Development assistance to upland communities in the Philippines


C. Jensen

Type of Document:
Research Report


World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
Bogor, Indonesia


Summary: Over the last two decades, there has been a growing concern about the alarming rate of Philippines forest degradation and upland poverty. The government have initiated and implemented programs, and policy reforms adopted to address the problem. The country has also been recipient to substantial development assistance of loans and grants from international funding agencies in support of sustainable forest management and poverty reduction. Although there were some successes, upland development assistance has been short of its targets in addressing poverty reduction and natural resource degradation attributable to the following:

1. Sustainable forest management is a long and costly process. Implementation periods are not long enough to achieve sustainable forest management and poverty reduction. As indicated in the program/projects reviewed, follow-on to previous endeavors become necessary to sustain program initiated activities.

2. Community based forest management democratizes resource use rights, but politics still has the “distributive power”. Enabling broad legal framework empowering the community to develop, utilize, manage and conserve forest resources is in place. However, policy implementers have deterred devolution and decentralization of resource management through unnecessary bureaucratic requirements.

3. Ineffective policy implementation contributes to deforestation. Ineffective policy implementation have been attributed to lack of understanding, inconsistent interpretations, constant policy changes due to change in administration, “patronage politics” and lack of political will.

4. Ecological values of the forest are implicit in the programs. The need to value resources is recognized, however this has not been an explicit program/project activity. Putting monetary value on the resources and the benefits therefore could serve as an incentive to and make various stakeholders appreciate the need for resource protection and conservation.

5. Good environmental governance is key to effective forest management as it promotes transparency and accountability, hence, could effectively address the systemic graft and corruption prevailing in the forest sector.

Additional Bibliographic Information

RUPES Working Papers

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