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Governance for REDD+, forest management and biodiversity: existing approaches and future options

  • Constance L. McDermott
  • Harro van Asselt
  • Charlotte Streck
  • Samuel Assembe-Mvondo
  • Amy E Duchelle
  • Constanze Haug
  • David Humphreys
  • Mari Mulyani
  • Chandra Shekhar Silori
  • Regan Suzuki
  • Fariborz Zelli
  • Simone Frick
  • Marco Lentini
  • Harisharan Luintel
  • Cleber Salimon
  • John A. Parrotta
  • Christoph Wildburger
  • Stephanie Mansourian
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 115-115
Publication/Series: Understanding Relationships between Biodiversity, Carbon, Forests and People: The Key to Achieving REDD+ Objectives. A Global Assessment Report.
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO)

Abstract english

This chapter examines the evolution of REDD+ governance and identifies policy options to increase synergies among REDD+, the sustainable management of forests and biodiversity conservation. REDD+ emerged at the international level as a point of convergemnce acorss the 'institutional complexes' of forests, climate and biodiversity. This convergence attracted the engagement of a wide range of institutions in REDD+ activities, which together have drawn on three primary sources of authority to influence REDD+ rule-making: government sovereignty, contingent finance and voluntary carbon markets.

Intergovernmental processes, which represent the primary articulation of governmental authority at the global level, have generated few binding commitments to the sustainable management of forests or biodiversity due to conflicting country interests. These efforts instead have favoured normative guidance, monitoring and reporting, and legality verification initiatives that reinforce sovereign authority. Bilateral and multi-lateral finance initiatives have exerted ‘fund-based’ authority through the application of operational safeguards protecting indigenous and local communities and biodiversity, but limited funding and low capacity of REDD+ countries to absorb those funds have constrained their influence. Finally, non-state actors have developed voluntary certification schemes for forest and carbon as a ’fast track’ approach to elaborating more substantive international standards for environmentally- and socially-responsible forest practices. While the small size and voluntary nature of markets for forest carbon have greatly constrained the impact of these approaches, this could change if a significant regulatory market for REDD+ develops.

Furthermore, the governance of REDD+, forest management and biodiversity is pluralistic, involving multiple institutions and actors. Efforts to promote REDD+ safeguarding at the international level exist in tension with national sovereignty and local autonomy. This complexity is taken into consideration in the suite of policy options provided in this chapter, which suggest the need to draw on a range of institutions and approaches and to consider how together they influence the balance of power and incentives across actors and scales.


  • Political Science
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • REDD+
  • REDD
  • Forest governance
  • Biodiversity
  • global governance
  • CBD
  • climate governance
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • Mitigation
  • equity
  • Ecosystem services
  • Payments for ecosystem services
  • Payments for environmental services
  • Sustainable development


Fariborz Zelli
E-mail: fariborz [dot] zelli [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Department of Political Science

+46 46 222 47 64



Associate professor

Department of Political Science



Fariborz is director of the NAVIGOV project. He received the outstanding Ph.D. thesis award of the University of Tübingen and the award for outstanding teaching performance of the German state of Baden-Württemberg.

Ongoing research projects

Department of Political Science
Lund University
Visiting address: Paradisgatan 5H (House: Eden)
Postal address: Box 52, SE-221 00 LUND
Telephone: +46 46-222 89 52

Faculty of Social Sciences