Global-local nexus inforest and nature governance

New modes of governance have emerged in forest and nature sectors in the last 30 years. On the one hand, we witness the globalisation of policy making, such as new international treaties, global voluntary sustainability standards and transnational norms and discourses. On the other hand, a relocation of power and authority to regional and local levels of decision-making and implementation agencies is occurring as well. The national level of state policy and decision-making on forests and nature thus appears to have lost relevance, whereas the direct links between the local and the global are said to have intensified. Of course, some scholars challenge these governance claims, and continue to confirm the crucial importance of the nation state for natural resource management, policy and politics.

This staff project focuses on the debate about relevant sites of authoritative decision-making and aims to unravel the global-local nexus in forest and nature governance. It does so in particular by bringing together and synthesising data and insights from PhD and other projects. Accordingly, instruments of global governance are followed over time and case studies on the ground are analysed. In addition, mutual links between global governance and local cases are searched for. Important examples currently include: Community Forest Management, REDD+, climate-smart agriculture and forestry, non-state biodiversity conservation initiatives, voluntary certification, landscape approaches and NTFPs, and how these relate to global governance initiatives and bodies, such as the International Arrangement on Forests, UNFCCC, Paris Agreement, Biodiversity Convention, the European Landscape Convention, FSC International, IUCN.

The key research question this project seeks to answer is: How and to what extent do global initiatives and instruments in forest and nature governance shape practices on the ground, while (partially) side-stepping national levels of policy-making, and vice versa?