Previous pageTable of contentsNext page



The recommendations of the Consultation are divided into five groups, based on the audiences to whom they are addressed:

(A) General (addressed generally to several relevant agencies including
governments, non-governmental organisations, private sector,
international agencies and donors);

(B) National governments (particularly policy-makers and planners);

(C) Donor agencies and development assistance agencies;

(D) Research institutions, and

(E) FAO and other international organisations.

Recommendations under each group are further subdivided by the theme areas
of the Consultation.


A.1 Socio-Economic Benefits

1. Governments, NGOs, private sector, donors and assistance agencies should place adequate emphasis on NWFP activities which have a high potential for poverty alleviation. They should, however, be cautious not to lock people into activities that do not have growth potential.

2. The contribution of NWFPs to food security and nutrition of rural people living in and near the forests should be given due recognition and attention by governments, donor agencies and financial institutions, NGOs and others when designing, implementing and evaluating development policies and programmes (e.g. forestry, health and nutrition) in forested areas.

3. Efforts should be dedicated by all concerned institutions/organisations to enhance the overall socio-economic benefits based on NWFPs.

4. Valuation of all benefits of NWFPs, also including specific non-market benefits and socio-cultural values, should be given increased attention by national governments, NGOs, international agencies, research institutions and universities.

5. Increased efforts are required on the part of all concerned agencies/institutions to help raise the awareness of policy-makers and planners on the real significance and importance of NWFP-based development, and to ensure that decisions regarding the use of NWFPs are placed in a context that recognises their values and consequences that currently go unrecorded.

6. To resolve land use conflicts over use of NWFP resources, stakeholders are to be encouraged to pursue mechanisms that bring together all parties involved to clarify tenure, access, user-rights and benefit sharing issues; international and national organisations should help to identify and disseminate information about methods of conflict resolution.

7. National and international development agencies including NGOs should ensure that the environmental, economic and socio-cultural interests are adequately represented in the project teams for management of NWFPs.

8. Gender considerations should be given appropriate importance while implementing policies and programmes relevant to NWFPs.

A.2 Processing and Marketing

1. Given that resource management, raw material production, processing, marketing and trade and related policies are interlinked, all concerned agencies/organisations should promote and facilitate better and freer flow of relevant information among all parts of this chain with particular focus on primary producers who are often not adequately served.

2. Governments, NGOs, donors and agencies providing development assistance need to recognise the importance of market factors and informed marketing strategies. The NWFPs that enter into trade require a market-oriented approach, but without disrupting local use or causing other adverse socio-economic or environmental consequences.

3. In view of the potential role of NWFPs in trade and development, the concerned national and international agencies should help to raise awareness of business community about the long-term benefits of NWFP enterprises, and to improve the flow of relevant information on products and processes, resource availability, business opportunities, end-uses and so on.

4. Studies need be undertaken, by appropriate institutions, on the implications of international conventions and agreements such as CITES and TRIPs as they affect the trade and marketing of NWFPs with a view to avoid distortions in their application and to promote a harmonious balance in resource conservation and use.

5. Regional institutions such as ASEAN and CARICOM should promote and facilitate trade in NWFPs.

6. International agencies, donors, governments and NGOs should recognize the importance of setting up units for processing NWFPs in close proximity to the raw material resources in order to improve the economic benefits to the rural people.

A.3 Resource Management and Environment

1. As appropriate and feasible local knowledge on conservation and use of NWFP resources should be collected, documented and adopted as a basis for their management. This information should be fed into data bases and dissemination systems.

2. International agencies, donors, governments, NGOs, private sector, research institutions and universities should help the development and adoption of better methods of assessment/prospecting, planning, conservation and sustainable management and use of the resource base of NWFPs.

3. The service functions of forests such as conservation of bio-diversity, their value as a source of heritage value and bio-chemical information, and their potential for supporting nature-tourism and bio-technological development should be given due emphasis.

4. The hypothesis that development of NWFPs will facilitate and support sustainable management of forest resources needs to be confirmed through investigations and case studies.

A.4 Institutional Considerations

1. In order to clearly understand the scope and boundaries of NWFPs and for international comparisons, there is need for a commonly accepted definition. The Consultation agreed on the following definition for general use:

"Non-wood forest products consist of goods of biological origin other than wood, as well as services, derived from forests and allied land uses." When using terms other than NWFPs (e.g. non-timber forest products) for specific purposes and situations, those should be appropriately defined.

2. In assessing available options for developing NWFPs, all concerned parties should consider long-term resource sustainability, improvement of local livelihood, economic viability, socio-cultural values and effects on disadvantages groups.

3. National and international agencies/institutions involved in the field of NWFPs should contribute to the improvement of scientific knowledge, technology and skills relevant to all aspects of it.

4. Efforts should be made by all agencies/institutions to improve statistical information on resource base, production, value addition and trade and other information required to develop plans and strategies for development.

5. Governments, donors and international agencies should help to establish/strengthen training and education institutions at all levels to be capable of meeting the need for multiple skills for developing NWFPs as well as for improving the local capabilities in critical areas. Special programmes and modules should be developed for training of trainers.

6. Donors and international agencies should enhance support for research in the area of NWFPs.

7. Regional (and sub-regional) centres of excellence should be identified and strengthened to be capable of technology transfer, and regional and international cooperation be promoted through collaborative research and exchange of researchers. Regional networks should be established for major ecological regions using the existing international research facilities.

8. In view of the need for dissemination of information, support should be provided by governments, donors and international agencies for establishment of national information centres and international centre/network for information exchange on NWFPs.

9. As appropriate and feasible, national policy-makers, planners, NGOs, private sector institutions and others concerned should take advantage of the existing local knowledge and promote active community participation in NWFP activities including design of management plans, establishment of value adding enterprises, identifying research needs, etc.

10. Funding/financing agencies and organisations providing development assistance should provide financial and technical support to local communities to optimise their involvement in the area of NWFPs. This should include adaptation of credit mechanisms to recognise the circumstances under which small NWFP enterprises operate.

11. Intellectual property rights such as trade secrets, patents and trademarks can help to define and retain rights to NWFP-based discoveries. Efforts must be made to develop collaborative arrangements between potential economic users and source communities and countries, in order to guarantee future potential profit-sharing (typically through royalties), if commercial products are forthcoming as well to provide for adequate technology transfer based on equipment and know how.

12. There is need for South-South and North-South collaboration in reviewing and formulating policies, procedures, rules and regulations, collaborative arrangements, etc.

13. Better coordination is needed among international assistance agencies, between institutions managing information and knowledge, and between dissemination networks.


B.1 Socio-Economic Benefits

1. With regard to policies having impact on NWFPs, the national policy-makers should ensure that development benefits rural communities through provisions for improving their access to resources and employment opportunities, facilitating willing and organised participation, improved extension and financial services, promotion of local value-adding activities and so on. The policies and related plans and regulations should acknowledge the social, cultural and economic practices and priorities of the communities.

2. Governments should identify and consider particular cultural groups that would require specific resource allocation and policy attention, based on socio-economic assessment of developments based on NWFPs, and provide support to them on a priority basis.

3. Participation of local communities in designing and implementing strategies for developing NWFPs should be facilitated through appropriate measures. The local communities and resource users should be helped to better assess their options considering long-term resource availability, technology, and economic viability.

4. Communities should be encouraged and helped to share the costs and benefits of managing NWFP resources, alongside government agencies, private sector and NGOs.

5. Tenure and usufruct rights are necessary ingredients of sustainable management of NWFP resources by local people. Governments should demonstrate greater innovative tenure reforms to encourage people's participation in sustainable forest management.

6. Wherever appropriate and feasible settlement programmes (e.g. of shifting cultivators) should incorporate a component of NWFPs to support conservation and economic objectives.

B.2 Processing and Marketing

1. Government policies should create conducive environment for development of NWFP-based enterprises, particularly for local processing. Considering the importance of NWFPs in local economy, biases against small-scale enterprises should be avoided.

2. National strategies should aim to add value to selected NWFPs through processing and marketing thereby increasing contributions to local and national economies. Such strategies should include, for example, technology and product development, promotion of export and import substitution.

3. National policies should foster more transparent transactions along the NWFP market chain. This calls for free flow of market information, regulations, measures to protect the interest of resource owners and so on.

4. NWFPs should be provided appropriate importance in the economic, industrial and trade policies of the government.

5. Processing and market development of NWFPs should not deprive the rights of local communities for goods and services such as forest food, fodder/grazing, medicinal plants, and construction materials.

6. Service-oriented, income-earning opportunities like nature tourism which are environmentally sound should be promoted.

7. Governments should promote the establishment of NWFP user industries such as cosmetics, paints, etc., so as to increase the local uses of NWFPs.

8. Governments should encourage institutions to conduct new product development and strengthen R&D.

B.3 Resource Management and Environment

1. Governments should identify critical ecosystems such as drylands, mangroves, wetlands and upland watersheds for policy attention and should develop appropriate strategies for development of NWFPs, consistent with the conservation and sustainable management of the respective ecosystems.

2. Measures should be taken to protect and profitably use the local traditional knowledge about the NWFP resources and their use.

3. The linkage between bio-diversity and sustainable use of NWFPs should be given due recognition and consideration in the plans and regulations at national and local levels.

4. Initiatives need to be undertaken for prospecting bio-diversity in forests for their chemical and biological values so as to derive legitimate benefits to the country and the people. Experiences of countries where such developments are taking place will be useful in this regard.

5. Investigations and actions on domestication of NWFP species and their integration into agroforestry systems should be taken up.

6. Governments should ensure that tenure policies decentralise resource management and encourage broad based participation (of people, private sector, NGOs) in sustainable forest management.

7. Environmental impact assessment of projects related to the use of NWFP resources should be carried out to ensure sustainability.

B.4 Institutional Considerations

1. As necessary, the governments should undertake formulation, review and/or revision of policies having direct impact on NWFPs, with clear orientation towards sustainable management of resources by:

In the process of policy formulation/review it is necessary to involve multidisciplinary teams, with all interested groups represented. It will also be useful to collaborate with and learn about the experiences of other countries having a similar situation.

2. Policies relating to NWFPs should consider the broader policy environment and be made compatible with the objectives and measures of related policies, i.e., development, environment, land use, agriculture, industry, investment, trade, etc.

3. Governments should review existing rules and regulations having adverse impact on NWFPs and take suitable legislative action to make necessary changes.

4. Governments should establish clear identity for NWFPs by suitably incorporating it in the public forest administration system.

5. Public administration agencies having jurisdiction over (and/or financial interest in) forest resources should have clear mission and plans that proclaim and explicitly strengthen their commitment to stewardship of NWFPs and partnership with local resource users, NGOs, private sector and other stakeholders and financial institutions.

6. Planning, programming and intersectoral coordination (including development of relevant statistical information) should be explicit functions of the agency responsible for implementing forest/NWFP policy.

7. Governments should support the establishment/strengthening of research institutions having capability to conduct research on the different aspects of NWFPs and provided with funds, support facilities, trained researchers, and an effective mechanism for involving users of research results.

8. Adequate support for development of NWFPs in the form of training facilities at various levels, technology transfer, investment advice, extension services, credit facilities, marketing systems and information, and other institutional mechanisms should be ensured.

9. The government should develop institutional capabilities for imparting training and education on NWFPs at all levels if such capabilities do not exist and also build upon capabilities and capacities in existing institutions to take up education and training programmes, targeting various groups including local communities and NGOs. Training programmes and modules for trainers also need to be developed.

10. Information systems (statistical, technological/scientific and others) need to be established, covering resource inventories, resource distribution, production, processing, marketing, utilisation, trade, consumption and other vital aspects. For gathering information on traditional uses of NWFPs, participatory rural appraisal (PRA) methods, as appropriate be adopted.

11. National standards, where appropriate should be developed including quality control, and certification procedures for NWFPs according to market requirements.


C.1 Socio-Economic Benefits

1. Donors and development assistance agencies should provide increasing attention to the socio-economic issues relating to NWFPs and direct their support and facilitation efforts accordingly.

C.2 Processing and Marketing

1. Donors and development assistance agencies should facilitate transfer of technology/know how between developed and developing countries, as well as among developing countries.

2. Donor supported programmes for improved processing and marketing of NWFPs should carefully assess the risk to small producers compared to other alternatives through an initial phase of pilot trials or other means. Where the risk is high, it is necessary to establish mechanisms to avoid or share that risk.

3. Donors and development assistance agencies should support product development, market research and improvement of processing and marketing capabilities of producer groups.

4. Programmes on industrial use of NWFPs supported by donors and development assistance agencies should incorporate research on development of new NWFPs with economic potential.

C.3 Resource Management and Environment

1. Donors and development assistance agencies should support inventory/prospecting of NWFP resources and their sustainable management.

2. Industrialised donor countries should assemble and share their experiences in the management of NWFP resources and their utilisation.

C.4 Institutional Considerations

1. Donors and development assistance agencies should provide funding priority for projects on NWFPs and support adequate flow of investment capital into the sub-sector.

2. Donor agencies and development banks should incorporate NWFP activities as an important component in their policies and assistance programmes, and set apart adequate resources for providing financial and technical support to developing countries.

3. NWFP programmes of national and international research institutions should be given special consideration for enhanced support including for such activities as skill development, data base management and dissemination of information.

4. Donors and development assistance agencies should foster and facilitate South-South and North-South cooperation in aspects of common interest through mechanisms such as collaborative research, seminars, consultations and joint ventures.


D.1 Socio-Economic Benefits

1. Research on NWFPs should, among others, address socio-economic issues and help to improve their socio-economic contribution.

2. Research institutions at all levels should develop mechanisms for involving stakeholders in planning, implementation and monitoring of NWFP research. They should also recognise and adequately reward local know how and facilitate its refinement.

3. Research should capture fast-disappearing local knowledge on the management and use of NWFPs. This knowledge should be documented and disseminated.

D.2 Processing and Marketing

1. Research on new products and practices for diversifying production and for meeting changing demands should be undertaken as an important task.

2. Improvement of product quality through better harvesting, processing and handling should be one of the important research objectives.

3. Economic and market research are vital for development of NWFPs, including strategic evaluation of market conditions and opportunities.

4. In order to adapt and introduce emerging new technologies, R&D on process optimization, quality improvement and new formulations of NWFPs should be carried out on an ongoing basis.

5. Mechanisms should be developed by research institutions to transfer their research findings on new products and processes to the private sector industries.

D.3 Resource Management and Environment

1. International and national research institutes should investigate and confirm the validity of the hypothesis that development of NWFPs including services such as nature-tourism leads to sustainable management of forests. Comparison of case studies worldwide should be multiplied and coordinated by international research institutes.

2. Researchers should study management systems along with their environmental impact and socio-economic implications.

3. Researchers should study the ecology and biology of NWFP species, along with their domestication, agronomic practices, and integration in agroforestry systems.

4. The linkage of research and resource management for inventories and bio-diversity prospecting of NWFP resources should be strengthened.

D.4 Institutional Considerations

1. Research on impact of policy measures and regulations on the resource management and utilisation of NWFPs should be included as an important area of research.

2. Meaningful collaboration should be developed/strengthened with disciplines such as anthropology and ethnobotany which have carried out considerable research and published information relevant to NWFPs.

3. Research agencies should develop suitable mechanisms for involvement of users/stakeholders in planning, implementation and monitoring of NWFPs research; and recognize and adequately reward local technical know how, facilitating its refinement/improvement.


E.1 Socio-Economic Benefits

1. FAO and other international organisations working towards the development of criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management should consider socio-economic sustainability of NWFPs as one of the criterion.

2. Enhancement of socio-economic benefits of NWFPs should be an important objective of international assistance for forestry.

E.2 Processing and Marketing

1. FAO should establish a system of dissemination of information on the uses and markets of NWFPs.

2. FAO in collaboration with relevant agencies should assist countries in developing capabilities for marketing of NWFPs and in improving knowledge of local marketing practices, and should encourage the involvement of both private and public sectors in developing sound marketing practices.

3. FAO should provide assistance to countries for strengthening market information systems including the preparation of guidelines for developing such systems.

4. FAO in collaboration with other concerned agencies should promote trade in NWFPs and address such relevant/specific trade issues as rights of owners for the value of information about chemical and biological diversity of forests taken by or made available to interested parties.

5. FAO in collaboration with UNIDO should provide assistance to strengthen R&D institutions to develop additional industrial uses for NWFPs.

6. FAO in collaboration with relevant agencies should assist countries to improve income generation by introducing processing of NWFPs to yield value added products.

7. FAO in collaboration with UNIDO and other international agencies should provide assistance in establishing small-scale primary processing centres of NWFPs in rural areas.

8. FAO in collaboration with other concerned agencies, compile a "user-friendly" guidebook to be made available to grassroots organisations and local producer groups, on "good manufacturing practice". Such a document should enumerate simple ways of maximizing product quality through improved packaging, handling, storage, grading, etc., and also offer advice related to standards to be observed in trade.

E.3 Resource Management and Environment

1. FAO in collaboration with other interested agencies should prepare guidelines for sustainable management and utilisation of NWFP resources. These should consider, among other aspects, the importance of local communities in the overall context of resource development.

2. FAO should promote a holistic approach for wood and NWFPs under systems of integrated management of forests.

3. FAO in collaboration with concerned international agencies should develop systems for managing buffer zones of protected areas for NWFPs.

E.4 Institutional Considerations

1. FAO in consultation with other interested agencies such as IUCN and Unesco should develop a policy framework for NWFPs, suitable to be integrated within the overall forest sector policy, in order to serve as a guide and model to be adapted by countries.

2. FAO should initiate and facilitate action to collect and publish international statistical information on production, trade and consumption of major NWFPs on a regular basis. This could include information on price movements and supply and demand trends gleaned from trade sources.

3. FAO in collaboration with other interested agencies should compile a directory of available data bases covering the different aspects of NWFPs, as well as of institutions working in the area.

4. FAO in collaboration with other interested agencies and donors and in consultation with countries identify regional centres of excellence to serve as focal points for regional network on NWFPs to enable collaborative efforts, information exchange and technology transfer. FAO regional offices can play an important role in this regard.

5. FAO and other interested international organisations should promote the establishment of an international centre, working in collaboration with regional centres/focal points, for information exchange on NWFPs to serve as clearing house for important information (the Consultation noted the offer of Indonesia to host such a centre).

6. FAO in collaboration with other agencies should investigate and identify funding sources for implementation of a system of information network.

7. FAO, in collaboration with other international agencies, should develop a system of classification of NWFPs (within the overall system for forest products) that is harmonised with existing international systems such as ISIC, SITC, CPC and SNA. FAO should take action to incorporate NWFPs into these systems, particularly as an annex to ISIC. This should be done within a timeframe of three to four years. For this, donor support is needed.

8. FAO and other international organisations should facilitate and provide assistance to the developing countries for implementing programmes on NWFPs.ù

Previous pageTop of pageNext page