The Political Economy of Sustainable Development

The Political Economy of Sustainable Development

Policy Instruments and Market Mechanisms

Timothy Cadman, Lauren Eastwood, Federico Lopez-Casero Michaelis, Tek N. Maraseni, Jamie Pittock and Tapan Sarker

Since the Rio ‘Earth’ Summit of 1992, sustainable development has become the major policy response to tackling global environmental degradation, from climate change to loss of biodiversity and deforestation. Market instruments such as emissions trading, payments for ecosystem services and timber certification have become the main mechanisms for financing the sustainable management of the earth’s natural resources. Yet how effective are they – and do they help the planet and developing countries, or merely uphold the economic status quo? This book investigates these important questions.

Chapter 5: Comparative analysis

Timothy Cadman, Lauren Eastwood, Federico Lopez-Casero Michaelis, Tek N. Maraseni, Jamie Pittock and Tapan Sarker

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, political economy, environment, environmental economics, environmental politics and policy, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy


Looking at the total results for all mechanisms, CDM was the weakest performer overall, followed by PEFC and BOM (with equal scores). FLEGT and FSC were in the middle range (with very close scores). The highest performers were REDD+ and PES with very close scores (32.6 cf. 32.7). It should be noted that the difference between the highest and lowest scoring mechanisms was relatively small, at 5 per cent, and that while all mechanisms ‘passed’, there were no stellar performers: the best that could be said was that all mechanisms were ‘satisfactory’; some more so than others. When respondents’ scores were analysed as a single cohort, it was evident that there were no mechanisms that failed to reach the threshold levels for a ‘pass’ at either the principle or criterion levels. The results at the indicator level are more revealing. Resources was the weakest indicator across all mechanisms – and the only indicator to fail – with little variation in ratings. Inclusiveness was the highest rating indicator across five mechanisms, and the highest rated indicator overall. For CDM transparency was the highest rated indicator, but at 2.9 still only in the ‘medium’ range. For PES the highest rating was awarded to behaviour change, which was also awarded an equally high rating to inclusiveness in the case of FLEGT. Respondents evaluating FSC gave durability the same rating as inclusiveness. When evaluated on a regional level, PES and REDD+ were the highest performing mechanisms. PES slightly outperformed REDD+ among Northern respondents, and vice versa

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