The Administrative Law of Global Private-Public Regulation: The Case of Forestry
17(1) European Journal of International Law 47-87 (2006)
47 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2006
An important ensemble of transnational, trans-governmental regulatory institutions has emerged in the forestry sector over the past decade. These ‘forest certification’ programs set global standards for proper forest management and apply them through institutionalized licensing and inspection programs. Similar programs are appearing in other sectors. Developed largely by environmental NGOs and industry associations rather than governments, forest certification programs are nominally voluntary, but increasingly mandatory in practice. They are also gradually linking with government regulatory and management programs in various ways, while remaining in tension both with each other and with government programs. The overall regulatory system is thus highly dynamic, as the programs compete with each other for business and also with government regulatory programs for public acceptance.
This paper describes and assesses the administrative law – i.e., the requirements for rule making and rule application – of the emerging global forest regulatory system. It finds that while the certification programs are becoming increasingly effective, transparent and participatory, often comparing favorably with government programs, some of them still need considerable improvement and all of them face serious challenges. It concludes with a discussion of the problem of accountability, outlining the possibility that the programs exemplify an emerging new kind of ‘learning accountability.’
Keywords: Transnational, Trans-governmental Regulation, Regulatory Institutions, Forestry, Forest Certification Program, Certification, Forest Management, Environmental NGOs, Government Regulatory Systems, Administrative Law, Learning Accountability
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