“Everybody’s business” - Global Forest Governance and the socio-ecologies of commercial forestry in Sierra Leone
Authorvan der Horst, Gregory Alan
AffiliationResource Management and Geography
MetadataShow full item record
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2016 Dr Gregory Alan van der Horst
As a product of the generally increasing “globality” of human thought and practice, since the 1990s in particular, the world has seen the development and normalisation of completely novel initiatives which overturn millennia of thinking about land and land-based resources. Specifically, what has emerged is a set of discourses, agreements and agencies that proclaim global responsibility for the care and regulation of diverse ecologies collectively reconstituted as facets of a singular planetary ‘Environment’. Among the myriad examples of this trend one of the most prominent has been the emergence of what has been called a “Global Forest Governance” regime, of which the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (EU-FLEGT) is a key component. In this thesis I present a critical assessment of these developments, focusing on recent attempts to implement EU-FLEGT in Sierra Leone. Examining the programme’s approach, viability and effects in relation to the country’s nascent domestic commercial forestry industry, I advance three main arguments. The first is that though EU-FLEGT is presented as an offshoot of recent shifts from “government” to “governance” it is properly understood as the ideological progeny of international ‘Development’ and the modern ‘Environmental’ movement. The second is that as a result, its design, approach and even problem definitions are deeply incongruous with the perspectives, practices and realities of its intended recipients. Finally, the third is that, ironically, in reinforcing (more-than) colonial style “command and control” approaches to resource management, it has supported the development of the very sorts of civil society formations that it rhetorically supports but has thus far failed to incorporate into discussions on forest governance. Such groups, however, have emerged largely to confront rather than cooperate with formal structures and centrally designated agents of forest management and governance. As a result, in Sierra Leone thus far the programme’s primary impact has been to reinforce a key obstacle to its own implementation by strengthening the resistance of local industry-oriented civil society groups at the expense of state authority – achieving a central goal of “governance” reform despite itself.
KeywordsGlobal governance; environment; Africa; logging; forestry; Sierra Leone; EU-FLEGT; chainsaw; CSM; forest
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