FAO's technical support to national forest programmes


The political sensitivity of the issues and actions involved in developing nfps has led many developing countries and countries in transition to request FAO technical assistance to support the development of their nfp in a neutral way. Hence, FAO has been playing a key role in providing advisory services and technical assistance to the member countries interested in the development of nfp as participatory processes for policy formulation, strategic planning, inter-sectoral dialogue and institutional capacity building. Major impacts of this support can be summarized as follows:

Creation of national awareness on the need to develop/adjust/modify and formulate appropriate forestry policies, plans, strategies, rules and instruments to facilitate their implementation.

The neutrality of the organization and the political sensitiveness of many of these matters have been the main reason why many FAO member countries have initiated the request for technical support in these fields. Some of the countries that have benefited from FAO support in the formulation of their new forestry and wildlife laws and regulations are Honduras, Cuba, Cambodia, Fiji, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Vanuatu, Mozambique, Niger, Paraguay and Serbia and Montenegro.

In the area of forest policy formulation, the following countries have recently been supported by FAO: Vietnam, Namibia, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Central African Republic, and Peru.

For the formulation of national forestry plans, agendas or strategies, FAO has been requested to support Brazil, Hungary, Vietnam, Mexico, Cyprus, Bolivia, Armenia, Romania, Turkey, Morocco, and Liberia.

Capacity building and information sharing has been strategically supported in regional events such as the Near East Regional Workshops on national forest programme formulation and implementation, carried out in 1999 and 2003.

Strengthening of country capacity through the establishment, strengthening and improvement of forestry national institutions

To contribute to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public units, institutions and organisations responsible for the sustainable utilisation and management of natural resources (as recommended by UNCED), FAO has been supporting the strengthening of institutional capacity of forestry authorities and departments in Latvia, Lithuania, Suriname, Brazil, Chile, Mozambique, Grenada, Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Algeria, Albania, Sierra Leone, and Sudan.

Enforcing international agreements and supporting technically and institutionally related implementing mechanisms

In this area a special mention can be made of the successes achieved in the States of the Amazon region, through the technical and institutional support provided to the Pro-tempore Secretary of the Amazon Treaty. This assistance was catalytic to attracting the further financial and technical assistance of the treaty member countries from the European Union and other bilateral organisations and has enhanced the technical capacity of many regional institutions and promoted the final establishment of a Permanent Secretary for the Treaty, based in Brasilia.

Improved peoples participation in policy decision and implementation in forestry

Aside from achievements under the Forest, Trees and People Programme, it is relevant to mention the support provided to Mozambique to improve the country's institutional set up and local capacity for community forestry and wildlife management, the support provided to Côte d'Ivoire for its programme of popular reforestation, the support to Nepal for the Terai Community Forestry development programme and the decentralisation of policy and institutions in Comoro, Algeria and China.

Strengthening institutional set up in countries in transition

In this area, it is possible to mention the following work that has contributed to the substantial modernisation of the forestry institutions in countries in transition: Workshop on Experiences and Constraints in the evolution of Policies and Institutions relevant to the Forestry Sector in Eastern Europe (Italy, 1994), Reform of the Forestry Sector: Towards a Market Orientation in China, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar and Vietnam (China, 1994), Workshop on Institution Building, Framework Conditions and Policy Infrastructure for Sustainable Development of Forestry under Market Economy Conditions (Slovakia, 1996), and the Seminar on Recent Institutional Developments in the Forestry Sector in Central and Eastern Europe Countries (Slovakia, 1999), support provided to China, Mongolia, Myanmar and Vietnam for the Reform and Reorientation of their Forestry Policies and Institutions to Market Economy within a regional project funded by the Government of Japan.

As result of these meetings FAO started to assist many of these countries in strengthening and adapting their policy and institutional framework to the process of reorientation towards a market economy.

Training activities in forestry policy analysis, formulation and implementation

To facilitate the dissemination at national and regional level of the results and impacts achieved through the above-mentioned technical assistance, emphasis is being placed on training and education activities in these subject areas. The following can be mentioned:

  • Regional seminar on national forestry programme and forest policy formulation and implementation for the Near East and central Asian countries (Egypt, June 2000)

  • Principles, methods and tools of policy analysis and formulation for the Caribbean countries (Grenada, November 1999)

  • National course on forestry policy analysis and formulation (Dominican Republic, September 1999)

  • National course on forest economics and financing (Slovakia, September 1999)

  • International course on forestry policy formulation and evaluation for Spanish speaking countries (November 1998)

  • National course on strategic planning (Ecuador, 1997)

Studies and surveys on relevant policy and institutional issues

To identify and understand the status of forest policies and their role in fostering a fuller contribution of forestry to sustainable development, the following regional studies were carried out and published:

  • Forestry policies in South America (1999/2000)

  • Forestry policies in the Caribbean region (1998)

  • Forestry policies in the Central American region (1997)

  • Regional survey on forest policies in selected countries of Africa (1996)

  • Forestry policies of selected countries in Asia and the Pacific (1993)

  • Forestry policies in the Near East region (1992)

Studies on Trends of the forestry law in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe have also been produced and published jointly with the FAO Legal Development Service.

Guidelines on Governance of forest concessions have also been published to provide FAO member countries with practical and concrete methods and tools to define and operate contractual arrangements for the sustainable use of forests in public lands. On this topic, a proposal was also prepared for Nicaragua with general policy and principle guidelines on competitive bidding, detailed norms and rules for putting the process into operation, and specific recommendations on the organisational measures required for translating the proposal into action.

At the request of the Swedish Forest Authority, the study Swedish forest policy in an international perspective was prepared that allowed an international comparison of forestry policies in the boreal region.

Survey on the evolution of selected forest organisations in Latin America.

This study contributed to the identification of the main changes for forestry institutions brought about by the new roles and demands given by the society to forestry resources and the main needs for future institutional development. Technical aid from FAO in this field is considered as a priority for the majority of the countries consulted. Available information and work carried out in forest policy strongly suggest that the same demands exist in Africa and Asia Regions.

Forest financial mechanisms: case studies and synthesis.

Based on country case studies, a synthesis of the experience of several Latin-American countries in financial mechanisms for sustainable forest management is being produced. This study identifies the types of mechanisms used, the purposes, criteria under which they were selected and their prerequisites for success.

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