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Development Law

The Legal Office provides legal advisory services to governments on land, water, fisheries, plants, animals, food, forestry, wildlife and national parks and environment and biodiversity, as well as general agricultural issues (institutions, trade, economic reform). Current legal advisory projects include 70 countries from every region of the world.

Working with the technical services of FAO, it helps governments prepare laws, regulations, agreements and other legal texts, advises on institutional structures and compliance with international law. An element of most advisory projects is capacity building through participatory training of national officials and consultants.


Forestry, wildlife and national parks

Moving away from the former limited understanding of forests and wildlife, a comprehensive approach has increasingly been taken in a forestry and wildlife laws that have been formulated with assistance from the Development Law Service, and then enacted in various parts of the world over the last two decades.

Usually based on forest and wildlife policy options and objectives, and stemming from a wide perception of social, economic and ecological functions of forestry and wildlife, current legislation in this area tends to address a whole range of forest and wildlife resources management issues, including planning, administration, use, development and conservation aspects.

As a result of widespread degradation and overexploitation of forest and wildlife resources, special emphasis has been increasingly placed on securing environmental and sustainability concerns. Consequently, the interdependence between nature protection and ecosystem preservation on the one hand, and forest and wildlife use and development on the other hand, are more and more broadly acknowledged in forestry and wildlife legislation.

At the same time, with a view to meeting the pressing socio-economic needs of local populations who make part of their living from forest and wildlife products (fuelwood, game, grazing, cultivation, etc.), traditional usage rights are being more formally recognized and protected, and greater weight is being given to social and community forestry, including in protected areas, as well as to people's participation in, and benefit from, forestry and wildlife projects and activities.

Modern forestry and wildlife legislation tend also to promote private initiatives and to encourage private sector involvement in reforestation programmes, protected areas management and maintenance, wildlife use and conservation, etc. Private forestry, in particular, is being made more attractive in legislation, through economic incentives and tax exemptions, in order to offset low rates of return, deferred revenue and insecurity of investment in forestry.

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