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Towards a digital public infrastructure for deforestation-related trade regulations

What is in that plot? (Whisp) solution to implement convergence of evidence








D’Annunzio, R., O’Brien, V., Arnell, A., Neeff, T., Fontanarosa, R., Valbuena Perez, P., Shapiro, A.C., Sanchez-Paus Díaz, A., Merle, C., Vega, J. & Fox, J. 2024. Towards a digital public infrastructure for deforestation-related trade regulations - What is in that plot? (Whisp) solution to implement convergence of evidence. Rome, FAO.



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    This publication discusses the concept, evolution, and requirements of forest management planning, focusing on multiple-use forest management and small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs). Forest management planning is a document that translates forest policies into a coordinated programme for managing forests over a set period of time, integrating environmental, economic, and social dimensions. It serves various purposes, such as legal documents, concession agreements, and tools for sustainable forest management. Multiple-use forest management recognizes the diverse values and benefits that forests provide beyond timber, such as water regulation, climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, and cultural values. Despite its challenges, forest management planning can contribute to sustainability and optimize the value derived from forests. SMFEs play a crucial role in supporting livelihoods and forest-based economies. However, barriers such as policy environments, lack of support tools, and management challenges need to be addressed. Forest management planning can help overcome these barriers by ensuring legal compliance, mitigating risks, promoting sustainability, and supporting marketing and value chain development. It is also a valuable tool for empowering local forest users, involving stakeholders, and negotiating benefit-sharing arrangements. The process of forest management planning involves gathering information, defining objectives, developing silvicultural and ecosystem services plans, creating a business plan, planning for unusual events, and establishing a monitoring system. It is an adaptive learning process that continuously evaluates and adapts plans based on the results of forest management activities. Stakeholder engagement is key to developing a socially acceptable forest management plan, starting with identifying stakeholders, creating awareness, informed discussions, and monitoring to keep stakeholders accountable for their agreed responsibilities. Negotiating expectations and building consensus helps identify conflicts and integrate qualitative data to improve decision-making in multiple-use forest management. In conclusion, forest management planning is essential for sustainable forest management, contributing to the well-being of communities, the environment, and the economy. This guide provides a framework for forest management planning, guiding forest managers through the planning process stepwise and providing advice on information sources needed during the planning process. The framework can be adapted to national and local contexts in line with relevant regulatory requirements.
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    Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) play a critical role in meeting the growing demand for forest products worldwide, with potential to contribute to responsible supply chains that combat illegal logging while promoting economic growth. However, MSMEs have been challenged by the emergence of regulated markets requiring verified legal timber, which involve more stringent regulatory compliance and additional up-front costs. Recognizing the need to ensure MSMEs can benefit from – and are not penalized by – the responsible forest trade, the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme supported 100+ projects in 20 countries between 2016 and 2021 that sought to improve MSME capacity to supply legal timber. These projects employed several strategies: • Increasing MSME legal compliance through capacity building, mentoring and technical assistance; • Formalizing MSMEs to achieve legal status and access to benefits such as credit, training programs, and labour protections. • Strengthening associations that represent MSMEs and provide technical and financial assistance; • Reducing the regulatory burden through the simplification of existing legal frameworks; and • Integrating MSMEs into responsible value chains by linking with buyers or manufacturers. The Programme analyzed the impacts of these projects to determine best practices for supporting MSMEs atscale. It was found that the formation of associations was the most impactful intervention for helping MSMEs to formalize and produce legal timber. Capacity-building efforts also must integrate business skill development with training on legality compliance. The paper discusses options for further deployment of these strategies at scale, emphasizing the importance of building an “ecosystem of support” by forming a variety of mutually supporting partnerships. This will be central to assisting MSMEs negatively impacted by COVID-19 imposed lockdowns and economic slowdown. Keywords: Illegal logging, timber trade, small and medium-sized enterprises, forest governance, responsible markets ID:3486686

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