Reaching Consensus  

RAP PUBLICATION 2007/31

Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission

 

REACHING CONSENSUS

Multi-stakeholder processes in forestry:
experiences from the Asia-Pacific region

D.A. Gilmour, P.B. Durst & K. Shono

FOOD AND AGRICULTUR ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED
NATIONS REGIONAL OFFICE FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Bangkok 2007



The designation and presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries.

All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for sale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders. Applications for such permission should be addressed to the Senior Forestry Officer, FAO

Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, 39 Phra Atit Road, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.

© FAO 2010

ISBN 978-974-7946-98-7

For copies write to:

Patrick B. Durst
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Maliwan Mansion, 39 Phra Atit Road
Bangkok 10200
THAILAND
Tel: (+66) 2 697 4000
Fax: (+66) 2 697 4445
E-mail: Patrick.Durst@fao.org


FOREWORD

Since the Earth Summit at Rio in 1992, there has been a significant change in the institutional settings for forest management dialogue and decision-making. Prior to Rio, the most common paradigm could be characterized as a top down one of “government knows best.” However, in many countries this led to considerable conflict over many aspects of the way that forests were managed, not least being agreement on the social objectives of forest management. Progress became mired in uncertainty and dissension. Since 1992, there has been a universally accepted focus on the goal of sustainable forest management, with its emphasis on integrating economic, social and environmental outcomes. However, a social construct such as sustainability is subject to competing claims over its interpretation, and it is inevitably contested at all levels from the global to the local. This has meant a move towards a more inclusive approach to decision making; one that has involved an expansion of the number of stakeholders involved in debating and making decisions about forest issues.

By nature, forestry is multi-disciplinary and highly complex. In addition to timber needed to sustain forest industries, forests provide a wide range of goods and services that ultimately ensure the well-being of societies. They provide food, medicine and other plant material directly needed by humans, help to maintain the hydrological cycle, regulate climate, harbor biodiversity, protect cultural values, and support other economic sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, tourism and wood-based industries.

Considering the broad range of people and sectors impacted by forests, decision-making in forestry can no longer be the exclusive domain of governments and the privileged groups of people. For forest management to be successful in today’s world, mechanisms must be established to ensure effective participation of diverse stakeholders in decision-making processes. The purpose of such multi-stakeholder processes is to balance the perspectives and priorities of all affected and interested individuals and groups, leading to forest management approaches that better serve the needs and priorities of all. Such processes also serve to foster wider support and a sense of ownership for the decisions that are taken, so that their implementation will be more effective.

Over the past two decades, a large number of multi-stakeholder processes have been established in Asia and the Pacific to strengthen forest management decision-making. Some have been founded at the regional or international levels, but most are active at national or local levels, where forest management has the greatest immediate impact on individuals. International organizations, such as FAO, should continue to play a role in building the capacity of forestry and other agencies to facilitate and promote more generalized multi-stakeholder dialogues and decision-making.

Experiences of the multi-stakeholder processes in the Asia-Pacific region have been mixed. Initially, progress was been slow, but more recently there is evidence that the forest management paradigm is changing for the better. More and more multi-stakeholder processes are being established and existing processes appear to be benefiting from the experiences of earlier initiatives. This publication is intended to further increase the knowledge and understanding of multi-stakeholder processes in forestry in the Asia-Pacific region. We hope that it will subsequently lead to more rapid adoption of multi-stakeholder processes that are truly effective in delivering the diverse benefits of forests to society in a balanced and equitable manner.


He Changchui

Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Several people provided constructive comments to an earlier draft of this paper, and helped to ensure that it presents a comprehensive and balanced treatment of the subject. Of particular note were the contributions of David Cassells, Tony Costantini and David Lamb. The authors would also like to extend appreciation to the many people who have contributed information on various multi-stakeholder processes in the region. To all of them, many thanks.

ACRONYMS

ACICAFOC

Central American Association for Indigenous and Agroforestry Communities

AFP

Asia Forest Partnership

APFC

Asia Pacific Forestry Commission

CAR

Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative

CIFOR

Center for International Forestry Research

COFO

Committee on Forestry

CPF

Collaborative Partnership on Forests

CRA

Comprehensive Regional Assessment (Australia)

CSD

Commission on Sustainable Development

DFCC

District Forest Coordination Committee

DFID

UK Department for International Development

DENR

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (Philippines)

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

FGLG

Forest Governance Learning Groups

FLEG

Forest Law Enforcement and Governance

FLEGT

Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Task Force

ForestPACT

Forest Partnership for Action and Commitment Today

FPCD

Foundation for People and Community Development

FSC

Forest Stewardship Council

FSSP

Forestry Partnership

FSSP&P

Forest Sector Support Program and Partnership

FUG

Forest User Group

GFTN

Global Forest and Trade Network

IAF

International Agreement on Forests

ICRAF

World Agroforestry Center

IDRC

International Development Research Centre

IFF

Intergovernmental Forum on Forests

IGO

International governmental organization

IIED

International Institute for Environment and Development

IPF

Intergovernmental Panel on Forests

ITTA

International Tropical Timber Agreement

ITTO

International Tropical Timber Organization

LGU

Local government units

MFP

Multi-stakeholder Forestry Programme

5MHRP

5 Million Hectare Reforestation Project

MNSC

Multi-stakeholder national steering committee

MSP

Multi-stakeholder process

NFP

National forest programme

NGO

Non-governmental organization

NIPAS

National Integrated Protected Areas System

Norad

Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation

ODA

Official Development Assistance

PAMB

Protected Area Management Board

RECOFTC

Regional Community Forestry Training Center

RFA

Regional Forest Agreement

RIL

Reduced Impact Logging

RRI

Rights and Resources Initiative

SIDA

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

SPC

Secretariat of the Pacific Community

TFD

The Forests Dialogue

TNC

The Nature Conservancy

UNCED

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development

UNFF

United Nations Forum on Forests

USAID

United States Agency for International Development

USDA

United States Department of Agriculture

VFDS

Vietnam National Forestry Development Strategy

VPA

Voluntary Partnership Agreement

WBCSD

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

WCFSD

World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development

WRI

World Resources Institute

WSSD

World Summit on Sustainable Development

WWF/IUCN

World Wide Fund for Nature/World Conservation Union

To remain relevant…forestry institutions must evolve into or be replaced by new organization norms that are characterized by open, learning institutions that are based on participation, collaboration and mutual learning through adaptive management and action research.

(Cassells, 2001 p.7)

Unlike in the old days, it does not make sense any more to sit with a few friends in some headquarters office cooking up national plans for forests. You have to involve people in planning if your plan is to have much hope of being listened to and implemented by them.

(Mayers, 2003, p.1)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive summary
1. Introduction
  Background and objectives of the study
  Paradigm shifts in forest management
2. Changing institutional mechanisms for consultation and dialogue in forestry
  Key concepts
  Stakeholders/Pluralism/Participation
  Engaging with multiple stakeholders
  Multi-stakeholder processes (MSPs)
  Common features of MSPs
  Strengths and weaknesses of MSPs
3. Multi-stakeholder processes in the Asia-Pacific region
  Initiatives with an international/regional origin
   National Forest Programmes
   Model Forest Program
   Collaborative Partnership on Forests
   The Forests Dialogue
   Asia Forest Partnership
   Forest Governance Learning Groups
   Rights and Resources Initiative
   Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Process
   Voluntary guidelines for responsible management of planted forests
   Voluntary guidelines for fire management
  Initiatives with a national or sub-national origin
   Australia
   China
   Indonesia
   Nepal
   Philippines
   Viet Nam
4. Summary of multi-stakeholder processes in the Asia-Pacific region
  Status of key countries in the region
  Lessons learned
5. Conclusions and recommendations
  Conclusions
  Recommendations
  References