Key Eligibility Checklist for a Prospective Plan Vivo Project

Prospective projects must meet the 7 areas of criteria outlined below for them to be eligible for certification under the Plan Vivo Standard. If, after reading this criteria, a prospective project is unsure about their eligibility, then please contact the Plan Vivo secretariat for further information.

1. Start Date

Typically, a prospective project will not yet be operational and will use the 2013 Plan Vivo Standard from the outset. However, it is possible for a project that is already operational to become an approved Plan Vivo Project, provided it can meet the requirements of 2013 Plan Vivo Standard. No retroactive crediting is possible for activities already implemented.

2. Participants

Producers in the project must be:

  1. Small-scale farmers, land-users or forest dwellers with recognised land tenure or user rights (see sections 4 & 5);
  2. Organised, or in the process of being organised, into cooperatives, associations, community-based organisations or other organisational forms able to contribute to the social and economic development of their members and communities and democratically controlled by the members;
  3. Able to use existing farmland, forest, woodland or other land type for project activities without undermining livelihood needs.

Producers should also not be structurally dependent on permanent hired labour, and should manage their land mainly with their own and their family’s labour force

3. Coordinators

Project coordinators must:

  1. Be an established legal entity that takes responsibility for the project and meeting the requirements of the Plan Vivo Standard for its duration;
  2. Have a strong in-country presence and the respect and experience required to work effectively with local communities and partners;
  3. Be focused and have the organisational capability and an ability to mobilise the necessary resources to develop the project;
  4. Have the capability to negotiate and deal with government, local organisations & institutions, and buyers of ecosystem services;
  5. Have the ability to mobilise and train participants, implement and monitor project activities, carry out technical functions.

Project coorindators should also not draw on more than 40 percent of sales income for ongoing coordination, administration and monitoring costs, save in exceptional circumstances where justification is provided to the Plan Vivo Foundation and a waiver formally agreed.


4. Land Status

Land that is not owned by or subject to user rights of smallholders or communities may be included in the project area if it:

  1. Represents less than a third of the project area at all times;
  2. Was not acquired from smallholders/communities in order to develop the project;
  3. Bestows clear benefits to the project on a landscape level;
  4. Is managed under an executed agreement between the owners/managers and the project participants.
5. Land Tenure & User Rights

Land tenure or user rights must be secure and stable so that there can be clear ownership, traceability and accountability for ecosystem service benefits, such as carbon reduction or sequestration, and the ability to commit to project interventions for the duration of PES Agreements.

6. Activities

Projects must:

  1. Enable communities to plan and take control of their resources in a sustainable way that promotes rural livelihoods and other environmental and social co-benefits;
  2. Be able to generate ecosystem service benefits through one or more of the following project intervention types under the Plan Vivo System:
    • Ecosystem restoration (e.g. assisted natural generation);
    • Ecosystem rehabilitation (e.g. inter-planting naturalised tree species);
    • Prevention of ecosystem conversion or degradation (e.g. REDD+);
    • Improved land use management (e.g. minimum till agriculture).
  3. Be additional, not liable to cause leakage, and provide foundations for permanence, as described in the Plan Vivo Standard;
  4. Involve the planting and/or promote the restoration or protection of native or naturalised plant and tree species. The use of naturalised (i.e. non-invasive) species is acceptable only where such species are:
    • Preferable to any alternative native species owing to compelling livelihood benefits;
    • Specifically selected by communities for this purpose;
    • Not going to result in any negative effects on biodiversity or the provision of key ecosystem services in the project and surrounding areas.
  5. Encourage the development of local capacity and minimise dependency on external support.


7. Implementation

The project must be:

  1. Committed to initiating new activities on a pilot basis, gain experience, and identify improvements (‘learning by doing’);
  2. Implemented through practical capabilities ‘on the ground’, not by imposing high-level targets from above.