The Expert Consultation entitled Implementing the Forest
Principles - Promotion of National Forest and Land Use Programmes"
was held in Feldafing, Germany from June 16 to 21, 1996. The Government
of Germany contributed to the international dialogue on the sustainable
management of forests by hosting this intersessional event in
support of the Intergovernmental Panel of Forests (IPF). The IPF
was established by the Economic and Social Council of the United
Nations in June 1995 under the aegis of the UN Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD). The work programme of the IPF spells out issues,
which are clustered around five categories and 11 programme elements.
The expert consultation in Feldafing focused its deliberations
on components of both programme element I. 1 (Promotion of National
Forest and Land Use Plans and Programmes) and programme element
II (International Cooperation in Financial Assistance and Technology
Transfer for Sustainable Forest Management).
During the IPF Session 1 in New York in September 1995, it was proposed by the Forestry Advisers Group (FAG) to the Group of 77 and China to hold national consultations with interested developing countries on the promotion of national forest and land use programmes as to establish country-specific positions on the issue. After an organising meeting in Germany in January 1996, 21 countries and two regional institutions supported by members of the Forestry Advisers Group (FAG) and international cooperation agencies participated in the consultative processes at the national level to identify national constraints, opportunities and options as well as priorities for action, and submitted reports on their findings.
On the basis of the above national consultations, a synthesis
report was prepared as the point of departure for the Expert Consultation.
The information obtained during this consultative process is consequently
based on inputs from developing countries only. The synthesis
report thus did not intend to provide the experience of developed
countries in forest and land-use programmes. The Expert Consultation
noted that the Swedish - Ugandan Intersessional Expert Consultation,
to be held in Stockholm in October 1996, as well as the Japan
- Canada International Workshop, to be held in Kochi, Japan in
November 1996, will provide experiences from developed countries.
The synthesis report was a working document and does not necessarily
represent the views of the contributors in its entirety. In order
to contribute effectively to the deliberations on the respective
IPF programme elements, the overall objective of the Expert Consultation
was to identify constraints and opportunities, and elaborate options
to promote national forest and land use programmes. The issues
identified in the synthesis report were further elaborated during
the Expert Consultations and used as tools to make progress in
the identification of options for action.
The report of the Expert Consultation, incorporating options
for action" are forwarded to the IPF Secretariat for further
consideration by the lead agencies to prepare for the substantive
and final discussions on the issues during IPF Session 3 in September
1996 in Geneva and IPF Session 4 in February 1997 in New York.
The report of the meeting in Feldafing will also be made available
as a conference room document for the IPF sessions.
75 experts from 29 developing and developed countries were invited
to the Consultation. Of these 31 from developing and 36 from developed
countries actually participated. They acted in their personal
capacity and this report reflects their views. The participants
came from governments, the private sector, non-governmental and
The Expert Consultation was opened with keynote addresses by Dr.
C.D. Spranger, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development
and Mr. W. Gröbl, Parliamentary Secretary of State of the
Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry. Mr Jorge
Barba (Ecuador) and Dr. Hans Peter Schipulle (Germany) acted as
2. RESULTS OF THE EXPERT CONSULTATION
2.1 THE CONCEPT OF NATIONAL FOREST PROGRAMMES
The concept of National Forest Programmes (NFPs) has been widely
discussed during the past decade, especially in the context of
the formulation and implementation of National Forestry Action
Programmes (NFAP), Forestry Master Plans and Forest Sector Reviews.
These frameworks have been promoted by various international institutions
and cooperation agencies as a means of achieving sustainable
forest development, especially in developing countries. The importance
of such planning and implementation frameworks for all countries
is also recognised in UNCED Agenda 21, Chapter 11 on Combating
The Expert Consultation raised the point of the terminology of
National Forest and Land Use Programmes". As stressed
during the IPF Session 2 in Geneva and consequently expressed
in the co-chairmen's report of the meeting, this term needs clarification.
It was pointed out in Feldafing that the issue of land use had
not been adequately addressed during the preparations of the meeting.
In the following text the above term is abbreviated to National
Forest Programmes (NFPs)" reflecting the content and scope
of the deliberations in Feldafing. However, it was felt that the
land-use issue requires further discussion at future meetings.
In this context the term NFP was understood to be a generic expression
for a wide range of approaches to processes of planning, programming
and implementation of forest activities at the national level.
The discussions in the Expert Consultation were carried out based
on the understanding that the following four major themes capture
the work of the Expert Consultation:
(i) Sectoral planning, policies and the institutional setting;
focusing on issues and options related to the overall process
of definition of sectoral goals, policies and policy instruments,
institutional settings and the broad operational concept for the
implementation of sectoral development, including external involvement.
(ii) Investment programming; focusing on the mobilisation
of local, national, and external financial resources necessary
for the implementation of NFPs, and including both private and
public sector financing.
(iii) National capacity and capacity building; focusing
on the effective use and development of the national capacity
to plan, implement and monitor NFPs, including public sector institutions
as well as non-governmental organisations and the private sector.
(iv) International Cooperation in support of NFPs; including
national, regional, and international levels.
The results of the Expert Consultation are presented under the
same general headings.
2.2 OPTIONS FOR ACTION
2.2.1 Sectoral Planning, Policies and Institutional Setting
In its discussions the Expert Consultation stressed that sectoral
planning, policy revision and institutional reform are periodic
processes encompassing various stages. It was also fully recognised
that these processes should be country-driven, based on the sovereign
right of each country to use its forest resources in accordance
with its own policies and development needs. The Expert Consultation
noted that the experience gained in the implementation of the
National Forestry Action Programmes, as well as the Forest Sector
Reviews and the Forestry Master Plans provides a solid basis for
the identification of the options concerning sectoral planning,
policies and revision of institutional settings. Furthermore,
the constraints have been extensively discussed in several major
evaluations and assessments carried out both at the national and
The following two basic options set the frame of reference defined
by the Expert Consultation on the issues of sectoral planning,
policies and institutional setting:
(a) Establishment and improvement of the national forest planning
Its was suggested that each country should establish or improve
its own NFP as the instrument to guide and orient the process
of sectoral development, under strong in-country leadership. The
goal of NFPs is to promote the conservation and sustainable use
of forest resources to meet local, national and global needs,
through fostering national and international partnerships for
the benefit of present and future generations. NFPs should aim
at increasing the economic value of forest products and services,
and be realistic in terms of its financial and economic feasibility.
The process should build on national planning capacity, and be
based on the following characteristics adapted to the situation
of each country in terms of their application:
(i) well defined linkages to macro level policies and policy processes,
(ii) closely linked to cross-sectoral policies and issues, including land-use policies,
(iii) high-level political commitment and broad-based support,
(iv) participatory and decentralised planning approaches, including use of indigenous knowledge,
(v) identification and management of conflicts between relevant
(b) Securing commitments to the implementation of NFPs
It was suggested that IPF acknowledge the importance of NFPs as
the framework for the programming and implementation of external
assistance to forest sector development to make it an integral
part of national development; respecting the objectives, strategies,
implementation arrangements, mechanisms and priorities established
by each country. Therefore, the preparation of a code of conduct
involving international financing institutions, multilateral
and bilateral cooperation agencies as well as national authorities
should be considered by IPF. The code of conduct could be endorsed
by countries and international institutions and the adherence
to it by all relevant actors, including the private sector, monitored
by a transparent process.
Other options related to policies and institutional setting are:
(c) Promotion of national forest policy formulation
National forest policy formulation should be encouraged and promoted
in the context of national policy development. The regular updating
of forest policy should be assured and followed up, taking into
account the following key aspects in the policy formulation process:
(i) forest policy formulation should be closely linked to national
macroeconomic planning, (ii) forest, agricultural and environmental
policies should be harmonised, (iii) private sector and NGOs should
be partners in the national forest policy process, (iv) broad
local participation should be encouraged and facilitated in forest
policy dialogues, (v) gender issues should be enhanced in forest
policy development and related fields, (vi) forestry expertise
and knowledge should be incorporated into environmental agencies,
and (viii) relevant international experience and principles should
be taken into account in policy formulation.
(d) Harmonisation of forest and other land-use related legislation
In order to address the needs of the societies, countries should
consider reviewing forest and other land-use legislation. The
review processes should focus especially on: (i) promoting decentralisation
of decision making by issuing the relevant legislation, (ii) harmonisation
of forest and other related legislation at all levels of the administration,
(iii) clarifying responsibilities of various levels of administration,
(iv) ensuring that benefits from forests and other natural resources
are proportionately distributed in accordance with the forest
policy, (v) integrating customary rights and regulations on forest
land use into the forest legislation process whenever relevant
and existing, and (vi) promoting legal security on access to,
and use of, land and forests.
This process should be carried out at national, provincial and
local levels and stimulate consensus building, formation of new
alliances and consultative processes in forest policy and legislation
review and implementation.
(e) Revision of roles, mandates and institutional structures
Governments that have not done so should consider initiating a
process of review and, if needed, redefinition of the roles and
mandates of the major forest related actors, including the administrations
at national, provincial and local levels, and the non-governmental
sector (non-governmental organisations, community based organisation
and the private sector). The process should aim at focusing government
functions on (i) policy formulation including legislation, (ii)
the provision of administrative services including promotion and
facilitation, and (iii) supervision and control. Other functions
could be shared with or delegated to the non-governmental sector,
including (i) productive activities, (ii) monitoring and evaluation,
(iii) technical services, (iv) research and (v) coordination of
In addition to improving or redefining roles and mandates of the
various actors, a process should be started to strengthen their
political and institutional status and performance. The governmental
sector should focus on (i) elimination of overlaps, (ii) creating
linkages with other relevant sectors, (iii) promotion of public
participation, (iv) reduction of bureaucratic procedures, (v)
adequate resource allocation, including manpower and infrastructure,
and (vi) decentralisation with clear coordination mechanisms.
The non-governmental sector should focus on (i) identification
of responsibilities to be taken over, and (ii) promotion and capacity
building of institutional structures, including manpower and infrastructure,
in order to enable them to be active partners in the NFP.
(f) Establishment and/or consolidation of national coordination
Governments might consider establishing a national body responsible
for intersectoral coordination related to forest sector activities.
Such a body could assure (i) the involvement of the relevant national
actors in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of the
NFP, (ii) avoidance of duplication of programmes, (iii) consistency
of national, provincial and local actions, and (iv) the effective
coordination of the international involvement in the sector. In
addition the coordination mechanism could function as an instrument
to reflect the commitments between the national and international
levels by promoting transparent dialogue between the actors.
2.2.2 Investment Programming
The experts took note of the Pretoria Declaration and the report
on the "Workshop on Financial Mechanisms and Sources of Finance
for Sustainable Forestry", and considered them valuable input
for its work. They agreed that investment in SFM needs both public
and private funds in a complementary way and requires long-term
The following options should be considered:
(g) Strategic planning for investments
Comprehensive national forest strategies (NFPs), that are consistent
with macroeconomic planning and policy and are aware of the strategic
value of forests as a capital base for national sustainable development,
facilitate mobilising funds for sustainable forest management
from various sources.
Strategies have to consider the effects of the external economic
environment, including the opportunities and risks of international
trade on the national forest sector.
Strategies should be based on a participatory process involving
all actors, identifying their roles and establishing priorities.
This contributes to building up partnership, which facilitates
the implementation of the strategies.
The development of these strategies should also include the identification
of a wide range of funding sources including public and private,
both domestic and foreign. These processes can draw upon the principles
outlined in the statement of the Pretoria workshop. In this context,
the group recommended significant improvement of the access to
information about possible funding sources and related experiences.
Countries could be invited to share their experiences on the schemes
of forest related economic indicators to promote investment and
improved resource valuation and revenue collection
This procedure would lead to the identification of the most appropriate
funding sources to implement the various elements of the national
(h) Domestic public funding
Considering the importance of domestic funding, public budget
allocations should reflect the national priority given to sustainable
forest management (SFM). This can be achieved by securing appropriate
valuation of forest resources, including payments for ecological
services of forests and the incorporation of externalities.
An efficient revenue system is fundamental and should ensure that
a sufficient part of forestry revenues are directed to forestry
agencies active in SFM.
Public funding should create an environment which promotes investments
in every step of the value chain (from forest development to primary
and secondary processing and distribution) in order to retain
added value from forest resources in the countries.
(i) Official development assistance
ODA should be used in a complementary way to supplement public
spending for SFM in a way that provides substantial support in
particular for capacity building, technology transfer and catalysing
other sources of financing.
International cooperation supporting the implementation a comprehensive
national strategy should also encompass concepts like community
based forestry, alternatives for people making unsustainable use
of forest resources, bufferzone management, poverty alleviation
(j) Private funding
The comprehensive strategy should identify and provide information
on opportunities for private sector investment and promote its
orientation towards SFM.
Appropriate mechanisms should be developed, including covering
transaction costs, offsetting market development risks, compensation
for the incorporation of externalities, guarantee schemes, etc.
Through market based instruments, sustainable practices benefiting
the poor and providing alternatives for them should be rewarded
and unsustainable practices discouraged.
Macroeconomic stability, proper policy and regulatory framework
and an established land tenure system are conducive to attracting
responsible private investment.
(k) New and additional financial resources
The potential of mechanisms generating new and additional financial
resources (e.g. GEF, Joint Implementation) should be fully explored,
so as to integrate the resources into comprehensive national programmes.
2.2.3 National Capacity and Capacity Building
It was stated by the Expert Consultation that before embarking
on a capacity building programme, a country should assess its
existing capabilities to plan, implement and monitor an NFP on
all levels of society. Priorities for strengthening existing institutions,
or building new institutions or infrastructure, should be based
on this assessment. It should be iterative (periodically repeated
and updated) and participatory, involving key local, national
and international actors. In addition, gender issues should be
considered in all capacity building programmes.
The Expert Consultation identified the following options related
to national capacity and capacity building:
(l) Development of improved approaches to external assistance
to capacity building
Improvements are often needed in the manner in which external
assistance resources are directed towards capacity building.
As harmonisation and coordination in donor programmes is often
lacking, this may lead to the creation of parallel organisations
and the irrational use of funds and manpower.
The development of improved approaches should focus specifically
on: (i) establishment of long-term donor commitments for assistance
to capacity building, based on a national interinstitutional mechanism
for monitoring changes in the forestry sector, (ii) respect for
the national priorities and use of national / local expertise
when possible, (iii) establishment of an agreement, perhaps in
the form of a code of conduct, between cooperation agencies and
the government, (iv) the establishment of a transparent mechanism
to enable cooperation agencies and key national actors to interact
on a regular basis and to coordinate external assistance in the
forestry sector, and (v) simplification and harmonisation of cooperation
(m) Human resource development
In many countries, human resources are not adequate or not effectively
utilised. Improvements are needed in training, education and the
deployment of human resources to ensure that the appropriate skills
and expertise are allocated according to national needs and priorities.
The development of human resources should focus specifically on
the following issues: (i) reorienting and/or strengthening of
existing training institutions taking a multidiciplinary approach,
(ii) establishment of new training institutions only where deficiencies
exist, (iii) establishment of systems for the assessment of manpower
and training needs, (iv) review of curricula of training institutions
according to the results of the needs assessment, (v) reallocation
of manpower according to optimal deployment. In addition, national
governments should put in place an appropriate remuneration-,
welfare- and incentive-system in order to retain manpower and
(n) Strengthening of local institutions and organisations
Local level capacities, infrastructure and facilities are often
weak, because a disproportionately high share of resources is
allocated to national level programmes, while locally active institutions
and organisations are inadequately supported. Local knowledge
is often not adequately incorporated in capacity building programmes.
More capacity building should be directed to local levels, focusing
on: (i) assessment of existing (local) knowledge to improve its
utilisation, (ii) development of mechanisms for the optimal use
of existing institutions and organisations at local levels, (iii)
facilitation of formal and informal capacity building activities
of local institutions, NGOs and community groups through a decentralised
approach, and (iv) development and intensification of retraining
systems for civil servants and others working at the local level
to promote interaction with the local actors. In addition, local
institutions and organisations (including non-governmental and
community- based organisations) should be strengthened so that
they can provide the necessary infrastructure for capacity building,
especially vocational education.
(o) Institutional development
Effective use of human resources can be limited by inadequacies
in institutional management systems, the lack of accountability
as well as insufficient infrastructure. The focus of institutional
development should be on the establishment of administrative and
accountability systems, including financial management systems,
that emphasise participatory management.
Institutions related to research, extension and forest administration
need to be strengthened, taking a cross sectoral approach and
promoting networking through North-South as well as South-South
cooperation and information exchange. Training in conflict resolution
and mediation techniques should be enhanced and incorporated in
In many countries, forest sector research is not integrated in
forest sector planning and administration, hence the results of
research are not effectively applied to solving problems on the
ground. The following key issues should be the focus of capacity
building in forestry research: (i) integration of isolated research
institutes in research networks, and (ii) integration of local
knowledge and values in research, using participatory planning
2.2.4 International Cooperation in Support of National
The Expert Consultation emphasised that national action is the
key to sustainable forest management. Modalities of cooperation
need to be developed at the national level to help ensure effective
NFP planning and implementation. Support to national efforts can
be augmented by action at regional and international levels.
But such support must be in service of national needs and must
be developed at the appropriate level. The following options aim
at the promotion of NFPs as the central focus for international
(p) Supporting and refining the concept of NFPs
NFPs are expected to play a key role in promoting sustainable
forest management. It was stressed that, in accordance with Agenda
21 and the Forest Principles, sustainable forest management is
the overall objective of the forest sector and the responsibility
of each country. NFPs can be an important means of promoting sustainable
forest management. In order to support the NFP process and refine
the concept - on which considerable work has been done (i.e. Basic
Principles and Operational Guidelines for National Forest Programmes,
FAO) - it was suggested that:
(i) The support of the international community should be focused
on the implementation of country-led NFPs. This would allow international
institutions and partner governments to interact with all appropriate
levels within a country.
(ii) Discussions to update the concept of NFPs should continue,
leading in the short term to the publication of a widely accepted
joint concept on how to prepare and implement NFPs. This could
be a living document. In order to provide conceptual guidance,
regular consultations in appropriate fora should deal with issues
that need further elaboration, such as:
· approaches to the implementation
of policies, strategies and actions to operationalise NFPs
· transferring technology and
streamlining financial mechanisms and using their respective comparative
· developing additional instruments
for implementing NFPs, e.g. Forest Partnership Agreements. The
consultations should seek and consolidate the views of all relevant
actors, including the private sector and NGOs.
(q) Development of appropriate regional approaches
It was stressed that the regional level has proven to be appropriate
for dealing with a range of issues and actions related to forests.
However, the formulation of regional policies and the implementation
of regional programmes have often been inadequately based on existing
It was acknowledged, that the regional level can provide significant
advantages when countries use coordinated regional positions in
international fora and use regional mechanisms to support national
processes. In both cases regional action must derive from each
country's assessment of its needs and the ability of the region
to act effectively in its support. This means that regional approaches
should not be developed in a political vacuum or imposed by external
institutions. The point of departure should always be national
It was suggested that regional approaches would be most effective
in the following areas: (i) development of technical institutions
to take advantage of economies of scale, (ii) exchange of experiences
and technologies on the policies, strategies and actions related
to the implementation of NFPs, (iii) establishment of transboundary
programmes involving the pooling of national efforts to tackle
common concerns, (iv) as a forum for resolving other practical
problems of the region, and (v) participation in international
fora and processes, where national positions shared by countries
of a region can be presented in a coordinated way.
Focusing on such areas is more likely to be cost effective and
attract the political and financial support of countries of the
regions, and the international community, needed to ensure success.
(r) Establishment of a forum for international consultation
It was recognised that the IPF will consider in depth, including
through the work of the Swiss-Peruvian IPF intersessional activity,
the question of institutional structures (Programme Element V.1).
However, it was noted that there is a lack of international policy
dialogue and clear leadership on forest issues. At the same time,
understanding of the complexity of forest issues has increased,
resulting in rapid changes in the international agenda and shifting
priorities of cooperation agencies. This has led to a greater
burden on national authorities in establishing and implementing
In order to increase the effectiveness of international support
to NFPs, it was proposed that a new "Forum for International
Consultation on Forests" should be established based
on the experience of the IPF. This Forum, with an expanded mandate,
might also be used for dealing with action on issues raised in
other programme elements of the IPF.
Such a forum would promote international support for the NFP process.
It should be a consultative body, whose work is supported by technical
and scientific advice. It should establish collaborative leadership
in the forest sector. but not seek to coordinate national processes.
It should ensure that all actors, including NGOs and the private
sector, are integrated into the consultation process. The main
tasks of the Forum would include:
(i) to consult on:
· the further development of the
concept and methodologies of NFPs, streamlining the application
of policy instruments, financial mechanisms and forest related
· NFP related international initiatives.
This would help avoid conflicting demands on countries from development
institutions. A code of conduct among international institutions,
cooperation agencies and NGOs in order to achieve acceptance of
NFPs as the relevant framework for actions at the national level
was referred to. The Forum might be able to consider this issue;
(ii) to enhance cooperation among international agencies on support
for development of NFPs;
(iii) to provide a forum for policy discussions;
(iv) to encourage exchange of information on experiences with
the implementation of NFPs;
In addition to discussing these issues directly related to NFPs,
national action would also be assisted, if the Forum could give
advice to and interact with international institutions, conventions
bodies and other fora dealing with forest related issues and work
for better understanding of the concept of sustainable forest
The form and function of the Forum need further definition, including
the question of legal status, funding and secretarial support.
One suggestion was to establish the Forum as an intergovernmental
body under the aegis of the CSD with the Department of Policy
Coordination and Sustainable Development fulfilling the secretariat
function taking advantage of the positive experiences gained in
the IPF process, which is planned to end in 1997.
It was suggested that the multilateral organisations, collaborating
presently in the Inter-Agency Task Force in service of the IPF,
should play a similar role for the proposed Forum. In addition
to their input at the international level, the multilateral organisations,
including the World Bank, could use the mechanism of Country Strategy
Notes (CSN). The instrument of the CSN was endorsed by a resolution
of the UN General Assembly in 1994 and is meant to pool the activities
of the multilateral institutions at the national level. This instrument
could be used effectively in support of NFPs.
3. CONCLUDING REMARKS
The Expert Consultation on the Promotion of National Forest and
Land Use Programmes elaborated a set of options for action as
required by the IPF guidelines for intersessional events. During
its deliberations, a number of additional cross-cutting issues
In the last decade, a multiplicity of new and innovative initiatives
has emerged from the global, regional and national discussions
on forest issues. These have led to an increased burden on countries.
During the consultative process, that prepared this expert consultation,
it was accepted that improved understanding of the complexity
of forest issues should lead to broader concepts of forest management.
However, it was stressed that existing concepts, mechanisms and
instruments for managing the forest sector would be adequate to
take this into account, if they were applied in a coherent and
coordinated manner. Lessons learned from past experiences must
now be applied in order to avoid institutional competition, ineffective
use of human capacity and uncoordinated spending of scarce financial
The IPF process provides an excellent opportunity to foster consultations
on the issue at the international level to assist developing countries
to take these issues forward.
National strategies are the point of departure for action to achieve
sustainable forest management. Looking outward, the regional and
international levels must provide adequate support to this process.
To achieve this, an effective structure for debate, consultation
and coordination at the international level is needed. In the
national context the acceptance of country specific priorities
and strategies, as well as participation of all actors, must be
secured. There was strong support to innovative structures of
partnerships for the joint management of forest resources and
decentralised decision-making. This process would attract private
investment and allow more effective allocation of public funding
to the forest sector.
The existing capacity and competence, which are often undervalued
and/or under-utilised in developing countries, should be taken
as a point of departure as to match development measures with
the ability of national and local institutions, including NGOs
and the private sector.
If support to country-led forest strategies is to be effective,
there must be a long-term commitment of all partners to cooperate
on this basis. An agreement, possibly in the form of a code
of conduct, could provide a mechanism to achieve reliable compliance
with these commitments.
21 June 1996