The Forests Dialogue

IIED is active in The Forests Dialogue, which is an international multi-stakeholder programme designed to spur collaborative action on high-priority issues facing the world's forests.

1998 - ongoing
Duncan Macqueen

Director of forests, Natural Resources research group

Locally-controlled forestry
How IIED supports just transitions towards locally-controlled forestry that safeguard biocultural heritage, enhance entrepreneurship and improve prosperity within diverse and resilient landscapes
Seu Amilton showing his practices at the forest dialogue in Brazil

Forest Dialogue participants examining seedlings in Brazi (Photo: copywirght The Forests Dialogue)

IIED supports The Forests Dialogue, which aims to provide leadership, debate and rally influential stakeholders around the future role and value of forests in relation to food, fuel, fibre and forests.

Hosted at Yale University, the international multi-stakeholder process also identifies issues on land-use, trade and lifestyle from a global perspective that warrant further dialogue, and develops specific and practical ways forward on key issues.

Other topics that have been covered have included:

  • Exclusion and inclusion of women in the forest sector
  • Free, prior and informed consent (the principle that a community has the right to give or withhold its consent to proposed projects that may affect the lands they customarily own, occupy or use)
  • Investing in locally-controlled forestry
  • Forests and climate change, reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) financing, and helping a country prepare for REDD+
  • How commercial forestry can reduce  poverty
  • Intensively managed planted forests
  • Forests and biodiversity conservation
  • Illegal logging and forest governance, and
  • Forest certification.

This work also includes engaging with policymakers to highlight the findings and conclusions of these dialogues.

In recent years, The Forests Dialogue has run a series of discussions focused on investing in locally-controlled forestry, which was created with, and funded by, the Growing Forest Partnerships initiative.


There are currently 25 members of The Forests Dialogue's steering committee, which is responsible for the governance and oversight of the group's activities. It includes representatives of indigenous peoples, small private forest owners, community forestry groups, the forest products industry, international non-governmental organisations, retailers, unions, academia and civil society.

IIED consultant Isilda Nhantumbo is currently a member of its steering committee.