The forest landscapes of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are changing dramatically, with a multitude of impacts from local to global levels. These changes invariably have their foundations in forest governance. The aim of this paper is to assess perceptions of key stakeholders regarding the state of forest governance in the countries of the GMS. The work is based on a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the perceptions of forest governance in the five GMS countries, involving 762 representatives from government, civil society, news media, and rural communities. The work identified many challenges to good forest governance in the countries in the region, as well as noting reasons for optimism. Generally speaking, there was a feeling that the policies, legislation, and institutional frameworks were supportive, but there are numerous challenges in terms of implementation, enforcement, and compliance. The work also presents a program of activities recommended by the research participants to address governance challenges and opportunities in the GMS countries. These include the development of a forest governance monitoring system, and initiatives that support informed decision-making by forest product consumers in the region as well as the implementation of a capacity development program for non-state actors (e.g., civil society, news media) to ensure they are more able to support the diverse, and often demanding, forest governance initiatives.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited