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Lessons Learnt

The key findings of the Report Card 2009 can be summarised as follows. For further details, click on the links to analysis, conclusions, and recommendations at the end of the page.

  • Forest sector transparency is generally poor. Only one country has a Freedom of Information law, and in two of the four countries concession documents are not made public.
  • Key decisions are made in the capital city, and only a limited amount of information that reaches those most directly affected by forestry deals.
  • The greater economic and political power of mining authorities compared to those overseeing forests is evident in the way contracts are allocated. None of the four countries have a strategic process to assess priorities between development options.
  • There's a divergence between the substantive law and the reality; a plethora of decrees and regulations which result in a complex, multi-layered set of rules.
  • Insecure land and forest tenure comes through as a major issue.

Transparency is increasingly recognised as an issue and discussed openly, and there are elements of good practice in each country which could easily be replicated:

  • Bilateral negotiations, such as EU Voluntary Partnership Agreements have been instrumental in improving access to information and to decision-making, but are one-off processes.
  • A regular 'forest forum' for interaction between citizens and the state, not just predicated on particular consultation or new law, is important.
  • Recent revisions of forest laws have tended to include a step change towards transparency, and greater recognition of the role of civil society in holding duty-bearers to account.

An important emerging issue is the value of forests in the context of climate change mitigation. Very little legal commitment to transparency exists for environmental services and carbon deals, and often the rights to these goods are disputed.

  • Freedom of information, transparency and ‘anti-transparency’ norms, proactive publication...
  • This section summarises the overall conclusions from the report card process and highlights some les...
  • To governments and their forest authoritiesFreedom of Information legislation should be enacted with...
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