Forest Governance Learning Group

The Forest Governance Learning Group aims to connect forest-dependent people who are marginalised from forest governance with those who control it.

Project
2003-
Contact: 

James Mayers, Group director

Forest Governance Learning Group, December 2010, Namaacha, Mozambique. At this annual learning event FGLG network partners gather to share learning and discuss contemporary issues in forestry. Photo: Leianne Rolington

Eradicating poverty and improving sustainability in forestry can only be achieved through strong and inclusive governance structures and processes, including leadership, institutions, policy decisions and practical systems.

From our research, we know that small teams working together can have a big impact on improving forest governance by developing practical tactics for securing safe spaces, provoking dialogue, building constituencies, wielding evidence of what works, and interacting politically. Collectively, they demonstrate that it is necessary to put social justice centre stage for long-term sustainability.

In practice, this often means investing in locally-controlled forestry.

How it works

The Forest Governance Learning Group is an informal alliance of ten in-country groups of partners in Cameroon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam. The teams carry out research, capacity building and advocacy work.

IIED works with these teams to carry out similar functions internationally, and it steers the initiative, with additional support to teams in Asia from The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC).

Thematic work focuses on:

  • Strengthening forest rights and small forest enterprises
  • Encouraging trade in legal forest products, and
  • Advocating for pro-poor climate change mitigation and adaptation through forestry.

China's growing population provides a large and growing market for forest products. A special exchange and learning platform has been developed to establish links between forest practitioners and policymakers in China and promote Africa China-Africa forest governance links and to explore key issues in forest investment and trade.

The China-Africa Forest Governance project

In 2014 the work of Forest Governance Learning Group led to the creation of the China-Africa Forest Governance Project. IIED leads the project with partners in China, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Uganda.

The key objectives are to generate evidence, strengthen capacity and dialogue, and improve policy in China and Africa and investment practices of Chinese investors in support of resilient African land use and a sustainable China-Africa forest products trade.

Publications

Social justice in forests: gains made and tactics that work. A report from the Forest Governance Learning Group, James Mayers (2014), IIED Research Report

Battle-scarred forest governance tactics, James Mayers (2014), IIED Briefing Paper 

Forest Governance Learning Group, India: narrative report for the Social Justice in Forestry project, Sanjay Upadhyay on behalf of FGLG India (2014), IIED Project Report

Forest Governance Learning Group, Cameroon: Contributing to improving livelihoods by influencing policy and law-makers, Angeline Ndo on behalf of GREG-​Forêts & NESDA-​CA (2014), IIED Project Report

Forest Governance Learning Group, Ghana: Stronger collaboration for improved forest governance, Civic Response on behalf of FGLG Ghana (2014), IIED Project Report

Forest Governance Learning Group, Indonesia: Supporting governance in REDD+ and community forestry, FGLG Indonesia (2014), IIED Project Report

Forest Governance Learning Group, Malawi: Pushing for justice: opening up the governance of Malawi's forests, Bright Sibale, Robert Kafakoma, John Ngalande, Duncan Macqueen (2014), IIED Project Report

Forest Governance Learning Group, Mozambique: a spotlight on good forest governance in a theatre of change, Alda Salomão, Carlos Serra, Berta Rafael, Duncan Macqueen (2014), IIED Project Report

Forest Governance Learning Group, Tanzania: narrative report for the Social Justice in Forestry project, Tanzania Natural Resources Forum on behalf of FGLG Tanzania (2014), IIED Project Report

Forest Governance Learning Group, Uganda: narrative report for the Social Justice in Forestry project, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment on behalf of FGLG Uganda (2014), IIED Project Report

Forest Governance Learning Group, Vietnam: narrative report for the Social Justice in Forestry project, RECOFTC on behalf of FGLG Vietnam (2014), IIED Project Report

Forest Governance Learning Group, South Africa: stimulating sustainable forestry development in the midst of a complex land reform programme, FGLG South Africa (2014), IIED Project Report

Just forest governance: how small learning groups can have big impact, James Mayers, Prodyut Bhattacharya, ChImere Diaw, et al. (2009), IIED Briefing Paper

Shifting power in forests, James Mayers (2009), IIED Reflect & Act

Independent review of FGLG 2003-2009, (2009), Evaluation report for IIED | en français | tiếng việt

Just forest governance – for REDD, for sanity, James Mayers, Leianne Rolington (2011), IIED

Additional resources

Long read: Mist clears on China in African forests, by Khanh Tran-Thanh, Seth Cook, James Mayers and Xiaoxue Weng (2017)

Donors

European Union and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (phase 1, 2004-09)

European Commission and the UK Department for International Development (phase 2, 2009-13)

Partners

Cameroon: Network for Environment and Sustainable Development in Africa

China: Global Environmental Institute

Ghana: Civic Response

India: Enviro Legal Defence Firm

Indonesia: Natural Resource Development Center

Malawi: Centre for Development Management

Mozambique: Center for Public Integrity

South Africa: Forestry South Africa

Tanzania: Tanzania Natural Resource Forum

Uganda: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment

Vietnam: The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC)

Share: