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Men and women in national forest programmes

Approach, goal and objectives, principles of the national forest programmes

This second section is designed as a "re-reading" of the reference document for national forest programmes, entitled 'Basic Principles and Operational Guidelines' in the context of understanding the implications of the involvement and participation of women and men in forest development activities.

Approach, goal and objectives, principles of the national forest programmes


"National forest programmes follow a participatory planning and implementation approach that encourages the involvement of all forest-dependent actors..." (8; p.13)

which implies that actors should not be considered "asexual", but comprise both women and men.

"National forest programmes provide a environment for the concerted and co-ordinated implementation of programmes and activities by all stakeholders..." (8; p. 13)

which implies that the stakes and interests of actors or groups in question be seen, understood and analysed in the context of the differences and complementarities between men and women. This is the only way that programmes and activities can take place on the basis of a real consensus between institutions and populations, men and women.

Goal and Objectives

"The goal of national forest programmes is to promote the conservation and sustainable use of forest resources to meet local, national and global needs, through fostering national and international partnerships to manage, protect and restore forest resources and land, for the benefit of present and future generations.

The main objectives are to:

• introduce inter-sectoral planning approaches involving all relevant partners;

• raise awareness and mobilise commitments at all levels in order to address the issues related to sustainable forestry development;

• increase the efficiency and effectiveness of both public and private actions for sustainable forestry development;

• foster local, national, regional and international partnerships;

• mobilise and organise national and (if necessary) international resources and catalyse action to implement programmes/plans in a co-ordinated manner;

• plan and implement how forests and the forestry sector could contribute to national and global initiatives." (8; p.14)

Close attention to gender issues permits one to understand that anything to do with the process of national forest programmes must reflect the needs and capacities of men and women. Forest development activities must therefore be tailored to the perceived needs of the different groups involved, men and women. Further, all potential partners representing either the interests of women or men should be informed of the opportunities related to forest development and conservation of the environment.


The basic principles of national forest programmes involve all actors in a process of partnership and participation, as well as in an inter-sectoral and iterative global process. The stress is also placed on development and support for the ability of human resources so that institutions and the mechanisms of which they are carriers, as well as their strategies, guarantee coherence between goals, programmes and national planning.

Respect for these principles assumes that particular attention be given:

• to the methodological level in order that the dynamics of partnership and participation involve all the actors concerned in the conservation and development of forest resources. These actors may be institutions and (public or private) bodies responsible for forest affairs, but also social and economic issues; specialists of either sex who are competent in the forest sector, but also sensitive to the human dimension of the question; men and women directly involved day-to-day in the use, management and conservation of natural resources.

• to the human level in order to reinforce capacities aimed at, on the one hand the technical and the human dimension of forest development, on the other facilitating the access of women as well as men to education and training for the promotion of an increased accountability of all actors.

• to the institutional level in order that the sectors responsible for national forest programmes benefit from an organisation that permits them to develop mechanisms for implementation and follow-up/evaluation, as well as parallel measures (reform, legislation) that reflect the view that sustainable forest development also depends on taking into account the day-today realities of men and women.

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