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TBGI Working Paper 28

Can Non-State Regulatory Authority Improve Domestic Forest Sustainability? Assessing Interactive Pathways of Influence in Cameroon

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Sophia Carodenuto and Benjamin Cashore

October 2018

Abstract

Transnational business governance can involve the use of non-state mechanisms to target the behavior of firms within domestic settings. Drawing on the implementation pillar of the TGBI framework, this chapter focuses attention on the interaction between state and non-state regulatory authority from two leading cases of TBG in tropical forest management: climate mitigation through avoided deforestation (REDD+) and timber legality verification through international trade agreements (FLEGT/VPA). A dominant justification among global elites for both interventions is that empowering marginalized domestic groups through technology transfer and capacity building will lead to more durable policy solutions on the ground. Drawing on empirical evidence in Cameroon, we argue that contrary to these justifications, REDD+ and FLEGT/VPA at best may not succeed in addressing the underlying power structures, and at worst have unintended and possibly adverse consequences on marginalized peoples. This is largely because the policy mechanisms were generally conceived prior to, and independent of, their application in particular domestic settings, often making them ill-suited to the unique circumstances of the forest sectors in which they operate. We conclude by providing insights as to how these policies may be designed to improve their durability.

Keywords

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, sustainable management of forests, conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+)