Integrating climate change issues into national forest programmes

The Forestry Department of FAO and the National Forest Programme Facility have initiated a joint effort to assist countries address emerging policy issues related to forests and climate change through integrating climate change considerations into national forest programmes. 


    Climate Change for Forest Policy-Makers

    - An approach for integrating climate change into national forest programmes in support of sustainable forest managment (2011)

     To download the publication click here

This document is published as a key part of the effort by the Forestry Department of FAO and the National

Forest Programme Facility to assist countries address emerging policy issues related to forests and climate change through integrating climate change considerations into national forest programmes. It is the outcome of a thorough consultative process with active engagement of countries and experts. It seeks to provide a practical approach to the process of integrating climate change into national forest programmes. The aim is to assist senior officials in government administrations and the representatives of other stakeholders, including civil society organizations and the private sector, prepare the forest sector for the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change.

FAO and the NFP Facility stand ready to support countries in the application of the approach and warmly welcome ideas and suggestions for use and improvement of the approach.

 A web portal has been created listing basic information, case studies and useful tools related to climate change for forest policy makers - section 4 in the publication. Go to the site.


The crucial role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation is now widely recognized at international level. Climate change will have major implications on the sustainable management of forests. In most countries, adjustments to forest policies, legislation and institutions will be needed to facilitate effective and equitable mitigation and adaptation measures. With regard to mitigation, countries may wish to amend forest policies to give more weight to forests' carbon sinks and storage functions. Similarly, steps may be needed at forest policy level to promote appropriate adaptation responses. The impacts of climate change on the provision of forest goods and environmental services are becoming increasingly evident in many parts of the world. Climate change is expected to pose a major challenge for the livelihoods of forest dependent people as well as forest product dependent sectors of the economy.

In many countries, forest policies and climate related policies are the competencies of different sections of government and involve different groups of stakeholders and experts. The exchange of information across administrative or sectoral boundaries on issues surrounding forestry and climate change is often limited. As a consequence, in many countries climate change issues have not been fully addressed in national forest policies, forestry mitigation and adaptation needs at national level have not been thoroughly considered in national climate change strategies, and cross-sectoral dimensions of climate change impacts have not been fully appreciated.

It is important that the forest sector devise ways to address mitigation and adaptation challenges and opportunities in national forest policies. National forest programmes have been recognised by the international dialogue on forests as the framework to put international agreements into practice and as the platform for addressing issues related to sustainable forest management, including climate change.


The project consists of three phases:

1) National processes in Cambodia, Paraguay, South Africa and Tanzania

A preliminary analysis of the major challenges and opportunities climate change poses for the forest sector and the related policy issues has been undertaken in each of the four countries. The resulting document has served as background material for a national workshop held in each country to raise awareness, exchange information and gather stakeholder views on policy-relevant issues and possible responses regarding forests and climate change. 


ParaguaySouth Africa


Background Paper 
Workshop Report, 3-4 December 2009 

Workshop Report, 21-22 December 2009 

Workshop Report, 22-23 April 2010 

Background Paper 
Workshop Report, 13-15 April 2010 


2) Development of guidelines for the integration of climate change considerations into national forest policies

The results of the workshops is used in the second phase in which generic guidelines for the integration of climate change considerations into national forest policies through national forest programme processes is being developed. A central part of the work on the guidelines was the workshop held from 20-21 September 2010 at FAO HQ in Rome involving national and international forest policy and climate change experts, including a participant from each of the four national stakeholder workshops.

Expert Workshop, 20-21 September 2010, Rome

Programme expert workshop 20-21 September 2010  - List of Participants 
Workshop report 

Review process of the draft Guidelines

A workshop was conducted in Zambia, 27-28 April 2011, to facilitate the process of integration climate change into nfp in the country, and to provide further input to the draft guidelines. Review by experts took place in early 2011 and an all stakeholders were invited to comment on the guidelines during an open review in May and June 2011.

3) Dissemination and use of the guidelines

The  guidelines were finalized in October 2011, translated into Spanish and French, disseminated and promoted for their use in countries.

Funding permitting, participating countries and other interested countries will be invited

  1. to use the guidelines in follow up national meetings;
  2. to develop the concept and broad outlines of a project that could assist the country in initiating the process of analysis of the adequacy of forest sector policies, legislation and institutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation and carrying out a policy reform effort. 


Download leaflet. Integrating climate change into forest policies and practices   

For more information on the guidelines, please contact:

last updated:  Tuesday, July 31, 2012