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Complex Institutional Frameworks for Sustainability

Leading scholars and practitioners from Yale, CISDL, IUFRO, RECOFTC, and WRI discuss the role of complex institutional frameworks in the global pursuit of sustainability. Complex institutional frameworks bring together multiple institutions, actors, and processes in a manner that cuts across public and private authority, national borders, and policy sectors. Speakers will discuss innovations for managing conflicts and promoting coherence within such frameworks, drawing on case studies focusing on non-state market-driven systems, public/private regimes, and legality verification schemes. Due to its economic, environmental, and social dimensions, processes, and stakeholders, the transnational governance of forestry will serve as a cross-cutting illustration of the challenges and opportunities of complex governance, emphasizing its role in sustainability, development, and human rights. This side-event will not only aim to identify best practices for managing governance complexity in sustainable development, but will also feature the launch of an innovative research agenda and partnership on these issues.

Draft Agenda:

Alexander Buck, International Union of Forestry Research Organizations

Prof. Steven Bernstein, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. “Embracing Complexity in the Reform of Institutional Frameworks for Sustainable Development”
The challenge for the reform of institutional frameworks for sustainable development is to identify which of the many proposals for reform, singly or in combination, will best respond to the evolving social, environmental and economic challenges of sustainable development governance while at the same time be viable given an equally challenging global political and economic environment for any institutional reform effort. This talk will discuss these options, building on the speaker's report for the Beijing high-level symposium.

Prof. Benjamin Cashore, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University. “How Markets Govern and How to Govern Markets: Private Authority and Governance for Forests Sustainability”
The 1992 Rio Earth Summit was a turning point in the history of private governance as one of the lingering outcomes was a spike in interest in forest certification. By looking at the role of private governance in the last 20 years, we can think about the broader role of markets and their potential for sustainability. Aiming to synthesize key lessons from the last 20 years of private authority, this talk will focus on the key trends to be expected in the next 20 years of governing through markets.

Sébastien Jodoin, Lead Counsel for Climate change, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law. "Integrating the Social Dimension of Sustainability into Green Economy Mechanisms: Human Rights in the Transnational REDD+ Regime”
Drawing on findings regarding REDD+ readiness efforts in Guyana, Indonesia, and Tanzania, this talk discusses how and why the REDD+ regime may either promote or undermine the rights and livelihoods of Indigenous and forest-dependent communities, with a particular focus on safeguards, certification schemes, capacity-building, and institutional reform.

Michael Stone, Coordinator, Forest Policy and Governance Program, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University. "North/South Coordination in Transnational Regulation: Legality Verification Efforts”
The growing interest in ‘legality verification’ has given rise to a series of bilateral negotiations and unilateral regulations on the timber supply chain which work in unison to take a more targeted approach to developing forest governance. This talk argues that the result so far seems to be an approach that can meet the interests of developing countries, reward the developing world’s most sustainable firms, and provide opportunities to expand sustainable forest management.

Discussants:

  • Dr. Nigel Sizer, Director, Global Forest Initiative, World Resources Institute

  • Dr. Yurdi Yasmi, Manager for Capacity-Building and Training, The Center for People and Forests

Reforming and enhancing institutional frameworks for sustainable development requires an understanding of the multiple pathways through which complex arrangements in global governance bring together multiple institutions, actors, and processes in a manner that cuts across public and private authority, national borders, and policy sectors. Four such pathways of governance have been identified: international rules, international norms, markets, and direct access to domestic policy-making processes. Multiple channels of governance may be synergistic, or they may overlap, perhaps with contradictory authorities and mandates.

One important goal of this side-event and associated research is to study the interactions between pathways and find ways to increase coherence and synergies among governance mechanisms. This theme also orients our attention to the increasing role of non-state market-driven initiatives such as global certification systems (eco-labeling), and corporate social responsibility. Discussions on institutional reform and the green economy require an understanding of what makes these initiatives effective in directly addressing problems (such as increasing consumer awareness and supply chain tracking) as well as their effects in supporting, complementing or hindering other public policy objectives and mechanisms.

Due to its economic, environmental, and social dimensions, processes, and stakeholders, the transnational governance of forestry can serve as a cross-cutting illustration of the challenges and opportunities for managing complex global governance for sustainability. Speakers will therefore discuss overlaps, conflicts, and synergies within complex forest governance frameworks, drawing on case studies focusing on non-state market-driven systems, REDD+, and legality verification schemes, emphasizing their role in global efforts for sustainability, development, and human rights.

This side-event aims to contribute to Rio+20 discussions and outcomes on institutional frameworks for sustainable development and the green economy by identifying best practices for managing the interplay between public and private actors, authority, and arrangements. In addition, this side-event will also feature the launch of a research agenda and partnership on “Managing Complexity in Transnational Forest Governance,” which will be featured in the proposed compendium of Rio+20 commitments.

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