Trends in Development Assistance
During the past half century ODA in support of forest management has evolved through a number of distinct phases.
- The ¿trickle down¿ approach, prevalent during the 1960s and 1970s, championed investment and growth in GDP as measures of progress, on the assumption that the benefits of these would eventually permeate down through civil society thereby raising living standards and quality of life. In the forest sector this was evidenced through the development of industrial forestry with development assistance being targeted at logging and wood processing (and related activities) and where forests were not economically productive the emphasis was on industrial plantations.
- The emphasis on industrial processes gave way, in the 1970s and 1980s, to more community based approaches that placed value not just on the industrial value of forests but also on their social function such as meeting local needs and providing employment, leading to participatory approaches eclipsing the traditional role of forest departments as the drivers of the forestry development agenda. The shift from industrial timber production to meeting local requirements also shifted the value of forest products away from just timber.
- In turn, the 1980s and 1990s saw the spotlight move again, this time towards environment and the wider role that forests play within it and in particular in relation to deforestation and its associated adverse impacts on biodiversity, land quality, water catchments and the climate.
- The most recent of phases, in the development of development assistance has been the post-UNCED era and the intergovernmental process initiated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and continued by its successors. This phase has seen the development of widely accepted criteria and indicators for SFM, implementation of reduced impact logging, the certification movement, value placed on biodiversity and environmental services.
To be successful in fund raising it is necessary to know the current 'jargon' (which is complex). The current jargon, however, is based upon a wide-ranging consultation process with a strong SFM ethic and is backed up by a series of Conventions with widely agreed upon principles, criteria and indicators for success and a shift towards implementation at a more grass-roots level than previously.