Thinking beyond the canopy

CIFOR's Mission and Aspirations

The strategy process resulted in the following articulation of CIFOR’s mission, including its purpose, values, aspirations and vision.

CIFOR's purpose

CIFOR advances human well-being, environmental conservation, and equity by conducting research to inform policies and practices that affect forests in developing countries..

CIFOR's values

The following values and associated behaviours will guide those who work at CIFOR:

Commitment to impact

  • Our research is driven by a commitment to eradicating poverty and protecting the environment.


  • We adhere to the highest scientific and ethical standards, and are transparent in our methods and honest in our results.
  • We demonstrate accountability to our colleagues and partners.
  • We respect organisational policies and procedures, and implement them consistently in a fair and transparent manner.
  • We honour individual contributions and dedication to the highest standards of achievement.

Innovation and critical thinking

  • We encourage innovative, creative and risk-taking solutions through credible and responsible scientific inquiry.
  • We work with enthusiasm and maintain eagerness to learn and to think critically.

Respect and collaboration

  • We acknowledge and respect diversity in terms of race, gender, culture, religion and different needs regarding work/family balance.
  • We promote equity, empowerment, independence of thought and open participation.
  • We treat colleagues and partners with trust, respect, fairness, integrity and sharing of credit.

CIFOR’s aspirations

Three topic-specific aspirations, to be progressively attained over the life of the strategy, are as follows:

  • CIFOR will become a leading source of information and analysis on the relationships among forests, poverty and the environment, and how management and governance arrangements affect livelihood and conservation outcomes.
  • CIFOR will become a leading source of information and analysis on how to harness forests for climate-change mitigation and adaptation.
  • CIFOR will become a leading source of information and analysis on the impacts of globalised trade and investment on forests and forest-dependent communities.

In addition, CIFOR has a fourth aspiration, related to CIFOR’s commitment to examining the equity dimensions of forest-related policies and practices, and CIFOR’s unique ‘voice’:

  • CIFOR’s research will become known for analysing and communicating issues in ways that are reliably inclusive of the perspectives of less powerful stakeholders such as women, forest-dependent communities, and developing countries.

In order to achieve these aspirations, CIFOR will need to combine high quality research with investment in strategic outreach, including keeping abreast of and offering connections to the work of other organisations working in these areas.

CIFOR’s vision

CIFOR’s vision is of a world in which forests remain high on the world’s political agenda, and people recognise the real value of forests for maintaining livelihoods and ecosystems services. In CIFOR’s vision, decision-making that affects forests is based on solid science and principles of good governance, and reflects the perspectives of developing countries and forest-dependent people.