Theme 4: Assessing progress on forest rights & 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.

Forest governance generally refers to legal and policy frameworks that regulate land use. Strong governance systems provide opportunities to improve legal frameworks, expand opportunities for local stakeholders to influence and participate in decision making, and ensure the protection of ecosystem values and sustainable and adaptive management of resources. They provide for transparent, predictable, and defensible rights, effective institutions, the rule of law, and accountability of public and private actors that violate the law.

Evidence suggests that weak forest governance is harmful, not just for forest landscapes and their ecosystems, but also for societies – particularly those who are most dependent on forest lands, including IPs, LCs, poor people, rural communities, and other marginalized groups. Countries with strong governance are best placed to curb deforestation and ensure stable and prosperous local landscapes. Investments into forest governance should therefore be a priority in any effort to protect forests and enhance conservation.

How do we assess progress?

Under this theme, we assess progress based on the following five elements that are essential for coherent, effective, equitable governance for forests and forest lands, and guarantees protections of rights related to forests:

  • Clear, equitable, and effective legal, policy, and institutional frameworks on the sustainable management, use, and protection of forests.
  • Effective demand-side regulations that are implemented and enforced, and international engagement to address deforestation and forest degradation.
  • Effective and equitable implementation of laws and policies ensuring detection, prosecution, and just enforcement of penalties on forest crimes.
  • Recognized, respected, and protected IPs’ and LCs’ rights, including those relating to land and forest tenure, Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and traditional knowledge and practices, as well as empowerment of IPs and LCs.
  • Guaranteed transparency and public participation in forest-related decisions, and access to justice for impacted populations.