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Expert Panel on International Forest Regime 2011


Embracing complexity: Meeting the challenges of international forest governance
A Global Assessment Report

The international forest regime is characterized by a large number of actors, policy instruments and institutions. Increasingly, forests are being dealt with outside the traditional forest sector and by non-state actors (as exemplified by forest certification). As no comprehensive scientific assessment had been carried out about the international forest regime before, this GFEP assessment report aimed to fill this gap based on an assignment given by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

The second assessment report prepared in the framework of GFEP was published in 2011 and formally presented at the 9th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), taking place 24 January – 4 February 2011 at the UN Headquarters in New York City.


Full Report

For hardcopies of the global assessment report "Embracing complexity: Meeting the challenges of international forest governance" please write to office(at)


Policy Brief

Embracing complexity in international forest governance: a way forward

This policy brief summarizes the key messages of the GFEP report “Embracing complexity: Meeting the challenges of international forest governance” and reaches out to international as well as national policymakers and other stakeholders.

Following key messages are highlighted:

  • International forest governance is complex and fragmented.
  • Many critical forest problems are cross-sectoral.
  • Complex forest problems require synergistic approaches involving a wide range of policy instruments.
  • The forest governance challenge is to move from a focus on forests towards the concept of ‘forests+’, which embraces inter-sectoral and inter-institutional complexity.
  • Forests+ approaches will build on a better understanding of actors’ interests, ideas and incentives in complex environments.
  • Forests+ will be coordinated by learning instruments, involving the development of new policy learning and engagement platforms.
  • Forests+ calls for more inclusive governance.
  • The nature of a forests+ approach will vary according to national capacities and policy styles.
  • Spatial scale is important for forests+.
  • New or adapted institutional arrangements are needed to strengthen and coordinate forest policy learning at the global level and to support engagement and problem solving among diverse stakeholders.

Policy Brief

The Panel prepared also a policy brief "Embracing complexity in international forest governance: a way forward" aiming to provide policy and decision makers with essential knowledge and building blocks required for a more effective and inclusive governance of the world's forests.