Helping to shape international forest policy


Title: Sector Project on International Forest Policy
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2020 to 2023

Tropischer Regenwald in Laos, GIZ/Sebastian Koch


People are more willing than ever before to protect forests and manage them sustainably. Nonetheless, many millions of hectares of forest are lost every year – mostly in tropical and subtropical regions. This loss not only accelerates climate change, but also destroys the livelihoods of many people. Around a third of people worldwide rely to a greater or lesser extent on forests for their survival.

There are various challenges associated with this. Although the positive climate effects of the forest are of political significance and, as a result, the commitment of donors has increased, in many countries investment in agriculture still predominates, which can potentially lead to deforestation. 

Forest-conservation policies are difficult to enforce, and conflicts relating to land and to land use are increasing worldwide. In many countries, political responsibilities are distributed across various, sometimes competing, ministries, which makes a coordinated approach more difficult. Good governance in the forest sector remains a major challenge. On the donors’ side, there is also a need to further harmonise the current support approaches and counteract further fragmentation and bureaucratisation. The situation in civil society is an additional factor. Restrictive legislation, criminalisation and threats are increasingly limiting the scope for indigenous groups and nature conservation organisations to act. 


The goals of the New York Declaration on Forests from 2014 are increasingly being implemented: end natural forest loss by 2030, restore 350 million hectares of forest by 2030 and keep supply chains deforestation-free.

Sustainably produced charcoal, GIZ/Cornelia Ehlers


The project works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is aligned to the goals of the New York Declaration on Forests from 2014. It shapes and anchors German development cooperation concerns in international processes and initiatives for forest conservation. It promotes sustainable development, biodiversity and action on climate. 

In order to do this, the project operates in four areas of action:

  • Area of action 1 ‘International forest dialogue and cross-sector cooperation’ represents BMZ’s forest-policy concerns. Here, the project advises the ministry on strategies and programmes in the European Union and the United Nations, on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the conferences of the Rio Conventions on Biological Diversity and Climate Change. It also advises on international platforms, initiatives and research cooperation activities.
  • Area of action 2 ‘International partnerships for forest financing’ maintains a dialogue with donors and increases the effectiveness of forest financing. The focus is on partnerships that BMZ supports with a high financial contribution.
  • Area of action 3 ‘Civil society, rights and profit sharing’ strengthens the participation of civil society in forest conservation in partner countries and international initiatives.
  • Area of action 4 is concerned with ‘monitoring & evaluation’ and PR work. In order to communicate BMZ’s work externally, the project regularly records data on the implementation and results achieved. Together with the ‘Biodiversity on land’ project and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), it develops methods and indicators to measure and present the effectiveness of the BMZ forest portfolio. It also develops suitable communication formats for various target groups. 
Blick aus einem Wald auf das madagassiche Hochland, GIZ/Ragna John

The global target group is the more than 2.6 billion people, mostly population groups, who live in and on forests. The project is striving to create the key conditions necessary for conserving and restoring forests. This includes fair participation of indigenous peoples, local communities and women and young people in forest-related planning and decisions, clarification of land rights and access to complaints and conflict resolution mechanisms.

Additional information