Session 2.3 Individual presentations: Forest trade and legality

Chair:

Metodi Sotirov, University of Freiburg, Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy, Germany

TA: Laura

 

Schedule

  1. Marko Lovric: International trade of forest products – how can it be used to study policy effects?
  2. Fafali Roy Ziga-Abortta: Effectiveness of the Transnational Timber Legality Verification Regime: the case of Ghana’s Timber, Legality Assurance System (GhLAS)
  3. Simon Bager: Reducing Commodity-Driven Tropical Deforestation: Political Feasibility and “Theories of Change” for EU Policy Options

Marko Lovric, European Forest Institute

International trade of forest products – how can it be used to study policy effects?

Studying effects and evaluation of forest-focused and forest-related policies is usually based on a combination of document analysis and collection of primary data through interviews and surveys. These types of approaches intrinsically yield qualitative results. However, there is a quantitative, validated and globe-encompassing data set which is rarely used for these purposes; international trade data as collected by UN Comtrade. In this study we present various examples of relations between international trade of forest products and policies. Examples focus on taxation, tariffs, EU Timber Regulation, FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Voluntary Partnership Agreements, illegal trade, corruption and certification. Results show that it is possible to frequently yield statistically significant effects between trade and policies. However, interpretation of results is not straightforward due to (I) multiple interaction effects, many of which are not usually accounted for and (II) assigning clear qualitative meaning to the elements of analysis. The first problem can be partially tackled with an in-depth model specification, while the second problem requires quantitative data to be supplemented with qualitative interpretations by key experts.

Fafali Roy Ziga-Abortta, Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy, University of Freiburg, Germany

Effectiveness of the Transnational Timber Legality Verification Regime: the case of Ghana’s Timber, Legality Assurance System (GhLAS)

Co-author: Dr Metodi Sotirov

The EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan is one of the most innovative transnational environmental forest governance mechanisms. It combines the “push” of imposing timber legality requirements on state and business actors and the “pull” of accountability, transparency and participatory involvement of non-state actors to tackle illegal logging and trade in illegally produced forest products along global supply chains. FLEGT stimulates formation of Voluntary Partnership Agreements between EU and timber producing countries to economically reward progress towards the rule of law through offering beneficial access to the EU market.

We present policy research that explored the effectiveness of timber legality verification regime drawing on Ghana’s Legality Assurance System (GhLAS). Informed by institutional theory of international regimes, six key aspects of effectiveness (problem solving; goal attainment; behavioural change; process effectiveness, constitutive effectiveness, and evaluative effectiveness) as baseline for regime evaluation suggested by Young (1994) were employed as the main analytical framework. Based on the qualitative analysis of 12 interviews and 8 documents, our results revealed that GhLAS has made substantial strides towards in: reducing illegal logging, promoting trade in legal timber, increasing transparency and accountability, improving benefit sharing and generally improving forest governance. However, we unravelled evidence of certain factors that constrain legality verification including weak systems infrastructure and neglected domestic markets with adverse effects on smallholders in the informal economy.

In conclusion, we identify areas of policy and legal action where there are still major hurdles that the FLEGT regime needs to overcome considering special circumstances such as poverty and limited alternative means of survival for chainsaw operators in the informal economy. Key conclusion is that conscious efforts are needed to increase capacity of medium and small-scale timber operators to enable them become legally compliant and stay in business which is otherwise dominated by large scale companies.

Simon Bager, UCLouvain

Reducing Commodity-Driven Tropical Deforestation: Political Feasibility and “Theories of Change” for EU Policy Options

Consumer countries play an important role in driving tropical deforestation through imports of forest risk commodities (FRCs), but their role in reducing deforestation has received limited scholarly attention. We draw on grey literature and a European Commission (EC) public consultation to identify 1,141 policy proposals for the EU and other consumer countries to address tropical deforestation. We summarize these in 86 unique policy options and classify these according to policy instrument and actor targeted. Two-third of the policies are informational and supportive policies, while regulatory and market-based options are less-often proposed. For the 86 summary options, we assess the political feasibility and map the “theory of change” (TOC) – the causal chain through which the policies address tropical deforestation. We identify several feasible options, though most of these rely on less coercive policy instruments. Most policy proposals lack an explicit and proven TOC, reducing their potential impact on reducing deforestation. Due diligence and multi-stakeholder fora stand out as politically feasible and potentially effective policies. To increase the feasibility and impact of consumer-country deforestation policy options, we propose three principles:
i) Build policies on a clear theory of change,
ii) apply policy mixing and sequencing, and
iii) work with stakeholders in key supply-chains and regions, broadening scope over time.

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