Presentations and results of the different sessions of the Technical Meeting
Annex 1 : Concept note for the Second International Meeting of the Community
of Practice “Enhancing stakeholder participation in National Forest programmes”
“Assessment of participatory processes in national forest
Rome, 24th – 25th of
The general trend towards more attention
for strengthening stakeholder participation in policy processes has gained
momentum in the forestry sector. The Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) has put forward national
forest programmes (nfps) as the main vehicle for improving forest policy processes.
The IPF principles, which guide the formulation and implementation of nfps,
explicitly stress the need for participation of and partnerships with all
stakeholders in a shared effort to achieve sustainable forest management.
Greater stakeholder ownership in NFP processes, thus taking into account civil
society’s needs, is expected to facilitate the successful implementation of
In November 2002 the Forestry Policy and
Planning Division of FAO organised the technical meeting “Enhancing Stakeholder
participation in national forest programmes” at the Organization’s headquarter
in Rome. The purpose of the event was to define strategic ways forward to
strengthen participatory processes in national forest programmes and to build
partnerships for action. The following strategic directions for action were
This is in this context that the Community of Practice will
meet for a second technical meeting with the theme “Assessment of participatory
processes in national forest programmes”
The importance of monitoring and assessing participation in nfp
Participation is now widely accepted as
an essential principle for policy framework development. However there is
a wide and diversified understanding about what participation means. Furthermore
there is only very little knowledge and information available to provide guidance
for those organizations which intend to conduct participatory processes. As
a result many participatory processes are implemented without serious consideration
about the implications in terms of planning and resources allocation to support
stakeholder participation. In general, there is a strong tendency to carry
out superficial participatory processes just to “tick the box” or to fulfil
the criteria requirement regarding participation.
One reason for this poor understanding,
and to some extend low credibility, of participatory processes is the lack
of appropriate methodologies for monitoring, assessing and evaluating the
quality and the impact of such development processes. In absence of such methods
participation remains a very subjective concept and, thus can be used and
misused in many different ways. During the first technical meeting the need
for appropriate methodology for monitoring and evaluation of participatory
processes was specifically identified as a required action to move further.
Appropriate knowledge in methods and approaches for the evaluation of participation
in nfp processes is required to provide guidance to increase and optimise
participation in nfp processes.
Gradually and in different countries of
the world experiences are being gained in using participatory processes in
national forest programmes. Research is also contributing in improving our
understanding about such mechanisms. This second technical meeting is organized
in order to learn from these experiences and to make progress on the development
and use of practical monitoring and assessment mechanisms.
The first question which comes to mind is:
what stage of the process do we want to monitor and evaluate? Do we want to
assess the qualitative aspect of participation in the process, i.e. is it
a “good” participatory process?”, or do we want to evaluate if a participatory
process is effective, i.e. did the process had a significant and positive
impact on the implementation of a nfp?
The evaluation of impact, or of the result
of a process, is assumed to be largely dependant of the quality of the process
which led to this result. Based on this assumption, the first step to improve
participatory processes will be to concentrate on the monitoring and qualitative
assessment of the process itself. In other words, we should define the methodology
which will enable us to say if a participatory process has been successful
in involving all concerned stakeholders in the different stages of negotiations
and decision making processes. Obviously, this approach will require, as
a prerequisite, a common understanding on what is understood to be a “good
In that context the technical meeting has
been designed to address the following question: “how to monitor and assess
participatory processes in the development of nfps?”.
Depending on the results achieved at this
forthcoming meeting and on the decision of the Community of Practice, the
theme for the meeting in 2004 could be dealing with the aspect of evaluation
of the impact of participatory processes on nfps implementation to follow-up
on the results of this second technical meeting.
Preliminary thoughts on the questions to be asked and
to be answered:
Monitoring and evaluation methodology exists
but they are often designed more for the purpose of fulfilling project cycle
requirements, thus with an aim of controlling rather than for a learning purpose.
Furthermore monitoring and evaluation focuses generally on quantitative measures
in terms of number of meetings held, number of participants, etc. But how
do we assess the quality of these meetings? How do we assess the sense of
stakeholders ownership over the process?
Further more specific questions can be asked:
How to assess the social and institutional
learning that goes on throughout the participatory process (including change
How to we assess the role played by stakeholders?
Have all relevant and more specifically
marginalized stakeholders been involved?
Participatory processes and policy processes
are complex issues to monitor and evaluate while in-country capacity available
to monitor and evaluate is often limited. Can we develop practical and efficient
methods for monitoring and assessment? How do we minimise costs of evaluation?
How can we assess such processes in a practical
way that provides basis for learning and improvement?
What are the minimal issues we need to take
into account in the monitoring and assessment of participatory processes?
What criteria and indicators can be developed
to assess participatory processes? Can such criteria and indicators be developed
a priori or should they be developed in a participatory way (participatory
monitoring and assessment)?
Who should be involved in the monitoring
What are specific difficulties in monitoring
these processes and how can we deal with those?
What experiences with participatory evaluation
as part of the nfp process do we know about and what are practical ways to
increase participation in these processes?
The technical meeting
The meeting is organized by the Forestry Department of FAO
on behalf of the Community of Practice on Monday 24th, and Tuesday
25th, November, 2003, at FAO Headquarters Rome.
Purpose and objectives
The purpose of the technical meeting is
to define strategic ways forward to strengthen participatory processes in
NFP and to build partnerships for action.
In order to achieve this, the meeting has
the following objectives:
The proceedings of the technical meeting
will be made available through the FAO website.
The meeting is targeted at governmental
institutions, research and development organizations, UN agencies and other
international organizations that have practical experience with enhancing
participation in NFP processes. The focus is on organizations that operate
at international level; however, the representation of specific national experiences
and perspectives of civil society organizations is an important consideration
in the design of the meeting and the selection of participants.
In order to achieve these objectives, participants
are recommended to consult with their organizations ahead of time about strategic
directions with regard to the subject of the meeting. This is required to
enable realistic planning and the continuation or establishment of partnerships
for future action.
Please find the proposed agenda of the
technical meeting on the next page. More practical and administrative details
of the meeting will be sent to confirmed participants in due time.
For more information, please contact one of the following
Manuel Paveri Chief, FONP
Dominique Reeb Senior Forestry Officer
René Czudek Forestry Officer
Michela Mancurti Clerk, FONP
Consult the Community of Practice website at: http://www.fao.org/forestry/site/14690/en