Theses defended

O discurso de pagamento por serviços ambientais e a mudança institucional na governação da conservação ambiental: O caso da iniciativa REDD+ em Moçambique

Manuel Mutimucuio

Public Defence date
April 26, 2022
Doctoral Programme
Governance, Knowledge and Innovation
José Reis
The payment for Environmental Service (PES) discourse, like other market-based environmental governance instruments, has become strong and increasingly ubiquitous, even though reality is much more complex than neoclassical economic theory concedes with the proposition that it is enough to put a price on the "goods" of nature to discourage predatory behaviour towards the environment. This thesis investigates this paradox bringing into analysis the initiative called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation, Forest Degradation, Forest Conservation and Increase in Carbon Stocks (REDD+), which was initially conceived as a forest carbon trading mechanism but has since morphed into a programme to instigate forest policy reforms in the global South. While it is relevant to describe the conditions that have weakened much of the REDD+ PES logic, it is of particular interest for the thesis to understand whether even in their diluted form, market-based governance instruments produce subtle or profound institutional change in the way the environment is regulated. This analysis is situated within the theoretical framework of discursive institutionalism, whose proposition, beyond the analysis of the discourse itself, calls for discussions on how various stakeholders are grouped into coalitions to advance certain narratives to the detriment of others; analyses how discourses are translated into "rules of the game" and, finally, how these coalitions of actors fight to discursive hegemony in institutional arrangements in order to achieve their preferences in terms of worldview. The empirical work, carried out in Mozambique, has produced two discourses. The first, through the notion of "integrated landscapes", frames deforestation and forest degradation as a result of lack of economic development, spurring the emergence of several ostensibly environmental projects for the intensification of agriculture and the promotion of forest plantations. The second discourse suggests that deforestation is only a problem because existing laws are not properly enforced. One of the consequences of such discourse is the rapidly evolving trend of strengthening the State´s repressive apparatus for the protection of nature, a form of the so-called "green militarism".

Keywords: PSA, REDD+, environmental service, environmental governance, forest, biodiversity conservation, climate change, discursive analysis