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Interlaken Workshop on
Decentralization in Forestry
Interlaken, Switzerland, 27- 30 April 2004


IISD's SUMMARY REPORT is available online in the following formats:


Daily Web Coverage:
27 April
28 April
29 April
30 April

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Tuesday, 27 April

The Interlaken workshop, a
country-led Initiative, commenced today with a Plenary session, during which participants heard opening statements, a review of the history of democratic decentralization in the forestry sector and presentations on the experience of Indonesia and Bolivia. In the afternoon, , participants attended parallel sessions on country experiences and thematic issues as well as a round table on federalism.

Interlaken's Casino Kursaal, the Workshop's venue

Christian Küchli moderated this morning's session.

Wahjudi Wardojo, Secretary General of the Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia.



Listen to:

Philippe Roch, underlining the need for a strong and clear central legislation on forestry.

Wahjudi Wardojo, emphasizing that the challenge is to implement decentralization in a step-wise manner.

Albert Rösti, stressing the need for forest management to be undertaken jointly by the local people, the cantons and the communes. (*This speech in German)

Susan Braatz, highlighting the importance of country-led initiatives within the UNFF process.

André Morgenthaler, explaining the importance of forests for the tourism sector of Interlaken.

David Kaimowitz, identifying decentralization as a major trend of our time.

Philippe Roch,
Director, Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forestry and Landscape, officially declared the Workshop open.

André Morgenthaler, President of the Community of Interlaken.

Albert Rösti, Secretariat General, Canton of Bern.


Susan Braatz, United Nations Forum on Forests.

David Kaimowitz , Director, Center for International Forestry Research.

Anne Larson spoke on lessons learned in Africa, Asia and Latin America on democratic decentralization in forestry.



During Plenary, participants heard a presentation on democratic decentralization in the Forestry Sector and Country Presentations, and went through the Workshop's objectives and overview.

Listen to:

Participants watching the panelists' presentations.

Pablo Pacheco of Bolivia discussed who benefits from forest management in Bolivia and why.

Panelist Wandojo Siswanto presented on Indonesia's experience of decentralization in the forest sector.

Wil de Jong, CIFOR Scientist, asked how globalization processes in Bolivia are affecting governance in the forestry sector.


(In the 3 photos above, left - right) The following participants commented on the plenary presentations: I Made Suwanti, Director of Policy Facilitation on Decentralization of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Indonesia; Sanjay Kumar, India; and Siti Indriasari Galuh Sekar Arum, a representative of International Student Forestry Association.

- Lunch -

Above photos: Workshop participants enjoying a lunch, compliments of the organizers.


Patrick Robinson presented on Power and the Development of Community Forestry: the Rhetoric and the Complex Realities in the Nepal Context.

Cherukat Chandrasekharan chaired the Country experiences session.

PARALLEL SESSIONS: Session 1: Country Experiences

Listen to the following presentations:

Scotland (Bill Ritchie)
outlining the "push down" of power which took place within the political context of devolution in the UK, with the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and control of Scotland's forest estate passing to the Scottish Executive.

Ghana (Oppon Sasu), underlining the importance of the empowerment of communities, flexibility, transparency, good-governance and equitable benefit sharing.

Oppon Sasu spoke about Decentralization of Federal Systems in Forests and National Forestry Programme: the Case of Ghana.

Bill Ritchie's presentation on the "Push-me-pull-you" of Forest Devolution in Scotland.


Participants in the Theatersaal for parallel session 2 on thematic issues.

Session 2: Thematic Issues

In this session, Jeff Sayer, WWF, presented on The Implications for Biodiversity Conservation of Decentralized Forest Resource Management. Other speakers, shown in the photos below, also made presentations related to decentralization.


François Wencelius, FAO, presented on the FAO Experience in Decentralization in the Forestry Sector

Ian Ferguson, spoke on Paths and Pitfalls of Decentralization for Sustainable Forest Management: Experiences from the Asia-Pacific Region.

Jesse Ribot, World Resources Institute, elaborated on Choosing Representation: Institutions and Powers for Decentralized Natural Resource Management.


Arnoldo Contreras presented an Overview of Experiences and Lessons on Forest Government in Federal Systems.



The roundtable was initiated with a presentation by Arnoldo Contreras on Forest Governance in Federal Systems, and followed with comments by respondents from Russia, Brazil, Switzerland, Uganda and India. During ensuing discussions, participants discussed: the need for political will; the complexity, dynamics and length of the decentralization process; the lack of resources and incentives; and the importance of capacity building.


Willi Zimmermann (left) described the recent centralization process in Switzerland and Steve Nsita (on right), Uganda, overviewed his country's history of decentralization

Doris Capistrano chaired the round table on Federalism


Fabiano Toni, Brazil, lamented that there are no government initiatives for decentralization in Brazil.

Vinod Bahuguna, India, called for governance and accountability at all levels of government.

Jan McAlpine, US, asked the panel to comment on appropriate procedures for Liberian reforestation and decentralization.
Natalia Malysheva, Russia, underscored the need to find the right balance to achieve transparent and effective decentralization that also addresses ecological requirements.

Gerald Rose, US, emphasized harmony of interests as essential to ensuring sustainable management of forest resources.


SAEFL's Marie-Claire Brahier and Monika Schwarz at the registration desk.

Participants in Ballsaal room during the opening session.

Details of one of the Casino Kursaal's baroque domes

Participants registering for the Workshop

The Forestry Workshop opened on a beautiful spring day in Interlaken, in the Berner Oberland region of Switzerland.

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