The proliferation of sources of authority in public governance has led to a variety of partnerships developing between the state, the business sector, NGOs and other civil society actors, and to the emergence of multi-stakeholder processes to reconcile their views. Multi-stakeholder processes have also been advocated as a decision-making tool for stakeholders involved in Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). This raises questions as to how to bring closure to policy processes characterised by multiple actors and polarised views. Drawing on lessons from diverse experiences, this paper explores the potential for multi-stakeholder processes to enhance the credibility of timber verification. Key issues include ‘in which contexts’ and ‘over which issues’ it is appropriate to develop multi-stakeholder processes, and what features of the design can help to enhance their effectiveness and legitimacy.
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