Two new publications including VITRI staff

One of them is available for free until July 19!

Objectives, ownership and engagement in Lao PDR’s REDD+ policy landscape

Robert Colea, Grace Wong, Maria Brockhaus, Moira Moeliono, Maarit Kallio


Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is envisioned as a performance-based incentive to influence forest use behavior and governance towards the preservation and management of forests. In relatively forest-rich Lao PDR, the policy space that REDD+ planners are attempting to navigate is populated by enduring political and economic interests that affect the country’s forest estate. A further layer to the problem of REDD+ planning is the tension between often expert-driven, externally proposed solutions; national ownership over interventions; and the extent of political will to take action to reform currently unsustainable patterns of forest and forest land exploitation. This paper draws from a series of semi-structured interviews conducted in 2013–2014, to develop a political and institutional analysis of the limitations to the effectiveness of REDD+ in steering towards a lower forest-derived emissions trajectory in Lao PDR. While internationally-driven projects follow long-standing national objectives to varying degrees, it remains unclear how REDD+ can target main drivers of deforestation in the absence of a more politically engaged and nationally-owned planning process, that also challenges the prevailing logic of avoiding these drivers. Despite the importance of improving domestic ownership over REDD+, this would arguably be of limited impact unless oriented towards transformational change that would seek to overcome political and economic barriers to avoided deforestation. Stronger ownership could be developed via more mutually driven REDD+ planning, while tackling main drivers of deforestation necessitates as a starting point the engagement of powerful actors that have so far been absent from REDD+ debate.

Identifying mismatches between institutional perceptions of water-related risk drivers and water management strategies in three river basin areas

Aleksi Räsänena, Sirkku Juhola, Adrián Monge Monge, Mira Käkönen, Markku Kanninen, Anja Nygren


Water-related risks and vulnerabilities are driven by variety of stressors, including climate and land use change, as well as changes in socio-economic positions and political landscapes. Hence, water governance, which addresses risks and vulnerabilities, should target multiple stressors. We analyze the institutional perceptions of the drivers and strategies for managing water-related risks and vulnerabilities in three regionally important river basin areas located in Finland, Mexico, and Laos. Our analysis is based on data gathered through participatory workshops and complemented by qualitative content analysis of relevant policy documents. The identified drivers and proposed risk reduction strategies showed the multidimensionality and context-specificity of water-related risks and vulnerabilities across study areas. Most of the identified drivers were seen to increase risks, but some of the drivers were positive trends, and drivers also included also policy instruments that can both increase or decrease risks. Nevertheless, all perceived drivers were not addressed with suggested risk reduction strategies. In particular, most of the risk reduction strategies were incremental adjustments, although many of the drivers classified as most important were large-scale trends, such as climate change, land use changes and increase in foreign investments. We argue that there is a scale mismatch between the identified drivers and suggested strategies, which questions the opportunity to manage the drivers by single-scale incremental adjustments. Our study suggests that for more sustainable risk and vulnerability reduction, the root causes of water-related risks and vulnerabilities should be addressed through adaptive multi-scale governance that carefully considers the context-specificity and the multidimensionality of the associated drivers and stressors.

[This publication will be available for free till July 19 from the following link:]