Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Knowledge sharing to develop effective national forest policy through participatory processes (64)

Post by Nadejda Loumbeva (FAO)

Fred Kafeero, Forestry Officer, Participatory Forestry at FAO and Marguerite France-Lanord, Forestry Officer, National Forest Programme Facility hosted by FAO, discussed the role of knowledge management and knowledge sharing in developing and implementing national forest policy. The format of the session was a chat show followed by questions from the audience.

In particular, Marguerite explained that since 2002 the National Forest Programme Facility (the Facility) has worked with more than 80 countries throughout the world to build capacity for and support the participation of all stakeholder groups in forestry policy development and implementation. In this, the Facility has worked in close partnership with the FAO Forest Economics, Policy and Product Division (FOE). In particular, small grants have been delivered mainly to civil society in the Facility member countries to conduct pilot studies, develop information systems, and raise awareness about community forestry. Such initiatives have resulted in participatory policy development and implementation processes put into place.

To build on this, Fred explained that FOE has provided public sector officials and other stakeholders working in participatory forestry management with national and regional trainings in participatory approaches and conflict resolution methodologies. Examples of methodologies and tools taught at these trainings include: stakeholder analysis, priority analysis, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, fish bowl debates. The purpose of these trainings has been to empower public sector officials and other stakeholders with practical skills in developing forestry policies. Each training has stressed the importance of involving all key stakeholder groups, including grassroots communities, and in this way enabling all-inclusive and sustainable forest management.

A question/comment came up during the discussion on the partnership between the Facility and FOE. How did it work?
Marguerite and Fred explained there has been close and committed collaboration between the two, particularly with respect to providing participatory approaches and methodology trainings. For example, often a grant provided by the Facility to one of its member countries would be used in part by the FOE in order to organize and deliver such trainings. In addition, the FOE would often act as a coach to Facility member countries, helping them to absorb and enact the philosophy of participatory forestry management. This way countries are more able to effectively tap into the assistance being provided by the Facility and build capacity for the long term.

In addition, the Facility and FOE conceptualize technical support areas together, for example:
  • in supporting the development of National Forest financing strategies; 
  • in developing guidelines with countries, i.e. guidelines on integration of climate change measures into national forest programmes; 
  • in supporting community based forest enterprises.
What a great example of teamwork and collaboration in action!

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