Contesting Justice in Global Forest Governance: The Promises and Pitfalls of REDD+

Kimberly R. Marion Suiseeya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


For more than 30 years, diverse actors in global forest governance have sought to address the justice concerns of forest peoples - concerns about displacement, marginalisation, and loss of identity - related to forest interventions. Despite the mainstreaming of justice obligations into the global forest governance architecture and the proliferation of justice practices across multiple scales of governance, claims of injustice persist. The growing prominence of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation plus the enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) as a primary mechanism for addressing global forest loss and degradation has again directed attention to the justice effects of global forest policies on forest peoples across the Global South. While REDD+ proponents argue that safeguard procedures and participatory processes will promote justice, opponents argue REDD+ will exacerbate injustices. To generate new insights into the persistent justice debates in REDD+, this paper draws attention to the role of norms in constraining and shaping policy designs and outcomes. It asks: to what extent and how does REDD+ as articulated in UNFCCC decisions respond to the established justice trajectory in global forest governance How do current approaches in REDD+ create and constrain opportunities for justice for forest peoples An empirical analysis of justice norms in global forest governance, including REDD+, demonstrate that while justice possibilities under REDD+ could narrow, opportunities for norm contestation are expanding. These additional opportunities can create conditions conducive to broader norm shifts in global forest governance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-200
Number of pages12
JournalConservation and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Indigenous Peoples
  • REDD+
  • climate change mitigation
  • environmental justice
  • forest peoples
  • forest policy
  • norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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