A study in the dry season of 2008/2009 in Yaoundé, Cameroon demonstrated that, a cross-section of the public, comprising the expatriate community, civil society and government functionaries, would be willing to pay or accept taxation, to support nature-based solutions to environmental management problems, on the conditions that, they fully participate, are informed of progress and could opt-out. These findings are corroborated by the governance challenges associated with the REDD+ process whereby, donors and investors are reluctant to compensate reduction in emissions because assurances of quid pro quo performance, transparency and investor exit options are not explicit.

Context and problem

Achieving the restoration of Cameroon’s over 12 million ha pledge and the AFR100’s more than 100 ha, will require enormous resources-flows. It will especially bring together on the one hand; donors and investors, who have resources, value nature-based solutions but lack the agility to deliver on the ground; and on the other hand, knowledge holders/technical services providers – with profits/rewards motive but who lack the connections; and finally, on-the-ground willing actors – farmers, land owners/managers, with a long-term benefits motive, but who lack the resources of donors/investors and the knowledge of service providers. 

Unfortunately, so far, the resources needed to bring restoration to Cameroon’s 12+ million ha and AFR100’s over 100 million of degraded landscapes are dispersed in private pockets, lodged in Governments, in big Multi-National Corporations or held in Big International Organizations. These entities all suffer from a similar, interconnected problem –a Missions Problem, Ecosystem Restoration (ER) is not their single focus. 

 Successful ER requires sustained, laser focus on the Mission of Restoration in a way which compels willing actors to commit their resources in an automatic and real-time manner, to restore ecosystem functions to degraded/degrading landscapes. Moneytrees is designed and being set-up to achieve that.  

Until Ecosystem Restoration becomes the single, laser focus of an institution, delivering on our restoration pledges will be a huge challenge and all targets will be missed.  

Ecosystem Restoration is a long-term process and the intervention packages are very complicated to put together and even twice so, to deliver on the ground. High Quality Ecosystem Restoration is thrice as complex, given the six principles that must be respected.  

Numerous Institutions simply lack the nimbleness and most don’t use of the ROAM, with which to deliver HQ-ER. While large organizations are often bogged down by internal processes, individuals lack the means. So, bringing these two together and taking away from them the sole responsibility to deliver on the ground, is one way to help them, society and posterity to be nature positive, improve lives and share the credit for the achievement.

MoneyTrees: A Performance-Based voluntary and true win-win relationship

So, what we have is basically a relationship – a Marketplace, comprising three (03) principal actors; investors seeking to purchase the benefits of successfully applying nature-based solutions; service providers who trade inputs, technical knowledge and skills, and local farmers/land developers who use the inputs, knowledge, skills for their livelihoods and in the process deliver ecosystem benefits to society and posterity looping back to satisfy investors.

Therefore, to the extent that local farmers/land developers benefit from, and deliver nature-based solutions through landscape restoration, by using inputs of knowledge and materials supplied by service providers, so too would donors invest increasing amounts of resources.

But this would depend on these three actors coming together physically and or virtually, interacting openly and iteratively; that is, investors having value for their money in ways they can verify in real-time, and being able to opt-out if they are not; and service providers able to efficiently sell high quality restoration technologies to investors; required and accepted by high performing farmers and land managers, efficiently and effectively consuming the technologies within properly researched landscape restoration contexts. For these interactions to happen and function efficiently with Safeguards, an appropriate Marketplace is required; hence Moneytrees Cameroon. 

In a radical departure from business as usual, Moneytrees commits to be evaluated and rewarded according to a verifiable and negotiated portion (%) of the investment directly responsible for bringing degraded and or degrading ecosystems into restoration.