Decentralised Forest and Other Natural Resource Management Programme

The Decentralised Forest and Other Natural Resource Management Programme was a 3.6 years introduction project where the aim was to lay the foundations for a devolved sustainable forest and other natural resources management system. The development objective was to reduce poverty and inequality, and improve the environment through devolved integrated sustainable forest and other natural resource management (FNRM). The goal of the introduction project was to develop sustainable FNRM models that could be scaled up and implemented in a wider programme with the long-term vision of rural communities having improved livelihoods through fully devolved sustainable forest and other natural resources management system by 2026. However, motivation of the rural communities to participate in sustainable FNRM was crucial and therefore the three year introduction project also aimed to get tangible results and bring benefits to the communities and, at the same time, to enhance district administration in sustainable FNRM.

The primary beneficiaries were individuals and households in rural communities in the targeted districts in North-Western and Muchinga provinces who depended on the forests and other natural resources for their livelihoods, including women, vulnerable groups and households living in extreme poverty. Main beneficiaries also included traditional authorities, district government administration, locally active NGOs and private sector enterprises. The approaches in the implementation of this project were based on the principles and cross-cutting issues in the Zambian revised Sixth National Development Plan and in Finland’s Development Cooperation Policy 2012:

  • Result Based Management approach was the guiding principle in the project aiming for tangible results and clear benefits for the different stakeholder groups, together with the Human Rights Based Approach which was based on the definition of roles and responsibilities of the duty bearers and rights holders including specific circumstances of vulnerable families.
  • Flexibility, clear focus on achievable results and a process approach allowing districts to define their own priorities regarding project implementation due to the varying conditions between project districts regarding the quality and extent of forest resources, population pressure, access to markets and potential for private sector involvement as well as the number and capacity of the CSOs working in the districts.
  • Integrated approach on forest and natural resource management, applying a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder involvement was considered key to the success of the programme.
  • Build on lessons learnt and identify and implement innovative governance systems and technologies in finding solutions for the identified challenges.
  • Promotion of applied research on relevant issues of sustainable forest and other natural resources management.
  • Focus on a value chain approach, linking up with business development providers, CSOs and private sector.
  • Use of existing functioning institutional structures is the main principle.
  • Capacity building of the institutions including human and physical resources.

The competent authorities for the project were MFA Finland, and the Ministry of Finance in Zambia. Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (MLNREP), Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) and Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs were the key implementing institutions. A consortium consisting of Indufor Oy and ORGUT provided technical assistance and took responsibility of project management in consultation with the main Zambian stakeholders and the MFA.

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