New Publication: European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement in Ghana: Introducing needed change or reinforcing business as usual?

ProdJus Researchers Rebecca Rutt and Emmanuel Acheampong with lead author Christian Pilegaard Hansen to produce a policy brief focussed on Ghana.

Hansen, C. P., Rutt, R. L., Acheampong, E., van Bruggen, T. J. (Ed.), Hougaard, I-M. (Ed.), & Pouliot, M. (Ed.) (2018). European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement in Ghana: Introducing needed change or reinforcing business as usual? Policy Briefs (Copenhagen Centre for Development Research), 2018(03).


Download here

New publication: Renting legality: How FLEGT is reinforcing power relations in Indonesian furniture production networks

Maryudi, A. and Myers, R. 2018. Renting legality: How FLEGT is reinforcing power relations in Indonesian furniture production networks. Geoforum
Volume 97, December 2018, Pages 46-53.



We examine the power constellations of wood furniture actors under FLEGT.

FLEGT entrenches pre-existing inequalities and produces new modes of elite capture.

Legality verification drives new practices of renting out FLEGT licenses by larger producers.

Legality verification produces new opportunities for financial gain for larger firms.

Renting legality creates a new form of control over the market for large firms.

Financial support for women ECRs to attend in Copenhagen




This funding will pay for costs associated with attendance of the following TWO events in Copenhagen, Denmark:

  1. Timber Legality Research Symposium, October 17, 2018.
  2. Forests & Livelihoods: Assessment, Research, Engagement (FLARE) Annual Meeting, October 17-19, 2018.



The Candidate will:

  1. identify as a woman of any age;
  2. currently be enrolled in PhD studies or have completed a PhD within the last five years (any discipline);
  3. not require, or already possess a visa to enter Denmark (sorry, the timeline is too short), and
  4. demonstrate (through research or professional experience) an interest in the themes related to the Conferences, and especially timber legality.


Women who are a national, resident, or person who can reasonably claim to be a refugee from a Least Developed Country will be preferred.



The conference organisers recognise that the costs associated with attending conferences in Europe can be prohibitive, and particularly for early career researchers. Further, we recognise the systemic barriers for women to engage in such conferences, which may present opportunities to expand networks, learn about cutting edge research, and generally grow professionally.



Interested candidates should send their expression of interest to Dr Rodd Myers at no later than September 15, 2018. The expression of interest should include:

  1. A letter of introduction, explicitly confirming alignment with the Requirements and the Candidate’s closest international airport (max 1 page).
  2. A statement that demonstrates the candidate’s motivation to attend the conferences, with suggestions on how participation may benefit her career and research (max 300 words).
  3. A budget of costs, which can include:
    1. Ground transport to and from home, airport and hotel
    2. Meals (during travel, dinner on the 16th, 17th and 19th – lunches during conference, breakfast in hotel and dinner on the 18th will be included)
    3. The cost of childcare at home (up to 12 years old) or in Copenhagen (for children under 2) when other options for childcare are not possible.


Note: UEA will pay directly for conference costs, hotel and airfare, but the above costs must be claimed by receipt for reimbursement. Successful financial assistance will be conditional on demonstration that visa requirements are met.


Unfortunately, we have only limited spaces and can only reply to successful candidates. We will respond by September 20.



New Publication: FLEGT: Another ‘forestry fad’?

Rutt, R., Myers, R., McDermott, C. and Ramcilovic-Suominen, S. 2018. Another ‘forestry fad’? Environmental Science & Policy (89) 266-272.

There has been recent debate around the role of ‘fads’ in global conservation measures, and the lessons they hold for achieving desired conservation and development outcomes. Fads are characterized by initially widespread enthusiasm and major mobilization of resources followed by abandonment in favor of the next fad. Debate centers less on whether such fads exist, but rather on whether they represent opportunities for incremental policy learning, or are symptomatic of the more systemic failure of a market-based conservation agenda and the reinforcement of existing power inequalities. The European Union (EU)’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan aims to prevent the trade of illegal timber among the EU and its trading partners especially in the ‘Global South’. Fifteen years since launching the Action Plan, we ask whether the processes and outcomes of FLEGT, and specifically the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), resonate with the dynamics observed in other processes dubbed ‘fads’ within conservation and development arenas, and if so, what we can learn from this. Drawing from interviews, grey literature, and scholarship, we examine FLEGT VPAs as following three key stages of a fad: (1) there is initial enthusiasm by a wide range of actors for FLEGT as something ‘new’ or ground-breaking, (2) discrepancies and disagreements emerge about its end goals, i.e. whether it’s core purpose is to distinguish legal from illegal wood in the EU marketplace, or to achieve deeper governance reforms; while the means for achieving those goals borrow heavily from previous market-based initiatives (3) actors and champions become fatigued, yet at the same time frame elements of their own involvement as a ‘success’. Identifying these fad-like characteristics calls into question the ‘newness’ of FLEGT, by uncovering its many similarities to other market-based measures such as certification that exacerbate inequalities. Hence, branding FLEGT a success without challenging its role in the unequal concentration of power and resources, is likely to further entrench these inequalities in subsequent conservation fads, while a focus on incremental learning misses the larger failures and injustices of market-based approaches and can reinforce their re-emergence.

Free Download until October 15, 2018.

We’re hiring!

Research Associate – PRODJUS (Governance and Timber Legality)

The International Development Centre UEA is a successful team of research support that maintains an exceptional bidding culture and record of research funding in the School of International Development.  In the role of Research Associate at ProdJus you will work closely with the project Team Leader and three other co-investigators based in Ghana, Indonesia and Vietnam.  Your role will focus specifically on European non-trading timber market governance actors (certified, verified and unverified). You will interview 75-100 respondents comprising NGOs, certifying bodies, lobbyist groups, and those representing the state (EU and national).

You will have a PhD, or equivalent qualifications or demonstrable equivalent qualification in environment and development, and be able to satisfy all the essential criteria listed in the person specification.  This includes significant experience of research or applied work on multilevel governance, supranational governance and/or certification of natural resource products and be able to demonstrate strong skills in qualitative data collection and analysis.  In addition, you will be able to demonstrate an interest in FLEGT, and have evidence of good writing skills with at least one article on a related topic accepted for publication or already published in a peer review journal.  The ability to travel within Europe and engage in a range of policy settings is a key requisite.

This post is available full time, fixed term basis for one year from 2 January 2017.

Closing date: 12 noon on 31 October 2016.

For more details: