Deadlock or Transformational Change? Exploring Public Discourse on REDD+ across Seven Countries

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This paper investigates public discourses on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) across seven countries to assess whether they support policy reforms. The paper argues that transformational discourses have at least one of the following characteristics: they advocate specific policy reforms that address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation; they take into account potential risks of a REDD+ mechanism; they go beyond technocratic solutions to reduce emissions; they explicitly challenge existing power relations that support drivers of deforestation. The evidence indicates the predominance of win-win storylines, a lack of engagement by state actors with debates on potential negative socioeconomic outcomes of REDD+ and little attention to the drivers of deforestation. The paper concludes that in order to achieve a shift towards transformational discourse, reformist policy actors and the media need to engage dominant policy actors in debates about how to reduce pressure on forest.

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