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Programmatic Approach on Forest Management in South Asia


Countries like India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan are increasingly commitment to the improved management of South Asia’s forests, including as a contribution towards meeting countries’ 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. In India, forest cover has been stabilized but forest quality has deteriorated. 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 forest management that could reduce 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 several activities:

·         Afghanistan Natural Resource Management (NRM) Capacity Assessment: 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 will identify policy, regulatory, technical and institutional gaps, and develop a plan to address them. It will also organize a national workshop to raise awareness about the importance of NRM and discuss practical ways forward.

·         Bangladesh Forests, Poverty and Resilience: This activity aims to strengthen knowledge on the role of forests in reducing poverty, creating sustainable livelihoods, and increasing resilience to climate change. An analysis will be carried out on the cost of forest degradation in terms of lost revenues, incomes for local communities, and increased damage from extreme weather. Findings and policy options going forward will be discussed at a workshop with key stakeholders.

·         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 the country; the economic costs of the timber trade and forest fires; the scope for forest-related agribusinesses to generate jobs; and options for restoring degraded forest, sustainably managing forests, and strengthening forest monitoring and evaluation.

·         Nepal Forests, Poverty and Tourism: Nepal has the potential to deliver higher and more inclusive growth by properly managing its natural resource base through conservation and sustainable management. The activity will include: (i) a policy assessment of current NRM practices, including for tourism and hydropower; (ii) an engagement note describing the potential contributions of forests to economic growth and jobs, sustainable water resources management, and hydropower development; and (iii) a workshop to discuss options for integrating the respective strategies on sustainable forest management, hydropower development and tourism.

·         Pakistan Forestry Sector Engagement: This project will identify potential opportunities for the World Bank to engage in the forestry sector. The outputs will be: (i) a report on the economic, social and environmental importance of forests, and how they contribute to national priorities, development goals and specific interventions in the forestry sector in Pakistan; and (ii) a note on the report’s key facts and messages, to be used by policy makers.

·         General Knowledge management: To disseminate the knowledge generated from the country activities, this project 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.


This activity is ongoing. Findings will be shared on this page when they become available.

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For stories and updates on related activities, follow us on twitter and facebook, or to our mailing list for regular updates.

Last Updated : 02-24-2017