2nd CfP: Emergent politics of REDD+ governance

AAG Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 10–14 April 2018

Emergent politics of REDD+ governance

Organizers: Adeniyi P. Asiyanbi (University of Sheffield); Jens Friis Lund (University of Copenhagen)

Emerging in the mid-2000s, REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhance of forest carbon stocks) quickly became an important symbol of optimism not only for international action on climate change but also for forest governance, biodiversity conservation, market-based environmental governance, and development. However, a decade on, hope in the scheme has plummeted. Not only has the scheme been largely ineffective, we have also seen fears of ‘green grabbing’ materialize despite the development of safeguards. REDD+ discourse has been mobilized for a variety of purposes, including as innovative financing for private wildlife conservation, for a variety of NGO projects and to finance state budgetary deficits. Above all, REDD+ has remained mired in technical and political challenges that raise important questions (Leach and Scoones, 2015; Beymer-Farris and Bassett, 2012; Cavanagh et al., 2015). Increasingly, critical scholars ask whether REDD+ is another fleeting conservation fad (Lund et al., 2017), and whether it might be time to ‘move on’ (Fletcher et al., 2016).

Yet, REDD+ stumbles on, and emergent global environmental imperatives warrant that we critically examine it and its future within the broader global environmental governance arena. The Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015, the New York Declaration on Forests in 2014 and the 2015 global climate deal (the Paris Agreement) all give REDD+ a renewed significance (Angelsen et al. 2017; Savaresi, 2016). Meanwhile, outright and outspoken resistance to REDD+ among forest-dependent and indigenous groups across the world is growing, partly in response to failed expectations. And at a more general level, increasing nationalism raises new challenges for multilateral governance of climate change mitigation and REDD+.

This session invites theoretical, empirical and review papers that reflect on the current and future politics of REDD+ governance. Some questions of interest include: How are actors at various levels reacting to the learnings generated over the past decade? In what ways can nations now be seen to be more ‘ready for REDD+’ than they were a decade ago? How are the major international REDD+ institutions interpreting, evaluating and responding to local outcomes of REDD+ implementation? What discursive strategies are being deployed among REDD+ actors to reframe narratives of the poorly performing scheme? We are also interested in contributions that situate REDD+ within the wider global climate change mitigation, forest conservation, and energy debates. Under the emergent global environmental imperatives, we ask: how are REDD+ institutions, structures and processes being reworked? How are these new imperatives shaping the emergent governance of REDD+? Is REDD+ governance undergoing important structural shifts (e.g. from market-based to aid-based; from centric to polycentric approaches)? What are the implications of these shifts?

Please submit your 250-word abstract to Adeniyi Asiyanbi (a.asiyanbi@sheffield.ac.uk) or Jens Friis Lund (jens@ifro.ku.dk) by October 22, 2017.


Angelsen, A., Brockhaus, M., Duchelle, A. E., Larson, A., Martius, C., Sunderlin, W. D., … & Wunder, S. (2017). Learning from REDD+: a response to Fletcher et al. Conservation Biology31(3), 718-720.

Cavanagh, C. J., Vedeld, P. O., & Trædal, L. T. (2015). Securitizing REDD+? Problematizing the emerging illegal timber trade and forest carbon interface in East Africa. Geoforum, 60, 72-82.

Beymer-Farris, B. A., & Bassett, T. J. (2012). The REDD menace: Resurgent protectionism in Tanzania’s mangrove forests. Global Environmental Change22(2), 332-341.

Fletcher, R., Dressler, W., Büscher, B., & Anderson, Z. R. (2016). Questioning REDD+ and the future of market‐based conservation. Conservation Biology30(3), 673-675.

Leach, M., & Scoones, I. (Eds.). (2015). Carbon conflicts and forest landscapes in Africa. Routledge.

Lund, J. F., Sungusia, E., Mabele, M. B., & Scheba, A. (2017). Promising change, delivering continuity: REDD+ as conservation fad. World Development89, 124-139.

Savaresi, A. (2016). The Paris Agreement: a new beginning?. Journal of Energy & Natural Resources Law34(1), 16-26.