Josiane Kakeu

Research Student, University of Leeds

Josiane Kakeu

Thesis Title: Implementing REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) in the global south: The case of Cameroon in the Congo Basin forest

As a Commonwealth-funded PhD candidate at the University of Leeds, Josiane is researching what has been widely acknowledged as the most challenging environmental problem of our time – climate change and the policies and governance required to tackle it. Josiane has an interest in the policing of greenhouse gas mitigation especially from the forest sector which constitutes a major source of emissions in tropical countries.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) is a relatively novel programme designed at the global level to address forest emissions; yet the history of environmental policymaking is littered with ground-breaking international initiatives often at odd with on-the-ground realities. Josiane undertook to take soundings from grassroots communities and national-level decision-makers to investigate how REDD+ fits with domestic circumstances in Cameroon within the Congo basin, drawing on her forestry background.

Josiane holds an Engineering degree in Forestry and Wildlife and has over seven years of experience in tropical forest and natural resource management. Her involvement in forest and protected areas puts her up against the multiple facets and assets of conservation, as well as the challenges in implementing the global conservation agenda within locally deprived communities and economically underprivileged countries in the quest for economic ascension.

Josiane’s interest in the REDD+ scheme is motivated by its deflection from mainstream global environmental policies; besides urging for action, the scheme proposes financial compensation to disadvantaged forest-rich countries in exchange for engaging in the protection and sustainable management of their forests. Josiane joined the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) to pilot test several REDD+ initiatives in remote forest communities. Josiane’s PhD research has given her the opportunity to take a step back, take stock and reflect on ways to forge the best possible way ahead for REDD+ and climate governance broadly.

Josiane’s first publication showcases several local REDD+ pilots and discusses how existing forest policies affect their performance. Josiane also introduces an approach to identify the key factors that sculpt the outcomes of a REDD+ project.

In her upcoming release, Josiane will address the thorny issue of integrating environmental and development policies in countries of the global south where the political agenda is more than often overridden by poverty alleviation and economic growth.