Focusing on the twelve most forested countries in the world, MegaFlorestais is an informal network of public forest agency leaders dedicated to advancing international dialogue and exchange on transitions in forest governance, forest industry, and the roles of public forest agencies. It aims at emphasizing the uniqueness of the forest sector and its contributions to society and fostering stronger relationships by collectively strengthening their abilities to play leading roles in addressing forest governance and sustainable forestry issues.
MegaFlorestais is a truly unique forum that links together change agents of forest agencies and is a catalyst for new ideas and collaboration with the objective of improving forest governance. It has quickly become an effective tool to accelerate learning, innovation, and implementation of a common suite of new policy decisions among forest agencies in three ways:
- Inform: It creates a framework enabling forest leaders to exchange experiences and ideas in an open and frank setting, get exposure to the latest global trends affecting the forest sector, and come away with new concepts, approaches or policies that are useful in addressing the challenges they are facing.
- Influence: It promotes the implementation of new practices and policies for strengthened forest governance and more efficient and resilient agencies. It enables leaders to be better informed and equipped for national and international negotiations.
- Impact: It reinforces leaders’ ability to anticipate emerging issues, as well as generate and disseminate lessons and best practices that can be used by other countries. It accelerates innovation and implementation of actions that support key policy objectives.
MegaFlorestais countries are Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, DR Congo, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Sweden and the USA. They collectively represent over 50% of the world’s forests.
Additional countries have taken part in activities of the MegaFlorestais network, including Australia, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Gabon, Guatemala, Kenya, Korea, Lao PDR, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Senegal, and South Sudan.
MegaFlorestais was created in 2005 by a small group of government forest agency leaders that met at a conference in Beijing, China, convened by Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the State Forestry Administration (SFA) of China and the Chinese Center for Agriculture Policy (CCAP) to discuss public forest tenure reform. These leaders from Brazil, China, Mexico, and the US reflected on the few opportunities they had to discuss the real issues facing forests in their respective countries, problems like climate change and the requisite forest fires and forest health concerns; volatile forest products markets and their impact on forest management; deforestation and conversion of forest land from multiple pressures; demand for forest land for uses other than forestry; and the decline in support for forest agencies within their own governments. Forest leaders saw great value in meeting, sharing ideas, discussing challenges, and learning from one another in an informal, honest and safe environment, one not dictated by politics or political correctness, placed under the Chatham House rules. Since 2006, the group has been expanding and meeting annually, and other activities have been developed.
The Rights and Resources Initiative acts as the Secretariat of the MegaFlorestais network and works closely with the two MegaFlorestais Co-Chairs who are involved in the leadership of the network and key decisions. Current Co-Chairs are Glenn Mason, the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, and Sally Collins, former Associate Chief of the US Forest Service and former Director of the US Department of Agriculture Office of Environmental Markets.
Former co-chairs have been Tasso Azevedo, former Director General of the Brazilian Forest Service and current senior advisor in Brazil’s Ministry of Environment (2006-2013), Tom Rosser, former Assistant Deputy Minister of the Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada (2013-2014), and Antonio Carlos Hummel, former Director General of the Brazilian Forest Service (2013).
Read the biographies of current and previous MegaFlorestais co-chairs here.
The MegaFlorestais Network is supported by the Rights and Resources Initiative with contributions from the members of the network. The US Forest Service and the European Forestry Institute are also supporters of MegaFlorestais.
“MegaFlorestais provides me with a unique opportunity to talk to outstanding professionals who are involved with work that is extremely relevant to the Brazilian Forest Service.”
– Luiz Carlos Joels, Former Director, Brazilian Forest Service
“MegaFlorestais has played an important role in accelerating learning and innovation among public forest agency leaders for more than a decade. Our agencies have strengthened our approaches to climate change, tenure reform, and economic development. As the world faces the many challenges climate change brings to our forests and our countries, our need to share ideas and advance understanding is more critical and urgent than ever.”
– Statement of the MegaFlorestais Leaders at the 2016 Annual Meeting