UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Multilevel Governance for Forests and Climate Change: Learning from Southern Mexico Rantala, Salla; Hajjar, Reem; Skutsch, Margaret


Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) involves global and national policy measures as well as effective action at the landscape scale across productive sectors. Multilevel governance (MLG) characterizes policy processes and regimes of cross-scale and cross-sector participation by multiple public and private actors for improved legitimacy and effectiveness of policy. We examine multilevel, multi-actor engagement in REDD+ planning in Quintana Roo, Mexico, to find out how local perspectives align with the national policy approach to REDD+ as an integrating element of holistic rural development at territorial scale, and how current practices support procedurally legitimate MLG required to implement it. We find that there is wide conceptual agreement on the proposed approach by a variety of involved actors, in rejection of the business-as-usual sectoral interventions. Its implementation, however, is challenged by gaps in horizontal and vertical integration due to strong sectoral identities and hierarchies, and de facto centralization of power at the federal level. Continued participation of multiple government and civil society actors to contribute to social learning for locally appropriate REDD+ actions is likely to require a more balanced distribution of resources and influence across levels. Meaningfully engaging and ensuring the representation of local community interests in the process remains a critical challenge.

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