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 This scoping study evaluates the nature, scope, and scale of Chinese trade and investment relations in the primary sector of mineral-rich Zambia. It details how, despite diplomatic ties dating back to the liberation struggle of the 1960s, economic and political relations between the two countries matured only over the 2000s. This has focused primarily on the mining sector, with Chinese companies, many of which are state owned, investing heavily in mineral prospecting, copper mining and smelting, and associated (service) industries. With most investment activities targeting the mining sector, contrary to popular perception, China’s direct participation in other primary sectors, such as forestry and agriculture, is negligible.<br>With Zambia’s economy long struggling under external debts, Chinese investments have made a valuable contribution to Zambia’s economic recovery. Most significantly, capital injections in the mining sector have led to a rehabilitation of dilapidated mining infrastructure, while enhancing the country’s production capacity through the construction of new processing facilities and the development of greenfield mines. These investments have proven to be more stable and less subject to commodity price fluctuations than their Western counterparts. Moreover, while Chinese investors are widely criticized for their poor corporate performance, on most labor-related and environmental dimensions, Chinese mines perform on-par with industry averages. Chinese investors do appear more inclined to rely on close relations with the Zambian government and geographic clustering with other Chinese investors to forge a favorable and stable operating environment, which could adversely impact on their social responsiveness and government revenue generation. However, early evidence appears to contradict many of the long-held assumptions about Chinese economic and political participation in resource-rich countries.
 Pro-Formal results indicate that Cameroon is characterized by a large, vibrant and largely informal domestic timber sector, which supports the livelihoods of thousands of local forest users including small-scale farmers, indigenous communities, chain-saw millers, traders and service providers.  The domestic timber sector is characterized by the activities of smallholders, chain-saw millers and traders who rarely own a legal harvesting permit and extract and process small quantities of trees with chain or mobile saws. The resulting low-quality timber is traded in domestic markets or across the borders of neighboring countries (e.g. Chad and Nigeria), with little formal taxation.  Informal taxation, conversely, is pervasive along the production chain. Results indicate that informal operators pay about 9% of their profit margins, or about EUR 6 million per annum, in bribes to representatives of ministries, local police, the military and customs officials.  By signing the VPA, Cameroon has committed to undertake broad governance reforms of the entire forestry sector. Existing laws are not geared to sustaining a healthy, small-scale, domestic timber market. Pro-Formal findings indicate a need to improve and simplify access to the resource; to develop and adopt specific fiscal regimes for the domestic timber sector (such as royalty rates, processing, transport and marketing levies); to improve access to credit on favorable terms for small-scale operators; to create incentives to comply with the law; and to improve flows of information to smaller operators. 
 HighlightsControversies about the expansion of planted forests develop amidst confusion about terminology, its scope and definition, and the fact that many terms are ideologically loaded.In this context, it is surprising to find that very few attempts have been made to propose typologies and to strictly define categories for such man-made ecosystems.There are conceptual and scope differences between definitions, categorizations and typologies. Specifically, typologies require mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive categories, and are the focus of our analysis.It is important to have purpose-oriented typologies, i.e. defined to serve a given policy objective that provides flexibility in the design and use of such typologies to address specific questions, and avoids the great challenge of dealing with multidimensionality with many variables.Our case study of the opposition between small-scale versus large-scale planted forests, which is a prominent distinction supposed to inform on impacts, actually shows confusion between scale and ownership as discriminative variables. In addition, this classic opposition fails to acknowledge the contrasting contexts as illustrated by case studies in Australia and Indonesia where small and large mean and imply very different things.There remains a need for both a universally recognized typology produced by consensus to enable the release of statistics and fruitful debates, and purpose-oriented typologies produced by stakeholders in given contexts to inform specific policies.
 HighlightsGlobal experience of employment generation in timber plantations shows contrasting outcomes including in terms of rural development, but there are also commonalities such as poor working conditions, seasonality of employment and relatively low labor intensity over large areas compared to other land uses.Ethiopia conforms to this pattern, based on a case study of an industrial timber plantation, with low wages and reliance on casual jobs without formal contracts in a rural context of a weak labor market with few employment opportunities.Gender wise, the opportunities are uneven with a large majority of positions filled by men resulting in a marginal involvement of women, and a great potential for improvements in this field.Employees with agricultural land (a minority) appreciate the provision of additional sources of incomes, and the flexibility in work arrangement that allows them to simultaneously engage in agricultural activities. However, we also notice that daily labor as the main model of employment has serious implications with respect to social security and various benefits that would be associated to labor contracts.As the Government of Ethiopia is committed to promote afforestation and reforestation on 7 million hectares (ha) in view of making the country self-sufficient in wood, enhancing carbon sequestration and supporting green growth, these lessons would be usefully applied in the future. There are indeed great expectations that timber plantations and processing units will create significant rural and urban employment opportunities.
 HighlightsZero-deforestation commitments are emerging rapidly in Indonesia. They already encompass a large portion of crude palm oil production and almost all the pulp and paper (P&P) sector; typically, they reflect the values of the “no-deforestation, no-exploitation (social) and no-peat” policies.These commitments depend on definitions of ‘forests’ for their identification and conservation, which in turn rely on methodologies such as High Conservation Value and High Carbon Stock.Early implementation has revealed that the palm oil sector is facing a number of governance challenges to achieve commitments: the legal framework is not systematically supportive of the pledges, and the government promotes a different vision of sustainability. Of note is the fact that the P&P sector is more advanced.Integration of smallholders into sustainable value chains poses another challenge for the palm oil sector: traceability, better environmental performance and improved yields require urgent action. Legalization of smallholder operations is critical and goes beyond commitments, because it determines access to financing and certification, among others.To be effective, zero-deforestation commitments must align public and private governance arrangements. This requires an agreement on visions of sustainability supported by public policies; progress on land tenure; enforcement of progressive regulations at national and regional levels; and the implementation of strong policies to rationalize the expansion of small and medium holdings of oil palm.Legacy issues must also be addressed for the main palm oil and P&P groups: land restitution through due processes, support to smallholders and investments in land restoration are some promising avenues worth pursuing.
 Key findings There is very little clarity even among experts on the broader implications of the different carbon accounting methods, or of the design of the MRV system as a whole, particularly for the social, political and economic outcomes (e.g. outcomes related to benefit sharing). Greater understanding of the needs and interests of different actors through improved communication, dialogue, and trust between national and regional governments, and between scientists and policy makers, could lead to a more useful and effective institutional architecture for MRV. The development of the MRV system in Peru demonstrates the challenges inherent in vertical and horizontal (multilevel) coordination, including between the national government and regional governments, and across sectors, particularly the environment and agriculture sectors. Better intra- and inter-institutional coordination could help mitigate the costs associated with investment in overlapping activities, such as unhealthy competition, inefficient use of resources and the need to adapt or abandon work in progress. The technical complexities of MRV, particularly methods of monitoring and verifying carbon emissions analysis and changes in forest cover through high resolution spatial images, influence which actors are involved in the design process and the nature of their involvement. In Peru, this process has excluded those without this expertise, such as subnational governments that have limited technical capacity and funding and, in many cases, suffer from institutional instability.
 Key points Under Colombian law, the sale of game to cover basic needs (e.g. housing, health, education) or to buy other food items is not allowed, since this is considered commercial hunting and does not fall under provisions allowing for subsistence bushmeat hunting. Law 611 (2000) opened the path to legal commercial use of wildlife. In practice, however, the requirements for obtaining legal permits for commercial hunting activities make it extremely challenging for rural communities to obtain them. Aware of the role that bushmeat plays in food security, family economy and cultural identity among many rural communities, a number of high-profile Colombian environmental institutions participated in a workshop in 2015 to discuss the operationalization of the legal framework for the trade in bushmeat by rural communities. One of the main conclusions of the workshop was that commercial hunting regulations need to legally distinguish between large-scale commercial hunting and the sale of surplus game by subsistence hunters in rural communities. Indeed, these two types of commercial hunting differ in terms of the scale of action, the governance systems in place and the ways in which benefits are equitably distributed among different actors. The main recommendation was that the regulatory framework should adopt flexible management processes for the local development of sustainable management rules (e.g. list of tradable species, quotas, open seasons, monitoring and evaluation systems). This would allow for the recognition of the specificities of each socio-ecological context, rather than imposing a national-level framework that would likely fail, given Colombia’s diverse biological and cultural characteristics.
 Key messages Competing land claims are the primary cause of conflict between communities and companies in most industrial tree plantation conflicts. Conflicts manifest in different ways. Communities often conduct physical protests and media campaigns, whereas companies frequently avoid dialogue and enlist the services of security forces to suppress conflict. The involvement of security forces should be regulated. Conflicts where external security personnel were involved had fatalities in 32% of the cases, versus none of the cases where external security personnel were not involved. In cases where violence occurred, the violence was mostly conducted by or directed against security personnel, army and police forces. However, we cannot differentiate between whether they were involved in a conflict already about to escalate, or whether their involvement escalated the conflict into violence. Mediation is widely misinterpreted and poorly implemented. However, efforts are being made by government and non-governmental actors to build capacity in principles and practices of mediation. More effort should be made to support communication between parties in conflict and to offer professional mediation services at an early stage of conflict. For the many conflicts that have already escalated to levels of physical violence, efforts to transform how the conflict is expressed or external intervention to enforce a solution may be most appropriate. While communication between conflicting parties may be supported by government, it should not be mediated by government, as government is in itself an actor in most of the conflicts (as it issues the permits to the land). Ideally, mediation services can be provided by professional mediators who are part of the Impartial Mediators Network or registered under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or the Chamber of Commerce. Concrete actions that signal the parties’ commitment to ending or de-escalating the conflict are critical. Local activists and community members report that companies that are RSPO members are more easily held accountable. They also respond faster to complaints, even without direct intervention of the RSPO. Most conflicts with fatalities (67%) occurred on plantations that were not associated with an international sustainability initiative such as RSPO or FSC.
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