Josiane Kakeu, Eng., PhD

Josiane Kakeu, Eng., PhD


I completed a Commonwealth-funded PhD degree at the Sustainable Research Institute. The research programme investigated what has been widely acknowledged as the most challenging environmental problem of our time, climate change. Tackling climate change successfully demands sound policies and effective governance, hence my interest in the policing of greenhouse gas mitigation from the forest sector that 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 riddled with ground-breaking international initiatives often at odd with on-the-ground realities. I undertook to take soundings from grassroots communities and national-level decision-makers to improve understanding of how REDD+ fits with domestic circumstances in Cameroon within the Congo basin, drawing on my forestry background.

I hold an Engineering degree in Forestry and Wildlife and over seven years of experience in tropical forest and natural resource management. My involvement in forest and protected areas exposed me to 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.

My 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 their engagement in the protection and sustainable management of their forests. I joined the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) to pilot test several REDD+ initiatives in remote forest communities. My PhD research offers the opportunity to take stock and reflect on ways to forge the best possible way ahead for REDD+ and climate governance .

In my first publication below, I showcase several local REDD+ pilots and discuss how existing forest policies affect their performance. I also introduce an approach to identify the key factors that sculpt the outcomes of a REDD+ project.

In my upcoming release, I will put a finger on the thorny issue of integrating environmental and development policies within countries of the global south where the political agenda is more than often overridden by poverty alleviation and economic growth.



• Gakou-Kakeu, Di Gregorio, M., Paavola, J., & Sonwa, D. J. (2022). REDD+ policy implementation and institutional interplay: Evidence from three pilot projects in Cameroon. Forest Policy and Economics, 135, 102642.

• Gakou-Kakeu, Di Gregorio, M., Paavola, J., & Sonwa, D. J. (forthcoming). To what extent is REDD+ integrated into land use sectors driving deforestation? Insights from Cameroon. Environment, Development and Sustainability (Under review)

• Gakou-Kakeu, Di Gregorio, M., Paavola, J., & Sonwa, D. J. (forthcoming). REDD+ organisational arrangements and potential for sectoral integration: Evidence from Cameroon. Land use Policy (Under review)

Research interests

  • Forest management and governance
  • Climate change policy and governance
  • Natural resource and environmental management
  • Indigenous and local communities
  • Human Wildlife Conflicts



  • PhD
  • Engineer of Forests and Wildlife