Policy formulation and planning

Policy formulation incorporates a developing normative definition of a desirable future for forests, while identifying and prioritizing goals and guidance for policy implementation.

The development and formulation of a national forest policy, or the revision of an existing one, is essential in several respects. It guides all further steps of the NFP process, from operational planning to reviewing and revising legal instruments and institutional frameworks for implementation. It expresses the commitment and political will of the governments as well as of other stakeholders. Harmonizing and consolidating these different views in an equitable, commonly accepted and officially adopted national forest policy statement is an important step forward.

In the beginning of the phase, it is particularly important to identify and involve stakeholders and define their levels of participation and responsibility.



During policy development and formulation, goals of different stakeholders should be brought into a commonly agreed national policy document on a consistent basis. This requires discussion and negotiation  across all levels where decisions are made – national and sub-national – through, e.g. workshops in different parts of the country.

To balance grand visions with existing realities, it is often useful to discuss how the implementation of the future policy will be financed. Countries can develop a financing strategy that identifies the funding sources and financial mechanisms that can be used to implement NFP activities.


An important output of the planning phase will be a publicly shared vision on forest issues. The vision, often presented in the form of a forest policy statement, can be complemented by additional strategies that address specific aspects of implementing the new or revised policy or NFP, covering, for example, financing, communication, information and capacity building.

Making planning operational requires prioritizing actions and making action plans that are consistent with the agreed policy. Action plans should provide clear indications of priority actions, timing, investment needs and actors involved. They should address different stakeholders depending on the issues articulated. Examples of such issues are:

  • institutional reform;
  • legal amendments (including other sectors);
  • forest management objectives (e.g. afforestation, forest management, protection of forest ecosystems);
  • capacity building;
  • information management;
  • communication;
  • financing of the planned actions (investment programmes).
last updated:  Tuesday, August 7, 2012