Over the past decade key studies, like the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and more recently the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) have focused global attention on the enormous value of forests. The studies not only underscore the importance of forests for a green economy, but also highlight the need to conserve and manage these vital ecosystems for all humanity.
Interest in the issue of international forest finance is growing. This is reflected in the increasing number of international and intergovernmental fora in which this issue is being discussed, and by the broadening of the debate beyond the forest arena. Some optimism for the future is further boosted by several new international public initiatives and mechanisms that are already underway or emerging to enhance forest financing, together creating a diverse forest financing landscape. In the international policy dialogues on forests the importance of the role and effectiveness of international public funding is highlighted.
Keeping track of this diverse and growing spectrum of initiatives and mechanisms poses a challenge for policy makers and experts dealing with such questions as: ‘to what extent do these initiatives and mechanisms contribute to the demand and gaps in forest finance?’, and ‘how harmonized and complementary are these instruments, and what are the current synergies between them?’
This Info brief synthesizes the main findings of a scoping study with the aim to provide an overview and understanding of the current international forest financing landscape and options and pathways to improve synergies and coherence between the different initiatives. The study was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands and implemented by Tropenbos International.
Whereas policy makers increasingly are demanding improved coordination and coherence between international forest financing mechanisms the study notes however a general attitude of “coordination OK, being coordinated no way”. This is a major obstacle in designing an effective approach to improve international coordination and coherence.
Rather than establishing formal coordination mechanisms, which would entail further bureaucracy, the study suggests that the response should instead be found in smarter and more strategic use of already existing e-networking and knowledge platforms.
Six key steps could be considered:
- The release of a periodic assessment of “The State of the World’s Forest Financing”.
- All forest financing mechanisms should conduct a periodic “coordination SWOT”.
- Develop a “your way to forest financing” facility.
- Strengthen national forest financing strategies and country coordination platforms.
- Capitalize on existing platforms for knowledge exchange and discussion
- Enhance “e-networking” to use the power of electronic networks to connect people.