How To Use

Thank you for visiting ForestDefender.  The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) has created this webtool to provide you with a database that captures internationally-protected rights related to forest governance in a format that is easily accessible and useable.  This tool presents a wide array of information in a “one-stop, go-to place” format, where users can search and find the most pertinent information on international rights and obligations.  

  1. What if I do not know where to begin?
  2. What are the different ways of searching on this website?
  3. How can I find out which international legal instruments apply to a specific country?
  4. How can I find information about specific legal obligations for a specific country?
  5. Can I print my search results?
  6. How can I submit a comment, correction or new information?
  7. Helpful tips by page

1. What if I do not know where to begin?

If you do not know where to begin your search, we are pleased that you found this User Guide in the “How To Use” Section of ForestDefender.  First, please review the “What are the different ways of searching on this website?” section immediately below and our demo video.  Then, we also recommend considering the following:

1) If you represent a specific country and you are curious about any relevant rights, we recommend that you “Search by Country.”

2) If you already know that you are interested in the rights related to a specific international legal instrument, you will be best served by using the “Search by Instrument.”  In addition, if you have heard about a particular instrument, such as ILO 169, and want to learn more about it- the history, which countries have signed on, and what rights are included, use the “Search by Instrument.”

3) If you are concerned about a specific right, such as “Access to information,” and you would like to know which instruments might be relevant we suggest that you use the “Custom Search.”

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2. What are the different ways of searching on this website?

ForestDefender allows you to search for the information you need by doing a guided search or a custom search.  If you choose the guided search option, you have the ability to search by country and region or by legal instrument.  If you choose to do a custom search, you can build a number of filters into your search to give you more tailored results.  However you choose to search, you will be directed to a results page that not only offers listed results, but also provides you with tips for using the tool, a legend explaining any icons used on the specific page, and a disclaimer.  You will also have the option of printing your results, emailing them to yourself and/or others, as well as sharing them with your networks.

Guided Search: By Country:  If you choose to “Search by Country,” you choose which country you are interested in from a drop-down menu.  If you are interested in instruments that generally apply at a regional level, you may want to search by region, which you can do from this page. (Note: If you want specific information about instruments/rights that apply in two or more countries, you should use the custom search.) When you click on a country, you will be led to a page where you are provided with a quick summary of country-specific information related to REDD+ finance and the different REDD+ initiatives it is participating in.  For example, a country may participate in more than one REDD+ initiative, including the FCPF, UN-REDD, and FIP, among others.  You will also see information about which international legal instruments are applicable in some way to that country and a list of key terms and rights. (Note that if you do a regional search, your results will only include regional instruments.)

Guided Search: By Instrument:  Alternatively, if you are interested in a particular legal instrument, you should use the “Search by Instrument” option.  Here, instruments are grouped by global, regional and bilateral instruments.  For each instrument, you are provided with a summary of the instrument.  There are also links to the full text as well as the official website of the instrument where users can find additional information, including country voting breakdowns and signatories.  Each legal instrument is also broken down into three additional categories: 1) treaties, 2) declarations, and 3) decisions.  These distinctions are identified by an icon explained in the legend on the instruments page. 

The instrument page clearly states in the upper right-hand corner when the instrument was adopted and if/when it entered into force.  It also provides you a link to explore further whether countries have expressed any  “reservations” or "declarations" in connection with the instrument and whether there are any specific protocols adopted within the framework of that instrument.  You can find basic information about related grievance mechanisms, providing insight into whether there are clear avenues for raising concerns.  You will also be provided with information about the specific rights that the instrument implicates as well as the countries within this database to which that instrument applies (see explanation of this relationship below). 

Custom Search:  The Custom Search page allows you to decide how to filter the information you want.  You can choose a country, a region, an instrument, key term or right, or even a simple word or phrase.  You also have the option of choosing multiple countries, instruments, or key terms for even more targeted queries.  Note that when you choose multiples of any field, the search will only generate results that apply to all of the items in each field.  The results will be presented as a summary of results.  Each result will be clearly identified by an icon as to what type of instrument it is and the articles and text within the instrument that are relevant.  Do not forget to look through all of the pages on your search results!  There is a scroll button at the top of the results page.

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3. How can I find out which international legal instruments apply to a specific country?

If you choose the “Search by Country” search option, one of the many useful pieces of information you will receive is a list of the relevant international legal instruments that the chosen country is a Party to or may apply.  For more information, see the detailed explanation of “What are the different ways of searching on this website?” above.

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4. How can I find information about specific legal obligations for a specific country?

Similar to discovering which international legal instruments apply to a specific country (see above), if you choose the “Search by Country” search option, you will get a list of all of the relevant key terms and rights as well as the international legal instruments that are applicable in some way to your chosen country.  For more information, see the detailed explanation of “What are the different ways of searching on this website?” above.

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5. Can I print my search results?

Yes!  Every page of the website is printable.  Simply click the red "print" button on the top right of the search pages.  However, please consider the environment before printing all of your research.  Instead of printing, you may want to consider emailing your results, using the blue "email" button to the left of the print button, or sharing your results using the green "share" button to the right of the print button.

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6. How can I submit a comment, correction or new information?

ForestDefender is managed by CIEL.  If you wish to submit a comment, correction or new information, please contact us through the feedback button found at the bottom center of each page.    We are committed to keeping this webtool as up-to-date and accurate as possible.

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7. Helpful tips by page

The Main Country Page:

You can find information here related to all of the applicable international instruments that your country has signed onto as well as the relevant key terms and rights that relate!

The Individual Country Page

If you click on any of the applicable instruments listed in the left hand box, you will be directed to that instrument’s individual page where you can find information about other countries who are party to this instrument as well as other useful details.

The Region Page

If a country in your chosen region has signed on to a specific instrument, you will find it listed here.

The Main Instruments Page:

You can learn a lot about a specific instrument, including a general summary, its type and category, and a there is a list of the ratifying countries and relevant rights.

An Individual Instruments Page

Don’t forget that the icons help to inform you of the type of instrument you are looking at!

You can find which countries are parties to this particular instrument by looking at the box at the bottom right-side of the page.

The Search Page:

You can filter your search by country, region, instrument, key term or right, or even a keyword or phrase.

Your generated results are listed by the relevant instrument and the appropriate article number.  If an instrument relates to your search in more than one article, the instrument will be listed multiple times but with the different article numbers.

The Accountability Page:

Here, the information is categorized by treaties and institutions, with an explanation of which accountability mechanism(s) apply.  

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