Proper forest governance must be at the foundation of any effective measure to fight deforestation and safeguard the rights of local people.
What is good governance?
It means ensuring that forest policies are equitably implemented, complied with, and enforced throughout all levels of governance.
At the moment, however, this is not always the case in the Asia-Pacific Region, and we must have a stronger voice.
Forest Communities & Good Governance
Good forest governance must be at the foundation of any effective move to fight deforestation, support forest landscape restoration and safeguard the rights of local communities in and around forests. This is not always the case. On the positive side, most countries in Asia-Pacific have the legislation in place to ensure sustainable use of the forests, while respecting the rights of those who live there.
But in many countries the laws are not fully implemented as demonstrated by illegal logging.
What is good forest governance?
It means making sure the appropriate systems and institutions are in place to manage resources effectively.
Often, the institutions and methods used to apply the rules have challenges in terms of capacity, with implications for considering the reality on the ground or specific needs of all the stakeholders.
These challenges must be tackled systematically, also recognizing the commitment of key actors to address, for example, deforestation and rural poverty.
Urban communities can help in several ways.
Urban consumers hold the key.
Part of good governance is getting the private sector to stick to sustainable guidelines in their operations. These guidelines would be based on existing laws, or regulations, and standards when national legislation is insufficient.
But consumers need to be on board, and this starts in the cities. They need to improve their awareness and understanding of the issues, so they can push for the right things. Then they need to reward good corporate behavior by buying products that meet sustainable criteria. And they need to punish unsustainable moves by business, by refusing to buy their products.
To do this consumers must have access to information about the source of their forest products, and must have the ability to make decisions based on the information.