Forest politics, neoliberalism and the limits of international environmental policy

Humphreys, David (2018). Forest politics, neoliberalism and the limits of international environmental policy. In: Kütting, Gabriela and Herman, Kyle eds. Global Environmental Politics: Concepts, Theories and Case Studies, 2nd edition. London: Routledge.



This chapter explains the deforestation as an international political issue using public goods theory. It discusses the international forest politics, beginning with the forest negotiations at 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio, before tracking the aftermath of the Rio process, which has seen the establishment of international forest bodies within the United Nations system. The chapter examines the Global forest policy has developed not according to any rational design, but incrementally across several international institutions. It also examines that international forest policy has been strongly guided by neoliberalism, which favors voluntary action and business-led, market-based initiatives, while eschewing regulation and a strong role for the state. The chapter describes the World Trade Organization (WTO) has served as a powerful driver in expansion of global neoliberalism, providing neoliberal principles with a political and legal force that environmental objectives lack in global governance. International forest policy has been constructed so as not to fall foul of the WTO.

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