Godfather Politics and Exclusionary Local Representation in REDD+: A Case Study of the Design of the UN-REDD-Supervised Nigeria-REDD Proposal

  • Emmanuel O. Nuesiri
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Natural Resource Management book series (PSNRM)


Nuesiri assesses the UN-REDD (United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) commitment to strengthen local democracy as a safeguard protecting local interests in REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation with the added goals of Conserving and Enhancing Forest Carbon Stocks, and Sustainably Managing Forests). The chapter examines local representation during the consultative process associated with the Nigeria-REDD proposal. Local representation was through selected individuals (descriptive representatives), customary authority, and NGOs (symbolic representatives). Elected local government authorities (substantive representatives) were excluded from the consultative process. Exclusion of elected local governments is linked to godfather politics in Nigeria, which enables state governors to subordinate local government authority and constrain their responsiveness to local needs. In approving the Nigeria-REDD proposal, the UN-REDD reinforced the subversion of local democracy in Nigeria. The UN-REDD would be fulfilling its democracy objectives in Nigeria by engaging substantively all local governance actors, including elected local government authorities.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuel O. Nuesiri
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Social SciencesUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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