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Forest governance: Impacts from outreach and implementation of country assessments - Case study summary

Two project development objectives of PROFOR’s forest governance work are to deepen knowledge in this area and strengthen capacity to implement governance assessments. For this evaluation, PROFOR reviewed country-specific applications of the PROFOR participatory assessment tool in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique. In DRC the results of the assessment fed into a Bank Economic Sector Work (ESW). In Mozambique, the results fed into planning for the Bank’s Forest Investment Program (FIP).  PROFOR also reviewed an online training project designed to disseminate FAO and PROFOR’s forest governance assessment framework and good practices guide.

DRC. The DRC project held four stakeholder workshops to score governance indicators and produced a final report, including recommendations, disseminated to the participants, stakeholders, and the government (Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development). As one of its primary objectives, the report has informed a World Bank piece of Economic and Sector Work (ESW) that is taking stock of the DRC’s forest sector and its governance, and which will inform any future interventions in the sector. In parallel, the government is considering the results in the ongoing development of its forest policy.

Mozambique. In 2016, PROFOR supported the application of its forest governance diagnostic tool in Mozambique to better understand the myriad of governance challenges confronting the sector and to identify home-grown, consensus-based solutions.  The project held two regional stakeholder workshops to score a customized set of indicators. The findings and emerging implications were channeled into the Forest Investment Program (FIP) project for the country and have significantly shaped its direction. Equally important, the exercise identified a handful of priority indicators that the government and FIP will use for periodic assessments of the status of forest governance.

Factors contributing to the influence of the project include:

  • High-level government involvement and support.
  • Active involvement and support of WWF, which is also taking the assessment protocol and holding scoring workshops in two or three additional provinces.
  • Concurrent reform efforts (a concessions review and a pilot application of ROAM, a rejuvenation of the regional miombo network), which reinforced the sense of commitment to change.
  • Linkage to FIP, with its potential for providing funding to undertake the identified reforms.

These factors are important, but they do not detract from the contribution of the PROFOR assessment. The direction for reform has largely emerged from the results of the PROFOR work.

Online training. From 2015 to 2016, PROFOR co-sponsored a series of eLearning activities about forest governance assessment. These included design and delivery of a five-module online course, three one-hour webinars, and three short podcasts. This project’s main objective was knowledge uptake.

It is hard to judge these activities’ long-term impact of on policy outcomes so soon after their delivery.  Regardless, this project shows the potential for using online classes to disseminate forest knowledge. In course quizzes and exercises, participants demonstrated a clear grasp of forest governance concepts.  In surveys prepared for this evaluation, most participants completing the five-module course reported that they expected to apply their new knowledge in their careers. 

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