FIELDS OF INTEREST
Law, Public Policy, and Social Change; Law and Governance; Transnational and Comparative Law; Human Rights; Environmental Governance; International and Regional Trade; Economic, Social, and Environmental Crimes; Torts and Public Interest Advocacy; Social Science Approaches to Law.
DOCTORAL RESEARCH PROJECT
“Rights in a Changing Climate: The Transnational REDD+ Readiness Phase and the Rights of Local & Indigenous Communities in Developing Countries”
Since 2007, states in the UN climate regime have worked towards the establishment of a new global mechanism to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and support the sustainable management of carbon stocks in developing countries (known as REDD+). My doctoral research focuses on what is known as the REDD+ readiness phase – a transnational network of public and private actors and arrangements that seek to lay the groundwork for the domestic implementation of REDD+ in close to fifty countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America – and its implications for the rights of Indigenous and local communities that live in or depend upon forests. I conceive of the REDD+ readiness phase as a transnational process of policy diffusion through which multilateral, bilateral, and non-governmental REDD+ readiness initiatives seek to induce domestic policy change in participating developing countries. In particular, I hypothesize that the knowledge, rules, norms, economic incentives, and material benefits provided by various transnational REDD+ readiness initiatives may induce domestic policy change relating to the rights of Indigenous and forest-dependent communities in participating developing countries. In order to explain the relationship between these variables, I further identify five causal mechanisms of policy diffusion and change: learning, socialization, mobilization and protest, economic competition, and coercion. In addition, I also identify several structural factors that may condition the influence of these causal mechanisms at the domestic level, including the receptiveness of domestic policy structures to exogenous knowledge, the congruence between domestic and international norms, the domestic political opportunity structure, market dependence, and foreign aid dependence (intervening variables). Through a combination of field interviews and documentary analysis, I process-trace the operation of these variables and causal mechanisms in the REDD+ readiness efforts of three case study countries: Indonesia, Mexico, and Tanzania. I thus seek to draw casual inferences about the influence of the REDD+ readiness phase on the rights of Indigenous and forest-dependent communities in developing countries. In so doing, I aim not only to generate new empirical knowledge on the REDD+ readiness phse, but also aspire to make broader contributions to scholarship on the diffusion of public policy and the relationship between human rights and environmental policy.