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Evaluation of Swedish Forestry Initiative Phase I

Sweden is internationally known for its sustainable managed forests and high competence in the forestry sector. The sector stands for a very important resource for welfare and development in the Swedish society. Such a commitment requires an approach that reflects an understanding that skills need to evolve and adapt to a changing environment.

In June 2007 Sida decided to start a process oriented forestry initiative. The decision included, among others, an agreement on a "coordination function”, called the Forestry Initiative (FI), between the parties Sida and the Swedish Forestry Association, SFA (Föreningen Skogen). In addition to the coordination function FI focuses on strategic thematic approaches to development of methods, learning and skills development in five priority areas identified during the FI's inception phase: (1) Forest sector institutions and regulations; (2) The forest's importance and role for people and climate change; (3) Private sector’s importance for Environment and Development; (4) Analysis of forest development issues; and (5) Competence Development. These five priority areas represent the Swedish comparative advantages, while in many developing countries they are instead limiting factors to a sustainable use of forests.

It was agreed that SFA would facilitate, coordinate and involve other predominantly Swedish players in the FI's process oriented work, rather than to take operational responsibility for the implementation of interventions. Sida took the operational responsibility for the major efforts that were initiated in the context of the FI.

The parties continuously interact during the FI's implementation. The parties also agreed that the FI was a strategic "pilot process" from which lessons could be drawn on how Sida’s work within the Policy for Global Development (PGD) could be designed in practice in the context of a production-oriented sector like forestry. The approach was designed to contribute to the mobilization of the Swedish forestry sector to achieve more proactive actions possible within the global forestry development cooperation.

In mid-2009 the Swedish Forest Agency (Skogsstyrelsen, SKS) became a third party in the FI which meant that the SKS took over the management responsibility from Sida within the FI's five priority areas.

The agreement between Sida and SKS also meant that the SKS, through a specially established PGD-team at SKS, would work to integrate and promote specific experiences from FI and general PGD-issues, within SKS and in relation to the Ministry of Agriculture.

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