Transparent and Accountable Management of Natural Resources in Developing Countries: The Case of Forests

31-05-2017

This study reviewed the state of transparency and accountability in the forestry sector in developing countries focusing on contributions of EU actions and provisions on the same. The study was based on review of literature, policies and reports on forest governance, using three FLEGT-VPA case study countries, namely Cameroon, Ghana and Tanzania. More than 200 million Euros have been invested into FLEGT-VPA and related activities around Africa with positive impacts on transparency, accountability and overall governance. Less impact is elicited regarding benefits to local people and FLEGT interactions with other mechanisms such as REDD+. More importantly, little evidence exists on direct evidence of FLEGT-VPA processes incentivizing sustainable forest management even though there is some evidence of growth in legal timber export numbers. Recommendations for improving FLEGT –VPA include, expanding the definition of “legality” to include safeguards that ensure community rights and benefits; strengthening EU-China FLEGT-VPA initiatives to enable comparable standards for African timber; including small scale and agroforestry-based domestic timber into the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR); increasing capacity building and synergy with other mechanisms such as REDD+. Opportunities for new EU policies and actions include FLEGT-type monitoring for forest-related SDGs and incentives for actions in the New York Declaration on Forests.

This study reviewed the state of transparency and accountability in the forestry sector in developing countries focusing on contributions of EU actions and provisions on the same. The study was based on review of literature, policies and reports on forest governance, using three FLEGT-VPA case study countries, namely Cameroon, Ghana and Tanzania. More than 200 million Euros have been invested into FLEGT-VPA and related activities around Africa with positive impacts on transparency, accountability and overall governance. Less impact is elicited regarding benefits to local people and FLEGT interactions with other mechanisms such as REDD+. More importantly, little evidence exists on direct evidence of FLEGT-VPA processes incentivizing sustainable forest management even though there is some evidence of growth in legal timber export numbers. Recommendations for improving FLEGT –VPA include, expanding the definition of “legality” to include safeguards that ensure community rights and benefits; strengthening EU-China FLEGT-VPA initiatives to enable comparable standards for African timber; including small scale and agroforestry-based domestic timber into the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR); increasing capacity building and synergy with other mechanisms such as REDD+. Opportunities for new EU policies and actions include FLEGT-type monitoring for forest-related SDGs and incentives for actions in the New York Declaration on Forests.

Autor extern

- Peter MINANG, Principal Scientist, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and ASB Partnership for The Tropical Forest Margins), Kenya; - Lalisa DUGUMA, Scientist, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and ASB Partnership for The Tropical Forest Margins), Kenya; - Florence BERNARD, Associate scientist, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Kenya and - Judith NZYOKA, Assistant Scientist, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and ASB Partnership for The Tropical Forest Margins), Kenya