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Patricia Blazey

First Name: Patricia
Surname: Blazey
Department Dept of Accounting and Corporate Governance
Supervisor(s): A/Prof Hope Ashiabor ,

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Paper Title

REGULATORY CHALLENGES FACED IN CONTROLLING THE DEFORESTION AND DEGRADATION OF TROPICAL RAINFORSTS

Abstract

Housed mainly in developing countries, tropical rainforests have been subjected to deforestation and degradation over the past 200 years escalating in the past 20 years due to world demand for forest products and land use change. These is cause for concern as these forests store and absorb vast quantities of carbon, house important ecosystems, attract substantial rainfall, store fresh rain water, play host to the majority of the worlds’ biodiversity and are home to millions of people.

The preservation of these tropical rainforests has been low on the international environmental agenda until the climate change debate brought about an interest in protecting these forests because they play a valuable role in absorbing and storing carbon.

This thesis argues that international and national action is required in the immediate future to prevent rainforest loss from worsening. Developed countries are now willing to provide financial aid to developing countries if they agree not to deforest as the sequestrated carbon has a value on carbon markets. In 2008 the United Nations introduced programmes that facilitate reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in the form of REDD and REDD+. The programmes require an effective regulatory framework at both the international and national level. At the national level an effective forest framework which encompasses clearly drafted property laws, land laws and environmental laws is crucial if there is to be a positive outcome to financial assistance programmes.

The thesis assesses the effectiveness of existing international conventions which relate to tropical rainforests and other initiatives that have seek to ensure sustainable forest management. The thesis looks at the feasibility of introducing an international regulatory framework to facilitate programmes such as REDD and REDD+. It recognizes that at the national level existing forest regulatory frameworks are often poorly drafted and implemented due to lack of capacity on the part of governments in these countries. In order to identify the common weaknesses three case studies are included which focus on Papua New Guinea, Brazil and Indonesia. The thesis makes recommendations on forest policy reform identifying the type of legal framework necessary at both the international, national and regional level that will prevent the current unsustainable level of tropical rainforest deforestation.