IUCN’s recently completed forest governance project, Strengthening Voices for Better Choices (SVBC), convened and facilitated multi-stakeholder dialogues at various levels in 6 tropical forest countries. These dialogues sought to bring different stakeholders together to identify, discuss and negotiate forest governance arrangements leading to more sustainable and equitable forest use. Despite facing challenges in ensuring meaningful participation, balancing power relations, and ensuring an open and informed exchange of views, the dialogues provided valuable lessons in how people can engage effectively in decision making on forests.
Strengthening voices for better choices
|Building multi-stakeholder coalitions to strengthen FLEGT in Africa|
|Chatham House dialogues|
Giving local communities a greater say in decisions affecting forests is essential for sustainable and equitable forest management, but requires often slow and difficult changes in relationships, attitudes and values. Multi-stakeholder dialogue is proving to be a useful tool in catalysing these changes.
Villagers in the Knuckles Environment Protection Area, Sri Lanka
Photo: Shantha K. Hennayake
For example, in the case of participatory forest management, SVBC facilitated discussions between communities living around the Ngumburuni Forest Reserve in Rufiji district, Tanzania, and the district council. This dialogue supported the development of joint forest management plans and agreements for the Forest Reserve. At the same time, SVBC strengthened the capacity of villagers to participate in the dialogue through training in forest laws and community forest monitoring. In Sri Lanka, SVBC worked with villagers, private landowners, forestry officials and other stakeholders in the buffer zone of the Knuckles Environment Protection Area to ensure that management decisions better reflect local needs and interests. The project helped to establish a multi-stakeholder forum which meets yearly to review management of Knuckles.
|Strengthening voices for better choices in Tanzania||PDF Document 1.14MB|
|Strengthening voices for better choices in Sri Lanka||PDF Document 689KB|
|Improving Forest Governance in Knuckles, Sri Lanka: Dialogue and development for better outcomes||PDF Document 937KB|
|Common understanding creates successful forest governance||PDF Document 263KB|
Meeting between the European Union and civil society groups, Ghana, March 2007
Photo: IUCN Ghana
In the case of forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) reform processes, SVBC was asked by the government of Ghana to design and facilitate the multi-stakeholder consultations for its negotiations with the European Union on a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). These consultations made a special effort to reach out to forest-fringe communities and other local forest users, thereby strengthening the ownership and credibility of the VPA signed in September 2008. The consultation structure designed by IUCN was later adopted by Liberia for its VPA process, and is providing a model for other African VPA countries. In Vietnam, SVBC contributed to the emerging FLEGT/VPA process by facilitating the first national multi-stakeholder meetings on the subject in 2008. These gave rise to a process of inquiry and debate which IUCN continues to support today.
|Strengthening Voices for Better Choices in Ghana||PDF Document 884KB|
|Strengthening Voices for Better Choices in Vietnam||PDF Document 1.07MB|
|Statutory and Customary Forest Rights and their Governance Implications: The Case of Viet Nam||PDF Document 2.43MB|
|EC–Vietnam Round Table on Meeting Market Demands for Legal and Sustainable Wood Products (en)||PDF Document 793KB|
|Changing International Markets For Timber Products: How Can Vietnam’s Forest Industry Respond?||PDF Document 322KB|
Forest managers undergoing training in improved management practices, Acre, Brazil
Photo: Marcelo Arguelles
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, SVBC contributed to an emerging system of multi-level forest governance by establishing or supporting multi-stakeholder platforms at local, territorial and provincial levels. At the root of this system are village dialogue and vigilance committees, small interactive groups which promote internal village cooperation, joint problem solving and collaboration with external actors such as logging companies and local authorities. In the state of Acre, Brazil, SVBC was active in supporting multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral dialogues aimed at developing strategies for better and more sustainable forest management in Acre. The project’s efforts here contributed to some notable successes, including the restructuring of Acre’s State Forest Council to improve civil society participation.
|Strengthening voices for better choices in the Democratic Republic of Congo||PDF Document 2.78MB|
|When all voices are heard, communities work together, Democratic Republic of Congo||PDF Document 323KB|
|Strengthening voices for better choices in Brazil||PDF Document 2.72MB|
|Strengthening Voices for Better Choices: brochure||PDF Document 1.26MB|
|Strengthening Voices for Better Choices: fact sheet||PDF Document 336KB|
|arborvitae Special Issue - Strengthening Voices for Better Choices (en)||PDF Document 2.44MB|
|Multi-stakeholder dialogues: What role do they play in forest governance reform?||PDF Document 689KB|
|IUCN's role as facilitator in Cameroon's multi-stakeholder consultations for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA)||PDF Document 829KB|
|IUCN's role in forest governance reform processes||PDF Document 747KB|
|Voting on REDD||PDF Document 826KB|
|Strengthening Voices for Better Choices: A capacity needs assessment process||PDF Document 705KB|
|SVBC Final Evaluation Report||Hesselink, F., Ledant, J-P. and van Ham, C. (2009) A nudge in the right direction: External Review of the IUCN project Strengthening Voices for Better Choices. Utrecht - Brussels.||PDF Document 1.02MB|
|SVBC Final Evaluation Report - English Summary||Hesselink, F., Ledant, J-P. and van Ham, C. (2009) A nudge in the right direction: Summary of the external evaluation of the project Strengthening Voices for Better Choices (SVBC). IUCN, Gland.||PDF Document 1.23MB|
|SVBC Final Evaluation Report - French Summary||Hesselink, F., Ledant, J.-P. et van Ham, C. (2009) Un pas dans la bonne direction: Résumé de l’évaluation externe du projet Strengthening Voices for Better Choices (SVBC). UICN, Gland.||PDF Document 1.24MB|
|SVBC Final Evaluation Report - Spanish Summary||Hesselink, F., Ledant, J.-P. y van Ham, C. (2009) Un impulso en la dirección correcta: Resumen de la evaluación externa del proyecto Voces Fortalecidas...Mejores Decisiones (SVBC). UICN, Gland.||PDF Document 1.24MB|