Table of Contents

Research Handbook on REDD-Plus and International Law

Research Handbook on REDD-Plus and International Law

Research Handbooks in Climate Law series

Edited by Christina Voigt

The REDD+ initiative for Reducing Emissions of greenhouse gases from Deforestation and Forest Degradation is an important tool, established under the UNFCCC, for incentivizing developing countries to adopt and scale up climate mitigation actions in the forest sector and for capturing and channeling the financial resources to do so. With contributions from legal experts, international relations scholars, climate change negotiators and activists, this Handbook eloquently examines the emerging governance arrangements for REDD+, analysing how and to what extent it is embedded in the international legal framework.

Chapter 3: The institutional complex for REDD+: a ‘benevolent jigsaw’?

Harro van Asselt and Constance L. McDermott

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law


Officially situated under the umbrella of the UNFCCC, REDD+ is of undeniable relevance to a host of other international legal regimes, including those for human rights, biological diversity and trade. All of these regimes, like REDD+, interact with the diverse drivers and impacts of deforestation. The emergence of REDD+ further needs to be viewed in the context of several decades of developments in international forest law and governance. And while public international law continues to develop as a mosaic of overlapping legal instruments, a range of new transnational public, private and public–private governance arrangements have started to fill gaps by setting standards, financing and helping to put REDD+ in practice. These various international legal instruments and transnational governance arrangements both influence, and are impacted by, rule development on REDD+ under the UNFCCC, giving rise to two overarching questions. The first question is whether the outcomes of such interactions can be viewed as synergetic, with the resulting legal system forming a ‘benevolent jigsaw’, or whether they lead to a situation of ‘conflictive fragmentation’. Second, to the extent that the implications of institutional complexity can be seen as negative, the question arises to what extent states and non-state actors can do something about it.

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