Impacts of Policy and Legal Framework on Sustainable Forest Governance in Ethiopia

Alemayehu N. Ayana


Forest resources in Ethiopia provide multiple goods and services including food, medicine, energy, shelter, clean water, land stabilization, erosion control, maintaining biodiversity, and regulation of climate change. However, these resources have been facing numerous challenges and are increasingly under threat for quite a long time. This study adopted the Governance of Forests Initiative (GFI) framework to assess the impacts of policies and legal framework on sustainable forest governance in Ethiopia. The GFI framework is a comprehensive tool used to diagnose and assess strengths and weaknesses of legal and policy arrangement governing forestry sector. Ethiopia has formulated and implemented various forest policies and legal instruments to address the persistent challenges of sustainable forest management and to fulfill the economic and societal benefits expected from the sector. However, our analysis shows a huge gap between legal and policy design and implementation. The existing efforts have focused on developing policy and legal instruments, while little has been done to implement them at the local level. Implementation instruments such as regulations, directives and guidelines have not sufficiently developed to translate the broader policy intents into practice. Lack of proper implementation instruments not only undermine forest management but also hinder national efforts to halt deforestation and achieve the country's ambitious plan for fast and sustainable development. Therefore, it is crucial to translate policy and legal provisions regarding forest governance into implementation instruments such as regulations, directives, and guidelines. Accurate and up-to-date information and records that contain comprehensive legal and spatial information about forest conservation areas should be maintained centrally both at regional state and federal level and freely accessible by the public.

Keywords: policy impact; legal framework; Governance of Forests Initiative; implementation, forest governance; Ethiopia

DOI: 10.7176/JESD/11-5-03

Publication date:March 31st 2020

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