REDD+ and Green Growth: Synergies or discord in Vietnam and Indonesia

Thuy Thu Pham, Moira Moeliono, Maria Brockhaus, Dung Ngoc Le, Pia Katila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Green Growth (GG) has emerged as a global narrative, replacing to some extent and integrating earlier sustainable development narratives,
while Reducing Emissions through avoiding Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) has developed as major item in climate change
negotiations. GG and REDD+ are both considered important strategies and are often seen as synergistic in achieving major changes in economic,
regulatory and governance frameworks. Of concern, however, is that GG is sometimes seen as greenwashing of economic activities
(which could include forest conversion to other land uses) by an oversimplified presentation of win-win solutions without challenging the
actual root causes of unsustainable growth. How GG and REDD+ can contribute to transformational change in policy and practice depends on
the relationship between these narratives, especially whether their adoption in national level policies manifests synergies or discord. In this
paper, we will answer this question through analysing: (1) how the two narratives have unfolded in Vietnam and Indonesia and to what extent
REDD+ and GG rhetoric include concrete policy objectives; (2) what issues policy actors perceive as challenges for their implementation. A
comparative, mixed methods approach was employed to analyze how REDD+ and GG are framed in national policy documents. This analysis
was supported by data from interviews with policy actors in both countries in two points of time, 2011/12 and 2015/16. The findings highlight
the challenges for implementation of both REDD+ and GG as individual policy programmes, and the dilution of the REDD+ agenda and
decision makers’ confusion about a GG strategy when these narratives are joined and translated by decision makers. Actors still perceive
development and environmental objectives as a zero-sum struggle, favouring a development narrative that might lead to neither REDD+ nor
green policy action. We conclude that REDD+ and GG can go hand in hand, if there is action to tackle deforestation and degradation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Forestry Review
Issue numberS1
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Bibliographical note

Shifting global development discourses – Implications for forests and livelihoods: Special Issue (Supplement 1, December 2017)

Fields of Science

  • 4112 Forestry
  • 511 Economics

Cite this