PhD opportunity within the International Forest Policy research team


University of Helsinki


Sunday, August 15, 2021

Start Date

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Context and aim

Forests are high on current climate policy agendas, with REDD+ featuring prominently among other efforts to reduce emissions. Yet, forest frontiers in the Congo Basin and elsewhere in the tropics experience increasing forest loss and inequalities related to benefits and burdens from forest land use, conversion and conservation. Policy networks internationally and domestically (i.e. in the DR Congo), shape decision-making processes over climate policies, forest lands and forest-dependent people. These networks also reflect telecouplings, i.e. distant connections and feedbacks of consumption and production, and of (neo)colonial flows of commodities, finance, as well as of ideas and information. Understanding politics and power relations expressed in these flows can inform on effective, efficient and equitable climate and forest action.

The GCS REDD+ project, to which this PhD position will contribute, builds on decades of CIFOR & partners’ efforts to understand the causes of deforestation and forest degradation as well as to elaborate what can be done to reverse those trends in tropical countries. The University of Helsinki and the University of Kinshasa together with CIFOR & partners investigate the political economy of deforestation and underlying power and politics in international and national REDD+ policy arenas. In collaboration with four other PhD candidates in the FOREQUAL project, we pay particular attention to forest and climate governance initiatives such as REDD+ and possible risks to reproduce inequalities rooted in colonial patterns of exploitation in DRC’s forest and land sector. Our overall aim is to identify opportunities for and potential barriers to preventing deforestation and forest degradation in the Congo and elsewhere in a socially and environmentally just and equitable manner.