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Science-Policy Programme

IUFRO's Science-Policy Programme provides a mechanism for effectively communicating information and scientific expertise to governments and intergovernmental processes related to forests and trees. The objectives of the Science-Policy Programme are to: 

  • Serve as IUFRO's focal point for all international policy processes and undertake routine and timely engagements with them.
  • Facilitate and prioritise IUFRO's inputs to various intergovernmental and international policy processes.
  • Mobilise and synthesise relevant scientific expertise to contribute to intergovernmental and international policy processes and tailor this information to different political settings.
  • Ensure clear and coherent communication with internal and external collaborators, including IUFRO's Special Programmes, Divisions, Task Forces, and officeholders, as well as IUFRO partners and donors.

The Science-Policy Programme facilitates IUFRO's input and representation in science-policy forums, and ensures efficient communication among IUFRO officeholders and external partners. The Programme closely follows the undertakings, agendas and session details of the international policy processes most relevant to forests and trees.

The core of IUFRO's Science-Policy Programme is designed to consolidate available information and expertise of interdisciplinary fields on key forest-related issues, supporting more informed decision-making at the regional and global levels. This information is communicated in an objective and concise manner, including peer-reviewed scientific assessments, policy briefs and stakeholder events. The Programme consists of different work streams, including the Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP) initiative, follow-up studies and regional activities.

Global assessments of key issues of high global concern, conducted by interdisciplinary Panels uniting leading scientists from around the world are the foundation of the GFEP initiative. Between 2009 and 2023 eight  thematic reports were successfully completed: Adaptation of Forests and People to Climate Change (2009), International Forest Governance (2011), Biodiversity, Forest Management, and REDD+ (2012), Forests and Food Security (2015), Illegal Timber Trade (2016), Forests and Water (2018), Forests and Poverty (2020) and Forests and Human Health (2023).

The follow-up studies review previously published global assessments and publish illustrating new data and developments. They follow a similar scheme as the Global assessments under the Global Forest Expert Panels initiative, bringing together leading scientists from around the globe and representing a diversity and balance of research foci, geographical representation and gender. The first follow-up study focuses on the REDD+ scheme and the effects of its implementation in the last 10 years. The results of this study were published in May 2022.

Regional activities include the development of regional policy briefs of global GFEP assessments, regional workshops disseminating scientific outcomes and regional assessments of specific topics. Two policy briefs focused on Climate Change Adaptation in Africa (2010) and on Forest and Poverty Alleviation in Africa (2010) have been published under this work stream. An assessment on the interlinkages between Forests and Human Health in the context of Asia is currently ongoing and is planned for publication in mid-2023.