The analysis compares the findings from the report cards in relation to six major themes. Short summaries are provided on this page, and further analysis can be read by clicking on the titles.
Despite Freedom of Information laws and/or other initiatives recognising the right to information applying in most countries, forest authorities are generally not making complete or timely information available, nor disseminating it so that it is accessible to rural communities. There have been some improvements in 2011, and comparative analyses of different public institutions in Peru and Ecuador are showing signs of impact.
Across all of the countries, indigenous and rural communities often have insecure land tenure and recognition of customary and traditional rights is limited. Significant progress was evident in 2011 in Peru, with a new forest law recognising indigenous rights. Much has been written about tenure in specific countries but more could be done to understand and promote best practice in reality.
Forest sector norms are under review in several countries, and major advances in 2011 were a new forest law in Peru and regulations on artisanal logging and chainsaw milling in Liberia. In practice, forest authorities may lack the capacity to allocate and control resource use in line with due processes, thereby laying themselves open to elite capture, corruption and illegal logging. More broadly, legislative reforms will remain as little more than statements of intent unless momentum to effect change on the ground is maintained.
There have been encouraging signs that civil society and communities are able to participate more actively in the development of new norms related to the forest sector, but on-going concerns surround the lack of formal protocols, limited information, and/or poorly supported and unrepresentative forums. The main advance in 2011 was the approval of a new law on consultation in Peru, where there is optimism that prior lessons can be built on.
In the African countries, revenue generated predominantly from logging operations is redistributed to affected communities. Benefit-sharing systems in Liberia and information sharing in Ghana improved in 2011, but transparent processes are generally still lacking to manage the collection, distribution and investment of funds. In Ecuador and Guatemala, revenue generated from other extractive sectors funds forest conservation through incentive programmes to landowners, but there are doubts over whether marginalised communities and smallholders can access them.
Transparent processes for strategic social and environmental assessment of development priorities generally do not exist or are not consistently applied. Peru and Ecuador have arguably the most comprehensive planning frameworks, and made some improvements in 2011. Extra-sectoral projects such as oil, mining, agro-industry and infrastructure are typically favoured by governments, and are likely to cause huge disruption to those who depend on forests for their everyday needs.