Politics of Decentralization: Introduction (Manuscript Draft)

Abstract
"Decentralization processes are taking place in more than 60 countries worldwide. These processes vary by sector, by the discretionary powers transferred to lower levels of governance, by the design and implementation of fiscal and other financial aspects and by degree of social responsibility. These processes are of central importance in political and economic change in all sectors of the economy, including the forest sector. "A few years ago, forestry decentralization was a nonissue for many countries. In the proposals for action of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF, 1995-1997) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF, 1997-2000), decentralization is not explicitly mentioned, and it is only indirectly present in the recommendations on participation. Decentralization has become a theme in forestry only since substantial political changes have taken place in many countries. As a matter of fact, governance - of which decentralization is one of the most visible elements today - is a crucial issue in sustainable forest management. It is the quality of governance that may ultimately determine the fate of forest resources in all their aspects - economic, social and ecological."
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Keywords
forest policy, forest management
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