Proposed Benefit Sharing System for REDD+ pilot project in Central Suau / Papua New Guinea
The following is a Benefit Sharing Proposal for the PNGFA/OCCD/SPC/GIZ REDD+ Pilot Project in Suau District of Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea. Benefit-sharing is an agreed mechanism defining how monetary and/or non-monetary incentives are shared among stakeholders. Fair and equitable benefit-sharing is significantly important for the successful realization of the key objectives of this REDD+ project.
This document outlines current prospects for a Benefit Sharing mechanism that could be used with the Massim people in Central Suau REDD+ Project Area. Within the project zone, there are 110 clans within the 23 Wards. It provides a couple of unique features as recommendations for how benefits may be shared most effectively and most amicably in the Suau District.
The Suau Project Area is unlike the majority of Papua New Guinea known for being matrilineal (in particular, matrilineal land tenure) and residentially mixed. Before Independence, these 23 communities were shifted down to the coast and away from their customary forests for better access to government services. As a consequence of an emergent cash economy and the vicissitudes of gardening these communities have become more patrilineal and patriarchal than they might have been in the past. This present special challenges to a large-scale project like this, and to identifying not just the landowners within each ILG, but the customary authorities within each ILG, which are women.
There are also an inordinate number of land disputes within the District as a consequence of population pressures. Our proposal here carves out a place for women’s groups to reclaim the matrilineal authority of these communities (a feature of which the men are also notably proud) and streamline the process of benefit sharing at the same time. It is our recommendation that the BSM not include cash benefits of any kind to landowners, but focus on community-wide projects that might be identified by women in each ward and shared amongst all community members.
Our further suggestion would be that these projects be developed in coordination with the Ward Development Plans to supplement, and never supplant, the government services that should be directed to each ward. Indeed, we will make one suggestion for a community project further on in this document that would serve the wider community economy and not one or another educational or health service.