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Developing effective forest policy – a guide

The purpose of this guide, Developing effective forest policy, is to outline the concepts associated with forest policy development and the formulation of a formal forest policy statement, based on country experiences in recent decades. While focusing on the development and formulation of national forest policies, the guide can also be applied at subnational and local levels. Similarly, it can assist countries both to revise current forest policy and to develop and formalize a new one. Because forest policy should reflect the particular social, cultural, economic and political context in each country as well as the unique characteristics of its forest resources and their usage, the guide is not a template for forest policy development. Rather, users are encouraged to adapt its contents to their specific needs. The ultimate responsibility, authority and accountability for national forest policy rests with national governments and the stakeholders who help to develop and implement it – and whose actions make up the de facto policy.

The principal intended audience, therefore, is senior government officials and the representatives of stakeholders who are involved in developing or revising the national forest policy. It is also intended as a guide for other stakeholders, so that they can participate more effectively in dialogues about how forest should be used, particularly civil society organizations and community groups with social and environmental goals. Policies should facilitate sound decisions on forests and trees and their sustainable use – decisions that provide the benefits that society expects. Such policies must be designed to respond to the changing needs of different groups and to emerging challenges and opportunities.

View the guide here: Developing effective forest policy.