This paper is one amongst several commissioned by the project Lessons Learnt on Sustainable Forest Management in Africa, or SFM in Africa, for short. The understanding that several forestry projects, programmes and initiatives have already been carried out in Africa, and that major lessons can be learnt from them, was the reason for setting up the project. It was believed that such lessons, whether they were positive or negative, if properly analysed could be of great importance in shaping the direction of future initiatives to achieve sustainable forest management (SFM). Replicating positive experiences and avoiding failures could lead to better utilisation of scarce financial and human resources. Moreover, this type of project has no precedent in Africa, in that most past project evaluations mainly dwelled on impact studies against stated objectives and did not go beyond this level. The studies commissioned by this project have undertaken in-depth assessments of notable successes and failures and have tried
to identify the factors that might have contributed to such outcomes. Based on the foregoing understanding, the project has the following overall objectives:
– To analyse and establish what lessons have been learnt from positive and negative experiences of various initiatives, projects and programmes aiming at sustainable management, use and conservation of forests in sub-Saharan Africa;
To analyse and establish what ecological, economic, social and other pre-requisites are necessary for extending positive lessons to wider use (to more people, larger areas, other countries, etc.); and
Based on the outcome of the above analyses, to identify the most urgent issues and concerns for Africa to draw the attention of the various international processes.