Skip to Content

Forest Law and Governance: Toolkits

Making Forestry Fairer

It is widely accepted that in order to keep forests standing, forest policies must be fair and reflect the needs, values and rights of local communities. 

But turning that aspiration into reality has proved extremely difficult, even in countries where international negotiations offer an economic incentive to reform via Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreements (FLEGT VPAs). FERN has launched, “Making forestry fairer,” a new practical guide for NGOs and communities in VPA countries. Using real-life examples, the easy-to-read guide suggests ways these groups can use FLEGT VPAs to provoke long-lasting change in their countries’ interactions with forests and the people living there.

As well as including basics such as explaining what a FLEGT VPA is, the guide addresses issues such as deciding whether to take part, different types of participation, building coalitions, and considering how to tackle corruption and poor transparency. Available online in French and English, “Making forestry fairer” is the third practical guide for local NGOs from FERN. It accompanies “Provoking Change,” a practical guide to advocacy strategies, and “Securing land and resource rights in Africa,”a guide to legal reform and best practice.

Provoking change - A toolkit for African NGOs

This Advocacy Toolkit is for local and national NGOs, but specifically for those based in West Africa, as the case studies and background information are focused on this region. This toolkit was produced by FERN at the request of a network of environmental NGOs in West Africa: the Green Actors of West Africa (GAWA).

If you would like to receive a free hard copy of this toolkit please write to

Update 2016: We have broken up this popular toolkit in to individual chapters, so that readers can download and print the sections they are most interested in. Click on the links below to see particular parts of the toolkit:

Provoking Change

Forward and Introduction

Part A - what is Advocacy and how to do it

Part B - tools for Advocacy work

Annexes (14 pages)



PDF iconProvoquer le changement3.38 MB
PDF iconProvoking change3.29 MB

Most recent publications

CoNGOs project : discussion of a new paradigm for community forestry (Douala)

The CoNGOs project partners discuss a new paradigm for community forestry at the meeting of the CBFP parties in Douala.

 At the 17th annual Meeting of Parties of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) in Douala, Cameroon, Fern organised a side event on inclusive forest management in the Congo Basin. The event offered the chance to reflect on the role of community forestry in improving forest and climate governance, based on experiences in the sub-region,  in collaboration with partners from the CoNGOs project.

Implementation of community forestry in the Republic of Congo

In the Republic of Congo, the forestry sector is the second-largest contributor to the national economy after oil, and the principal employer after the government sector.

PDF iconCommunity Forestry RoC.pdf470.3 KB

ForestWatch VPA Update November 2017: A year on from FLEGT licensing

LoggingOff and Fern publish occasional Forest Watch updates detailing events in countries negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement from a civil society perspective.

PDF iconVPA Update Nov2017.pdf5.35 MB

Sacrificing South America’s forests on the altar of EU market access

The first trade talks between the European Union and the Mercosur bloc of nations - Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – began almost 20 years ago. Since then they have stuttered through 28 rounds of negotiations, but this year it looks as if an agreement will finally be reached. A critical issue remains unresolved, however: the amount of beef the South American nations can export to the EU...

The fate of the Congo Basin forests must lie with its people

By Marie-Ange Kalenga

A light breeze of democratisation is blowing through the Congo Basin – and it is being driven by civil society.

Analysis of gender impacts of the Ghana Voluntary Partnership Agreement with European Union

Fern commissioned this study of gender issues in Ghana’s FLEGT VPA as a tentative first step to looking at gender issues which have to date received only scant attention.It offers TAYLOR CRABBE INNITIATIVE’s observations about how gender issues have been dealt with i

PDF iconbriefing gender ghana final.pdf741.67 KB