The Multiscalar Constructions of Climate Justice in REDD+ Policy Discourse
: A Case Study of the Norwegian-Ethiopian REDD+ Partnership

  • David Brown

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Through a multiscalar, justice-led framework and a critical discourse analysis, this thesis assesses and examines the underlying (climate) justice norms present in the Norwegian-Ethiopian REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) partnership. Here, I explore the extent to which constructions of climate justice and wider conceptions of justice align or diverge across and between scales of REDD+ discourse, including the multilateral institutions, state actors, environmental NGOs and communities in South-west Ethiopia associated with the REDD+ partnership. In this thesis, I argue that REDD+ policy practices, strategies and preferences are underpinned and justified by fundamental norms and values. By empirically examining the REDD+ policy framework through a multiscalar and justice lens, which I operationalise through document analysis and in-depth interviews, this research responds to gaps in the extant literature on climate justice and contributes to debates on REDD+ and surrounding community-level challenges. The research also seeks to investigate the extent to which justice issues in REDD+ are (de)politicised in the policy discourse. Following an in-depth and critical analysis, the findings suggest that the REDD+ policy discourse is (i) primarily driven by the interests of the Global North, emerging through a cost-effective, carbon-centric and globalising narrative (ii) formulated as a top-down framework through an international-national political interface (iii) embedded within fundamental divergences in justice norms between policy and community actors (iv) disengaged with the fundamental, deeper issues of justice associated with international climate action and sustainable forest governance in the tropics, pertaining to socio-political, cultural and ethical dimensions. This research acts as an evidence basis for better understanding the climate justice implications of REDD+ and broader tropical forest governance strategies.
    Date of Award2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorMarion MacLellan (Supervisor) & SM Charlesworth (Supervisor)

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