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Lessons Learnt

The 2011 Report Card builds on the previous ones to reveal several trends and relationships in forest sector governance. Broad comparisons can be made between the seven countries, which are discussed in the analysis and conclusion sections. This edition of the report card provides the following key lessons:

  • General Freedom of Information (FoI) laws or forest-specific initiatives like information annexes in Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) are useful starting points, but changing institutional cultures towards proactively making information available is liable to take many years. Either of these alone is not enough; a coherent set of general and forest-specific measures that reinforce each other is needed.
  • Stronger reforms are necessary to ensure that forest authorities have the capacity to manage the sector, and are held accountable when they do not fulfil their responsibilities. The effectiveness of promising international instruments like VPAs and national norms like the new forest law in Peru will ultimately depend on well-resourced, integrated and decentralised implementation, but progress is undermined by forest authorities avoiding due processes, for example by over-use of discretionary allocation of logging and other permits.
  • A clear legal mandate and processes are necessary to recognise rights-holders and to support the participation of all stakeholders, in particular rural communities dependent on forests for their livelihoods, in transparent decision-making on new norms and activities that affect the sector. There are encouraging signs, but also still a lack of timely and adequate representation of key stakeholders at crucial stages of policy cycles.
  • Getting state forest authorities to relinquish their hold over resources is difficult. There are signs of movement in some countries to recognise customary and traditional rights, but further advocacy and campaigning is necessary to sustain this trend. In shifting these boundaries, the experiences of Ecuador and Guatemala need to be learnt from to ensure that communities themselves have the ability to manage forest sustainably and accountably.
  • Little evidence is apparent of improved processes for strategic assessment of development priorities. A recurrent finding has been that the impact on forests and communities are all too often relegated to secondary importance when there is commercial interest in using land for mining, oil, agricultural plantations, or infrastructure. Lack of coordination between government bodies is a common problem, notably in the development of Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiatives.


  • The analysis compares the findings from the report cards in relation to six major themes. Short summ...
  • The 2011 Report Cards are the third in the Making the Forest Sector Transparent programme. The repor...
  • The main recommendations for Making the Forest Sector Transparent are drawn out in this section. The...
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