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Our carbon, their forest : the political ecology of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Papua New Guinea

Babon, Andrea (2014). Our carbon, their forest : the political ecology of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Papua New Guinea. PhD Thesis, Charles Darwin University.

Document type: Thesis
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Author Babon, Andrea
Title Our carbon, their forest : the political ecology of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Papua New Guinea
Institution Charles Darwin University
Publication Date 2014-10
Thesis Type PhD
Supervisor Aslin, Heather J.
Garnett, Stephen T.
Subjects ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
0501 - Ecological Applications
Abstract This thesis explores some of the equity dimensions of emerging international markets for environmental services. It does this by analysing how processes to formulate national policies aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in Papua New Guinea reflect diverse interests at multiple scales. The research responds to concerns that, in designing REDD+ policies, insufficient attention has been given to the implications for communities who live in, and depend upon, the forests that REDD+ initiatives are designed to conserve.

The study employs a political ecology approach and draws on social and political theory and associated analytical methods, including discourse analysis and policy network analysis to identify whose ‘voice’ is being heard in national REDD+ policy processes and whose ‘vision’ is being realised in REDD+ policy outputs. The study finds that a number of actors across multiple scales – international, national, local – have had a ‘voice’ in national REDD+ policy processes in Papua New Guinea. State and civil society actors are found to be especially influential and central in many REDD+ policy networks. These and other actors share an equity discourse that focuses on the rights of forest-dependent communities and form a coalition of actors promoting transformational change in forest policy that can achieve effective, efficient and equitable REDD+. However, a powerful a coalition of actors promoting business-as-usual interests and ideas exert covert influence over REDD+ policy processes and are currently realising their ‘vision’ of REDD+. These actors and the discourses and resources they employ are currently constraining transformational change.

These findings highlight the importance of connecting local needs and perspectives in the design of national policies, and for those designing international environmental regimes to take into account unique national contexts in order to achieve effective, efficient and equitable outcomes in practice.
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