Theme 4: Assessing progress on forest governance

The forest governance theme covers governance systems and the extent to which they support the goal of halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

Elements of forest governance that we assess include legal, policy, and institutional frameworks on sustainable management and protection of forests; demand-side measures and international engagement; law enforcement; tenure security, rights protection, and empowering Indigenous Peoples and local communities; and transparency, public participation, and access to justice. This theme builds on previous NYDF Progress Assessment reports on NYDF Goal 10.

Building blocks that are essential for forest governance to align with forest goals

Are we on track?

Governance of forests and forest lands is not yet strong enough to curb deforestation and degradation in line with 2030 goals, despite notable reforms in some countries. Robust legal and policy instruments such as moratoria, strengthened enforcement capacity, protection of IPs’ and LCs’ tenure rights, smart conservation policies, transparency, and accountability are effective in protecting forests—as evidenced by remarkable reductions in deforestation since 2004. Yet, some achievements have been reversed or are at risk. Land use policies – such as fiscal incentives, environmental and social impact assessments, and protected area regulations – often fail to integrate forest concerns, have loopholes in their design, or are weakly enforced. 

Indigenous Peoples and local communities stand at the forefront of forest protection despite significant risks. They are the most effective stewards and guardians of their forest territories, but are often excluded from decision-making and receive far less funding than their estimated finance needs for securing tenure rights and preserving forest ecosystems. At least 50% of the lands and territories held by Indigenous Peoples and local communities are not legally recognized.