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Restoring Government Forest Policy Prerogative? The EU FLEGT Ambivalent relationship with Private Rulemaking in the Congolese Case

Karsenty A., Montouroy Y.. 2017. In : Book of Abstracts IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress 2017. Baden-Württemberg : Forstliche Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalt (FVA); IUFRO, p. 270-270. 125th IUFRO Anniversary Congress, 2017-09-18/2017-09-22, Freiburg (Allemagne).

The aim of our presentation is to critically explore the FLEGT VPAs implementation. VPAs can be seen as an endeavour of both the beneficiaries' governments and the EU to restore the prerogatives of the public authorities regarding the control of legality. By seeking certification of all the country's production of timber, successful VPAs would question the added value of independent certification schemes, such as the FSC. However, the VPA success is far from being achieved. We especially seek to analyse the private actors and experts role. We argue here that the FLEGT has lead to an ambivalent relationship with private rulemaking and expertise. First, the EU policy transfer towards developing states occurs in a sector dominated by private rules. NGOs, firms, experts have a contentious relationship with the EU authorities as they attempt to curve EU FLEGT policy objectives regarding their own technical norms and sustainability definition. Second, experts are omnipresent. The EU and VPA state simultaneously mandate them to implement and to monitor the FLEGT VPA as the same expert already define technical norms that ground forest certification schemes. Third, the national administrations have proved unable to set a reliable national system of legal verification and traceability (SVLT) and are considering endorsing private system implemented by forest companies for EUTR compliance as "equivalent" to national norms. Grounded on a qualitative methodology, interviews with EU, Congolese and transnational organization representatives and research fields in Congo, we first analyse the EU policy transfers and then we seek to analyse the changing relationship with private actors. What are we learning from this new relationship between EU and transnational rule and how can we study it in multiscalar governance?

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