Improving Forest Governance

Improving Forest Governance

A unique 4-week residential course that covers a variety of forest governance issues, taught by experienced tutors and international experts, with immersive training, high quality field trips and a visit to a Chatham House Illegal Logging update meeting.

Course Overview

Improving Forest Governance is a 4-week, UK-based residential course that covers a variety of forest governance issues. The course is conducted in English, French and Spanish with simultaneous interpretation and is taught by experienced tutors from the Centre for International Development and Training, as well as leading international experts and practitioners on forest governance, climate change, REDD+ and multi-stakeholder processes from the UK and abroad. Participants are immersed in training and fields trips and benefit from high quality field trips, including visiting a Chatham House Illegal Logging update meeting.

Course details

  • Delivery method: Face-to-face, plus a preceding online module and follow-up mentoring
  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Location: UK at our Telford Campus.

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The Context

As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draw to a close and a new set of global objectives take form in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the attention given to protecting and sustainably managing forests and landscapes is now greater than ever. The SDGs present a broader set of targets cutting across thematic areas, and the objectives of good forest and landscape governance make it relevant to the majority of the 17 goals.

Large scale agriculture and commercial logging represent the most important drivers of forest loss and degradation worldwide. Timber producing and processing countries also identify weak forest governance and institutions, lack of cross sectoral coordination and illegality due to weak enforcement as important underlying drivers of poor governance. Poverty and insecure tenure and rights undermine attempts to achieve sustainable landscape management and investment in forest related enterprises that could benefit forest dependent peoples. This perpetuates a cycle of corruption, loss of revenue, environmental degradation, deforestation (leading to the release of greenhouse gas emissions) and the endangerment of forest-dependent populations. The benefits that forests can provide to people and the environment are squandered for the sake of short-term, unsustainable, and poorly distributed economic gains.

To counter this, substantial international policy interventions in the form of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) have been introduced. These frameworks aim to reform the forest and landscape management sectors, and generate a high level of political will, understanding and ownership of deliberative processes. As a number of countries move beyond the Voluntary Partnership Agreement negotiation phases of the FLEGT Action Plan, and pass the readiness phase of REDD+, the challenge increasingly shifts towards implementation. Developing the capabilities of a critical mass of key frontline staff from governments, private sector, media, civil society, indigenous people’s organisations and academia , is critical in order to improve the absorptive capacity and facilitate the translation of these international policy initiatives to achieve desired performance outcomes on the ground i.e. at national and subnational levels.

Improving Forest Governance testimonial
Improving Forest Governance testimonial
Improving Forest Governance testimonial


Our approach to training and capacity building is one that delivers courses that are practitioner-oriented using an interactive teaching model based on active learning and participation. We use challenging and stimulating approaches to learning that yield tangible, positive results for participants both personally and professionally. We believe that strengthening the capacity of key individuals; will help to sustain the momentum needed to improve the governance of natural resources.

Course Content

Online Learning Pre-Course

The UK taught course will be preceded by an online learning module defining the concepts of governance relating to forest and landscape management, and providing an overview of the FLEGT Action Plan. This module will ensure that participants start the course with a common understanding of important principles, expediting the learning and sharing of national experience and providing a solid platform for engagement with the course.

Week 1

The first week of the programme will analyse in depth the drivers for poor forest and landscape governance. The focus will be on agricultural development trends, timber extraction and trade, corruption, illegality, and tenure. The programme will also enable participants to apply policy analysis tools to their contexts.

Week 2

The second week of the programme will look at responses to poor forest governance presented through international policy processes (including FLEGT and REDD+), national and international trade and community forestry. This week will unpack the issues and inherent challenges of these approaches, and explore a range of practical strategies and toolkits e.g. Independent Forest Monitoring and Timber Legality Assurance Systems, for improving forest and landscapes governance more generally.

Week 3

The third week of the programme will look at the role that forests play in climate change mitigation and adaptation, and highlight some of the wider governance challenges contained within climate-oriented initiatives; equipping participants to be able to exploit related opportunities in their country contexts. This week will also look at the skills and knowledge needed to develop and implement locally relevant forestry projects that meet the requirements of REDD+ and international climate financing.

Week 4

The final week of the course will look at some of the professional and personal development skills required to lead initiatives, participate effectively in multi-stakeholder processes and build alliances for improving forest governance. Participants will develop their skills in communication, facilitation, conflict management, negotiation and advocacy as well as mainstreaming gender within their different spheres of intervention.

One-to-One Mentoring

A one-to-one mentoring system will complement the taught programme, through which participants will be supported to design a practical action plan. Follow-up mentoring support will be provided for alumni upon return home.

Chatham House Illegal Logging Update

Course participants will also attend the Illegal Logging Update Meeting hosted by Chatham House in London, which provides an overview on FLEGT-VPAs progress and other forest governance initiatives from a range of countries.

Key Information


The course is conducted in English, French and Spanish with simultaneous interpretation where required. Full competence in written and spoken English, French or Spanish is an essential requirement. Applications are considered from any country, provided applicants meet the basic selection criteria (see application form) and they have confirmed funding.

Target Audience

The course is targeted at key individuals in relevant positions and roles within civil society organisations, government departments, private sector (including the informal sector), international organisations and donor agencies with the dedication, motivation and enterprising mind-set required to realise tangible improvements in forest governance. 

Course Delivery

The course delivered will be led by experienced tutors from the Centre for International Development and Training and will draw on leading international experts and practitioners on forest governance, climate change, REDD+ and multi-stakeholder processes from the UK and abroad. The nature of delivery of the course will be applied and based on real contexts. The style of learning will be active and experiential, based on case studies and facilitated group exercises, and designed to be of direct relevance to participants’ working lives. 


The course fees are £1,500 per week – includes all tuition, field trips and self-catering accommodation on the University of Wolverhampton’s Telford Innovation Campus in Shropshire.

Scholarships may be available for a small number of applicants, based on the strength of their applications. Sponsoring organisations that are able to cover partial costs may be able to negotiate discounted course fees. CIDT can organise flights and travel booking and stipend payments at the request of sponsoring organisations.

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