National Forest Programmes in a European Context : Findings from COST Action E19
Heiner Schanz ,
Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Received 2 July 2002. Revised 12 September 2002. Accepted 16 September 2002. Available online 20 November 2002.
Given the urgent need for all countries ‘to develop national forest programmes in accordance with their respective national conditions, objectives and priorities’ as endorsed by the 19th Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UN-GASS) in June 1997, efforts have been taken across Europe to formulate and to implement national and regional frameworks. Beside all the controversial interpretations and vague descriptions of national forest programmes (NFPs), there seems also to be a notably widespread agreement on certain characteristics of NFPs: the first widely agreed characteristic is the procedural nature of NFPs, the second relates to the focus on policy planning. Nonetheless, two major different viewpoints can be said to exist regarding the results of such policy planning efforts: in the first line of thinking the provision of a policy plan and its implementation stands central; in the second line of thinking the establishment of the planning process itself stands central. It is argued that these differences can be deducted according to different assumed rationalities about the implementation process, namely that of an instrumental rationality and that of a communicative rationality. A cross-comparative system reveals that the instrumental rationality is predominant in the approaches to NFPs in Europe. Given the shortcomings of an instrumental rationality in political reality, the paper concludes with hints on the possible alternative design of NFPs as discursive institutions.
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