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In India, some 100 million people live in and around forests and depend heavily on the collection and marketing of non-timber forest products. However, a lack of information on the links between poverty and forest dependence impedes meaningful interventions to reduce poverty and improve the overall well-being of this significant population.
The specific objectives of this work are to:
- Shed light on the extent to which the poor in India depend on forests and their associated ecosystem services for their livelihoods;
- Assess whether and how investing in sustainable forest management (SFM) could lead to poverty reduction and shared prosperity outcomes; and
- Identify key forest-related policies that have the highest impact on poverty reduction and shared prosperity, and possible entry points for the World Bank and its development partners in India to engage on these issues.
A detailed literature review revealed that the rural poor in India have diverse livelihood strategies, but that even households engaged in farming depend heavily on local forests for firewood, grazing, and leaf fodder and other non-timber forest products (NTFPs). NTFPs may contribute up to 20% of a rural household’s cash income. Firewood and fodder collection appear to be the leading cause of most forest degradation
Given the paucity of useful data in India for determining the link between poverty and forest dependence, a primary survey was conducted among about 1,000 households in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India. Preliminary findings were shared among World Bank teams, Government of India officials, and participants at the IUCN 2016 World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.
High-resolution spatial mapping was carried out to gauge India’s current forest cover, recent deforestation, and poverty incidence; this is the first such geospatial overlay of forest cover and poverty for India. A second overlay highlighting the pockets of indigenous communities was also completed.
The mapping exercise shows that highly forested areas do not always coincide with areas of high poverty, and similarly low forested areas. This finding debunks the myth that forests and poverty may be directly co-related, even though it is sufficiently proven that the poor households in the sample derive up to one third of their cash incomes from forests.
The study also found that women-headed households are more dependent on forests, and that many households turn to forests to augment their incomes during times of difficulty, such as drought. Another result was that villages located closer to roads derive higher incomes from forests due to their ability to access markets where they can sell forest products. Finally, the study revealed that out-of-poverty households use more forest resources in absolute terms, even though poor households use more of such resources in relative terms. This suggests that forests play a role in keeping households out of poverty.
These findings were made available in a synthesis report aimed at donors, development partners, and government representatives, as well as in a technical note focused on issues of methodology. A second technical paper was produced with the research community in mind, containing full details about the results and the analytical strengths and limitations.The main findings of the review will be used directly in finalizing the Himachal Pradesh Forests for Prosperity project preparation and design with regard to aspects related to marketing, NTFP value chains efficiency, and supportive institutional development.
This activity has contributed to a re-entry of the World Bank into the forestry sector in India, as well as in South Asia more broadly, by underscoring the importance of forests in reducing poverty keeping households from falling back into poverty. Results are also informing the national Green India Mission (GIM), which aims to reforest 5 million hectares and improve forest quality in another 5 million hectares.
Last Updated : 06-09-2019
Countries in South Asia are increasingly committed to the improved management of the region’s forests, including for the purpose of making progress towards individual Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
However, South Asia faces significant challenges in managing its forest sector. For example, decades of conflict in Afghanistan have led to substantial forest loss, while in India, forest cover has stabilized but forest quality is deteriorating. In other countries, development pressures from expanding settlements and agriculture are driving the conversion of forestlands.
As the pressures on forests continue to grow, it is imperative to better understand and measure the current economic contribution of forests, including the costs of forest degradation. It is equally important to assess the efficacy of current regulations and policies around forests, accompanied by an assessment of institutions and technical capacity, where needed. Lack of policies on payments for ecosystem services, for instance, can hinder beneficial forest management activities for reducing sediment in the upper catchments of hydropower plants, or prevent communities from benefitting from such payment mechanisms. At the same time, weak institutions and lack of technical capacity can prevent even the most progressive forest policies from supporting inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
The objective of this activity is to inform policy dialogue and strategic engagement on forests with South Asian countries as governments move towards sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This programmatic approach consists of the following activities:
- Afghanistan Capacity Development for Natural Resource Management (NRM): In Afghanistan, conflict and the lack of adequate governance structures and management and institutional capacity have heavily damaged the natural resource base that the majority of the population relies on, particularly in rural areas. This activity aims to: (i) raise awareness about the NRM role in supporting livelihoods, enhancing resilience, and reducing vulnerability to climate change and disaster risks; and (ii) assess the capacity of key institutions to implement the newly adopted NRM Strategy.
- Forests, Poverty and Resilience in Bangladesh: The World Bank is undertaking a Country Environmental Analysis focused on urban areas, to demonstrate cost-effective development pathways that tackle acute pollution levels and natural resource degradation in Dhaka, while at the same time controlling congestion and environmental externalities in newly growing cities. As part of this larger activity, PROFOR funding will support an investigation into natural infrastructure’s potential benefits for climate resilience in urban areas and peripheries. Outputs will include an analytical report on the cost of forest degradation in terms of lost revenues, incomes for local communities, and increased damage from extreme events; engagement workshops to consult key stakeholders and discuss the direction of the assessments, the preliminary findings and policy implications; and dissemination workshops.
- India Forest Sector Assessment: To better understand current and emerging challenges in forest management, this activity will assess the demand and supply of forest and timber resources in India, as well as the economic costs of the timber trade and forest fires, and the scope for forest-related agribusinesses to generate jobs. In addition, the activity will identify options for restoring degraded forests, sustainably managing forests, and strengthening forest monitoring and evaluation.
- Pakistan Forestry Sector Engagement Study: Pakistan’s diverse forest resources face rapid deterioration as a result of land conversion by large development projects, and overexploitation by poor communities who have few livelihood alternatives. In response, this activity aims to better understand the contribution of the forestry sector to achieving the country’s development priorities. PROFOR is supporting a review of forest sector policies and management practices through the collection and analysis of secondary information, as well as stakeholder consultations with federal and provincial government officials, development partners, civil society organizations and research institutions.
- Nepal Forests, Poverty and Tourism: The aim of this project is to strengthen the Government of Nepal’s capacity to better manage its natural resources, to deliver on its national goal to reduce poverty through sustainable and inclusive growth. The activity outputs will include: (i) A policy assessment of current practices in management of natural resources, including for tourism purposes and current and potential linkages between conservation, hydropower development, and tourism; and (ii) an engagement note describing the potential contributions of forests to economic growth and jobs, sustainable water resources management, and hydropower development.
- General Knowledge Management: To disseminate the knowledge generated from the various country activities, this component will share experiences and best practices among policy makers and technical experts from the region, including through workshops and study tours, and produce regional and cross-country policy briefs to inform forests investments and policy design.
- In Afghanistan, The development objective was achieved by taking stock of existing practices, engaging the sector’s key stakeholders in an ongoing dialogue at various levels, assessing capacity of Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), and by developing knowledge about key areas of interest to the Government counterpart. This activity was used as a process for interacting with stakeholders and development partners through informal meetings, knowledge exchange, and high-level roundtables. The MAIL delegation, through the exchange visits to India, learnt about the critical and productive role of women in the NRM sector. They noted that the Natural Resources Management practices relating to gender specific roles such as women-managed committees for better management of renewable natural resources could be replicated in Afghanistan.
- In Bangladesh, a wetland background paper has been finalized. The study is cross-sectoral and covers urban waste management and urban planning/development issues as well as urban wetlands issues. The findings have informed another ASA led by World Bank`s Urban Global Practice “Toward Greater Dhaka”. The study also identified issues and areas of priority in terms of urban environment governance. The report launch event, held on September 16, 2018, was attended by various ministries and departments of Government of Bangladesh, including Ministry of Environment and Forest, Ministry of Water Resource, Ministry of Commerce, ERD, Planning Commission, BREB, LGED, Department of Environment (DOE), DWASA, as well as members of academia, private sector, civil society and media. The findings created avid interest among the attendees and received significant media coverage. The Government of Bangladesh showed interest in new operations around solid and hazardous waste management and the follow up TA will help better scope the potential investments through policy dialogue.
The regulatory and institutional analysis conducted as part of CEA informed and made recommendations to ongoing revision of Environment Conservation Rule. The CEA has also contributed to enhancing environmental aspects of the Dhaka Diagnosis led by the World Bank Urban team. The mission had meetings with the DoE on the need to continue with the CEA discussions to identify follow-on activities to address issues of pollution management in Bangladesh’s urbanizing context. The DoE expressed their need for support to assess the size of the pollution problem and to set up a continuous monitoring system. The recommended policy reforms will be followed up as part of policy notes prepared based on the CEA.
In India, All three objectives of the activity have been met. (i) The recommendations of the Forest Fire Prevention and Management Report have been fully taken onboard to inform the National FFPM Plan that is under preparation. (ii) The Forest Survey of India (FSI) is the lead agency in-charge of developing tools for forest fire detection in India. As part of the ASA, scientists at FSI had the opportunity to interact with scientists from NASA, and Australian experts on Fire Danger Rating Systems, and attend training on data and tools by NASA. This in turn helped FSI improve its forest fire detection tool and to launch a new tool on Fire Danger Rating System. The latter is now being tested and piloted in Indian states such as Uttarakhand. (ii) As previously, described, a workshop with national and international experts was organized in November 2017 to share experiences with best practices on forest fire management. This activity has been completed.
In Nepal, Both outputs under this activity have been completed: (i) Sustainable Tourism Development in Nepal – this report is a joint output of ENR and FCI and provides an overview of potential for tourism development in Nepal, an assessment of the main challenges, and recommendations for way forward. (ii) Promoting Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas – this is a compilation of case studies of nature-based tourism that can benefit communities and conservation. The Sustainable Tourism Development in Nepal report has helped inform the design of the Nepal Tourism project that is under preparation.
The compilation of case studies on nature-based tourism was used to organize the Conference on Sustainable Nature-based Tourism: Sharing Global Experience in Protected Areas in Nepal on January 21-22, 2019. This conference was jointly organized by ENR GP, FCI GP, and IFC with the Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoFE), Government of Nepal (GoN). GoN officials were very happy with the opportunity granted by the conference to share global experiences, particularly to hear from community leaders and private sector actors on sustainable and inclusive tourism models. One direct and immediate outcome of the conference was an announcement from the MoFE to consult a wide range of stakeholders on the draft Working Procedures. This was a request from one of the conference participants particularly to consult tourism operators, and MoFE officials made a commitment to do so during the closing session. The close-door session on the second day also led to a very productive discussions and a request from the GoN for WBG to provide inputs to the Working Procedures through inputs from experts and a Study Tour for park managers to expose them to innovative models of tourism in protected areas that support conservation and benefit communities.
In Pakistan, a forest sector review (Policy Note) to highlight available information about the forest sector in Pakistan, its key economic and ecological contributions and challenges faced by the sector has been completed and published here. The forest sector review has identified major issues of the forest sector in the country. It also highlighted challenges and opportunities for promoting forest investments in major ecological zones (different forest types) and poor communities of the country. Lessons learned from previous and ongoing forest investments in the country has been analyzed. It has helped the World Bank to recognize importance of forests, and opportunities it provides in supporting local livelihood, national economy, climate change resilience, gender balance and maximizing finance for development. As a result, the Bank might engage with the federal government to develop a forest project. A more detailed report prepared by FAO was launched on August 1, 2019 by the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam and FAO Representative in Pakistan, Minà Dowlatchahi. Two more studies financed by other sources are being finalized, which build on the findings of the forestry sector review. A study on value chain of key NTFP is ongoing. Another study on catchment management case on the Mangla Dam is also linked with the regional KGGTF catchment study and will be finished by June 2019.
Last Updated : 06-09-2020
Improved watershed management will be crucial to meet growing food demand in India, for example by: recharging local aquifers and improving downstream water flows; decreasing soil erosion; increasing agricultural productivity; and helping farmers adapt to climate change. Experts believe that an additional 102 million tons of food grains need to be produced annually by 2020 to meet national nutritional needs under moderate population growth forecasts, 38 million tons of which will need to come from either rainfed lands or imports.
However, rainfed regions have lagged far behind and have experienced severe resource degradation due to inappropriate land use, poor husbandry and low investments. Longer-term climate change adds another worrying dimension. Climate change requires new adaptation measures by farmers, especially small and marginal farmers who are the most vulnerable to these forecast impacts.
The Integrated Watershed Management Program (IWMP), financed through the Department of Land Resources, currently forms the cornerstone of the Government of India's support to watershed development, covering 27 states and proposing to invest over US$6.6 billion through a 10-year period to 2017. Besides the IWMP, a number of other centrally financed schemes are related to watershed management, agriculture and rural livelihoods, which to varying degrees address development needs in rainfed areas. The IWMP has been slowly rolling out and expanding its reach across India since 2009. But, it has not delivered expected results evenly across the country or to the desired levels. In moving forward to improve the IWMP model and execution, a number of key issues outlined recently by the Planning Commission and various other reports/experts have been identified.
Two key issues are:
Fragmented programming and partial solutions. Given their ecological characteristics, developing rainfed areas requires a broad watershed approach. Large budgets are now available for IWMP and several other schemes for the development of rainfed areas within the Ministry of Rural Development. However, each of these is conceived and implemented in departmental silos without unified mechanisms for coordination and convergence. As a result, these programs do not lead to area development, potential synergies are lost, and investments, interventions, and results remain sub-optimal.
Narrow planning scale. The IWMP is executed through clusters of micro-watersheds (each usually 500 ha to 700 ha) covering an average of 5,000 ha. This scale is appropriate for participatory planning and implementation communities. However, a larger landscape assessment/planning framework ranging up to 25,000 ha is also needed where broader land and water issues can be identified, and a more coordinated approach developed to converge government schemes with the IWMP. The current IWMP model also does not fully incorporate surface and groundwater assessments into management and monitoring activities to guide integrated planning at sub-watershed and micro-watershed scales.
This activity aims to address some of the issues above by helping to:
- Improve intra- and inter-ministerial convergence in watershed management in India;
- Develop landscape level catchment assessment/planning methods and guidelines for India; and
- Disseminate knowledge on good practices in watershed management building on a draft report prepared under a previous PROFOR activity.
The activity was successfully completed. The final report “Catchment Assessment and Planning for Watershed Management” is now available to the left along with a summary report. A launch workshop was held in Washington, D.C., in October 2014. A similar workshop was held in Delhi in December 2014. One article based on this work was published in a national journal in India. In addition, the “Operational Guidelines for Benchmarking Watershed Management Outcomes” prepared by the Ministry of Rural Development of India and the World Bank discussion paper “Watershed Development in India: An Approach Evolving through Experience” can be downloaded from this page.
Some key insights and lessons are:
- Micro-watersheds are the appropriate scale for program implementation with communities, with guidance by larger scale catchment assessments.
- Decentralized and participatory development is a necessary approach for success.
- Invest in participatory, evidence-based micro-watershed plans with communities.
- Invest in capacity building and information sharing to build sustainability and a body of knowledge.
- Invest in comprehensive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to track implementation and support management.
Author : World Bank
Last Updated : 12-18-2017
What lessons can other countries of the world learn from successful examples of integrated watershed management in arid zones, rain-fed lowlands, and higher elevation sites in India?
- The three projects have demonstrated that a fully staffed and equipped Project Management Unit (PMU) is necessary for smooth and effective management of an integrated watershed-based livelihoods project. Such personnel should be adequately trained and retained for at least 3 years. This is not the duration of the project but this is an optimum time period for the personnel to have an effective tenure since it takes time to understand the project and be effective in the field.
- A micro project (sub-watershed level or micro-watershed level) should be planned for at least 5-7 years in order that sufficient social capital is built up. It takes time and close accompaniment to develop vibrant and representative local institutions which are most necessary to ensure continued maintenance of created assets in the post project period.
- Capacity building is crucial for sustainable outcomes to be achieved and progressed. And it should be comprehensive, progressively undertaken and involving all stakeholders in accordance with their requirements.
- Performance based payments systems, in order to be effective, must involve all stakeholders in their design and formulation and should be fairly administered, transparent, and sensitive to emergent and unanticipated events. All parties to the agreement, including government functionaries, should be held equally responsible and accountable. Since disputes will inevitably arise, there should be a conflict mediation mechanism set up at all the relevant levels coinciding with the introduction of such a payment system. In order to reduce discretion and arbitrariness, the system should be supported by an IT-enabled Decision Support System introduced at all decision making various levels.
- The manner in which agency personnel interact with the community sets the tone for the project and determines its outcome. Respect, commitment and integrity bring forth enthusiasm, cooperation, and transparency from the community. However, for this dynamic to be realized at the field level, it must also permeate the entire delivery structure and mechanism of the project. One can expect participatory processes at the village level only if the underlying values and behavioral patterns of the entire project delivery mechanism, from the higher to lower levels, reflect mutual respect and inclusion. A participation-based project must be sensitive to this aspect and make special efforts to inculcate these values into its procedures, interactions and "way of doing business".
- Transparency and public accountability, especially in regard to works and monies, is the key to smooth implementation and harmonious social relations. As the post project impact study of Sujala (this study was conducted for Karnataka as part of the ICR in late 2003) has indicated, all CBOs that have continued to function effectively post project have consistently re-affirmed that is the transparent functioning and accountability of all members of the group, especially the leaders, that have kept the groups together and functioning.
- Effective conflict resolution mechanisms that are representative and respected by the community or related stakeholders have to be established at all levels to handle disputes and complaints that often do arise. They should be perceived as responsive, transparent and fair in functioning.
- The inclusion, empowerment and mainstreaming of women, the poor and vulnerable groups in the decision making processes of the project as well as in the institutional life of the village is not only a moral imperative, but also crucial to the sustainability of the project. Generally, these groups draw upon common pool resources for their survival and unless they directly benefit from the development of these resources, they will have no incentive to protect or sustainably manage these assets. Furthermore, as income or quality-of- life enhancing benefits increasingly accrue to all groups in a community, especially the poor, not only is social capital enhanced, but the economic, cultural and political life of a community also improves.
- Networking and linking the village with local developmental agencies (civil society, government, private agencies) is vital for value addition as well as for continued accessing of additional resources in the post project period.
- Projects involving multiple agencies work best where institutional arrangements leverage the comparative advantages of each of the partners. In a situation where good NGOs are available, as in the case of the Sujala and Gramya projects, it is preferable to engage NGOs to mobilize and build the capacities of the villagers; where NGOs have the requisite technical and managerial expertise, then it is preferable to give them the entire task as they can then efficiently calibrate and dovetail various aspects of a project and be held accountable for outcomes, not just deliverables as would normally be the case where responsibilities pertain only to specified components. This would leave project authorities free to focus on monitoring and overall management of the project.
Author : World Bank in India 
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
World Bank South Asia and Forest Trends
Over a quarter of India’s poorest people, many of whom are indigenous people, depend on forests for part of their livelihoods. But, almost half the country’s forests have been degraded, and their average productivity is a third of their potential.
In 2004, the World Bank engaged in comprehensive forest sector studies in India to support new lending for community forestry projects at the state level, and guide policy dialogue between the Bank and the Government of India. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) established a National Forest Commission, chaired by the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to review forest policy, legislation, administration and institutions in India, particularly as they relate to local communities and tribal people. Through PROFOR support, a partnership comprised of the World Bank, Forest Trends, PROFOR and MOEF presented case studies on global experiences with community forest management to diverse audiences including the National Forest Commission, the Prime Minister's office, NGOs, tribal leaders and state officers in December 2004. Through this dialogue, leaders from different states were brought together to build consensus, an opportunity was created for states to influence federal policy, and dialogue with other sectors was encouraged.
The Bank presented preliminary results from its ongoing studies in two states, covering forest management and resource assessment systems, legal framework, institutions, marketing systems, and community perspectives. Forest Trends, an international NGO based in Washington DC, highlighted global experiences on how other countries have made the transition to community forestry.
As a next step toward improving forest management in India, the World Bank published "Unlocking Opportunities for Forest-Dependent People in India" in 2006.
PROFOR resources helped with broader report dissemination in three locations including Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. PROFOR helped bring in experts from China and Latin America to share their experiences. The World Bank's South Asia staff worked with Forest Trends.
Finally, PROFOR helped support work undertaken in Jharkhand to develop a better understanding of the poverty linkages with forestry and to also develop a system to monitor social, environmental and economic impacts from community forestry. The work was a collaboration with CIFOR and FAO, as well as the state forest department.
The 2006 report suggested that if national and state level reforms were introduced and forest productivity improved, rural poverty could be reduced significantly and government revenues increased. Globally, many governments are increasing the rights of forest communities to use and manage forest resources. This has raised communities’ incomes and has improved forest cover. Report recommendations include:
- Give communities greater rights to use forest resources and wider responsibilities for forest management after building local capacity. This will enable communities to tap the enormous forest potential and also conserve valuable forest cover.
- Introduce stronger forest management systems. This includes the provision of more reliable maps of forest tenure, computerized databases of forest resources, monitoring systems that track forest and livelihood changes, and market information for timber in national and global markets.
- Improve communities' access to more open markets. As communities gain capacities and confidence, better access to unregulated markets can help them capitalize on new domestic and international opportunities.
- Build capacities and strengthen local governing institutions. This can help all community members to benefit equitably from commercial forestry. Forest department field staff can benefit enormously from training in new approaches to community forest management. Greater investment and training in forest monitoring and regulation will help support conservation.
Since the report came out in 2006, many of these recommendations have been implemented within a World Bank project -- the Andhra Pradesh Community Forestry Management project, which closed in March 31, 2010. This activity successfully demonstrated how a transition from Joint Forest Management to Community Forest Management can produce transformational benefits by building the capacities of community institutions, investing in forest productivity, and giving people greater incentives to develop into independent community forest enterprises. The experience is described in greater detail in the PDF file attached here
Author : World Bank South Asia and Forest Trends 
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
There is enough land in the Amazon region to satisfy Brazilian society's demands for economic development, environmental management of a resource base of global importance and the challenges of agrarian reform. Yet Brazil has been unable to create a fully coherent and manageable land policy and administration system for the region which permits sustainable development goals to be achieved while reconciling special interests and uses. Instead, resource waste, private appropriation of the public domain and social conflict have characterized land relations in the region.
As the region becomes increasingly accessible for a variety of economic activities, and more central to Brazil's economy, the resolution of the land questions looms large as a foundational element for reconciling and ordering economic development, resource management and social priorities. A better understanding of the dynamics of land grabbing and land speculation as well as of the impact of current policies and of the institutions mandated to implement them could help to influence and design new policies to better manage the race for property rights in the Amazon.
Along with other donors, PROFOR helped finance a study focusing on land management policies in the Brazilian Amazon. The study was conducted by Malcolm Childress, Senior Land Administration Specialist at the World Bank.
The study revealed that large-scale users, agrarian reformists, conservation interests, and others are racing to claim property rights in the Amazon. With illegal occupation, fraudulent and inconsistent land records, and flawed land laws, the resulting land administration is chaotic. Some actions have begun to bring more order to land administration. An effort to re-inspect and document land records, called recadastre, has uncovered illegal occupation, but is incomplete. Creation of new protected areas has slowed illegal occupation, however these areas still face threats of encroachment. And other factors contribute to the problem: the federal budget process gives land administration low priority and inconsistent support, with predictable results.
The study suggested the creation of a new social and political pact to reform land administration. The reformed system of administration would seek to reclaim illegally occupied lands, rationally identify and allocate lands suitable for agrarian reform, recognize and regularize rights of good-faith occupiers, and expand and consolidate protected areas. The pact would lead to local agreements among a broad range of interest groups and officials, backed by federal enforcement. The goal would be a fair, transparent, and workable allocation, recorded in a multipurpose land information system.
Some of the study's recommendations were reflected in a land regularization program which has brought more order in the Amazon.
Author : Malcolm Childress, Senior Land Administration Specialist at the World Bank
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
Building Local Democracy Through Natural Resource Interventions -- An Environmentalist's Responsibility
Through 17 institutional choice case studies funded by PROFOR, the World Resources Institute (WRI) explored the democratizing effects of ‘decentralization’ reforms and projects in forestry in Benin, Botswana, Brazil, China, India, Nicaragua, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia.
The findings concluded that institutional choice shapes local democracy—hence, it could be a local democracy tool. Choices of local partners would influence the formation and consolidation of local democracy by affecting representation, citizenship, and the public domain. Natural resource, including forestry, and management interventions could be structured to build the many facets of local democracy. To support local democracy while conducting local-level environmental interventions, the research recommends the following actions:
- Choose democracy: Choose to place public decisions with decision makers who are accountable and responsive to the local citizens. Where democratic local government does not exist, work to establish and enable local democracy.
- Build the public domain: Work to create a set of public powers directly or indirectly under the jurisdiction of elected local authorities. These powers make elected authorities worth engaging by enabling them to be responsive to local needs and aspirations. They constitute what we call ‘the public domain’, e.g. the space of public interaction that constitutes the space of democracy.
- Build citizenship: Support the right and provide the means for local people to influence the authorities that govern them—channels of communication and recourse. Inform citizens of the powers and obligations their representatives have and of the means available to citizens for holding their leaders accountable.
- Promote equity: Systematically partner with local organizations representing all classes—with an emphasis on organizations of the poor. Level the playing field through policies that affirmatively favor the poor, women and marginalized groups.
- Enable local representatives to exercise their rights as public decision makers: Create safe means for representative local authorities to sanction and demand resources from and take recourse against line ministries and other intervening agencies so they are able to exercise their role as local representatives.
- Help local governments to engage in collective bargaining for laws that favor the populations they govern: Enable local governments to bargain collectively with central government to ensure they are granted the rights they need to manage their forest and to insure that the rights they have been granted in law are transferred to them in practice. Facilitate representation of rural needs and aspirations in national legislatures.
- Harness elite capture: Elite capture is pervasive if not inevitable. Enable the people to capture the elite who capture power. Assure that elites who rule are systematically held accountable to the majority and to the poor, and marginal populations through all of the above means. This is democracy.
Working Papers from Institutional Choice and Recognition project (closed in 2008):
Author : Jesse C. Ribot, World Resources Institute
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
CIFOR, World Bank South Asia, State Forestry Department of Jharkhand
In India, states share the rights and responsibilities with communities for managing forests through joint forest management arrangements. Although preliminary findings indicated that this process, together with associated project investments, was having a significant impact on poverty, there was no systematic and rigorous assessment of the poverty-forests nexus in 2003.
PROFOR worked to improve the capacity of state governments to measure forestry program impacts on poverty reduction in a systematic way by supporting the development of a monitoring methodology. This work was carried out in Jharkhand state (where the Bank was preparing a lending project to improve forest livelihoods), with CIFOR leading the work in partnership with national experts, Jharkhand-based NGOs and research institutions.
A comprehensive literature review was completed and tools designed for use by communities. Training sessions for applying the tools were held in 2006 with Forest Department staff. PROFOR subsequently developed a more comprehensive tool: the Poverty-Forests Linkages toolkit.
Author : CIFOR, World Bank South Asia, State Forestry Department of Jharkhand
Last Updated : 05-23-2017
A Citizens' Report Card (CRC)
Provision of services such as health, education, water and sanitation and transport are important determinants of the standard of living and of social welfare. In developing countries these services are typically provided by the public sector and the efficiency of public service delivery has been constantly criticized. Public service delivery agencies are seen as overstaffed, under-resourced, corrupt and indifferent to the needs of their clients. Reforms are clearly called for, but need to be backed by diagnostic tools to pinpoint the nature of the problems.
A Citizens' Report Card (CRC) is one such diagnostic tool. It consists of gathering information on several aspects of these services, via an objective survey of the users and intended beneficiaries. A CRC is a valuable means of highlighting the problems in service delivery and can at the same time identify approaches to addressing these problems. In addition, it can benchmark the quality of public services and help monitor changes over time.
In collaboration with local partners, PROFOR sponsored a pilot CRC in the Indian state of Jharkhand. 400 rural families were asked to respond on the quality of five services provided publicly: forestry, primary education, drinking water, health and rural credit.
Not surprisingly, the survey found relatively low overall levels of satisfaction with these services, but a rather large variation in satisfaction across services. Read full report for more information.
Author : Public Affairs Foundation of Bangalore, India
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
An active debate on concession policies and forest fiscal systems has taken place for a number of years. Several countries, encompassing a diverse range of forest types and associated industries, are implementing or considering new approaches to allocating rights to utilize forests. While their situations are different, in all cases the objective is to identify the practical ways to ensure that forests can be utilized sustainably and make a more positive contribution to national poverty reduction objectives (as defined in PRSPs or similar statement of policy) through stimulating growth and providing regular and enhanced revenue flows to governments.
In this context, the International Workshop on Reform of Forest Fiscal Systems took place October 19-21, 2003 at the World Bank in Washington DC. The workshop provided a valuable forum for frank discusion on the political economy of forest fiscal reform.
Over the course of the two-day workshop, participants discussed their experiences with such reform processes, focusing on lessons learned in how to manage the reform process and best practices for applying various forest fiscal instruments. Specifically, the Workshop focused on three key themes:
- How to define the mix of fiscal instruments and set the right levels?
- How to use revenues collected?
- How to manage the politics of forest fiscal reform processes?
Read workshop proceedings for more detail.
The following year, on May 3, 2004, PROFOR organized a side event at UNFF-4 on reforming forest fiscal systems. Representatives from Ghana and Brazil delivered updates on fiscal reform in their countries since the October 2003 workshop.
Last Updated : 09-11-2017