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Indigenous Peoples in UN REDD+ Negotiations: “Importing Power” and Lobbying for Rights through Discursive Interplay Management

Linda Wallbott, University of Münster, Germany


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In this article I analyze the strategies of indigenous peoples as norm entrepreneurs in UN climate negotiations. I set out a conceptual linkage between the emerging literature on institutional interaction and social constructivist agency. It is shown, against the background of a descriptive account of the development of REDD+ negotiations within the UNFCCC, that indigenous peoples have been able to influence the agenda by crafting their immaterial power resources through the transfer of knowledge resources and normative instances from distinct institutions. This strategy of “importing power” to the target institution, the UNFCCC, was accompanied by support of key individuals and favorable national governments. Furthermore, indigenous peoples’ demand to have their rights considered in the REDD+ agreement resonated with more established frames of global environmental politics that focus on synergies, cost-effectiveness, and management approaches. However, further research is required to figure out argumentative dynamics within the indigenous community itself and to identify the conditions that determined the level of success of their advocacy strategies.

Key words

indigenous peoples; institutional interaction; institutional linkage; international negotiations; norm entrepreneurs; REDD+; UNDRIP

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087