Projects and Programmes
Participative ForestryProtected Area PlanningNational Forestry ProgrammeBBBEE Forestry CharterSustainable Forestry

A national forest programme (NFP) is a globally adopted framework for national forest policy development, planning and implementation, which is applicable to all countries and all types of forest. It constitutes an integral part of a country’s National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS). The NFP framework is based on the understanding that there are common elements, which should be part of any national programme that aims to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of forests. However, a NFP is not just a programme in the sense of focusing only on planning. In NFP development, considerable emphasis is placed on implementation, with well-defined action plans and investment programmes. The involvement of a wide range of forest users at local, national and global levels is encouraged to help the development of partnerships between all stakeholders.

Guiding Principles

Internationally the NFP is guided by a set of principles designed to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of national and sub-national planning and the implementation of forestry activities. The adoption of principles, which are listed below, will ensure that the NFP for South Africa will make a significant contribution to the achievement of sustainable forestry development in the South Africa, Africa and internationally.

Sustainability: Policies, programmes and reforms developed and implemented during the process must be sustainable. This means that all such plans must be based on a realistic assessment of financial and institutional constraints and economic realities.
National sovereignty and country leadership: States have the sovereign right to use their forest resources in accordance with their own environmental policies and development needs. The preparation of a national forest programme is a national initiative for which each coun?ry must assume full leadership and responsibility.
Partnership: Each country has to find its own balance between public and private sector participation, central and decentralized participation, and national and international inputs.
Participation: It is only through genuine participation that divergent views and conflicts of interest between various stakeholders can be openly recognised and, where possible, resolved or at least accommodated within a broad consensus.
Adopting a holistic approach: Forests are diverse ecosystems that are valued broadly across society. Providing linkages to other sectors of the economy is therefore a vital component of NFP development. This involves consideration of the mutual impact of policies and practices (e.g. water and forests).
A long-term, iterative process: The NFP is a long-term, on-going process. It does not end with the preparation of a programme or plan. Rather, these are benchmarks in a strategic cycle comprising planning as well as implementation, monitoring and evaluation activities.
Capacity building: Capacity building is one of the essential elements of a NFP. Throughout the process, actions need to be taken to develop the planning and implementation capacity of national institutions and other key stakeholders.
Policy and institutional reforms: One of the priorities of a NFP is to ensure that the policy and institutional framework promotes sustainable forest development, not only in the forest sector itself but also in other sectors of the economy.
Consistency with national planning frameworks and global initiatives: NFPs need to link with national development plans, as well as with?regional and local strategies. They should also help implement UNCED’s Agenda 21 and related multilateral conventions and initiatives.
Raising awareness: The NFP needs to raise the visibility of the forest sector and its priority in national agendas. The full value of forests and trees has to be demonstrated as well as their contribution to social, economic and environmental issues.
National policy commitment: The NFP must be backed by the long-term commitment of all national stakeholders, particularly at political and decision-making levels.
International commitment: The long-term commitment of the international community and its institutions is essential. These should respect the policies, strategies and programmes approved by countries, adapting their own priorities to country priorities.
Related References
  Framework for the NFP in SA, 2005
Review of the NFAP
  National Forestry Action Programme (NFAP) Final - 01 September 1997
Contact Details

Acting Deputy Director: Regulations & Oversight
Churchill Mkwalo
Tel: (012) 309 5782