Urs Dieterich, MEM

2014 TRI Fellow in Kenya

Giving traction to civil society participation in multi-level forest governance processes

Sustainable forest management has been a focus of international development and conservation efforts since the United Nations Rio Earth Summit in 1992. In recent years, international forest policy processes have deliberated about the potential of multi-level governance of forest resources to emphasize the contributions of active local participation in national forest policy making while increasing the legitimacy and traction of global policy frameworks. However, insufficient stakeholder consultations, or ineffective practice thereof, has often impeded inclusive forest governance at all levels and precluded local and regional groups from expressing their claims. Consequently, policies regulating forest use and access are often mismatched with the needs of local people.

To identify options for civil society stakeholder engagement in forest policy formulation and implementation my research aims to assess people’s awareness of local, national, regional and global forest governance. To inform international forest policy processes at the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) concerning local implementation of participatory forest management and conservation efforts, I examine the restoration and community development initiative ‘Kijani’ in the Kenyan Marmanet Forest as a practical example. Specific questions include: how to facilitate—institutionally, via structure and processes, and financially—the implementation of on-the-ground forest-related activities invoked by the UNFF; how to frame initiatives in a way conducive to achieving institutional support; and, what needs to be in place for initiatives to be (a) durable, (b) replicable/regenerative, and (c) upscaleable.