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The New Transnational Public Law: the case of forest certification

Professor Errol Meidinger
SUNY Buffalo Law School

Date: 31 May 2005
Time
: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Venue
: CARR Seminar Room, H615

Abstract

Plausible arguments can now be made that a new transnational public law is emerging and that it is not reducible to the activities of governmental and intergovernmental agencies. This paper takes those propositions as a starting point and offers a preliminary description of the dynamics of the new transnational public law in the arena of forestry regulation. The most important development in the field has been the establishment of a set of competing forest certification programs. These are non-state based institutional systems for certifying to a putatively global public that forest based products have been produced in an environmentally sustainable and in some cases socially just manner. These programs involve formal standard setting and enforcement structures and produce the equivalent of social licenses for forestry enterprises. This paper outlines some emergent central principles and institutions in the field as well as central areas of contestation. It also describes calculations and strategies used by transnational environmental organizations in trying to shape and establish the new public law, responses of industry based interests, and current dynamics of the process.

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