Evaluating environmental effectiveness of internationally negotiated tools against deforestation

2012 EEEN Forum / Evaluation

Karine Belna, Paris Institute of Technology for life, food and environmental sciences (AgroParisTech)

Today, conservation of tropical forests is at the core of a number of policies and programs emerging in the frame­work of the climate change negotiations for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation. Such initiatives are capturing most of the funding devoted to forest conservation (Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, 2009), and strongly influence the future of tropi­cal forests. For these reasons, assessing their effec­tiveness from an environmental perspective is a critical issue. However this evaluation remains complex as it raises burning methodological issues related to timeframe, articulation of spatial scales, complexity, etc. (Mickwitz, 2003). In this paper, we first discuss to what extent research on environmental regimes’ effectiveness and existing ap­proaches of policies and programs’ evaluation can help us to design a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of on-going international environmental policies. Drawing on these theoretical re­sources, we propose a framework that is based on three main issues: the standard of evaluation, the effects which will be considered and the demonstra­tion of causality. If those questions are far from being new in the evaluation field, there are often not explicitly dis­cussed by practitioners in the field of policies addressing tropical forest issues, when framing the evaluation. Sec­ondly, we take as example the main multilateral climate change initiative that supports tropical countries in address­ing deforestation: the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. We consider the normative and methodological choices brought about when designing the evaluation of its effectiveness and argue for an original qualitative evaluation design (Rogers et al., 2000).

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