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German bilateral development cooperation in the forest sector: A critical reflection based on the analysis of forest-related development initiatives from Indonesia, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

abgeschlossen 12/2015

Summary

Globally Germany ranks among the five major ODA donor countries, but hasn’t yet managed to reach its political target of providing 0.7% of its GNI to ODA. While Germany supports multilateral international processes, the major share of German ODA is bilateral and affects millions of hectares of forest and people. Based on an analysis of Germany’s forest related ODA and bilateral programs in Indonesia, Cameroon and the DRC, this study critically reflects on the application of such bilateral funds. The lack of transparency, on part of the responsible German organizations – BMZ, BMU, GIZ and KfW – made this a difficult task. The analysis showed that although Germany provides only a minor proportion of its ODA to the forest and environment sectors, this amount of funding can be significant for poor partner countries. Since 2002 Germany has committed some €436 million forest-related funds through 89 bilateral programs, and another US$181 million via regional programs to the three case study countries. The amount and focus of German forest cooperation has increasingly targeted forest administration and the governance of large-scale forest management schemes. This has contributed to improvements in legal and institutional frameworks and a professionalization of concession and protected area management. Bilateral forest cooperation can make a difference in the attempt to achieve more sustainable development in the rural tropics and should be substantially intensified. However, high deforestation rates and massive social conflicts involving concessions and protected areas indicate the need to critically reflect on existing mindsets, approaches and expectations. A shift in focus is needed from the promotion of large-scale management schemes and related actors to the governance of natural resources at the local level. For forest conservation to be successful, it needs the support and active involvement of the people living in and around forests. This requires a much stronger commitment to supporting the rights and capacities of local people, even if this is against the interests of national governments and influential economic actor groups. German development organizations and their staff need to leave their headquarters in the cities for the challenges involved in having to work in complex local contexts alongside local people and their organizations.

 

Coordination:

Prof. Dr. Benno Pokorny

Implementation: Dr. Reiner Buergin, Emmanuel Freudenthal, Prof. Dr. Benno Pokorny
Funding: Greenpeace International
Duration: 12/2013 – 10/2015
Partner: Greenpeace International
Reports: Pokorny B. 2015. German bilateral forest cooperation
  Buergin R. 2014. Forest-relevant ODA flows
  Buergin R. 2014. German bilateral forest cooperation in Indonesia

 

 

 

 

 

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