Policy development is an iterative and cyclic process. It schematically comprises a definition of policy priorities and formulation of a long-term vision for a sector development → definition of implementation mechanisms (programs, action plans, institutional and financial mechanisms), → policy implementation → monitoring of policy implementation → policy review → adjustment of policy priorities and reformulation of policies → definition/adjustment of implementation mechanisms etc.
As it is an iterative process and countries seldom formulate policy from scratch. A policy development process can therefore be initiated anywhere in the cycle.
At all stages policy development needs to be supported by relevant information and data, institutional capacities, and implementation mechanisms adapted to the requirements of each stage.
Forest policies data base and FAPDA-Forestry tool
The Forest policies database supports evidence-based decision-making by providing public access to the national forest policies and programmes documents, including implementation instruments and plans, through the FAPDA-Forestry Tool. This service is offered in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Policy Decision Analysis (FAPDA) programme.
The FAPDA-Forestry tool was developed in 2016 to organize and share forestry policy documents. The aim is to serve all stakeholders such as governments, development partners, regional economic organizations, civil society organizations, researchers, policy makers and the private sector as a reference, analysis and monitoring tool.
The FAPDA-Forestry Tool also allows consultation with forest-related policy documents held in other FAO databases by linking three major platforms (the Forestry Department, FAOLEX and Food and FAPDA), thereby facilitating the analysis of possible forest-related impacts of policies in other sectors and the identification of coordination gaps and opportunities.
The tool also gives access to information on general policy frameworks with potential impact on forest management and implications for the communities. The analysis of this information allows for the identification of policy trends, facilitates policy harmonization and informs the policy debate at national, regional and global level.
Policy decisions in the tool are classified based on the FAPDA Policy Classification and each policy document is properly verified and documented with the respective source of information. The database is organized by country, date of approval and type of document. To complement the forestry information, policy documents on natural resources in general, water, ecosystems, climate change and energy is also offered. Looking at policy framework one could also find information on territorial development (spatial planning), social protection and nutrition.