Governance and decentralisation: the keys to sustainable forest management

Around 230 participants from 22 Latin American and Caribbean countries and 12 other nations representing various Government organizations, civil society and the private sector participated in the Oaxaca Workshop on Forest Governance, Decentralization and REDD+ in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This Country-Led Initiative in support of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) was held from 31 August – 3 September in Oaxaca, Mexico and organized by the Governments of Mexico and Switzerland and other partners with the support of DESA’s UNFF.

The workshop aimed to better the understanding of the linkages and synergies between decentralisation and broader forest governance reforms, Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), the improvement of living conditions for people who depend on forests and the increasing role of forests in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Governance issues are of fundamental importance to SFM, the core objective of UNFF. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) as a new climate change mitigation measure has a strong potential to alleviate poverty, but its implementation needs to be better understood in the context of forest governance.

The Oaxaca Workshop is a proof of the commitment of Member States to the objectives of the UNFF. The results will directly feed into the 9th session of the UN Forum on Forests which has as the main theme “Forests for people, livelihoods and poverty eradication”, and will also contribute to the climate change process and inform UNFFCC COP 16 to be held in Mexico in November 2010.

Participants included governments (both central and decentralised government units), development and environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), local and indigenous peoples representatives, private sector representatives, regional organisations, and other relevant stakeholders from Latin America and other regions and global organisations such as UNFF, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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