Seeing the Forest for the Trees: An Evaluation of USAID/Indonesia’s Forest Resource Sustainability Program (FOREST)
USAID’s Forest Resource Sustainability Program (FOREST) aims to improve the protection and sustainable use of Indonesia’s forest ecosystems. This mid-term evaluation covers not only this 5-year program, but its implementing mechanism - USAID/Indonesia Forest and Climate Support (IFACS).
Through improved forest protections and sustainable management of forest resources, FOREST aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation and increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. It offers technical assistance focused on land and forest resource governance reform; improved management and conservation of forest resources; private sector sustainability; and integrated climate change responses.
The evaluation found that FOREST’s performance has been weak. Factors from topography to political economy have influenced it to the extent that it has not achieved intended results. It also has not used landscape approaches effectively. The program is making inroads with the private sector, however, and is supporting community livelihoods.
IFACS itself continues to face challenges but is making slow progress. District-level engagement over land governance and planning is achieving results, but the report said that IFACS struggles with a lack of leadership, a vast mandate implemented by a small staff, and other constraints. The evaluation issued recommendations for FOREST and IFACS to improve performance.