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Most countries differentiate between two types of government expenditure on forestry:

recurrent or operational expenditure, which includes expenditure on staff, utilities, consumable materials and travel; and

investment expenditure, which includes the purchase of capital items such as vehicles, machinery and buildings, as well as expenditure on specific projects.

Strictly speaking, the inclusion of expenditure on projects as investment expenditure is not quite correct (e.g. it includes expenditure on project staff), unless the project results in the creation or improvement of a capital asset (e.g. a forest plantation). However, most countries seem to consider all types of project expenditure as investment, so this convention will be followed here.

Only a limited amount of information was provided by countries about different types of expenditure and the different activities supported by government expenditure. However, the following general observations can be made:

In general, operational expenditure, particularly on staff costs, accounts for the majority of domestic funding for government expenditure on forestry. For example, in the 17 countries providing information about investment expenditure, only 14% of domestic funding was used for investment in 1999. In 10 of these countries, this proportion is less than 10% (and in seven of them it is less than 3%).

In contrast, nearly all external funding is spent on investment (i.e. projects). Indeed, external funding accounts for the majority of investment in the forestry sector in Africa. For the same 17 countries providing information about investment expenditure, 73% of total investment expenditure in 1999 was supported by external funding.

The only countries that have significant domestic investment programmes in forestry (i.e. over US$ 1 million per year) are: Côte d’Ivoire; Ethiopia; Liberia; Mali and Senegal.

Most countries could not easily identify how much government expenditure was specifically devoted to sustainable forest management. Indeed, the range of subjects covered by forestry projects in countries is very wide. However, the most common types of investment projects seem to be reforestation projects, for either community forestry, commercial forestry or control of desertification, or investment in infrastructure.

Where investment in infrastructure was clearly identified, much of this investment was supported by external funding and went towards purchasing equipment and providing buildings for specific activities such as research, education and training facilities. However, many countries remarked that these aspects of forestry development still receive inadequate funding to support the types of work that are now required.

Most of the money spent on more general forestry projects was spent on two main subject areas: community forestry and protected area management. Investment in these areas seems to attract a wide range of different types of external support, including support from: The Global Environment Facility (GEF); IUCN; international NGOs; and charities, in addition to the traditional sources of external support for forestry projects and programmes.


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