Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) requires harmonizing different policy sectors and interests that have impacts on forests. However, these elements have not been well-operationalized in environmental policy-making processes of most developing countries. Drawing on five cases-Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Papua New Guinea, and Vietnam, this article aims to determine whether emerging governance arrangements help REDD+ development by delivering participatory mechanisms for policy coordination. Building upon literature on environmental governance and stakeholder participation, the article examines national governance structures for REDD+ and identifies who participates where, and what decision-making powers they have. Despite structural differences between the countries, our analysis illustrates that REDD+ potentially encourages a new form of environmental governance promoting a cross-sectoral approach and stakeholder participation. Cohesiveness of the structures within a broader governance system is key to defining the capacity of REDD+ governance. The result also poses a question as to the inclusiveness of the state actors involved in order to tackle the different pressure on forests. Considering structural inequalities, the analysis further suggests a need of policy support for those who are affected by REDD+ to ensure that their voices could be heard in decision-making processes.
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