To what extent does consulting with indigenous communities improve the legitimacy of environmental governance? This question was addressed by analysing the consultation process organised within the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) readiness phase in Mexico. Criteria to assess governance legitimacy were compiled from scientific literature and compared with those adopted by international indigenous rights agreements. The extent to which these criteria were met and how they were implemented in two indigenous communities in the Yucatan Peninsula was assessed through documents and interviews analyses. Results show that, despite the progress that Mexico's consultation protocol represents, it did not include an intra-community representation criterion; transparency, accountability and deliberation criteria were not completely reached in practice; there was discordance between official and local participants' understanding of consultation objectives; and no agreement or consent were sought from the participants. These findings provide lessons for other governance projects implemented through consultation with local communities both in Mexico and elsewhere.
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Vol. 21 • No. 2