FOCUS: A Checklist for Change
Common wisdom holds that it is important to be able to measure something to manage it well. But how do you measure something as fuzzy and politically charged as "governance"? Whether the term applies to the capability of the forest department, the extent of stakeholder participation or the prevalence of forest crime, a precise assessment of forest governance would seem elusive and bound to backfire. Over the years however, practitioners have sat down to define key principles of good forest governance and brought rigor to the field. A series of global efforts has also opened up space for public discussion of contentious issues in many countries.
The logical next step was to start measuring countries against a checklist of good practices. Assessing and Monitoring Forest Governance: A user's guide to a diagnostic tool, a new PROFOR publication, presents 130 sample questions that can guide countries seeking to identify priority areas for change. Crucially, the questionnaire is meant to be scored by national stakeholders rather than outsiders. Applied so far in Uganda, Burkina Faso and Russia, this approach provides a flexible and relatively inexpensive method to trigger candid discussions. The authors' hope is that more countries and organizations will see the value of a sound diagnostic in building momentum for change.
Benefit sharing -- or how to make sure local communities benefit from forest investment and payment schemes -- will be discussed at two venues in September: at a Knowledge Cafe during the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea, and during World Forestry Week in Rome. PROFOR's work on this topic also featured in three regional REDD+ dialogues (involving East Asian, Francophone African and Anglophone African countries) organized by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility in Washington DC in June 2012.
Look for us at the Lviv Forum on Forests in a Green Economy on 11-14 September 2012, in Lviv, Ukraine. The forum will discuss forest risks and opportunities in the countries of Eastern Europe and Northern and Central Asia.
Environmental services -- Track progress of two case studies looking at the value generated by sustainable upland forest and land management for downstream water users in Albania, and the benefits of increasing the efficiency of stoves and heating systems in Kosovo. This PROFOR-financed activity is posting interim findings on a dedicated website.
PROFOR is working hard to broaden the reach of its knowledge products . We've added keywords to our PDFs, assigned ISBN numbers to publications, and looked into the ins and outs of Scribd and Google Books. However we need your help to crack the code! What's on your wish list? More translations? Shorter publications? Video Q&As? Do you ever use CDs?
Let us know your thoughts.
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We've also expanded our forest photo library on Flickr: browse our new set from Indonesia.