Forestry policies, institutions and programmes
Bolivia¿s forest development policy takes the principles of sustainable development as guidelines for meeting socio-economic challenges, administering the natural heritage, organizing technological updating and building institutions. This approach was incorporated when formulating Forest Law 1700, which represented the country¿s first sectoral application of sustainability principles. This law established the new Forest Code, which has the objective of regulating the sustainable use and protection of forests and forest lands for the benefit of present and future generations, while coordinating such activities with the country¿s social, economic and environmental interests.
Forest development is enshrined in Bolivia¿s Strategic Plan for Forest Development, a component of the country¿s General Plan for Economic and Social Development. The objective is to consolidate efforts already carried out, making achievement of sustainable forest management of all the country¿s forests possible within a reasonable timeframe and enabling the forests to contribute effectively to increasing the gross domestic product and improving the people¿s standard of living. It should be stressed that the national dialogue promoted by the government has led to analysis of the present problems and potential of the forestry sector, as a basis for proposing measures to encourage private investment and activities to be carried out by the State.
The new Forest Code has achieved major progress in implementing institutional mechanisms as well as technical, juridical and administrative processes for sustainable forest management. However, there are also clear indications of the need to reinforce mechanisms for forest promotion, research and staff training, boost funding mechanisms and fulfil institutional terms of reference.
Institutions and legislation
Under Bolivia¿s new Forest Law, the institutional structure of the forestry sector is as follows: the Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Environment is in charge of implementing the Forest Code as national policy-making institution, the Forest Supervisory Authority as regulatory institution and the National Forest Development Fund as financial institution, while prefectures and municipalities provide support. The Regulatory System for Renewable Natural Resources, also established by the Forest Law and working with the Forest Supervisory Authority, has the objective of regulating, controlling and supervising the sustainable use of renewable natural resources.
Bolivia¿s Forest Law created the National Forest Development Fund in order to promote funding for the sustainable use and conservation of forests and forest lands. The resources of the fund are made up as follows: a percentage of forest licence fees, as laid down by law; funds remitted by the National Treasury; donations and bequests; finance received from multilateral investment bodies and official aid agencies; and financial transfers in the form of concessions or subsidies under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC).
Forestry information is channelled through the National Forest Information System, a project financed by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
There are three universities providing higher forestry training and one university to train senior foresters. Some of these universities have reciprocal arrangements with forestry colleges in Chile and Brazil. About 52 students enrol each year for forest engineering degree courses and 33 qualify. An ITTO survey indicates a shortage of senior foresters and technical forestry staff in the country.
The private sector is organized within the Bolivian Confederation of Private Operators, which is made up of departmental federations and national sectoral associations, including the Bolivian Forest Association set up in 1969. This is the main private-sector forest trade association and is responsible for representing the sector to official institutions and making sure that its interests are taken into account. Membership is voluntary and members receive a number of benefits, for example legal and technical assistance, mainly regarding export procedures, and information on the forest product market and related matters. The Bolivian Forest Association encompasses the Forest Management Programme, a technical organization that addresses forestry issues and provides technical assistance to members of the association. The association also works closely with the Bolivian Institute for Foreign Trade.
Last updated: November 2003