Experimentalism in Transnational Forest Governance
Implementing European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements in Indonesia and Ghana

Theme:
  • ELG
Category: article
Year: 2017
In journal: Regulation & Governance

Abstract

Over the past decade, the European Union (EU) has created a novel experimentalist architecture for transnational forest governance: the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative. This innovative architecture comprises extensive participation by civil society stakeholders in establishing and revising open-ended framework goals (Voluntary Partnership Agreements [VPAs] with developing countries aimed at promoting sustainable forest governance and preventing illegal logging) and metrics for assessing progress toward them (legality standards and indicators) through monitoring and review of local implementation, underpinned by a penalty default mechanism to sanction non-cooperation (the EU Timber Regulation that prohibits operators from placing illegally harvested wood on the European market). This paper analyzes the implementation of VPAs in Indonesia and Ghana, the two countries furthest advanced toward issuing FLEGT export licences. A central finding is the reciprocal relationship between the experimentalist architecture of the FLEGT initiative and transnational civil society activism, whereby the VPAs’ insistence on stakeholder participation, independent monitoring, and joint implementation review, underwritten by the EU, empowers domestic non-governmental organizations with local knowledge to expose problems on the ground, hold public authorities accountable for addressing them, and contribute to developing provisional solutions.

Article

Overdevest, C. & Zeitlin, J. (2017). Experimentalism in transnational forest governance. Implementing European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreements in Indonesia and Ghana. Regulation & Governance. doi:10.1111/rego.12180

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