International Forest Policy


Title: International Forest Policy
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2016 to 2019

Tropischer Regenwald in Laos, GIZ/Sebastian Koch


Forests are high on the international political agenda due to their importance in protecting climate and biodiversity. The willingness to support forest conservation and sustainable forest management is greater than ever before. Germany and other donors have committed substantial funds to the protection and conservation of forests. Nonetheless, many millions of hectares of forest continue to be lost every year – mostly in tropical and subtropical regions. This destroys the livelihoods of many humans, plants and animals, as over a billion people around the world live in and from forests.

Since the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the international policy framework for supporting the sustainable use of forests has been negotiated and implemented in a series of individual processes, which are, however, not adequately coordinated. Governments do not yet ensure that the private sector is sufficiently involved.

The consequence is that processes and initiatives frequently operate in parallel and inefficiently. Insufficient attention is often paid to the multifunctionality of forests with their ecological, economic and social dimensions.


The principles of sustainable forest management are more widespread in international processes relevant to forests and in selected countries, in accordance with BMZ’s forest strategy.

Sustainably produced charcoal, GIZ/Cornelia Ehlers


This Sector Project works on behalf of and in close consultation with BMZ in the following areas of activity:

  • forest conservation and sustainable forest management (for example, sustainable energy from wood);
  • restoration of forest landscapes through the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) at an international level and in selected partner countries;
  • involvement of the private sector and private investors;
  • introduction of principles and instruments of good governance and of strengthening local rights of use in the forest sector in selected countries.

Providing advice to BMZ is the most important component of this project. In addition, the project works with selected projects in development cooperation and with international and civil society organisations – such as non-governmental organisations – and with the private sector. Together with international partners, the project is developing instruments and strategies and is ensuring that these are applied on a broad scale. For example, the project is supporting a range of partner countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia with strategies and action plans for forest conservation and the dissemination of sustainable forest management.

The project forms part of an international network of forest-related initiatives and is supported in its work by appraisers and consulting companies – in particular, by UNIQUE forestry and land use GmbH.

Blick aus einem Wald auf das madagassiche Hochland, GIZ/Ragna John


The project measures aim to have a positive influence on international, regional and national forest-policy processes through professional advisory services. For example, the project advises BMZ in international climate negotiations, the United Nations Forum on Forests and the EU Action Plan for combating illegal logging.

The process supports REDD+ projects (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), maintains a global forest-policy network, processes experience-based knowledge and promotes the exchange of information.

The Sector Project is particularly involved in the development of the regional AFR100 Initiative. The Initiative aims to transform up to 100 million hectares of degraded landscapes – i.e. land productivity has significantly deteriorated or the productive potential has been destroyed – into economically productive and ecologically intact forest landscapes by 2030.

In Madagascar, for example, the project supported the development of a national strategy for Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) – in close cooperation with the Forest Governance Programme.