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OIGF and Ministry of Climate Change
Forestry governance in the Indo Pak sub-continent has a long history. Sir Dietrich Brandis was appointed as the first Inspector General of Forests (IGF) in pre-partition British India in 1864 (Khattak, 1976). An important objective for creation of forest services by the British rulers was to manage forests for continued provision of large-sized timber for railways and other public works, and fuel for railways and river steamers. For this purpose, the forests were taken under the government control,
After independence, the Office of the IGF (OIGF) was attached with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Later, the OIGF was transferred to the Ministry of Environment (MOE) as its technical wing. After abolition of MOE, a new ministry with the name of Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) was created at federal level and OIGF was placed under it. The OIGF has 10 sanctioned staff positions (Table 6). However, currently the post of IGF, one post of each DIGF, AIGF, Conservator Wildlife, and Deputy Conservator Wildlife are lying vacant.
Table 6: Sanctioned staff positions in Office of the IGF
Mandate of OIGF
The OIGF is a lead federal office to coordinate forestry affairs in the country and deal with relevant multilateral agreements. In accordance with the Rules of Business (Amended) on 16th August 2012, the OIGF is mandated to formulate national policies on forestry, wildlife,
biodiversity, and develop strategies and plans, and to facilitate inter-provincial and inter-ministerial coordination on different forestry matters.
The role of OIGF is to support sub-national forest entities for meeting international obligations under the conventions and agreements through national-level actions with close cooperation of all provinces and AJK regarding sustainable development of forests, climate change mitigation,
biodiversity, wildlife conservation and CITES related trade regulation, and to combat desertification. The OIGF also serves as National Focal Point for REDD+ related planning and capacity building processes.
The MoCC through the OIGF is pursuing to enhance the financial portfolio of sub-national forestry departments and allied institutions, so that they improve their capacity to meet emerging challenges to the sector, such as climate change, loss of forest biodiversity, transition from traditional forestry management to sustainable resource management at landscape and ecosystem level. The OIGF also facilitates sub national partners in the following:
a) Ensure sufficient PSDP allocation for sub-national forest departments through
development projects (e.g., Ten Billion Trees Tsunami Programme).
b) Mobilize international funds from multilateral and bilateral sources (e.g., GEF funded
c) Facilitate results-based payments under REDD+ (e.g., World Bank funded REDD+
The OIGF also helps explore new financial avenues for fund access from international and national donors to help in closing the gap in available finances for forestry and biodiversity conservation. In addition, OIGF is also facilitating sub-national forestry staff in capacity building through participation in regional and international meetings, training sessions and exposure visits to enhance their technical capabilities and to equip them to meet international obligations and emerging challenges and opportunities in the forestry sector.
One serious issue is absence of a national forest monitoring mechanism. Uniform standards for forest monitoring and reputed institutions to improve monitoring skills of sub-national entities in line with best international practices were missing. To meet these challenges a national forest monitoring system and harmonized standards for forest monitoring have been established under the REDD+ project. The forestry departments have been trained and equipped through provision of forest monitoring equipment including remote sensing drones for real time forest monitoring.
The OIGF acts as National REDD+ Focal Point and leads international negotiations on the subject as national entity. The MoCC has established a National REDD+ Office, National Steering Committee on REDD+ to coordinate REDD+ implementation. The MoCC puts emphasis on a broad-based consultative and participatory process in view of international best practices at different levels.
Feedback on the role of OIGF on REDD+ implementation in Pakistan in the provinces was generally positive. Sindh recognized OIGF’s contribution as good, while Punjab identified lacking leadership, Balochistan suggested improvement to ensure better flow of information between the province and the OIGF. Communication between federal and sub-national forest entities on negotiations for REDD+ and other international obligations was not considered optimal. AJK, KP and GB forest departments termed communication to be reasonably good but stressed the need for further improvement especially on taking the provincial departments on board before making international agreements. Sindh and Punjab expressed the need for more transparent communication whereas Balochistan suggested direct negotiation with international actors interested in investing on REDD+ in the province.
National institutions have been established at different levels for REDD+ implementation including legislative planning, national direction and policy formulation, national coordination and international reporting, management and technical oversight (Box 4).
Box 4: Organogram of the National REDD+ Institutions and Decision-Making Bodies
Institutional mechanism for implementation of REDD+ activities has been established in all the sub national units (Table 7). These mechanisms however are being supported through funding of projects rather than being a permanent structure.
Table 7: Analysis of existing Arrangements to Implement REDD+ Activities in Pakistan
Federal Forestry Board
The federal government had constituted the Central Forestry Board in 1974 for coordinating provincial and federal institutions. The Board however, never performed actively and met only twice in 44 years. With changing national and international scenarios and needs the Board was reactivated in 2018 with new composition and fresh mandate to review and guide forestry sector progress and emerging challenges. In year 2000, the board was renamed as the Federal Forestry Board (FEB). The Board has multi-sectoral membership comprising federal line ministries including MoCC.
2.6.2 Forestry Administration at Sub-national Level
Sub-national Forest Departments manage forests under different tenurial arrangements and
exercise legal authority in their respective areas. The administrative chain of hierarchy of subnational level departments is given in Figure 1.
In general, the technical forest governance system at provincial levels works under the supervision of Chief Conservator of Forests (CCFs). The planning and monitoring sections along with Conservator of Forests (CFs) directly report to the CCF. The CFs head the respective Working Circles and is responsible for implementation of operational policies. They are supported by technical staff comprised of Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs), Range Forest Officers (RFOs), Foresters/ Forest Rangers and Forest Guards.
Interestingly, the hierarchy has not changed much over the last 70 years except horizontal expansion which resulted in appointment of more than one CCFs as opposed to one CCF in five provinces in the past, as technical head of the provincial forest departments. One of the CCFs is placed as Principal CCF and the rest head allied sub departments. In GB the post of CF as head of forest department has been elevated to CCF resulting in appointment of 4 CFs in addition to Directors of National Parks. In all the sub-national entities, Secretary of Forest is administrative head the forest departments.
In KP only, a major change took place in 2002 when the new Forest Ordinance (which replaced Forest Act 1927) resulted in changing the liner structure to matrix structure. As a result, in addition to the territorial hierarchical set up (CCF-CFs-DFOs), Integrated Specialized Units (ISUs) headed by Directors (Conservators appointed as Director of ISUs) were created. The ISUs included Directorates of (i) Human Resource Development (HRD), (ii) Community
Development, Extension, Gender and Development (CDEGAD) (iii) Non-Timber Forest Products and Research (NTFPR), and (iv) Forest Management / Monitoring Centre (FMC). Despite a matrix management system, there seems a disconnect between the CDEGAD and the territorial staff. In Punjab a Forest Extension Wing has been created recently, headed by CCF Extension and Research. The other staff in the hierarchy is three CFs (Extension), eight DFO’s (Ext.) and a SDFO for each district working as extension officer.
The Forest Departments of sub-national entities mainly function in relation to the state-controlled forestlands. They are neither mandated nor have the capacity to support forest management outside their domain. Besides, they have limitations in effective sustainable management and law
enforcement due to shortage of manpower and political pressures. Interestingly the scope for increase in tree cover to meet the growing demand for wood rests mainly with private lands particularly on farmlands/ agroforestry or on arid lands in addition to supplies from the state-controlled lands. The broadening of the geographical scope of work of provincial forest departments will need a legal framework, policies, organizational development, additional human and financial resources and developing social and technical knowledge to deal with the communities and managing forests on lands outside the government owned forests.