National forest programme (NFP) as a new forest policy tool, was launched in the Rio Summit in 1992. It emphasizes participation, delegation and inter-sectoral coordination. The adaptation of these principles in the forest policy in Finland, Norway and Sweden are discussed in this paper. The stage of the NFP process in each of them is very different in spite of the common structural features in the political culture. Separate policy actions related to the identification of sustainable forest management were arranged in Finland (forest specific environmental program in 1994) and in Norway (Living Forests Program in 1998) whereas in Sweden a specific process has not been identifiable prior to Environmental Code 1999 and Quality Criteria. The compulsory process towards regional forest programs in Finland promoted delegation and regional participation. No NFP-specific revisions in delegation has been named in Norway or Sweden. The Finnish government had as incentive to start a participatory political process towards NFP in order to maintain and even increase public subsidies to timber management investments, whereas Norway and Sweden had already abandoned such subsidies.