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Comments on Zambia forest policy (draft)

Comments on Zambia forest policy (draft)

The new forestry policy represents a significant shift towards recognizing the contributions of various stakeholders in the forestry sector. This shift towards participatory forestry requires retraining and training of forestry personnel in participatory and gender sensitive planning, monitoring and implementation. Strengthening institutional capacity to carry out identified strategies is fundamental to the successful implementation of the new policy. Zambia as a country is in state of transition. As a result socio-economic pressures result in changing gender roles. The Forestry Department needs to be responsive to these changes in the community level programming. These changing roles must be identified as one of the critical factors influencing the choice of forestry objectives. Because women's participation in the management of the forestry sector is known to be out of proportion with their contribution to it, the new policy must also make explicit reference to strategies that will correct this imbalance. Such strategies would include guaranteeing women access to forestry training in all of its sub-fields, the collection of gender disaggregated information, evaluation of performance based on indicators relating to gender participation and affirmative recruitment policies.

Pg.8: 2.2. Sub-optimal institutional capacity The concern about sub-optimal institutional capacity applies also to initiating and sustaining participatory forestry processes, and to carrying out planning based on gender sensitive information and tools.

Pg. 8: 2.3. Effects of composite land tenures The inequitable access to and control over land resources by womn and men is a serious constraint to the full participation of women in forestry.

The pressures listed in the paragraph have also resulted in fast change in gender roles. As the proportion of female headed household grows in the rural areas, the tasks both women and men carry out are under constant transition. The Forestry Department needs to be responsive to these changes.

Pg. 10: 3.2. Issues in the choice of objectives

Changing gender roles should be listed as one of the critical issues determining the choice of forestry objectives.

Pg. 12: 4.1. Forest Policy Review

I suggest the removal of the word "rational" from all discussion relating to use of forestry. It is a highly subjective adjective and does not contribute to the clarification of the objective.

Pg. 12: 4.2. The Forest Estate

It is important that throughout the policy it is made explicit that people are not seen primarily as a threat to forestry, but as partners in the process of participatory forestry. The policy should seek to rectify current gender imbalances in the forestry sector by indicating that all information collected related to the interaction between people and forestry has to be gender disaggregated. In the same manner the policy should make it explict in each sub-section that training and employment opportunities are intended for both women and men, and that to correct the gender imbalance is a major concern of the policy. The above comments apply to all sectors.

Pg. 21: 4.9. Non-wood forest products The policy correctly states that very little is currently known about this sector in Zambia. It is important that the policy indicates that one of the aspects that is fundamental to our understanding and developing non-wood forestr products is knowing more about the roles of women and men involved in the sector.

pg. 22: Gender Issues

It is a significant improvement on the past policies to have the new policy address gender issues so prominently. It is important that the gender issues should not be seen as pertinent only to women. The policy should recognize the importance of understanding what both women and men do in the forestry sector, what resources they use to carry out these activities and how benefits are accrued.

As there is documented evidence of a significant gender imbalance in the sector, it is correct to also propose women specific strategies. For the purpose of these strategies it is important that women should not be viewed as "depositories" of traditions, but as active and contributing stakeholders in forestry development.

Gender analysis has to be carried out locally as a basis for local level planning, for example village forest joint management plans. This is because gender roles change from geographical location to another and from one ethnic group to another.

Senzitizing NGOs on gender issues is as important as sensitizing all forestry sector partners, including the private sector. However, There are several NGOs in Zambia who at present time can model gender sensitive programming to the forestry sector. It is important that strong partnerships are built between the forestry sector and NGOs so that the Forestry Department can learn from existing gender sensitive and participatory processes.

Pg. 28: 4.15 Forestry Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Planning, monitoring and evaluation will be key to the success of the proposed participatory approach. It requires that also monitoring and evaluation criteria are developed through participatory processes that are gender sensitive. Community based evaluation indicators must be included in the evaluation process. Monitoring of performance of the forestry professionals involved in the initiation and sustaining of participatory forestry is also important. Performance evaluation criteria should be developed to include indicators of involvement and skill in the above mentioned processes.

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