Non-state forest governance and 'Responsibilization': The prospects for FPICunder FSC certification in Northwest Russia
Self archived versionpublished version
MetadataShow full item record
CitationDobrynin, Denis. Smirennikova, Elena. Mustalahti, Irmeli. (2020). Non-state forest governance and 'Responsibilization': The prospects for FPICunder FSC certification in Northwest Russia. Forest policy and economics, 115, 102142. 10.1016/j.forpol.2020.102142.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-state forest certification system. FSC has been developed by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private business in order to mitigate forest conflicts. As a result, NGOs and the private sector have taken responsibility for sustainable forest management and forest conservation in many regions of the world. Incorporating Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) into the FSC standards could involve expansion of such responsibilities to local communities. FPIC provides local communities with a tool for granting or refusing consent to forestry operations conducted by timber companies. In Russia, such FSC-driven multi-level forest governance is developing against the background of exclusive state ownership of forests and the domination of state-led top-down governance approaches. FSC can encourage the development of a responsive dialogue between local communities and timber companies. However, our study in Northwest Russia, on the basis of interviews and literature analysis, shows that one of the main risks of the application of FPIC within the framework of FSC is ‘responsibilization’ - the transfer of the responsibility of state governance structures to private companies and communities without adequate attention to the latter's capabilities. FPIC can lead to situations where communities acquire new forest governance duties that they are unable to bear. This is especially so in cases where community representation remains unresolved. We argue that FPIC under FSC should not be understood as a transfer of decision-making by formal governance structures to community representatives. Rather, FPIC could be considered as a way to achieve mutual consent around forest management issues and mitigate conflicts between communities and timber companies.