National forest programmes
This phase is about implementing what has been planned in the policy formulation and planning phase. It is the decisive phase for an nfp to achieve impact.
In order for implementation to take place, it has to be based on realistic and demand-oriented planning, putting special emphasis on the availability of corresponding financial and human resources.
Depending on the issue, implementation will be carried out by different public and private stakeholders and should be coordinated by the nfp coordination body in a participatory way. Often capacity building is necessary to allow all stakeholders to fulfil their defined roles adequately.
The implementation phase also relates to obtaining funds, putting into practice the financing strategy, investment programmes and projects, as well as the coordination and follow-up of activities.
Depending on the outcome of preceding policy formulation and strategic planning exercises, legal and institutional reform may become necessary. The amount of time needed for legal amendments must not be underestimated since proposals for legal amendments need to be submitted to legislative processes that are sometimes lengthy. The next step is to work out regulations, in order to translate political will and laws into precise guidelines for action. They should be clear and as simple as possible. It is not enough that they are drafted, but they have to be communicated to the respective target group and very often they have to be supported. Hence, training and didactic material are needed to help disseminate the new regulations.
For all components of the policy and legal reform that touch upon other sectors, a common, coordinated timeline needs to be established. This means that forest issues have to be included in ongoing reform processes of other sectors. A very powerful information campaign needs to make the policy and legal changes visible to all stakeholders and the public.
In order to implement financing strategies, revenue collection (fees, royalties, taxes) has to be improved. Moreover, enabling conditions for human and financial resources investment by private enterprises, NGOs, local communities and individual households should be created. This can be achieved by removing constraints and disincentives and by introducing appropriate incentives including security of tenure or long-term user rights.
Reasonable prices for forest products and marketing opportunities for the producers are powerful incentives for investment in forests. Another element of the financing strategy is to internalize the cost of forest management in other sectors. In essence, implementation activities should be more closely linked to market incentives and disincentives as opposed to subsidies.
One set of outputs will concern favourable framework conditions that will help establish the enabling environment for sustainable forest development. They comprise some of the elements of the nfp process:
- laws and regulations which reflect the previously revised national forest policy;
- legal amendments in related sectors and regarding cross-cutting policy objectives which are favourable for the development of the forest sector;
- improved institutional set-up and capable human resources;
- mechanisms for dialogue and consensus building among all stakeholders;
- financial strategies and mechanisms that facilitate funding the transition from unsustainable to sustainable forest management;
- investment and incentives for sustainable forest management capacity building of stakeholders at different levels.
Another set of outputs will consist of those related to field-level implementation and practical realizations (e.g. afforestation, forest management). Such outputs include afforested area, number of hectares under sustainable management, number of hectares under protection, monetary units of investment in forestry, etc.). These outputs will have to be documented, monitored and reported on.
Concerning the stakeholders, the main output is increased capacities, not only in technical but also in organizational and management matters, and especially in participatory and intersectoral approaches. Increased participation in and transparency of an nfp process will most probably result in more partnership agreements or other forms of cooperation between stakeholders.