The Political Economy of Sustainable Development
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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.
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Chapter 3: Combatting deforestation II – FLEGT

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


The intergovernmental initiatives discussed in Chapter 2 were not greatly supported by environmental NGOs or Indigenous peoples’ organisations, who dismissed them as exercises in ‘window dressing’ (Cadman 2011: 145). They were especially critical of the initiatives’ abilities to combat deforestation and tackle illegal logging. Illegal logging has been attributed to a wide range of causes including population growth, poverty, drug cultivation, wars and the military, as well as land tenure inequities (Humphreys 1996: 2–15). Processes to address forest law enforcement and governance, distinct from UNFF, got underway in 2001. They have been characterised as originating both from industry, which was concerned that the illegal timber trade was depressing prices, and NGO concerns that demand for legal timber was being undermined. A series of bilateral trade agreements and regional processes were developed to address these problems: in the supply regions of Asia (2001), Africa (2003) and Europe and North Asia (2005), with the assistance of the World Bank; and in the consumer countries, the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan of 2003, which, in contrast to UNFF, was made legally binding on its 25 member states (Humphreys 2006: 149–67). These were connected to a series of voluntary partnership agreements (VPA) with timber-producing countries and a licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community (2005) (Lawson and MacFaul 2010). These were identified as having made efforts to include a broader range of actors and issues (Capistrano et al. 2007: 9).

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