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Programmatic Approach on Forest Management in South Asia


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: 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 assess technical and institutional capacity of key institutions involved in implementing the Natural Resource Management Strategy, with a focus on forests, forest landscapes, and rangelands. Subsequently, the activity will identify critical capacity needs and provide recommendations, including with respect to stepping up access to climate finance.


  • Unlocking Opportunities for Green and Resilient Growth in Bangladesh’ Cities: Rapid urbanization in Dhaka has exacerbated numerous environmental challenges, namely air, water and solid waste pollution, and the city’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. At the same time, Bangladesh faces institutional bottlenecks that hinder effective environmental management. 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.
  • 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.
  • Forests and Forest Landscapes in Pakistan - The Case for Growth, Livelihoods and Climate: 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 improve the understanding of current and potential environmental, social and economic contributions of forest ecosystems in Pakistan, to inform and encourage forest investments that deliver sustainable outcomes. 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.
  • 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.
This activity is ongoing. Findings will be shared on this page when they become available.

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Last Updated : 07-17-2017