Expert Panel Releases Assessment of International Forest Governance

24 January 2011: The Global Forest Expert Panel on the International Forest Regime has released its assessment report on international efforts to improve forest governance. The report, titled "Embracing Complexity: Meeting the Challenges of International Forest Governance," suggests that global efforts too often ignore local needs and fail to address the fact that deforestation is usually caused by economic pressures outside the forest sector.

The Expert Panel was constituted under the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and coordinated and led by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).

The report suggests the need for a dramatic shift away from "top-down" efforts to protect forests, and for placing a greater focus on supporting regional and national efforts to address the forces putting forests at risk. The authors also call for forest governance to move from a focus on forests towards the concept of "forests+," which embraces inter-sectoral and inter-institutional complexity. They further suggest that negotiators of the UN mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) must sufficiently engage stakeholders outside the forest sector—such as in the agriculture, transportation and energy sectors—and rely less on a "one-size-fits-all" global scheme to address situations that differ between regions and countries.

The report, along with a policy brief, will be presented to the ninth session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 9) on 2 February 2011 as part of the launch of the International Year of Forests. [The Report and Brief]