The need to improve forest governance as an important prerequisite for promoting sustainable forest management and reducing deforestation and forest degradation is widely acknowledged. To make governance better work for people and forests is not an easy challenge due to divergent interests and mind-sets and imbalanced power relations and unequal access to information, decision-making, resources and benefits.
The 29 articles in this ETFRN News showcase a rich diversity of examples of how forest governance have been addressed in various settings. This issue brings together experiences from a wide variety of forest governance reform initiatives. Some relate to new lessons from relatively well established approaches to forest governance reform, such as community forestry; others relate to more recently developed approaches, such as FLEGT and REDD+. The articles show that international instruments — such as FLEGT, forest certification and more recently, REDD+ — have been and are important drivers to address governance in the forest sector.
The experiences emanating from the articles in this issue demonstrate that one-size-fits-all solutions to forest governance challenges do not exist. They also show that whatever the entry point is to initiate forest governance reform, there is always a set of additional and inter-related governance challenges that underlie that entry point. Therefore, an integrated process approach is essential to successfully address forest governance reform. “Good” forest governance creates the capacity for continuous learning and the ability to adapt to lessons learned among those engaged in the participatory processes of governance. The articles reveal that transparency, communication and access to information, and multi-stakeholder engagement in deliberative processes (particularly the meaningful participation of disadvantaged groups) are essential ingredients in moving forward with forest governance.