When is Decentralization in Forest Management a Success and when is it a Failure? Case Studies from the Philippines

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"The decentralization reforms and political conditions in the Philippines present an ideal environment for forest management by recognizing the land entitlements of upland and indigenous communities and promoting the involvement of local government units. To grasp the present state of decentralization in the forestry sector in the Philippines, this study draws on case studies conducted in Nueva Vizcaya Province in assessing whether current conditions policies, institutions, and programs are conducive to effective decentralization. It attempts to answer a broader question: when is decentralization a success and when is it a failure? These case studies represent a mix of successes and failures that are of interest from a policy viewpoint. The study reveals that there are grass roots realities that slow or cause the failure of decentralization initiatives. The high number of actors and stakeholders affect the pace of decentralization reforms and make it difficult to assign or identify accountability. Some of the reasons for the failure were conflicting positions of institutions during the project planning, peoples organizations being scattered over a large area, ineffective coordination of peoples organizations, overlapping administration and forest management boundaries, and the politicization of local institutions. The study shows that decentralization reforms require highly capable community organizations and self-management capacity. It was found that a mix of site-specific interventions and community endeavors that focus on securing local livelihoods has led to some success. This is a strategy that helps decentralization reforms."
decentralization--case studies, forest management--case studies, stakeholders--case studies, community forestry--case studies