FORESTS

(Enviada por Paulo Braga)

Two weeks ago eight former leaders of public forest agencies across the world have come together to call for sweeping reforms in the way forest agencies are governed and prepare them for rapid changes in citizens’ demands, increased pressure on forest landscapes, and global trends affecting these lands in coming decades.

These leaders are associated with a unique, informal group called MegaFlorestais <http://www.megaflorestais.org/> , which is comprised of current and former heads of forest agencies of the world’s most forested countries.

The network has met annually since 2006 to discuss challenges and share experiences on critical issues affecting forests and forest peoples, including climate change, market transitions, forest tenure, poverty alleviation, and public governance.

These former officials co-authored a think piece <http://www.rightsandresources.org/wp-content/uploads/MegaFlorestais_Editorial_-May-20141.pdf>  highlighting five key recommendations—stemming from the lessons learned during the first nine years of MegaFlorestais <http://www.megaflorestais.org/> —that forest agencies need to embrace in order to address a future challenged by declining natural forests in the tropics (due largely to deforestation and climate change), fires, pests, droughts and other climate disturbances, as well as expanding investments in mining, agriculture and energy development in forest areas.

The think piece can be viewed online here:  http://www.rightsandresources.org/wp-content/uploads/MegaFlorestais_Editorial_-May-20141.pdfThey believe the following five principles are essential for forest agencies across the world to guide the future of effective forest governance in the 21st century:

1. Transparency in governance: Data on forests should be freely available and easily accessible to citizens, who must have a voice in creating and adapting the forest plans, strategies, laws, and regulations that affect them. There should be clear and fair grievance procedures for resolving disagreements.

2. Clarification of tenure (land rights and ownership): Recognizing the rights of communities and Indigenous Peoples is an essential step in advancing human rights, alleviating poverty in forest areas, and preserving forest land. It will also inspire public and investor confidence. Public forest agencies should be willing partners and leaders in policy changes on tenure.

3. Inclusive governance: Governmental systems that effectively engage citizens in forest management make more resilient and sustainable decisions because of the trust and support inclusive governance brings. Organizational structures, policies, plans, and regulations must be designed to actively engage all stakeholders in forest governance. Key best practices include using technology to reach citizens in remote areas; developing regulations that can be readily understood and enforced; engaging forest users in monitoring and enforcement; and establishing effective citizen/stakeholder advisory boards to incorporate wide-ranging perspectives.

4. Evolution of forest agencies: Public forest agency leaders must be accountable to citizens for the effectiveness and efficiency with which they are managing their forests. Many agencies are considering how to restructure to serve the growing class of new forest owners, and they are shifting from a focus on managing public lands to enabling the sound management of forests by communities. Policies in the mining, water and agricultural sectors often undermine policies on forests and forest-dependent communities. Such convicting policies must be reconciled.

5. New skills for forest leaders: Across the world, public forest agency leaders are facing challenges unlike any they have faced before; they must hone their skills and those of their staff if they are to lead effectively. They operate now in a global environment, where a change in policy or regulation in one country can have international, even global, impacts.

Public forest agency leaders must therefore understand the global complexities of human rights, community organizations and enterprises, global trade, and emerging trends in new technologies, markets, and climate change.

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