National Forest Programme
NFPs as a long-term iterative process
NFPs are conceived as long-term iterative processes for improving the governance of forests jointly with all key stakeholders. As such, an NFP must be much more than a planning document. NFP processes evolve through phases of activities that allow for learning from experiences and adjusting governance frameworks to changing environments. NFP processes should have four interconnected phases – phases that often exist in parallel:
- formulation of policies, strategies and action plans;
- monitoring and evaluation, and subsequent adjustment to meet emerging needs.
NFP processes should enhance consistency among policy and strategy development, operational planning and implementation. Among the keys to effective forest governance are developing and agreeing on clear and consistent roles and responsibilities in implementation of policies and plans among public and private stakeholders.
To ensure learning, implementation must be monitored and policies evaluated. NFPs should have mechanisms for incorporating feedback into ongoing processes of policy, legislative and institutional reform so that goals, strategies and actions can be adapted over time.
The NFP phases
A 2010 survey by FAO and the NFP Facility confirmed that NFP processes have been instrumental in developing or revising forest policies and action plans in many countries. However, many NFPs lack policy implementation, which hinders the creation of tangible benefits on local level. Policies arising from NFP processes are most likely to be implemented if:
- expectations of resources (funds, capacities) for implementation are realistic;
- stakeholders’ roles, responsibilities, contributions and benefits are clear;
- the regulatory framework is or will be made consistent with new forest policy;
- national strategies are translated into subnational action to allow for local-level prioritization and ownership;
- field-level results benefit stakeholders;
- outcomes do not alienate legitimate interest groups and ensure fairness and justice.