Good forest governance has a central role in achieving sustainable forest management. It is also critical to ensure the effectiveness of plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), as well as to ensure the effectiveness of efforts to reduce illegal activities in the forest sector.
Assessment and monitoring of governance are essential tools in promoting reforms to achieve better forest governance. Since early efforts starting in the 1990s, quality assessments of forest governance have gradually relied less on international experts and more on national institutions and local expertise. Purely technical approaches are giving way to better integration of political and managerial issues. Meanwhile, quality assessments of forest governance are assuming greater significance in the context of discussions of global climate change.
A compendium of evidence-based approaches to forest governance data collection could help countries decide between different options as they respond to various requirements, for example arising from the Voluntary Partnership Agreement, a bilateral trade agreement between the EU and some timber-producing countries.
PROFOR has developed a common framework for assessing and monitoring forest governance, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other partners, including the World Resources Institute, Chatham House, the European Forest Institute, and the UN-REDD Programme. PROFOR also piloted an approach for collecting data, based on questionnaires answered by multiple stakeholders, which so far has been used in a range of countries: Uganda, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Russian Federation, Madagascar and Democratic Republic of Congo. However, this approach is only one of many indicator and data collection options available to practitioners.
To improve the process, PROFOR has a new project that aims to produce a compendium of approaches to forest governance data collection, to provide practitioners with a menu of options that is customizable to specific contexts. The guide on data collection approaches will be accompanied by a library of forest data collection initiatives that have been field-tested in one or more countries. To the extent possible, the guide and library will be updated as additional field experiences become available.