Knowledge reference for national forest assessments - information management (annotated bibliography)
8. Institutional and infrastructure issues
�Management of forest resources by local people is linked to the on-going decentralisation process and economic reforms. Stakeholders are working more closely together as a result of more open dialogue, greater access to information and participatory decision- making. The principal challenges include lack of resources, especially human resources.� �Challenges in countries with economies in transition include: (i) linking external support to internal leadership and initiation, (ii) coordination with other sectors and across sectors (iii) finding the right pace and scope for the transition process in each country, (iv) engaging key actors, (v) receiving political support and backing, (vi) providing sufficient communication, information flows and transparency, (vi) systematic use of experiences from other countries, (vii) combining local experience and international knowledge, (viii) defining clear tasks and functions to all actors, (ix) developing criteria for evaluating implementation and instruments, (x) making use of innovative financing solutions and voluntary certification, and (xi) building capacity and investment in human resources.� �The availability of high quality information and knowledge is a key to effective participation and needs to be made available in a transparent manner to the broad range of actors involved in national forest programmes processes. Mechanisms for this are still often lacking.�
�The Global Spatial Data Infrastructure supports ready global access to geographic information. This is achieved through the coordinated actions of nations and organizations that promote awareness and implementation of complimentary policies, common standards and effective mechanisms for the development and availability of interoperable digital geographic data and technologies to support decision making at all scales for multiple purposes. These actions encompass the policies, organizational remits, data, technologies, standards, delivery mechanisms, and financial and human resources necessary to ensure that those working at the global and regional scale are not impeded in meeting their objectives�
Addresses data collection policies and Memoranda of Understanding.
�Officials were reluctant to pass on information and reports that were deemed �sensitive� to the project. In general, officials noted that information on contested state forests like Mafungautsi tends to be more difficult to use as it exposes some of the contradictions in state policy about devolution and policing of natural resources. Some of these documents, even when made available, could not be directly cited.�