A significant feature of the Bank’s new Governance and Anticorruption (GAC) Strategy (pdf) is the emphasis on mainstreaming the focus on governance work into the sectors, such as health, education, and natural resource management. Governance, which the strategy defines as “the manner in which public officials and institutions acquire and exercise the authority to shape public policy and provide public goods and services,” clearly refers not only to the functioning of central government administration, but also to the way services are delivered and public resources managed.
One key sector on which the East Asia & Pacific region has begun to focus is forestry. As this news article shows, this is clearly an area with significant governance challenges: large areas of supposedly protected forest in Papua New Guinea are disappearing due to logging and farming, despite support from Australia for reducing deforestation.
Natural resource management and governance staff at the Bank are working to develop useful approaches (pdf) for this work, and to find appropriate entry points for engaging governments. One issue we’re looking at is the extent to which corruption may be collusive, that is, where the briber and government official conspire to rob the government of revenues, as opposed to non-collusive, where bureaucrats simply demand bribes.
These types of corruption require quite different interventions. While non-collusive corruption might point to the need for public complaint mechanisms and stronger prosecution for corruption officials, addressing collusive corruption involves examining the role of stakeholders as well as the degree of demand for better forest governance from local communities.
What have you seen or heard about forest management and the role of stakeholders in land use in your country? Do you know of examples of the government and community working together to improve land management and reduce deforestation?