Illegal logging of rosewood from Masoala and Marojejy in Antalaha, Madagascar. Photo credit: Eric Patel/ Wikimedia Commons


Forest-related policies and legislation in many African countries are out-dated and often also weakly enforced. There is a pressing need to adapt policies to the challenges and opportunities of rapid global environmental and economic changes. Social and economic changes are as important to sustainable development as the environmental changes already under way. Good governance within and beyond the forest sector is an imperative to improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent populations as well as in ensuring the sector’s contribution to national economies, and to reducing illegal logging, forest degradation and deforestation. This also implies providing secure tenure to communities and other local stakeholders who use and manage forest and tree resources. Public sector forestry institutions need to become facilitators rather than just exercising command and control. New and innovative instruments for financing sustainable forest management that increase access to capital markets, value environmental services and mitigate risks can support emerging forest policies.

Delineation and goal of AFF’s work

In this thematic area, AFF, with appropriate partners, will work on relevant aspects of identifying, formulating and promoting policies, legislation and governance measures aiming at improved sustainable and increased forest and tree management and conservation. Likewise, AFF will continue to support African nations and sub-regional and regional bodies in participation in international forest-related policy processes, as well as in the implementation of decisions and recommendations coming out of such processes (through its Technical Support Team).

The overall goal is to facilitate creating a favourable environment for conceiving and implementing policies and enforcement of laws and regulations as means towards SFM as a contributor to social and economic development and to environmental improvement.

Examples of subjects, challenges and opportunities to be addressed

National and regional policies; e.g. assess forestry linkages to national, sub-regional (e.g. RECs) and regional policies, plans and initiatives (e.g. GGWSSI); analyse evolution, implementation and potential for improvement of forestry activities related to them..

International macroeconomic and environmental policies; e.g. assess how such policies Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, IAF, MEAs and others) can be facilitated and mainstreamed into sub-regional and national forest policies and plans; strengthen the capacity of Africa to contribute effectively to these global processes (e.g. in UNFF, UNFCCC, UNCCD).

Local forest management and tenure; e.g. evaluate adequacy of forest management and law enforcement approaches employed by the public and private sectors and by local communities and partnerships by the three; enhance good forest governance and trade in forest products and enforcement of laws and regulations (e.g. through FLEGT); examine ways for strengthening professionalism and ethics in the sector; examine what land and resource tenure and user rights policies are required to ensure SFM

Examples of ongoing and/or concluded AFF activities that fall under this area

  • Kakuru, W., 2016. Forest law enforcement, good forest governance and fair trade in forest products in Africa. AFF Fact Sheet.
  • Gondo, P.C., 2015. Strengthening African capacity to monitor and report on compliance to international processes related to forests and climate change. AFF Working Paper Vol. 3(2).
  • Kojwang, H.O. & M. Larwanou, 2015. Forestry-related input into relevant policies at the regional and global levels: an African perspective on climate change. In International Forestry Review Vol.17 (S3).
  • Assembe-Mvondo, S., 2014. An analytical review of forest governance and equitable trade practices related to climate change in Central Africa. AFF Working Paper Vol 2 (9).
  • Milimo, P.B., 2014. Forest and climate change policies, strategies and programmes in the EAC and IGAD sub-regions. AFF Working Paper Vol. 2 (18).
  • Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). A series of four subregional studies all published as AFF Working Papers in 2011: SADC (P. Sola; Vol 1(9)); Sahel (A. Tougiani; Vol 1(6)); Central Africa (L.J. Betti; Vol 1(10)); and sub-humid West Africa (L. Popoola; Vol 1(2).