Forests are a vital resource for us all. They help to sustain the global environment; forests provide a wide range of goods such as food, fiber and wood as well as ecosystem services including water catchment protection, climate regulation, and biological diversity. Forests also provide livelihood opportunities for an estimated 1.6 billion forest-dependent people and contribute to increased food security among the poorest and most vulnerable groups, particularly women and children.
Although the role of forests has gained remarkable attention in recent years and much progress has been made in sustainable forest management in many countries, forests continue to face a range of pressures resulting in continue forest loss and degradation. Experience has shown that for efforts to succeed in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, promoting sustainable forest management, and safeguarding the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples, they require enabling policies and regulatory frameworks together with a willingness among policymakers to prioritize actions that result in the long-term provision of benefits and services from forests.
The generation of multiple benefits from forests is a central mandate of the GEF. For over two decades the GEF has supported developing countries address the many complex challenges to be met in achieving sustainable forest management.
The importance of GLOBE's Forest Legislation Initiative, working directly with senior legislators to improve national forest governance, law enforcement, financial scrutiny, accountability and policy coordination cannot be exaggerated. GLOBE's analysis illustrates the importance of legislators engaging and learning from each other, and the value of shared experience from peers who have been involved with developing and overseeing forest and REDD+ legislation.
Given the key role parliamentarians play in the design and enactment of legislation that influence the future of forests in most developing countries, such as land tenure reform, benefit sharing from the use of forest resources, public participation and the development of environmental and social safeguards, this report is a timely and important addition to efforts to strengthen legislation and parliamentary scrutiny functions in forested developing countries.