Strengthening governance of climate change forestry: an Australian perspective
Baxter, TI, Strengthening governance of climate change forestry: an Australian perspective, Proceedings of the 2nd UNITAR-Yale Global Conference on Environmental Governance & Democracy, 17-19 September 2010, Yale Law School, pp. 1-19. (2010) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]
Forests are the lungs of the Earth, delivering vital ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration.
Restraining the rapid pace of deforestation and its resultant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is therefore
one crucial component of climate change mitigation which demands urgent action.
One obstacle to REDD+ is that many countries suffer regulatory capture of forestry policy, whereby
industry interests prevail over community, national and international interests. This phenomenon is by no
means unique to developing countries.
As a potential antidote, authorities such as Professors Gunningham and Faure recognise the importance of
enabling NGO involvement in the design and development of environmental policy and regulation, so as
to provide a countervailing voice to industry lobbying. Professor Gunningham further recommends that
the regulatory mix supplements state enforcement of environmental regulation with measures to empower
the public (including NGOs) to act as surrogate regulators.
Using a case study approach focused on PNG and Australia, this paper:
• illustrates stakeholder engagement rules which currently impede transparency, accountability and
effectiveness of forestry governance generally; and
• argues that such rules must be reformed to harness the growing mobilization of civil society and
empower local communities before large sums are delivered through REDD+ partnerships.