Forest Governance


Forest governance and REDD+

Governance refers to who makes decisions, how decisions are made, and whether those are clear, transparent, just, and lead to sustainability of forest resources and fair benefit distribution.

Governance of REDD+ covers the decisions, actors, processes, arrangements and policy tools needed to design and to implement REDD+ strategies as well as the other Warsaw pillars. This involves local, national and global actors from a wide range of sectors.

Governance for REDD+ relates to the institutional, policy and legal dimensions that will influence the successful implementation of REDD+, comprehensively addressing both direct and indirect drivers of forest loss and degradation. It deals with those factors that influence how emissions reductions from deforestation and forest degradation will take place. These issues often go beyond the forestry sector and cover policies linked to changes in land-use. To cite an example, managing the political and economic pressure on forest lands caused by agricultural sprawl or mining requires solid governance processes to be in place. To be successful, REDD+ requires forest governance to be efficient, effective and equitable. Its implementation is easier where governing institutions are strong, tenure rights are clearly defined and the protection of human rights is respected.

As such, the improvement of forest governance is a top priority throughout the REDD+ process. Although it is evident that REDD+ and its success is affected by governance, at the same time the resources made available to achieve REDD+ and its entire readiness and implementation phases provide a relevant opportunity to improve decision-making practices, including inclusive and meaningful stakeholder participation, to enhance law enforcement and benefit distribution, as well as to address corruption and illegal practices. Many countries also recognize the broader benefits of achieving synergies between REDD+ processes and other key initiatives, such as “Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade” (FLEGT) to strengthen governance, address forest loss, and mitigate climate change.  

UN-REDD Programme Support Activities: towards effective and inclusive national governance systems for REDD+

With blended actions between technical assistance and generation of new knowledge, the UN-REDD Programme supports stakeholders in partner countries to establish governance systems of and for REDD+. Key areas of interventions are:

  • Promotion of governance principles (Accountability, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Equity, Participation, Transparency);

  • Legal preparedness, through technical support for development/revision and enforcement of forestry, agriculture, land and climate change laws and policies;

  • Land and forest tenure reforms to support REDD+ readiness and implementation

  • Strengthening of multi-stakeholder consultation fora and promotion of a transparent and inclusive dialogue;

  • Strengthening of subnational and national governance structures, including institutional arrangements needed to encourage effective coordination (including in key Warsaw pillars, such as NFMS );

  • Formulation of REDD+ strategies/action plans through multi-stakeholder processes, including through analyzing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation from a governance perspective; 

  • Support the design of national REDD+ funds / investment plans;

  • Construction of national approaches on safeguards and safeguards information systems (including the design and operation of grievance redress mechanisms);

  • Support for enhanced recognition of the value of gender mainstreaming


Outcomes and Outputs

Key Recommended Resources

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FAQs about Forest Governance

Key Contacts

Ms. Serena Fortuna ()
REDD+ Forestry Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Ms. Francesca Felicani ()
Forestry officer, REDD+ Legal matters, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Ms. Kristin DeValue ()
REDD+ enabling environment and implementation specialist, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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Find Forest Governance capacity building resources and learning tools here.

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