Deforestation and forest degradation have long been important concerns for forest management as they harm biodiversity, contribute to climate change and increase poverty in developing countries. The problem is exacerbated, given that much of the forest clearance appears to be illegal in many developing countries, in contravention to regulations and laws and regardless of the conservation or livelihood values of forests involved. Hence, integrating measures to tackle not only the challenges of illegality (through forest and market reforms) but also those related to sustainable use of resources remains critical for environmental and social reasons. Interventions which reduce land and forest degradation are the need of the hour to ensure resilience by communities, including indigenous groups dependent on forest resources.
An adequate policy, legal and institutional measures governing management, utilisation and benefit sharing from forests are key issues in combating deforestation. Improvement in the governance of forests requires: i) political will and adoption of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies; ii) political and legal reforms and enforcement of laws; iii) transparency in government practices, systems and mechanisms; and iv) strong and accountable institutions capable of addressing the challenges of sustainable management of natural resources while ensuring the social and economic needs of those dependent on forests for their livelihoods. We recognise that inter-linkages between environmental, social and economic issues are very pertinent to forest governance and there is the need to look beyond the forest sector when addressing policy, legal and institutional shortcomings. We undertake political economy analysis, analysis of legal and policy reforms, monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL), land tenure rights & community forests, gender responsive programming, waste management, social and environmental impact assessment, disaster risk reduction, and climate resilience and mitigation, aimed at balance of environmental, socio-cultural and economic objectives.
Forest Governance, Markets and Climate Programme (FGMC) is a £250 million, 10 year programme, aimed to ensure that FGMC activities are on track relative to the milestones set out in the programme logical framework and are contributing effectively to the outputs and the outcome in the area of International trade in timber and other commodities, particularly agricultural commodity chains, and related controls and standards; Forest sector policy and legislative reform; Environmental and social issues in the forest sector, including those related to tenure rights, gender, poverty and livelihoods, and forests and climate change; International development and theory of change, and appropriate monitoring techniques to assess programme implementation. We undertook reviews of secondary information sources, including programme documents, country and regional strategy papers, country-level documentation and research reports, European Council and European Commission statements and other deliberations. In addition, conducted interviews with DFID and other government officials who have been engaged with the programme, representatives from the private sector and civil society affected by the programme; facilitated annual stakeholder FGMC meeting and conducted on-site visits to evaluate activities being undertaken.
FERN is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) working on rights and the issues that affect forest people such as trade, investment and climate change. The overall goal of the programme is to improve forest management by strengthening community tenure rights and improving forest governance – specifically within the framework of the European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (EU FLEGT) process – through legal, institutional and policy reform. As an Independent Monitor (IM), we guided the programme and providing insight into its effectiveness in delivering its results and outcomes using various M&E approaches/tools, such as ladders of change, results chain, theory of change , most significant change and appreciative inquiry. As part of the project, we are prepared annual reviews, developing M&E manual and providing training, and review of civil society platforms supported by FERN.
The participatory mapping project in the Congo Basin, funded by DFID, aimed to promote recognition of communities' rights to access, control and use of forests in the legislative, political and strategic processes of three Congo Basin Countries (Central African Republic, Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville). The purpose of the project is to ensure forest communities, Community Service Organisations (CSOs) and government staff in each of the three target countries, have the capacity and resources to accurately map community forest land tenure, land use and make use of the data thus compiled, in taking and influencing decisions related to forests and forest communities. As part of the project, we designed an evaluation framework, undertook an external evaluation and provided recommendations, which helped to shape second phase. In addition, we undertook extensive field work in respective countries for assessing the community forestry, community mapping of forest land tenure and the different legislative frameworks in Congo Basin countries in relation to community tenure rights.
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