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In support of Objective No. 3 of CICI-2003

Ravi Prabhu1, P. Abbot, D. Blay, K. Buchanan, F. Castañeda, A. Danso, M. Dudley, J.M. Kim, A. Marjokorpi, M. Nkosi, B. Pokorny, R. Prasad, H. Seppanen, H. Thiel, D.Wijewardena, P. Wright

with contributions from
V. Agyemah, J.J. Campos, B. Finegan, C. Sabogal, T. Schlichter, A. M. Tiani

International Conference on the Contribution of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management: The Way Forward (CICI-2003)
Guatemala City, Guatemala,
3-7 February 2003


Reviewers of earlier drafts of this paper have suggested that we should be careful about not confusing C&I with certification. We have tried throughout to separate the two, but the boundaries often blur in national strategies for achieving sustainable forest management and since this paper focuses on national experiences this fuzziness may sometimes be reflected in the paper. Another suggestion by some reviewers was that we try and organize the paper along the lines of the nine international processes. The decision not to do so was taken by the senior author based on the fact that in a paper on the implementation of C&I, the fact that they may have the same conceptual origin is completely masked by the contexts within which they are being applied. Thus what stands out is the national experience. Furthermore, putting them together in processes might lead to the assumption of similarities that do not exist in reality. Hopefully these choices support the needs of a readership interested in implementing C&I.

The authors would like to thank Marcela Ochoa, William Mankin, Christel Palmberg-Lerche, Robert Hendricks and the two anonymous reviewers for their comments.



C&I for SFM have come a long way since ITTO first published their set a little over a decade ago (ITTO, 1992). Since that date nine international criteria and indicator processes have been launched involving approximately 150 countries and covering most of the world's forested area. But how far has the global community come with the implementation of these C&I? How are they being implemented and what lessons can be learnt from these efforts to implement them? These are some of the questions that this paper will seek to address.

Identifying, describing and analysing the implementation challenges for C&I across all 150 countries is not possible nor is it useful in a paper of this nature, even if all the information were readily available. In fact, most countries have not begun implementing C&I, and of those that have most are in early or trial stages of implementation. For instance, ITTO's comprehensive field-testing of C&I found that almost 75 percent of the 32 countries studied did not have sufficient data relating to indicators to establish benchmarks. The study also found that, of the four major obstacles to implementing C&I, three related to lack of capacity: lack of financial resources, limited skilled staff and the unavailability of data. The other hurdle, identified as the most important, was the lack of political commitment. (Report on the field-testing and four workshops in training the trainers in implementing ITTO Criteria and Indicators, XXXth Session of ITTC).

Thus this paper will seek only to capture the `flavour' of the challenges, constraints and successes that countries are facing as they seek to implement C&I as tools for facilitating or strengthening SFM. This report, therefore, is based on a cross section of `cases' from across the globe. These are `stories' from a selection of countries from all geographical regions of the world, with a regrettable under-representation of Europe (mainly due to a lack of response to a call for the sharing of experience related to the topic of this report). Each of these countries has its own special context for the implementation of C&I and is at a different stage of the implementation processes. From these cases, presented in an Annex2, it is sought to draw out the key lessons from what is still very much an unfinished story.

The `case studies' assembled in this paper seek to sample some of the diversity of approaches and contexts that exist across the globe with respect to the development of C&I. The cases were selected based on responses to requests for information related to the terms of reference for this paper and for a proposed outline. While the response has been overwhelmingly positive, information has not been equally available on all topics. Geographically, Europe has been under-represented in this paper, more certainly reflecting the tight schedules of potential European contributors than it does a dearth of information.

First, a brief overview of the C&I processes in which these countries are involved as they affect the implementation of the approach adopted by them is provided. Then, the legal and regulatory basis for the implementation of C&I in these countries is examined, as it is expected that this will have a major influence on the manner C&I are used and the institutional arrangements required for this purpose. From here, the nature of stakeholders involved in the implementation challenge is looked at, before examining the actual institutional and organizational arrangements that frame the collaboration of these stakeholders. This leads then to examining the capacity and resources required to make the implementation of C&I possible. What kind of data management have these countries entered into for the implementation of C&I? How does information flow, to whom and for what purpose? These are the questions it will be sought to answer in the following two sections. In the last two sections the role and contribution of research, from the perspective of these countries, as well as the possible way forward for all those engaged in the implementation challenge, will be looked at. In reading this paper it will be important to refer to the Annex for illustrations of the diverse approaches to meeting implementation challenges, for it is there that the real story is told.

Though the main focus of this paper will be on C&I at the national level, the provincial and forest management unit levels, where these have been important from a country's perspective, will also be addressed. In a similar vein - although C&I as tools for monitoring and reporting on progress towards SFM will be mainly examined - where a country has placed strong emphasis on certification as part of its strategy for achieving SFM, C&I implementation within the framework of certification will also be looked at.

The paper must be viewed only as a `first cut' at trying to carve out a coherent story on the implementation of C&I.


In providing an overview of the countries to which C&I processes belong and what approaches they have adopted in implementing C&I, we have been guided by tangible influences, rather than nominal membership of a process. It is clear that all countries have been exposed to a multitude of influences from the international C&I processes, through certification to, above all, their own national needs and agendas.

Although all C&I sets aim at evaluating3 the state of forests and forest management, they are diverse in content and structure, because of the specific underlying conditions which are responsible for their development. In order to systematize the reasons for this diversity, three groups of factors can be identified after Pokorny et al. (2002) as shown in Figure 1: (1) varying external framework conditions, including factors that indirectly influence the individuals involved in the process of developing C&I; (2) characteristics of the C&I development process, including specific work conditions and attributes of individuals4 directly involved; and (3) demands raised by specific application of C&I in relation to financial and human resources, as well as time constraints5.

Figure 1: The key factors for diversity of C&I sets (after Pokorny forthcoming)

For most countries considered for this paper the journey towards developing C&I at the national level began with their involvement in one of the nine international processes. The two exceptions are Ecuador and South Africa whose C&I development processes seem to have responded in the first instance to national initiatives, although international influences cannot be ruled out. At the forest management and sub-national levels the influences have either been from certification, as is the case in Brazil or Ghana, or have been driven by the need to find a way to effectively link national information needs and capabilities to those at the sub-national level; the LUCID and model forest programmes in the United States and Canada are examples of this. Finally, there are a lot of efforts to implement C&I type instruments at the local level for project monitoring and evaluation that have not been documented in this paper. CIFOR is conducting research on the use of indicator-based collaborative monitoring arrangements to promote improvements to local forest management.

Clearly, the nature of the processes and their goals will have some influence on the nature of the stakeholders involved and the capacity to implement C&I. This influence will be greater depending on the degree to which stakeholder consultation and implementation measures are articulated within the process. For example, comparatively little is said about these issues in the dry-zone process as compared to the Montreal process; contrast this with the detailed certification prescriptions and the influence of the `process' can be gauged.

Two main factors stand out when the current state of play of implementation of C&I is considered. Firstly, there is the issue of stakeholder interest and involvement in implementation. As stakeholders, any group of people who might have a legitimate interest in the information generated by C&I, or might own or have the capacity to generate information of interest, is viewed. Thus, stakeholders include government departments, NGOs, private industry, small- and large-scale forest owners, and other such groupings. The other factor is the capacity of such stakeholders to engage in the implementation process. Often, this capacity is lacking and measures to build it will be called for. Capacity building is often viewed as a process by which `abilities' or `resources' are added to a group (or an individual). This may be true in many cases, but it is certainly not a general rule. Creating a capacity to engage in the implementation process might be as simple as sensitising a group about the potential benefits of using C&I, thereby `unlocking' innate capacity that would otherwise not have been available. This kind of capacity building will probably be necessary for large sections of society. In any case, capacity building will raise the need for additional resources.


Nearly all national and international C&I processes are based on the commitments made during UNCED in 1992, specifically paragraph 11 of Agenda 21 of the protocol. These commitments were later confirmed and elaborated by a number of regional programmes in the different continents. Finally, nearly all national forest programmes contain declarations of intent in relation to sustainable development and the role of C&I in achieving it.

There is a diversity of approaches to setting the legal and regulatory basis for C&I. In some countries C&I have a strong foundation in the laws of the country, and many have recently enacted new legislation for this purpose. South Africa is a good example of this, and the enshrinement of C&I in the National Forest Act of 1998 is in fact the main motor for their development and implementation. In Korea, too, recent changes to the forest legislation have strengthened the role of C&I. In other countries development and implementation is taking place within existing legislation; examples here are the United States and Canada. Where such momentum already exists it may not be necessary to provide a legal basis for C&I; generally, however, it would appear that giving them a legal foundation is conducive to their development and implementation in areas where such development is not progressing well.

The regulatory basis for C&I implementation will vary according to the task they are set. They need to be regulated in the strict sense of the word only if they are used for inspection or auditing, or in the type of mandatory certification being envisaged in Ecuador. In most other cases there is a need only to regulate the kind of information that is being collected for monitoring purposes so as to ensure comparability over time.


Stakeholders interested in forest issues may be generally found at four levels

Countries have used a wide variety of approaches to engage or sensitize stakeholders. Such approaches have included meetings, conferences, workshops, seminars, development of networks and committees, putting key documents in the public domain for comment, conducting action research with them or planning and implementing outreach programmes using the internet, the print media or radio and television. In the United States, for example, a national roundtable on sustainable forests to facilitate stakeholder involvement was organized.

For countries participating in one of the nine international or regional processes the development phase was led largely by the government agency promoting each country's involvement. International NGOs and industry were involved at that stage. It is in adopting such processes within countries that major domestic stakeholders are more closely involved. The most common types of stakeholder involved in the development and implementation of C&I are the different wings of government, forest owners and environmental NGOs. But each country, depending on its own circumstances, has added other stakeholders. For example, in New Zealand the stakeholders included, in addition to the above, universities, research organizations and the farm forestry organization. In Namibia small-scale wood-craft producers and the charcoal industry were involved along with research institutes focused on deserts and desertification. In countries where FMU-level C&I were adopted the key stakeholders involved were generally the forest owners, trade unions and local communities. Obviously the nature of the stakeholders involved changes with the scale of application of C&I and the purpose for which they were being used.

An evaluation of the national forest certification project in Ghana highlighted the following factors, which have been adapted to make them more pertinent to our discussion here:

As we all know, effective stakeholder involvement is the key to success of C&I implementation. Unless there is buy-in from all parties involved, implementing any sustainable management initiative is doomed to fail. However, stakeholder processes are usually slow and can be expensive as they inherently seek to influence in some way the behaviour or attitudes of these groups. Recognizing the key role that stakeholder processes play in the successful implementation of C&I, several international organizations and bilateral development agencies have come forward to support such efforts. Indeed, most such examples that were reviewed had received either funding or technical support from one or more extra-national agency.

In order to facilitate the full involvement of stakeholders in the implementation of FMU-scale C&I it was considered useful to:


Institutional coordination plays an important role in making implementation feasible. In some countries, measuring and analysing data for some indicators may be the responsibility of another government institution and not necessarily that of the national forest service. For example, measuring water-related indicators may be the responsibility of the Ministry of Land and Water; soil erosion indicators may be the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture; forestry labour force indicators may be the responsibility of the office of statistics or the Central Bank. This makes it even more important for the co-ordination and participation of various government agencies in helping implement C&I. Furthermore, the national forest service - the government agency more directly responsible for implementation - needs to have the capacity to coordinate actions, to store and analyse data and share results with all stakeholders.

In Ecuador, and to a lesser extent in the United Kingdom, there are novel efforts to outsource entire responsibilities to the private sector, other governmental institutions and civil society. Such `experiments', if that is the right term for them, are as much a reflection of adaptation to resource constraints as they are to fundamentally rethinking the role of government.

Many of the institutional arrangements have been referred to in the previous section, such as the formation of committees or task forces. More important than creating `new' institutions will be the effective use of existing institutions such as inter-departmental co-ordinating committees, or liaison with groups responsible for `state of the forest' or `state of the environment' reporting. The incremental value of linking up with such groups is often greater than initiating a new arrangement, especially when the potential sustainability of such new arrangements or institutions is considered. Australia has used regional forest agreements (RFAs) as one of the primary incentives for the development of C&I. RFAs represent 20-year agreements between the State and Commonwealth governments regarding the management and use of identified forest regions with five-yearly review processes involving public consultation on implementation activities. Similar approaches have been reported from Canada where in Newfoundland and Labrador the government is drafting a 20-year forestry development plan that will include specific references to a provincial set of C&I, and it is considering integrating the indicators into legislation. At the other extreme, the FMU level, Canadian model forests have finalized sets of local-level indicators suited to their particular needs. In this case the `model forest' itself becomes the institutional arrangement for implementing C&I.

Despite this, new institutional arrangements will have to be forged in order not to create redundant capacities for generating and processing data and information for C&I. Overcoming resistance and inertia between collaborating groups horizontally and across tiers of hierarchy will be difficult and will depend heavily on whether the stakeholders concerned are convinced of the benefits of the exercise. In South Africa and Korea the process of C&I implementation seems to have been given a major impetus through the work of high-level commissions that have sought to bring a broad, multi-stakeholder view to SFM and the role of C&I. In South Africa this has been the Commission on Sustainable Forest Management which plays an advisory role to the relevant Minister and Forest Department; in Korea it is the Presidential Commission on Sustainable Development.


In most countries C&I development is still in its early stages; very few have moved on to actually implementing C&I. It is safe to say that in no country can C&I implementation be characterized as `main-stream' and `routine'. Thus, there is an experimental and somewhat tentative nature to all the information provided on capacity and resources in the Annex. It serves little use to provide that information here. Suffice to say that the estimates for `costs' of implementing C&I vary from a 60 percent increase to current monitoring and assessment costs in the United Kingdom, to no increase at all in Ecuador. The United Kingdom is an example of a country with a fair amount of experience with C&I implementation and thus these cost estimates need to be treated seriously. However, these costs also reflect the nature of the information the United Kingdom considers to be important, and the scale, periodicity and granularity of this information. In the case of Ecuador the reason that C&I implementation is not expected to generate an additional burden on the national budget is very simple - Ecuador does not believe it can bear the additional costs. Thus, they have pared down what they expect from C&I to what they can afford. In general, there will be additional costs for implementing C&I, as the Korean and South African cases suggest; however, these will vary according to the needs, existing capacities and available funding of the countries concerned.

However, it is clear that international organizations and bilateral development agencies have their biggest role to play here with respect to developing capacity for implementation. Indeed, this has been recognized and several bilateral development assistance agencies - including the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom (DFID), the German Technical Assistance Agency (GTZ), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Finnish International Development Agency (FINNIDA), the Netherlands Government, multilateral development banks, FAO, ITTO and UNDP, to name a few - have been actively involved in fostering capacity for implementing C&I. Nor is the direction of capacity building solely from countries of the `North' to countries of the `South'. CIFOR has been involved in the transfer of expertise to countries such as the United States and Austria, to name a few.

Another aspect of capacity building that needs to be recognized is the incorporation of C&I into curricula at technical training schools and universities. Little progress has been made on this score so far, and the little that has been made has been largely as a result of certification being included in curricula and as the subject of short professional courses.

By and large the burden of capacity building has fallen on governments and, where there is little external support or little external recognition of the value of C&I, the departments concerned are facing an increasingly difficult challenge in arranging for training and motivation. It is important that this burden be shared across more shoulders than those of government alone, but a prerequisite for this happening is broad stakeholder involvement in the C&I implementation process.


As has been recognized in Australia, the capacity for C&I reporting depends on the technical and organizational capacity to collect, collate, analyse and validate large sets of data, that may be spatial or non-spatial, on a broad range of forest attributes.

We can hypothesise that little `new' data need to be generated for C&I implementation; in most cases it is simply a question of connecting disjointed information strands and collating or processing the information that exists in those strands. However, this requires a fairly major effort to analyse potential data sources and to devise ways of connecting them sustainably. In this section we are more concerned about the technical capacity to manage and process data.

Again the `story' here is one of great diversity. The Korean case documents the efforts of a country to develop data management for forestry in accordance with the latest design principles and possibilities of information technology. This has considerable costs, but is likely to produce efficiency gains. In India, on the other hand, existing data management infrastructure is anticipated as being the backbone for a C&I-based information system. Obviously, if resources were available, there is a desire here to upgrade the system. Currently, in India, as in many other countries, these resources are not available. South Africa shows a middle way between the more `high-tech' approaches adopted in Korea, the United States and Canada, and the United Kingdom case outlines some of the key considerations in upgrading data and information systems.

In Australia data availability and capacity for monitoring and reporting varies widely, depending on:

It would appear that, where affordable, linking C&I data to a geographic information system and sharing those results across a network would be conducive to getting the maximum benefit for the costs incurred. Taking one step further, it would appear that formalizing the information-sharing networks would help this process further. In Canada one of the initiatives that may use and store C&I-based data is the National Forestry Database, a programme to establish a comprehensive national database on forest management activities. At the FMU level an example is outlined of how C&I-based information has been used in scenario planning in the McGregor approach to SFM, also in Canada.

However, for the most part it is noted that there is an insufficient capacity to adequately manage and process the large volumes of data already being produced, let alone additional data that C&I assessments require. This is a severe constraint to the implementation of C&I and their widespread adoption.


Simply considering a `state of the forest' report as the end point for C&I is not enough, as most countries considered have shown. Rather, there is a need to actively forge a network of users and uses for C&I-based information, if it is ultimately going to support policy reform and the sometimes elusive goal of effective adaptive management. In Korea, for instance, the entire data and information collection and distribution system is under review in order to support the development of an advanced management information system. This will result in extensive networking of the entire forest sector in South Korea and it is expected that C&I will be incorporated into this information system in the short to medium term. The Namibian case highlights some of the `platforms' that have been created to share information about C&I, and the Brazilian case suggests what dangers might lie ahead if the networks for information-sharing are not effective and well conceived.

This applies across all scales, from the national down to the FMU levels, as the South African and Indian cases illustrate. In Canada (see box below) and in the United States there have been rather interesting approaches at the FMU level to create `communities of C&I information users'.

A Congress of Indicators

The Long Beach Model Forest has been working on innovative ways to involve community members in forest sustainability monitoring and to communicate the results. At the same time a related project, the Ha'hulthi traditional ecological knowledge project, has been working with elders to document traditional resource management knowledge of the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples. The notion of `living respect' is central to Ha'hulthi and best describes the traditional ways of stewarding, including monitoring resources wherein different community members would have different roles such as Streamkeeper. The proposal for a living Congress of Indicators is currently being explored. The initial idea would have community members from the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, including government personnel and school children, partnered together in teams. Each team would represent an indicator and with a group of related indicators they would form a criterion. They would be responsible for ensuring that the indicator be monitored and results distributed. The Congress might be held once in a year in the community at which indicator or criterion teams would provide updates and stories on the status of the indicator. This novel approach to presenting the information achieves several things: it re-instils the concept of `living respect' and the roles associated with the idea of Ha'hulthi in people; it builds bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members; it can result in broad community involvement in sustainability monitoring; and it presents a novel way to present and share information.

The conclusion has been stressed throughout this paper that key data and information relevant to an assessment of SFM be distributed across the stakeholders in the forest sector and beyond. Forging partnerships that allow the data to be connected through bridges - technological, institutional and organizational - will be the key to ensuring that information flow to those who need it most from those who possess it.


Although there is wide acceptance that research has an important role to play, very few of the countries concerned have active research on the subject. Yet the investment in research is important if C&I are to be integrated into the mainstream of national policy-making and forest management; they must be adapted to the conditions of their use and to the goals they are supposed to serve. While it is possible to adapt research that has taken place elsewhere, especially international research, this is not a substitute for research on adaptation to national contexts.

There is very little research currently being conducted on the implementation of C&I in developing countries, and this must be of serious concern. In their project on adaptive collaborative management, CIFOR is currently researching the implementation of local indicators to facilitate strengthening of local monitoring and management. However, this project only addresses implementation issues in the context of community-based forest management. It does not deal with forest enterprises. Nor is research taking place on implementation of indicators for national-level monitoring. These are serious deficits.

In industrialised countries, on the other hand, there are several multi-year initiatives on developing, testing and implementing C&I, notably in Canada, Australia, the United States and Finland. However, by its very nature such research tends to be context- and need-specific, thus limiting the transferability of results. IUFRO has taken a key role in catalysing the exchange of information related to the development of C&I; while this is important information it does not quite cater to the needs of the stakeholders involved in implementing C&I.

For research on implementation it would probably be more useful to forge strategic alliances among implementing agencies, research institutes and donor organizations to conduct `action research'. An example of such an alliance is the one between the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa (DWAF), CIFOR, IIED and other local partners. This alliance was facilitated by DWAF and DfID and is being supported financially by the latter. CIFOR and IIED provide expertise, backstopping and facilitation based on their international research expertise; however, all the `research and action' in South Africa is carried out by South African institutions. The arrangement has the advantage of researching how C&I might be implemented at national, provincial and local levels, at the same time as building capacity. Such action research avoids the pitfalls of traditional `technology transfer' approaches where frequently a round peg might end up being hammered into a square hole, or ownership at the end of the period may be sorely lacking.


C&I provide an important framework for characterizing SFM, monitoring goals of national forest programmes and reporting and monitoring trends of forest values over time. In terms of ways and means for taking C&I forward the following will need consideration:

Currently, there are nine international forest-related C&I processes8 which vary in their coverage, development and implementation. Harmonization of international forest reporting processes drawing on the various C&I processes, where feasible, represents an opportunity for reducing the reporting burden of countries and promoting monitoring efficiencies. Importantly, this includes the potential scope of existing C&I processes to help report against the multi-year work programme of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the IPF/IFF proposals for action.

Stakeholder involvement is a key to the success of applying C&I. However, more is needed for the success of C&I implementation - the institutional arrangements around the production and application of C&I-based information must be conducive to collaboration among stakeholders and must serve the same goals that C&I seek to serve. For this to succeed these institutional arrangements must be adequately resourced and equipped and the people involved must have the capacity to deal with their responsibilities.

Views on indicators are continually developing, at international, national, regional and local levels, as forestry policy develops and our understanding of forestry's potential contribution to sustainable development improves. So we need to have data collection systems that will be flexible enough to meet future needs, rather than tie them rigidly to an initial set of indicators. We are therefore dealing with a moving target and this needs to be taken into account. For this purpose support to research on indicators and their use is critical.

It is important to recognize that C&I are not ends in themselves. Only if they fulfil a clearly (and widely!) recognized need will they catalyse action on implementation. The ITTO field-tests found that FMU-level adoption of C&I was far greater than at country level because they saw it as a means towards getting certification. It is also likely that implementation at the FMU level does not embody some of the tricky scale- and hierarchy-related data transformations that are necessary for national-level utilization of C&I. For C&I to make an implementation breakthrough it will be important that the groups and people involved in providing, processing or utilizing data and information see benefits for themselves. These benefits may take different forms. In countries that are able to bring together sufficient funding to support a dedicated information system, the benefits might take the form of jobs or financial incentives. But even in such countries it is unlikely that sufficient funds will be available to cover everyone's engagement. Here, as in other countries with smaller budgets, it will be important to design C&I implementation in such a way that it makes sense to all concerned, i.e. it is not an overly onerous extra responsibility and at the same time they can derive some benefit out of the information for themselves. For this purpose integrating the use of C&I into an adaptive management approach would seem critical to achieving its utility.

Merely producing a report on the state of the forest may not go far enough if there is no adequate feedback loop to improving management. It would be important to recognize the value in the process of developing and implementing C&I to the organization and to partners. Implementing a C&I programme can help build a common vision of sustainability and a common language that allows individuals with diverse perspectives to more effectively communicate with each other.

In summary, strengthening stakeholders' capacities to efficiently implement C&I may require the following:

Much thought has been devoted of late to enabling the use of C&I as tools not only for monitoring and evaluating SFM but also for integrating them into the `normal' workflows of forest management, such as processes of delegation, assignment, the transfer and leasing of forests, finance, institutional capacity development, etc. More work needs to take place in this area, and a greater exchange of experience should speed up progress.

There are as yet unharnessed opportunities to use sub-regional and regional institutions to facilitate capacity building for the effective execution of C&I in the area of data collection, data bank creation, processing and analysis. Another step along the same route would be to promote and support regional and sub-regional workshops to facilitate information exchange based on the experience of different processes.

One contribution of this international conference would be to distil the background papers and the exchanges at the conference into a simple and generalisable set of user guidelines for implementation of C&I.

Finally, it is important that C&I implementation be a journey that has only just begun; it would be important also to go a significant distance along this path before any assessments of the benefits were made. Premature assessments, as is often the case, would lead to the wrong conclusions. That said, it is important that the utility of C&I-based information systems be evaluated in order to assess their efficiency in supporting SFM. Like so many other things related to managing complex forest-people systems, these assessments must be iterative and support learning for improvement, because that is what, in essence, C&I set out to support to accomplish.


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1 Acting Director, Program on Forests and Governance; CIFOR Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa; 73 Harare Drive, Mt. Pleasant; Harare, Zimbabwe; Tel: 263-4369655; Fax: 263 4369657;

2 The present discussion paper is an extract of an extended version, referred to as the "Annex" and which has been printed separately as a draft.

3 The term is used in its general sense here. Often the term `assess' is used to connote a non-judgemental evaluation, whereas `evaluate' is taken to mean a judgement (e.g. good or bad). In reality there is no difference between these terms as in any case monitoring only makes sense if it leads to improved decision-making, which sets out the need for choices and therefore judgements. However, in our use of the term `evaluation' we do not foresee an end-point judgement as necessarily being part of a C&I evaluation or assessment. In fact, that, we expect, would be part of a separate process.

4 There can be little doubt that a C&I set defined by environmentalists would differ from sets defined by forest enterprises or scientists.

5 A C&I set for monitoring community forestry projects will be different from those used in auditing commercial exploitation projects or in decision-making at political level.

6 The Collaborative Partnership on Forests currently consists of 11 members: Secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), Global Environment Fund (GEF), International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank.

7 Note that indigenous and conservation groups may have stakeholder representation across all four levels.

8 African Timber Organization, Dry Forest Asia, Dry Zone Africa, ITTO, Lepaterique, Montreal, Pan-European, Tarapoto, and Near East processes (CPF 2002); Collaborative Partnership on Forests' (CPF) Framework to Support the Work of UNFF.

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