Governance and tenure

Forest governance refers to how public and private entities make and enforce decisions about the management, use and conservation of forests. Effective forest governance engages relevant stakeholders and sectors, and addresses key forest-related issues. Tenure refers to how people gain access to land, fisheries, forests and other natural resources; and the set of laws and institutions that determine the rights to access and use these resources. Essentially, land tenure systems determine who can use what resources for how long, and under what conditions. 

Good governance is key to creating an enabling environment for managing a country’s REDD+ process successfully. It helps to ensure inclusive and meaningful participation during decision-making and law-development processes, while promoting equity, fairness, transparency and justice during all phases of REDD+ (UN-REDD 2016-2020 Strategic Framework).

The FAO-PROFOR joint publication Framework for assessing and monitoring forest governance identifies six crosscutting principles and three core pillars for assessing forest governance.

Source: Framework for assessing and monitoring forest governance (FAO & PROFOR, 2011)

FAO’s REDD+ and National Forest Monitoring team supports all three pillars to ensure robust and coherent legal frameworks and tenure conditions for reducing deforestation and forest degradation. Other critical areas include: cross-sectoral coordination, land and resource rights, spatial planning, and institutional and data-sharing arrangements. 

Related to this is FAO’s work on forest tenure - who owns forestland, who has access and use, who manages, and who makes decisions about forest resources. Tenure of land and forests has a great influence on a country’s ability to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. Identifying and recognizing legitimate tenure rights strengthens accountability and is an essential enabling condition for REDD+ to succeed. FAO provides technical expertise on tenure-related policy and administration, including land registration and cadastral recording systems, valuation and taxation of tenure rights, regulated spatial planning and dispute resolution over tenure rights.

Sustainable forest management and good governance for REDD+ in countries is also strengthened through FAO’s coordinated support on REDD+ and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).

The internationally accepted Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) provide a framework and principles to guide countries in establishing tenure conditions for REDD+, including:

  • recognition and respect for all legitimate tenure right holders and their rights;
  • safeguarding of legitimate tenure rights;
  • promoting and facilitating enjoyment of legitimate tenure rights;
  • providing access to justice;
  • preventing tenure disputes, conflicts and corruption.

The “REDD+ and Forest Governance online discussion group” (“Dgroup”) – an easy way to exchange and learn.

With more than 870 members from 100 countries, the online discussion group on REDD+ and Forest Governance is a popular forum for informal exchanges of experiences and ideas to stimulate new approaches to address forest governance challenges. In light of the Paris Climate Agreement, the platform also informs national efforts to achieve carbon emissions reductions targets.  

The platform promotes bimonthly discussions on issues relevant for the successful implementation of climate mitigation actions. It includes a reference library and a calendar of events and, as a new feature from mid-2019, it offers a series of webinars on most relevant discussion topics. 

Current members includes legal experts, gender and indigenous people’s specialists, government officers, decision-makers, civil society leaders, academics, and representatives from forest related sectors.

Join the D-Group now and become and active member!