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Policy adoption, legislative developments, and implementation: the resulting global differences among countries in the management of biological resources

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Policy adoption and implementation depend on a wide range of considerations that include the level of stakeholder participation and the choice of top-down or bottom-up approaches. The existence of a stakeholder participation platform is often seen as critical to facilitate both adoption and implementation of international treaties. However, it may not automatically lead to improved policy outcomes or legislative effectiveness. This study compares countries with and without stakeholder participation platforms for policy implementation and assesses whether there are differences in their management of biological resources. The study had two goals: (1) examining the adoption and implementation of public policies and legislation at national and local levels within countries; and (2) analyzing the differences between countries that have developed stakeholder participation platforms for sustainable forest management. Data were obtained from the Global Forest Resources Assessment Report 2015 of the Food and Agricultural Organization. Cross-tabulation and independent sample t test findings show strong relationships at higher levels of government between countries, but weak relationships at local levels. Significant differences are observed at all levels. These results shed light on the severe challenges that governments face in adopting global environmental policies and passing them down to local levels for implementation. The study concludes that although excellent policies and regulations may exist, they often do not lead to significantly better outcomes at all levels of government.

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Convention on biological diversity


Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations


Sustainable forest management


Stakeholder participation platform


The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity


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Data for this research were obtained from FAO, The Global Forest Assessment Report of 2015. I am also grateful to the two anonymous reviewers who provided me with insightful and valuable comments.

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Correspondence to George Atisa.

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Atisa, G. Policy adoption, legislative developments, and implementation: the resulting global differences among countries in the management of biological resources. Int Environ Agreements 20, 141–159 (2020).

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