Roadmap to impact for FLEGT

The mere words ‘theory of change workshop’ can strike dread in the hearts of the most fearless development practitioners, inspiring visions of convoluted flowcharts and endless discussions. Yet a solid theory of change (ToC) now exists for the European Union action plan on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT), and it’s proving to be a powerful tool for FLEGT stakeholders.

An ongoing collaboration between the European Commission and CIFOR led to adoption of the ToC, aimed at improving FLEGT impact monitoring and strengthening management capacity for its delivery. Ongoing work with the EU, Member States and key stakeholders will also allow mapping of the potential impacts of specific policy decisions and, it is hoped, steer decisions when needed.

Small-scale Indonesian furniture goes global

Indonesia’s timber legality assurance system (SVLK) was the first in the world to be approved for licensing and related legality verification under FLEGT, which allows legal timber to smoothly enter Europe’s markets. Although many small-scale furniture makers lack the capacity to obtain legality verification on their own, they are eligible for group verification and subsidies. Building on over a decade of work with the Small-scale Furniture Producer Association of Jepara, CIFOR is helping producer groups in Central and East Java obtain what they need to get legality verification.

Essentially, a theory of change forces you to be explicit about how you think you’ll get where you want to go in the long term. This can be challenging for today’s policy makers, but when it’s co-developed and understood, it can speed up pathways to expected impacts.

Paolo Cerutti

CIFOR Senior Scientist

Project info


FLEGT license to leverage the capacity of small and medium scale furniture enterprises in Indonesia to access global markets



Funding partners

Jepara Small-scale Furniture Association (APKJ) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

CIFOR focal point

Herry Purnomo , CIFOR Scientist

Forests in a
time of crises


In 2019, the world witnessed some of our greatest challenges shift gears from urgent to emergency – from climate crisis to landscape degradation to the wildfires that devastated ecosystems across several continents. But it also saw momentum build with the announcement of the UN Decade of Ecological Restoration, a focus on nature-based solutions, and the recognition of local forest communities and Indigenous Peoples are the best land managers for forest conservation.

Another exciting development – the merger of CIFOR and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) – set the stage for more evidence and solutions that will improve people’s lives, help to conserve and restore the ecosystems that support people and nature, and respond to the global climate crisis.

Our scientists advanced critical knowledge on forest landscape restoration, wild foods and timber legality in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and peatland fires, biofuel, oil palm and wetland ‘blue carbon’ in Indonesia – with clear policy impacts in Southeast Asia from 10 years of social forestry research and engagement. Our ongoing Global Comparative Studies – GCS REDD+ and GCS Tenure – continued to bring science to policy makers across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Gender researchers looked deep into a myriad of topics, and we mourned the loss of principal scientist and Nairobi hub leader Esther Mwangi, whose legacy of achievements in gender and land rights won’t be soon forgotten. Finally the Global Landscapes Forum brought even more people together, both at events from Accra to Luxembourg as well as through exciting new digital innovations.