free, prior informed consent, environmental integrity and enhanced stakeholder engagement and public participation.

Generally, various pieces of legislation may be viewed as providing scope for community participation and skeletal local level institutional mandates and regulation of carbon credits in Zimbabwe. The concept of community participation is prescribed in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. For example, Section 13 (4) of the Constitution requires the State to ensure that local communities benefit from the resources in their areas, although this provision is part of national objectives that guide state institutions in the formulation and implementation of laws and policies. Further, Section 73 (1) guarantees the right of every person to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being and to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations and to secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting economic and social development. These rights are legally binding, although implementation has to be progressive and dependent on the availability of resources.[7] However, these rights provide a good legal grounding for community participation and benefits in carbon credit projects.   

Added to the above constitutionally-guaranteed environmental rights, is another suite of environmental rights and principles of environmental management found in the Environmental Management Act. Section 4 of the Act provides the right to a clean environment that is not harmful to health, access to environmental information, the right to protect the environment for the benefit of present and future generations and to participate in the implementation of the promulgation of reasonable legislative, policy and other measures that secure ecologically sustainable management and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development. Sadly, these rights and principles are only designed to serve as guidelines for the exercise of environmental functions and in the interpretation, administration and implementation of laws concerning the environment.[8] They are not legally binding, unlike the Constitutional provisions that are part of the Bill of Rights. However, the rights are important as they provide a guide that can be used to advance community rights, access to information, community benefits, economic development and sustainable development which are all critical cogs in the design and implementation of carbon credit projects.

In the biodiversity conservation space, community rights to access and benefit from genetic resources that include any material of plants, animals, and microbial units are also protected and promoted. The rights may find application in carbon credit projects for the benefit of communities. In Zimbabwe, community access and benefit sharing are protected through the Environmental Management (Access to Genetic Resources and Indigenous Genetic Resource-based Knowledge) Regulations.[9] They were inspired by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) [10] and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture[11] which all call for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use. The Regulations provide for “explicit prior informed consent”, concerning the giving of consent by an indigenous community or the state for anyone, internal or external (residents or foreign people) to access its genetic resources. They also provide for the protection of the rights of local authorities and communities to their genetic materials and indigenous genetic resource-based knowledge (Section 3(a)). The regulations also provide for fair and equitable sharing of the benefits, participation of communities in decision-making in the distribution of benefits[12] and conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources. Local authorities are granted rights to be consulted, to profile genetic resources in their area, to be compensated for access to genetic resources and to derive benefits from any access.[13] Local authorities have a right to manage, conserve and market, beneficiate or otherwise exploit for gain genetic materials that are indigenous to the local authority or the indigenous community.[14] The language and words used in these regulations are similar to those being used in carbon markets concerning community benefits, free, prior informed consent and community consultation. The regulations also elevate the role of local authorities in access to genetic resources, and incidentally, all the carbon credit projects in Zimbabwe started with agreements signed between project proponents and local authorities or Rural District Councils[15]

At the policy level, the Ministry of Environment developed the Carbon Credit Framework for Zimbabwe whose goal is to promote, institutionalise and regulate the trade in carbon on both the Compliance Market under the Paris Agreement and the Voluntary Market governed by independent bodies.[16] The policy reinforces the need for community and stakeholder engagement in the carbon credit trading ecosystem by providing for a 50%-50% benefit-sharing arrangement between Project Proponents and a National Climate Change Fund to be established. The Carbon Credit Framework contains a section on equitable sharing of benefits arising from trade in carbon credits. It states that the 50% allocation to the National Climate Change Fund will be distributed to climate change adaptation projects by local communities, investment in low carbon development projects, treasury and regulatory and Local Authorities based on stated percentages. Most importantly, the Carbon Credit Framework sets out community safeguards in various sections that include stakeholder engagement and participation, prior informed consent, community benefit and environmental integrity among other principles.

At the international level, carbon credit projects are supposed to “Be consistent with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) decisions including the Paris Agreement, Warsaw Framework for REDD+, and the Cancun Safeguards, which establish environmental, social, and governance principles countries are expected to uphold when undertaking REDD+ activities, in particular, to ensure the recognition, respect, protection, and fulfillment of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities”.[17] In addition, the concept of business and human rights is also emerging as critical in compelling businesses or companies to respect, protect and promote human rights in the communities they operate in and this includes redress of any human rights violations. These concepts are found in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)[18], although they are not legally binding.[19]

The conclusion one may reach from the national and international legal analysis is that, while they are inadequate and not comprehensive or specific, existing laws and policies provide the justification for community participation and benefit sharing in carbon credit projects especially those based on the conservation of forests or even plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. However, broadly, carbon credit project development, trading and marketing developments in Zimbabwe have not been adequately regulated and this has created gaps in predictability, questions on transparency and inadequate community legal safeguards.

Policy position on community rights and inclusion; Zimbabwe’s Carbon Credit Framework

Zimbabwe has clear climate change policy frameworks, strategies and plans and these have been used by Government to guide all climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes in the country. Examples of such policies include Zimbabwe’s National Climate Change Response Strategy, National Climate Policy, National Energy Policy, National Renewable Energy Policy, National Environmental Policy, National Biofuels Policy and the Zimbabwe Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy (2020-2050) among others.

The issue of Carbon credits and community rights is partly covered in some of these policies but without full details. For example, the National Climate Change Response Strategy encourages the country to determine the policy, institutional and legal frameworks required to take advantage of the financial incentives from REDD+ while maintaining adequate safeguards such as the rights of communities to have livelihood activities that are dependent on forests and maintenance of ecosystem services especially biodiversity. Community development-oriented carbon sequestration projects can provide significant economic benefits to local communities in the form of cash incomes as well as through access to non-timber forest products. The National Climate Policy was also futuristic as it refers to the development and implementation of policies to enhance the country’s capacity to engage in carbon market activities and strengthen the viability of domestic carbon asset production and increase access to international carbon markets and green bonds. These policies left a vacuum on carbon credits, which understandably at that time was not fully understood. However, the idea of maintaining safeguards to protect community rights was included in the National Climate Change Response Strategy. 

In recent months, and as a response to increasing investments by the private sector in carbon markets and increasing applications for carbon credit projects in the country, the Government of Zimbabwe developed a Carbon Credit Framework. The policy was also triggered by accusations of lack of transparency and accountability and limited community benefits amongst some of the carbon credits. The stated goal of the Carbon Credit Framework is to promote, institutionalise and regulate the trade in carbon credits, especially in the following sectors; energy, forest, agriculture, mining, transport and aviation, industrial manufacturing and processing, and waste that enhances conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

Public awareness, participation and consultations

The Carbon Credit Framework contains an expansive set of community rights, safeguards and benefits that appear to be drawn or customised from the Cancun Safeguards. The following are some of the safeguards that can help, if implemented, promote and protect community rights;

  • Stakeholder engagement and participation and Free Prior Informed Consent: The Carbon Credit Framework provides for multi-stakeholder engagement and participatory approaches in carbon credit projects to ensure prior informed consent and communities’ benefit. Stakeholders to be engaged include relevant government institutions, local authorities, traditional leadership and communities to provide them with information procedures for participating in the carbon market in Zimbabwe
  • Public Awareness: The framework also calls for publicity and awareness relating to community participation in carbon market mechanisms. This means public education should be promoted in the sector. Public awareness enables communities and other stakeholders to effectively participate and to make informed decisions regarding carbon trading initiatives.
  • Public participation in Decision-Making: The framework seeks to promote public participation in carbon credit decision-making processes. This principle includes the elaboration of carbon rights concerning any carbon trading programme, project or activity and is aimed at enhancing local community and national understanding and ownership.
  • Communication: Stakeholders will be engaged through various means of communication and interactions, including but not limited to physical meetings, dialogues, outreach, training and skills development, capacity building and access to information
  • Principle of Environmental Integrity: The framework provides for the application of the principle of environmental integrity, sustainable development, international cooperation and public participation in carbon trading decision-making in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Africa Agenda 2063, Vision 2030, National Development Strategy and related national policies.

Equitable sharing of Benefits

The framework contains a section on equitable sharing of benefits. The framework surprisingly also declares null and void that all carbon credit projects and arrangements in the country established before the development of the framework.

The framework also provides for the use of carbon credit revenues and benefits to address socio-economic inequalities and resilience building. It elaborates a formula for the distribution of benefits from carbon credit trading to beneficiaries as follows:

  • Project Proponent’s Investment Recovery (50%)
    • National Climate Change Fund (50%)

The resource/revenue disbursed into the National Climate Change Fund shall be distributed to the communities, investment in carbon projects, treasury, local authorities and administrative costs. The following formula is proposed; 

  • Climate change adaptation by local communities (15%),
  • Investment in low carbon development projects (10%),
  • Treasury (10%),
  • Regulatory and Local Authority levies (5%),
  • Administrative costs of the DNA, Registry, CCC and Capacity Development Initiatives (10%).

The revenue or resource distribution matrix includes community benefits. The costs and level of benefits that go to the community require further analysis. The first point to note is that the 50% – 50% requirement, while noble may need further details on how it will be implemented and its potential impacts on ongoing projects.  While the Carbon Credit Framework refers to the National Climate Change Fund, the Fund has not yet been established in terms of any legislative frameworks. It would have been desirable for the country to promulgate a Climate Change Act that would set a comprehensive legal framework to regulate climate financing and the carbon trading market.

In the absence of detailed information and a thorough review of existing carbon credit projects, declaring existing carbon credit projects, null and void may also appear extreme and may send negative signals on Zimbabwe’s investment environment to the global carbon market concerning the sanctity of property rights. It would have been desirable for Government to provide for a review of existing carbon credit projects on set criteria or even to audit them to address any challenges. It is understood that Malawi is reviewing carbon credit projects with the idea of addressing any existing transparency issues and promoting community benefits. Declaring that existing arrangements are null and void may work against the Zimbabwe is Open for Business mantra and the ease of doing business. However, it is understood that existing projects declared null and void may be granted a specified period to comply with new requirements.

Cancun Safeguards as the foundation for Community Inclusion and rights in Carbon Credit Projects

At the international level, safeguards have already been developed that can be utilised to promote and protect community rights in developing carbon credit projects or REDD+ activities at the national level. The ‘Cancun safeguards’ were adopted at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010 to act as a guide to minimise social and environmental risks and enhance benefits on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in developing countries.[20] The safeguards are meant to guide country-level policy approaches and trigger positive incentives and sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The Cancun Declaration itself refers to the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution on human rights and climate change which recognizes that the adverse effects of climate change have implications for the enjoyment of human rights, especially for the vulnerable segments of the population owing to geography, gender, age, indigenous or minority status, or disability.

The following are the key safeguards that countries may apply at the national level;[21]

  1. Transparent and effective national forest governance structures, taking into account national legislation and sovereignty.
  2. Respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities, by taking into account relevant international obligations, national circumstances and laws, and noting that the United Nations General Assembly has adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  3. The full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular, indigenous peoples and local communities
  4. That actions are consistent with the conservation of natural forests and biological diversity, including incentivizing the protection and conservation of natural forests and their ecosystem services, and enhancing social and environmental benefits, taking into account the need for sustainable livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities and their interdependence on forests in most countries.
  5. Actions to address the risks of reversals;
  6. Actions to reduce displacement of emissions.

In terms of the Cancun Safeguards, countries that are implementing REDD+ activities should periodically submit information on measures taken to address or respect the safeguards through the national communications system or through the REDD+ Web Platform.

Summary of Key Principles to enhance community inclusion and rights

Respect and Protection of Community and Indigenous People’s Rights

Carbon credit projects have to ensure that the rights of local communities or indigenous people are recognised, respected, protected and fulfilled.

Public participation

Public participation in carbon credit projects is critical as all key stakeholders – including private or public landowners, project developers, indigenous people, communities, local authorities, traditional leaders, and civil society groups among others participate in the design, implementation and monitoring of carbon credit projects. All policy or legislative measures that promote public participation have to be implemented or followed.

Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)

There is a need to explicitly require Free prior informed consent in carbon credit projects that involve communities or indigenous people. For example, any relocation or displacement of communities resulting from carbon credit projects should allow communities to either give or withhold their consent for any action that would affect their land, territory or rights. “Free” ​means that the community’s consent cannot be given under force or threat, while ‘prior’ means that the community must receive information on the project and have enough time to assess the information before the project starts. Information to be provided by the project proponent should be detailed enough and in a language that can be easily understood by the community as well as setting out the detailed positive or negative impacts of the project. [22]

Land tenure rights and preventing land grabbing

Land tenure rights are property rights that define access, control and transfer of land as well as the associated duties and responsibilities. In Zimbabwe, land tenure rights include freehold, lease, permit, communal and state land. Carbon credit projects should therefore be based on good knowledge and procedures for understanding, mapping, profiling, inventorying, protecting and respecting land tenure rights.

Incentives system

A good and credible carbon credit project should provide an effective and equitable incentive system for the community and other stakeholders. Communities that may for years have been relying on the forests or other natural resources should benefit from any incentives that may be created. 

Benefit sharing plans

Benefit sharing in carbon credit projects can include financial or monetary compensation to communities. However, it may also include non-monetary benefits such as the provision of strong land tenure for displaced people, education and training opportunities, access to markets or other social services and other benefits. The benefits can be integrated into a carbon credit project development process in a participatory manner.

Environmental integrity

Carbon credit projects must demonstrate environmental integrity and protection of natural resources or ecosystems in line with national environmental or natural resources laws and policies. This may also include the application of international best practices or instruments.

Grievance redress mechanism

It is important that any carbon credit project allows for dispute resolution mechanisms and allows any aggrieved stakeholder, and in particular communities access to justice. Access to justice is critical for the protection and fulfillment of the rights of communities.   


In the carbon credit sector, transparency is very crucial given concerns about how carbon credits and the benefits thereof are being verified, quantified and measured.  Carbon trading requires a transparent measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) system that can assure all stakeholders that carbon trading is traceable, not associated with corruption and beneficial to all parties, including communities.

Gender equality and social inclusion

The inclusion of women and marginalised groups in carbon credit projects and in particular in benefit-sharing schemes is also important. Carbon credit projects should not discriminate or perpetuate the discrimination of other groups based on race, creed, colour, sex, gender, disability or age.

Recommendations to Improve Community Benefits and Rights Protection

The following are some of the legal, policy or practice recommendations that can be considered in designing or implementing carbon credit projects with the objective of promoting, respecting and fulfilling the rights of communities and benefits;

  1. Proponents of carbon credit projects and all the actors along the chain should approach carbon credit investments from a business and human rights or even responsible investments approach which means ensuring that the rights of local communities are respected, protected, promoted and redress measures are provided. During the project assessment, measurement and verification process, due diligence measures should be thorough to identify the potential risks and impacts of projects on communities and propose measures to address the potential impacts on community rights. Such rights include economic, social, cultural and environmental rights as well as other categories of rights that may be impacted negatively by carbon credit projects. 
  2. Before passage of the proposed Carbon Credit Trading regulations, it would be desirable for Government to do a legislative mapping of existing legislation with potential implications on the design and implementation of carbon credit projects especially concerning community rights and safeguards, property rights, finance and economic development, foreign trade, investment laws, environmental and conservation laws among others. This process can be underpinned by an assessment of how other countries have legislated on carbon credits and how they have handled projects that started voluntarily. The assessment should include reference to the Zimbabwe is Open for business mantra and ease of doing business models taking into account the fact that carbon credit trading is closely tied to foreign markets and international financial architecture and should not be isolated. There is need to create carbon credits of high value and quality. Therefore, the proposed legislation should serve community interests and the interest of investors.
  3. Government should consider developing climate change legislation that includes general provisions on the protection of the rights of communities and benefit in the climate change sector or other safeguards that can then be supported by carbon credit specific regulations as proposed above. In this case, it is proposed that the draft Climate Change Bill should include climate change related procedural rights such as access to climate information, public participation and consultation, or even free, prior informed consent as well as the concepts of equitable and fair sharing of benefits from climate change projects and access to redress measures. Language can be borrowed from the Environmental Management (Access to Genetic Resources and Indigenous Genetic Resource-based Knowledge) Regulations (SI 61 of 2009). The implementation of access and benefit-sharing rights have to be based on the best economic and investment advice and a case by case basis including a review of international best practices to balance economic growth, and community development with attracting foreign direct investments.
  4. It would also be desirable for Government to consider passing the proposed carbon credit regulations in terms of a Climate Change Act that acts as a framework legislation on climate change that would set a comprehensive legal framework to regulate climate financing and the carbon trading market. While the Minister of Environment has the power and mandate to pass regulations in terms of the Environmental Management Act, it might be a good option to first finalise the draft Climate Change Bill submitted by stakeholders. In the interim carbon credit projects can be reviewed and continue to operate based on a set of mutually agreed terms between the Ministry of Environment, local authorities, communities and investors.
  5. As for equitable benefit-sharing models, it is proposed that Government should consider continued dialogue with the carbon credit investors, communities and other stakeholders along the carbon credit market chain. 
  6. Community share and benefits should be underpinned by clear transparency and accountability measures learning from the Community Share Ownership Scheme model. Community investments from proceeds of carbon credits should be invested in sustainable projects, promote long-term community development-including the provision of social services and infrastructure and the conservation of natural resources or ecosystems. 
  7. There is need for continued discussions and dialogue between the Government, carbon credit trading companies, local authorities and communities with existing carbon credit projects on the meaning, framing and implications of declaring existing projects as null and void and the 50%-50% benefit sharing or distribution formula. 
  8. Civil society groups such as ZELA should continue to research, provide advice and even assist in the design and implementation of carbon credit projects to make them beneficial to the country, communities, local authorities and investors. The establishment of Social Impact Investment vehicles may also help in this regard to demonstrate principles of sustainability, community resilience and benefit sharing. 
  9. On declaration of current carbon credit projects and arrangements in Zimbabwe as null and void as stated in the Carbon Credit Framework, Government should consider relooking at the potential implications of that policy position vis a vis the country’s investment climate or attractiveness in the eyes of foreign companies. Declaring existing projects null and void may sound extreme and send the wrong signals on the protection of property rights to investors and the carbon markets across the world contrary to the more nuanced and investor-friendly legislative framework espoused in the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Act (ZIDA Act) that provides for security of investments and protection of property rights. It would have been desirable for Government to provide for a review of previous carbon credit projects on set criteria or even to audit them. It is understood that Malawi is planning to review existing carbon credit projects with the idea of addressing any existing transparency issues and promoting community benefits. Declaring that existing arrangements null and void may work against the Zimbabwe is Open for Business Mantra and the ease of doing business, despite the possibility of providing the projects a specified period to comply with legal or policy requirements.

[1] Carbon Green Africa and see cQuestCapital

[2] CHOOSE, (September 5, 2022) Compliance Carbon Markets vs Voluntary Carbon Markets

[3] Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (August 2021)  ; ART Safeguards Primer and Frequently Asked Questions

[4] See generally International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) (August 2012)

[5] Davis, C. et al. (2009). “A Review of 25 Readiness Plan Idea Notes from the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility”. WRI Working Paper. Washington DC, USA: World Resources Institute

[6] John Costenbader, Legal frameworks for REDD: Designing and implementing national strategies IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Paper No. 77;

[7] Section 73(2) on limitation of environmental rights.

[8] Section 4 (3)

[9] SI 61 of 2009

[10] Convention on Biological Diversity,

[11] FAO, International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;

[12] Section 3(e)

[13] See Section 7

[14] Section 8

[15] Examples include Nyaminyami, Mbire, Binga and Kariba among others.

[16] Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry; (February 2023) Carbon Credit Framework for Zimbabwe.

[17]Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (August 2021)  ; ART Safeguards Primer and Frequently Asked Questions


[19] United Nations (2011)

[20] Framework Convention on Climate Change Report of the Conference of the Parties on its sixteenth session, held in Cancun from 29 November to 10 December 2010

[21] UNFCCC, REDD+ Web Portal;

[22] See generally Conservation International;

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