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Analyzing the Politics of the Emerging Global (Timber) Legality Regime in the US, the EU, and Australia

Environmental Policy
Governance
International Relations
Policy Analysis
Political Leadership
Regulation
Constructivism
Qualitative
Sina Leipold
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Sina Leipold
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Metodi Sotirov
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Georg Winkel
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Abstract

Global environmental policy related to forests experienced a major paradigm shift in the field of illegal logging. Whereas earlier policies promoted voluntary agreements and aid programs in timber exporting countries, the US, the EU and Australia recently passed legally binding policies prohibiting the import of illegally logged timber into their markets. These policies have been viewed as an emerging “global legality regime” which scholars expect to have considerable impact on global trade flows and forestry practices. Yet, the environmental politics related to this regime have not been analyzed. This paper fills this gap with an interpretive analysis of the politics of illegal logging in the US, the EU, and Australia based on 99 expert interviews, approx. 300 policy documents, and participant observation data. Our results show that the regime emerged out of domestic politics which are decisive for evaluating the implementation of the regime and likelihood of certain outcomes.