Lessons of experience from WWF’s community based forest enterprises project (CBFE)


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Juan Sève

Presentation for the conference on
Taking stock of smallholders and community forestry
Montpellier France
March 24-26, 2010

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Lessons of experience from WWF’s community based forest enterprises project (CBFE)

  1. 1. Main points to be covered <ul><li>Overview of the project </li></ul><ul><li>Objectives and expected results </li></ul><ul><li>Main components </li></ul><ul><li>Funding and timing </li></ul><ul><li>Key issues </li></ul><ul><li>Accomplishments </li></ul><ul><li>The International Meeting in Bolivia </li></ul><ul><li>Future prospects </li></ul>Lessons of Experience from WWF’s Community-based Forest Enterprises Project (CBFE) Juan Sève Montpellier 26 March 2010 Taking stock of smallholder and community forestry: Where do we go from here?
  2. 2. Main points to be covered <ul><li>Introductory remarks </li></ul><ul><li>The CBFE project – background and present status </li></ul><ul><li>Factors of success – basic </li></ul><ul><li>Factors of success – specific </li></ul><ul><li>Where do we go from here? – Perspective on the enterprise approach </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introductory remarks <ul><li>Community forestry efforts have been around for four decades or more </li></ul><ul><li>Recent estimates: 22% of forests in developing countries under control of communities </li></ul><ul><li>Success stories are scarce… plenty of reasons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Design problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of economic consideration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical assistance not well adapted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Short funding periods </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The CBFE project – background and present status <ul><li>Funded by the European Commission and implemented by WWF </li></ul><ul><li>Began in mid-2007; runs through late 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Supports over 50 community forest enterprises (CFEs) in 4 countries: Bolivia; Cameroon; Panama; Papua New Guinea; over 90 communities; 400,000 ha </li></ul><ul><li>Specific objective: Improved capacity of CFEs to access and manage forests for income, employment and investments </li></ul><ul><li>Double perspective: forest conservation & business management </li></ul><ul><li>Field-based approach </li></ul><ul><li>Trying to pursue work beyond completion date… enough time for CFEs to operate on their own; concentrate on consolidation with more focus on business skills, marketing and policy change </li></ul>
  5. 7. Key results <ul><li>Overall: launching over 50 CFEs, legal establishment, forest management plans, social development plans, technical skills, business and organizational skills, policy work, wood products being sold by CFEs in all project operations. </li></ul><ul><li>Bolivia: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One community group may operate on its own within a year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indigenous enterprise providing technical services to forest communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Automated wood tracking system is being implemented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FSC certification procedures have started </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communities participating in legislative processes </li></ul></ul>
  6. 8. Key results (cont.) <ul><li>Cameroon: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis of the feasibility of wood processing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Report on factors affecting profitability of CFEs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overhaul of regulatory procedures on community forests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>facilitating the purchase of small processing units </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Panama: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-village CFE established through participatory processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long-term contract for certified wood signed with European buyer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FSC certification procedures are underway </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strong partnership between WWF and Indigenous Local Authority </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PNG: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CFEs operate under an FSC group certificate; stepwise approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long-term purchasing agreement for certified wood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Credit facilitated for acquisition of small processing units </li></ul></ul>
  7. 9. Factors of success - basic <ul><li>Enabling framework of rights and obligations (including tenure rights and ownership of proceeds), which will allow for large areas of land to remain committed to long-term forest production </li></ul><ul><li>Access to competitive and open markets for products and inputs (including capital) that provide opportunities for gainful economic exchanges </li></ul><ul><li>A consistent, stable and predictable framework of public policies (macroeconomic, fiscal, tenure, administrative, land use, sector…), keeping future uncertainties at acceptable levels </li></ul><ul><li>Law enforcement to ensure that the basic rights and obligations are respected throughout society </li></ul>
  8. 11. Factors of success – specific <ul><li>Not generic, like the basic ones, but linked to circumstances and conditions surrounding actual operations </li></ul><ul><li>Gathered from lessons of experience of the CBFE project </li></ul><ul><li>Technical assistance: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most important in initial stages…major transformation toward markets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many new skills to be acquired </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tailored to specific needs driven by new production systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competency and communication capabilities of TA teams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time frame </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Training: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always linked to technical assistance… same person in charge is best </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focused on competencies to be developed and targeted individuals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical skills acquired faster than business skills… both essential </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct training in the field; train local trainers early </li></ul></ul>
  9. 12. Factors of success – specific (cont.) <ul><li>Administrative requirements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vary widely from one country to another… can be extreme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long time for approval of key documents in Cameroon and Panama </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dialogue with authorities to simplify formalities… improved policies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forest management planning: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Special case of administrative requirement… required everywhere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organization of production forest in space and time… often not fulfilled </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More of an administrative formality than a sustainable management tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should become regulatory instrument; need more flexibility and rigor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Financing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard to run a business without it; virtually unavailable except in PNG </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aggressively pursuing options in other countries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Local powers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some CFEs in located Indigenous areas with formal local government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must conduct policy dialogue with public powers in behalf of CFEs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should apply own regulatory and policy powers in their territories </li></ul></ul>
  10. 13. <ul><li>Where do we go from here? </li></ul>
  11. 14. Where do we go from here? – Perspective on the enterprise approach <ul><li>Enterprise approach brings together efficient operations, improved community welfare, and conservation of tropical forest while utilized </li></ul><ul><li>Factors of success alone are not sufficient; internal entrepreneurial perspective is needed as well to have a sustainable business: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide employment, but can’t employ everybody </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retain part of profits to maintain the financial health of the business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple but effective accounting and business management systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business plans with reasonable projections of volumes, costs, earnings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn handling of credit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider options for associating several CFEs for marketing flexibility </li></ul></ul>
  12. 15. … and maybe we’ll end up with a sustainable business
  13. 16. The moral of the story <ul><li>You don’t fight poverty without creating wealth </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t create wealth without commerce </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t have commerce without enterprises </li></ul><ul><li>Prosperous enterprises require favorable institutions, and knowledge of forest management & business disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Communities that view the forest as a welfare-generating asset participate in its conservation </li></ul>
  14. 17. THANK YOU!