The Country-Led Initiative (CLI) in support of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) met from 17 to 20 November 2009 in Guilin, China, focusing on forests for people and the role of national forest programmes (NFPs) and the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (NLBI). One hundred and fifty participants representing governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations gathered to share experiences and lessons learned in the use of NFPs to achieve sustainable forest management (SFM) and as a means to implement the NLBI. The meeting was organized by the Government of China in collaboration with Austria, Finland, Germany, and the United States of America. The Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the NFP Facility, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) provided technical support.
Participants convened in plenary and working group sessions and made recommendations for concrete action.
A Co-Chairs’ summary report was prepared for submission to the UNFF to be considered at its ninth session in New York from 24 January to 4 February 2011. The report includes conclusions and recommendations of a general nature and on: policy, legal and institutional frameworks; sustainable production of goods and services; national arrangements to mobilize finance; and capacity building and participatory approaches.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFF AND OF NATIONAL FOREST PROGRAMMES
The UNFF was established in 2000, following a five-year period of forest policy dialogue facilitated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF). In October 2000, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in its resolution E/2000/35 established the UNFF as a subsidiary body, with the main objective of promoting the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.
To achieve its main objective, the UNFF’s principal functions were identified as to: facilitate implementation of forest-related agreements and foster a common understanding on SFM; provide for continued policy development and dialogue among governments, international organizations, and major groups, as identified in Agenda 21, as well as to address forest issues and emerging areas of concern in a holistic, comprehensive and integrated manner; enhance cooperation as well as policy and programme coordination on forest-related issues; foster international cooperation and monitor, assess and report on progress; and strengthen political commitment to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.
The IPF/IFF processes produced more than 270 proposals for action towards SFM, and form the basis for the UNFF Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW) and Plan of Action, which underlie sessional work of the UNFF. Country- and organization-led initiatives have also contributed to UNFF’s work.
UNFF 1: UNFF 1 took place from 11-23 June 2001, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates discussed and adopted decisions on UNFF’s MYPOW, a Plan of Action for the implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action, and UNFF’s work with the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). Delegates also recommended establishing three ad hoc expert groups to provide technical advice to UNFF on: approaches and mechanisms for monitoring, assessment and reporting (MAR); finance and transfer of environmentally sound technologies; and consideration with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests.
UNFF 2: UNFF 2 took place from 4-15 March 2002, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates adopted a Ministerial Declaration and Message to the World Summit on Sustainable Development and two decisions and eight resolutions on: combating deforestation and forest degradation; forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems; rehabilitation and conservation strategies for countries with low forest cover; the promotion of natural and planted forests; specific criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests (IAF); and proposed revisions to the medium-term plan for 2002-2005.
UNFF 3: UNFF 3 met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 26 May - 6 June 2003. UNFF 3 adopted six resolutions on: enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination; forest health and productivity; economic aspects of forests; maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs; the UNFF Trust Fund; and strengthening the UNFF Secretariat. Terms of reference were adopted for the voluntary reporting format, and three ad hoc expert groups designed to consider: MAR; finance and transfer of technologies; and consideration with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests.
UNFF 4: UNFF 4 convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 3-14 May 2004. UNFF 4 adopted five resolutions on: forest-related scientific knowledge; social and cultural aspects of forests; MAR and criteria and indicators; review of the effectiveness of the IAF; and finance and transfer of environmentally sound technologies. UNFF 4 did not reach agreement on resolutions on traditional forest-related knowledge and enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination.
UNFF 5: UNFF 5 took place from 16-27 May 2005, at UN headquarters in New York, with the goal of reviewing the effectiveness of the IAF. However, participants were unable to reach agreement on strengthening the IAF and produced neither a ministerial statement nor a negotiated outcome. They did agree, ad referendum, to four global goals on forests to forward to UNFF 6.
UNFF 6: UNFF 6 took place from 13-24 February 2006, at UN headquarters in New York. Negotiators reached agreement on how to proceed with reconstituting the IAF. Delegates agreed on a text, later adopted by ECOSOC, containing new language on the function of the IAF, a commitment to convene UNFF biennially after 2007, and a request that UNFF 7 adopt a non-legally binding agreement on all types of forests. UNFF 6 also set four global objectives on forests: reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide through SFM, including protection, restoration, afforestation and reforestation; enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits and the contribution of forests to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals; increase significantly the area of protected forests worldwide and other areas of sustainably managed forests; and reverse the decline in official development assistance for SFM and mobilize significantly increased new and additional financial resources from all sources for the implementation of SFM.
UNFF 7: UNFF 7 was held from 16-27 April 2007, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates adopted the Non-legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (NLBI) and the MYPOW for the period 2007-2015. Delegates also participated in two multi-stakeholder dialogues, a panel discussion with member organizations of the CPF, and the launching of preparations for the International Year of Forests 2011. Delegates agreed that a “voluntary global financial mechanism/portfolio approach/forest financing framework for all types of forests” would be developed and considered, with a view to its adoption at UNFF 8.
UNFF 8: UNFF 8 was held from 20 April - 1 May 2009, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates adopted a resolution on forests in a changing environment, enhanced cooperation and cross-sectoral policy and programme coordination, and regional and subregional inputs. Delegates did not agree on a decision on financing for SFM, and decided to forward bracketed negotiating text to the Forum’s next session.
At a UNFF special session at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday, 30 October 2009, delegates reached a decision on the need for urgent global action to catalyze funding for SFM around the world. As immediate follow-up to this decision, UNFF will establish an intergovernmental process to conduct in-depth analysis of all aspects of forest financing over the next four years, and a “Facilitative Process” on forest financing, to assist countries to mobilize funding from all sources.
NATIONAL FOREST PROGRAMMES: National forest programmes (NFPs) refer to a wide range of approaches towards forest policy formulation, planning and implementation at the sub-national and national levels. They are built on the principles of country leadership, broad participation, integration with national development strategies, and collaboration across sectors.
The NFP concept was developed by the international policy dialogue on forests, subsequent to the adoption of Agenda 21 and the Forest Principles in 1992, as a flexible and dynamic instrument widely applicable in all countries and all types of forests. The concept was endorsed at the fourth session of the IPF in 1997. IFF reconfirmed it as the key framework for a comprehensive and multisectoral implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action. NFPs are considered to be a key component of the IAF, and an important tool in the implementation of the NLBI.
The World Bank’s Program on Forests (PROFOR) and the NFP Facility, hosted by FAO, provide support to NFP implementation and concept developments.
REPORT OF THE COUNTRY-LED INITIATIVE
The Country-Led Initiative by the People’s Republic of China in support of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) convened from 17 - 20 November 2009 in Guilin, China, with plenary co-chaired by Qu Guilin, China, and IngwaldGschwandtl, Austria. After the opening ceremony on Tuesday, and throughout the week, participants convened in plenary sessions and in three working groups. Special addresses were delivered on Wednesday morning by Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary General, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Felix Finkbeiner, Plant for the Planet Initiative; and Wei Wei, environmental activist and famous Chinese singer. Participants also took part in two field trips during which they had the opportunity to appreciate the natural and cultural splendor of the Guilin region. On Friday, participants agreed to a draft Co-Chairs’ summary report containing the meeting conclusions and recommendations.
The following summarizes the plenary sessions and the working group sessions, as well as the Co-Chairs’ summary report.
On Tuesday morning, Qu Guilin, Director General of the State Forestry Administration, China, opened the meeting and welcomed the opportunity to share national case studies of sustainable forest management (SFM). Yin Hong, Vice Minister, State Forestry Administration, China, urged participants to reach a consensus during the meeting. Ingwald Gschwandtl, Director, Forest Policy and Forest Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Austria stressed that this meeting should provide clear guidance for UNFF 9 and other relevant meetings. Richard Lammel, German Ministry of Food Agriculture and Consumer Protection, urged participants to discover ways to take advantage of the NLBI and on how NFPs and other strategies can support NLBI implementation.
Heikki Granholm, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland, said NFPs are useful frameworks for financing and implementing other SFM instruments. Catherine Karr-Colque, Department of State, US, reaffirmed that people are central to the NLBI, and that NFPs should be based on stakeholder values and needs. Jerker Thunberg, NFP Facility, stressed multi-stakeholder involvement in SFM and the need for practical outcomes from this meeting. Li Mingqi, Deputy Director, Forestry Administration, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, said traditional forest knowledge and modern practices have contributed to rural development. Huang Junhua, Vice-Mayor of Guilin, recalled his municipality’s achievements in forestry. Jan McAlpine, Director, UNFF Secretariat, recalled UNFF’s recent agreement on a process to advance forest financing and hoped this meeting would help shape discussions at UNFF 9 on forests for people.
SETTING THE STAGE: On Tuesday morning, participants heard presentations to set the stage for group discussion on: forests for people in the context of UNFF; global and regional activities contributing to the implementation of NFPs and the NLBI; and on national forest programmes as a tool for stakeholder participation.
Mahendra Joshi, UNFF Secretariat: recalled the history of the international forestry policy agenda and the internationally agreed global objectives on forests and noted that one of UNFF’s principle functions is to enhance the contribution of forests to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals. He noted that the theme of UNFF 9 will be “forests for people, livelihoods and poverty eradication”, and outlined recent developments on means of implementation of SFM. Joshi stressed that NFPs are the main policy tool for implementation of the NLBI.
Stephanie Caswell, consultant, noted that 42% of deforestation comes from shifting cultivation or small farming and local communities are expected to manage 30% of forests by 2015. She informed participants of six regional and six global initiatives which: enhance the linkages between forests and people; and demonstrate the need for a governance structure and a bottom-up approach that connects communities with decision makers. Caswell cautioned that some initiatives create competition rather than cooperation because they focus on the same countries and have the same partners. She also underscored that UNFF 9 should assess the accomplishments of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) regarding SFM.
Jerker Thunberg, NFP Facility, FAO, said that experiences in 75 countries show that NFPs have been successful in promoting stakeholder participation and country leadership in forest planning. He acknowledged that integration of forestry with other sectors is difficult, and that NFPs are not a recognized platform for broader negotiations, such as those related to climate change and trade issues, due to: a focus on productive over social aspects of forestry; lack of data on the importance of forests to livelihoods; perception of SFM as a technical issue; weak communication skills of foresters and competition from parallel processes. Thunberg indicated that there are aspects of NFPs that need to be improved, including: stakeholder involvement in monitoring and analysis; governance; and data on the values of forests to local people.
In the ensuing discussion, ITTO commented that although the concept of forest for people had been raised 30 years ago, little progress had been made, and should undergo further development. In response to a question on international cooperation, Caswell said that deforestation, desertification and climate change are closely linked and the international community should take coordinated action. She also added that the low number of initiatives in LFCCs is a major gap in SFM globally.
EXPERIENCES AND LESSONS LEARNED IN IMPLEMENTING THE NFP AND NLBI TO IMPROVE LIVELIHOODS AND ERADICATE POVERTY- FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF COUNTRIES: On Tuesday afternoon, four countries made presentations on their experiences with NFPs and the NLBI. Dai Guangcui, State Forestry Administration, China, presented on actions and progress to date in forestry management in China since 1949. Dai said forests now cover an area of 175 million hectares, and that stock volume has increased to 12.5 million cubic meters. She also noted that forest plantations now cover 53.25 million hectares in China, making up 40% of the world’s total. She reported that: land affected by desertification and sandification in China had declined annually by 7585 square kilometers and 1283 square kilometers respectively; and that achievements have also been made in protecting and restoring wetlands. Dai outlined four main elements in China’s Strategic Framework for Sustainable Forestry Development: promoting forest rehabilitation and sustainable management by implementing key national programmes; accelerating industrial forest development by promoting fast-growing and high-yield plantations; bioenergy, biomaterials, and non-timber forest products; strengthening prevention and preparedness systems for forest fires, pests and diseases; and enforcement of forest laws and regulations.
Ogden Rodas, National Forest Programme of Guatemala, said the main objectives of his country’s NFP are to: ensure stakeholder dialogue; promote private, public and community management; and establish frameworks for strategies and actions. He highlighted NFP achievements, including: establishment of regional dialogue and national partnerships through Forest Policy Roundtables; municipal forest management models, translation of forest law into Mayan language; development of a national forest financing strategy; diversification of products and markets for forest goods and services; development of strategies to reduce illegal activities; development of standards for SFM; and performance of sectoral and cross-sectoral studies.
Marja Kokkonen, Ministry of the Environment, Finland, presented on the economic, social and ecological importance of the NFP2015 in Finland. She said NFP2015 identifies priorities for “welfare from diverse forests,” and helps find solutions to other relevant policy areas such as climate change, energy usage, demographic changes, and globalization. Kokkonen said dialogue is strong between the thirteen regional programmes administered under the guidance of the NFP2015, which has already identified numerous lessons learned, including that actions are required in addition to strategies, and that the involvement of non-governmental stakeholders, including forest owners, industries, trade unions, environmental associations, and indigenous people, is a crucial component of any successful strategy.
David Kpelle, Forestry Commission, Ghana, shared constraints, challenges, and plans for implementing Ghana’s NFP and the NLBI. He reported that forestry employs over 200,000 people in Ghana and that logging occurs at approximately four times the allocated annual harvest quota. He said that since 1996, Ghana’s NFP has focused on reducing forest overexploitation through: protected area management; plantation incentives; legal reviews; competitive bidding; and local community empowerment. He said Ghana is successfully implementing the NFP by drawing on science and technology, stakeholder participation, and reviewed forestry law, and that the NFP can be further improved by: cross-sector coordination; law enforcement; financing strategies; and integration of NFP into the National Development Programme. Kpelle stressed that more assistance is needed to implement the NFP as a framework and NLBI as an assessment tool.
SPECIAL ADDRESSES: On Wednesday morning, Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary General, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, stressed that forests are critical and that their sustainable management can help reduce poverty. He hoped that this meeting would provide a significant set of outcomes to be considered at UNFF 9. Felix Finkbeiner, a German 12 year old representing the Plant for the Planet Student Initiative, informed participants that he and his followers are planting millions of trees in 56 countries. He urged countries to sign a global contract based on climate justice at UNFCCC COP15 in Copenhagen, emphasizing that this will decide the destiny of his generation. Wei Wei, famous Chinese singer and environmental activist, urged the planting of more trees for the benefit of future generations as well as the present.
IMPLEMENTING THE NFP AND NLBI TO IMPROVE LIVELIHOODS AND ERADICATE POVERTY – MAJOR GROUPS: On Wednesday morning, Abidah Bilah Setyowati, Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources, called for the inclusion of women as major partners in SFM. She called for the UNFF process to address women as distinctly separate beneficiaries of NFP implementation in rural communities, and to acknowledge the role of women in forest management planning and decision-making. Setyowati recommended that: access to land ownership and other resources should be granted without gender bias; female participation in climate change mitigation and adaptation should be enhanced; and involvement of women in local communities and organizations should be increased at all stages of forestry decision-making.
Hubertus Samangun, ICTI-TANIMBAR: called for consideration of human rights in SFM, and recommended that UNFF revise its processes to enhance participation of indigenous people. He recalled the intimate links indigenous people have with forests, and noted that remaining primary forests are often inhabited and managed by indigenous people. He called for the direct participation of indigenous people in the governance and decision-making structure of any financial mechanism considered by UNFF, and underscored that current carbon and biofuel financial schemes and future REDD schemes could have negative impacts on indigenous people.
Michael Watson, Institute of Cultural Affairs International, delivered a non-governmental perspective on forests for people. He said governments should recognize NGOs for their monitoring, implementation and evaluation capabilities. He lamented that: many countries have not developed NFPs; NGO involvement in national forest processes is weak; that implementation of the NLBI is not currently evaluated; and that decision-making under NFPs is not transparent. Watson also urged participants to recognize the skills of NGOs to assist NFP implementation and evaluation; and hoped that the lack of financing for meaningful NFP implementation will be alleviated by the recent UNFF agreement on a process to advance forest financing.
Peter de Marsh, International Family Forest Alliance, emphasized that family and community forestry enterprises represent one billion people and one quarter of global forests. He highlighted the need to move forestry up the list of political priorities and that associations are a source of advice as well as criticism. He acknowledged the contribution of Elinor Ostrom, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009, for her outstanding work on Amazon forest management. He also commended the significant reversal of deforestation through increased family forest ownership in Nepal and Sweden.
Yasemin Öztürk, International Forestry Students’ Association, urged participants to create a sustainable future for youth and children. She highlighted the importance of: youth participation in the implementation of NFPs and the NLBI; and youth and children education. She emphasized the impacts of climate change, including increased deforestation, and recommended that meeting participants send a message to UNFCCC COP15 about the importance of SFM.
ACTION OF CPF MEMBERS TO SUPPORT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NFP AND NLBI, FOCUSING ON FORESTS FOR PEOPLE, LIVELIHOODS AND POVERTY ERADICATION: On Wednesday afternoon, Eva Müller, FAO, presented on FAO’s activities in support of forests for people and recalled the joint work of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), which consists of 14 international organizations with substantive forest programmes. She said FAO provides capacity building for stakeholder participation and conflict resolution, and support for small-scale enterprises. She recognized the low political visibility of the forestry sector and said that increasing this is one of FAO’s top priorities. She added that FAO is carrying out national and global assessments of the social and economic values and aspects of forests, with particular attention to land tenure and the role of forests in poverty reduction. She noted that the principles of the NLBI are not new and many countries are implementing them already. She concluded that: local communities’ participation in SFM is crucial; that they have shown they can manage forests better than governments, but require secure tenure and policy support; public sector institutions need to redefine their role and functions; and concerted efforts are required to assist greater understanding of NFPs as a platform for forest sector development.
Dirk Gaul, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), informed participants that the GEF programme on SFM started in 2007 and draws on resources from biodiversity, land degradation and climate change focal areas. Gaul added that the programme is fully country-driven, consistent with the resource allocation framework (RAF). He stressed that SFM contributes to addressing climate change mitigation, land degradation and loss of biodiversity, and urged countries to consider implementing more SFM projects. He added that GEF: would further increase country allocations to SFM during the fifth replenishment period (2010-2014); use an independent SFM strategy to support implementation of the NLBI, with an emphasis on climate change mitigation; and would consider proposing a larger allocation of funds for SFM. In response to questions from participants, Gaul clarified that: the RAF is based on a complex set of indicators; the national agency responsible for GEF in each country decides on distribution of funds within the focal areas: and that rehabilitation/restoration of degraded forest lands is not a current priority for GEF.
Takeichi Ishikawa, ITTO, expressed concern for the pressures on forest ecosystems stemming from climate change and biodiversity loss. He proposed that a ‘forest-centric’ approach be encouraged, where forests are protected and maintained by local people. Ishikawa informed participants that in 1991, the ITTO commenced tropical forest conservation projects in Malaysia and Indonesia and has since expanded this to include projects in eleven other countries covering nearly ten million hectares. He called for: further collaborative assistance between the private sector and government to meet forestry conservation challenges; a focus on improving the livelihoods of local communities through participation; and use of the ITTO Thematic Programme on Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Environmental Services in Tropical Forests (REDDES) as a way to consider not only climate issues but also biodiversity.
Liu Shirong, Chinese Academy of Forestry, spoke about the contribution of science to NFPs and presented the work of the International Union of Forest Research Organization (IUFRO) on the science-policy interface. He said that application of scientific knowledge in policy making is generally poor but also noted some recent examples of increased interaction between science and politics, such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He informed participants of IUFRO guidance documents and training for scientists and research organizations to assist them with planning and conducting research that is relevant to policy. He noted the role of scientists in NFPs, including: conducting accurate stakeholder analysis; assessing impacts of policies and participatory processes; and evaluating the outcomes of NFPs on the ground.
On Tuesday afternoon, participants split into four working groups based on themes relevant to the meeting. Plenary heard interim working group reports on the first and second day of the meeting, with a full report provided at the end of the third. Each group used their sessions together to: identify meeting expectations; share experiences, achievements and lessons learned; and develop recommendations for plenary discussion and consideration in the Co-Chairs’ summary report.
WORKING GROUP ON POLICY, LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS: Evy von Pfeil, GTZ, facilitated this group and rapporteur Matthias Schwoerer, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Germany, presented the group’s conclusions to plenary. The group recommended that forest policy and legal frameworks should, inter alia: support sustainable forest-based livelihoods, in particular for forest-dependant populations; take account of all forest values and dimensions that are of importance to local people; promote vertical and horizontal communication; secure fair rights over resources and responsibilities; be developed through transparent and participatory processes; provide timely and adequate information, including translation of documents into local languages; promote local small and medium forest-based enterprise; generate market information and access; periodically review forest-related policies; and build technical and managerial capacities in local communities to facilitate SFM.
On the institutional framework, the working group recommended concrete actions to facilitate cross-sector coordination, including: cultivating a common vision with clear, long-term institutional frameworks; generating political commitment at all levels; identifying mutual interests; involving all relevant sectors in policy design at an early stage; welcoming multi-level stakeholder participation; strengthening capacity to respond to new and emerging challenges such as conflict resolution; enforcing forest-related laws and regulations; establishing evaluative mechanisms; recognizing cultural practices; and sharing and disseminating relevant data.
WORKING GROUP ON SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION OF GOODS AND SERVICES: Chun Lai, FAO, facilitated group sessions while rapporteur Marilyn Headley, Forestry Department, Jamaica, reported the group’s conclusions to plenary. The group identified three broad themes: participation; incentives; and knowledge and capacity building.
The working group recommended that participation must: be based at the community level; recognize equal rights of all stakeholders; increase stakeholder awareness and understanding through training and education; empower local people; secure equal rights; build capacity; be complemented by advocacy of SFM, particularly through NGOs; strengthen compliance of enforcement policy and legislation; and use the media as a compliance and monitoring stakeholder.
The working group recommended that incentives for sustainable production of goods and services depend upon: secure long-term land tenure; positive subsidies; small enterprise investment; recognition of environmental benefits; removal of market barriers; technical assistance to small forest owners; and capacity building increased through improved access to markets, low interest loans, and payments for ecosystem services.
On building knowledge and capacity, the working group recommended that there should be a focus on research as the basis for decision-making, and appropriate information access, education and knowledge management. On concrete actions, the group recommended that, inter alia: policies and legislation be formulated to ensure tenure rights are diversified, well defined and defended; appropriate financial incentives and market access tools be provided to local foresters; stakeholders raise the profile of forestry; community information campaigns commence on SFM; associations and networks be formed at multiple levels that represent all stakeholder groups; and local communities and small producers be empowered to sustainably harvest forests, negotiate with other stakeholders, and comprehend market trends. The group recommended that NFPs be improved by: strengthening political will at all levels; aligning NFPs with national and political priorities; adequately funding the NFP development process; recognizing the importance of stakeholder participation; having more patience for implementation; and recognizing the need for dynamic review procedures. Based on experiences in Ghana, the working group found that the NLBI could be used to: identify priority focus areas; monitor the efficacy of the NFP; and build local community confidence in the NFP process.
In the discussion that ensued, participants recognized the need to: educate not only forestry professionals but traditional forestry workers; validate local knowledge; build connections between local ecological knowledge and academic technical knowledge; highlight that incentives should support both development and sustainability; clarify that NFPs can be integrated into local actions and actually implemented on the ground if they take into consideration local actions during their development; and acknowledge that not everybody can be empowered, but must instead empower themselves.
WORKING GROUP ON NATIONAL ARRANGEMENTS TO MOBILIZE FINANCE: This working group was facilitated by Bernd-Markus Liss, AGEG Consultants, Germany and the rapporteur in plenary was Oppon Sasu, Forestry Commission, Ghana. The overall conclusion was that countries could finance SFM with support from international cooperation, but that no single solution exists as the forest resources and self-financing potential of forest types differ significantly between countries.
The group found that: funding sources are available but not always easily accessible; NFPs can be a useful platform for SFM financing; political understanding of the role and value of forests is critical; governments have an important role in creating policy and legal enabling environment for investment; the full value of forests must be recognized; efforts to increase financing must be part of a comprehensive capacity development plan; and implementation of NLBI cannot start without international support in terms of capacities, technologies and funding.
The group recommended: mobilizing funds from all sources and use existing resources (e.g. revenues and taxes); using the NFP process for dialogue with financial institutions; identifying best practices for wider application; and devising a communication strategy that encompasses awareness campaigns, and innovative financial mechanisms. The group further recommended: revising policies and legal systems, including tenure issues; establishing transparent benefit sharing mechanisms; developing payment for environmental service (PES) as a high priority, including linkages with options arising from climate change discussions, and conducting cost-benefit analyses. The group also recommended that UNFF continue its work on financing SFM and come up with concrete solutions on means of implementation (including finance, knowledge, and technology transfer).
In the ensuing discussion, one delegate suggested that incentives should be in line with international agreements. He noted methodological difficulties associated with PES and stressed that options other than climate change-related financing should be considered. A panelist responded saying that in the absence of scientific methodologies, there are best practices in some countries with positive PES experiences.
Plenary also: suggested that the role of the government in mobilizing resources for research and education be reflected in the meeting outcomes; stressed the importance of international cooperation for developing countries; and recognized the need to highlight the differences between countries; recommended reviewing best practices for PES; noted existing programmes working on PES methodologies; recommended highlighting the contribution of the forestry sector to GNP to finance ministries; and noted the importance of cost-benefit analyses.
WORKING GROUP ON CAPACITY BUILDING AND PARTICIPATORY APPROACHES: The group’s discussions were facilitated by Rowena Soriaga, Asia Forest Network. Rapporteur Alisher Shukurov, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Uzbekistan, reported on conclusions and recommendations from the group in plenary. The conclusions included: NLBI can be used to check whether or not NFPs are addressing all the issues under the NLBI; NFPs need to be updated; redefinition of the role of the forest administration is needed; coordination among different organizations and intersectoral cooperation are needed for NFP and NLBI implementation; and there is a lack of forest monitoring and resource accounting.
The group recommended: adopting the NLBI at the national and local levels; ensuring the involvement of all stakeholders during the elaboration and reviewing of NFPs; creating synergy between NFPs, the NLBI and other national action programmes; and identifying suitable international mechanisms to facilitate the elaboration and review of NFPs to be coherent with the NLBI. The group further recommended: evaluating existing capacity prior to starting the NFP process; creating a platform or committee to collect and disseminate best practices; establishing technical advisory groups at all levels; improving “soft skills,” including communication, moderation, conflict management and negotiation; and providing capacity building to all levels of the government and public agencies.
The group also proposed that a message be sent to UNFF 9, including to: improve existing channels and endeavors of CPF members and others to help countries to set up NFPs; mainstream NFPs into government policies; recognize the tangible and intangible benefits of forests; and support the FAO-hosted NFP Facility to nurture the NFP process.
During the ensuing discussions, it was suggested to: add a recommendation on the relationship between capacity building and financing; and establish a system to track the success and effectiveness of NLBI and of NFPs at national and regional levels.
CO-CHAIRS’ SUMMARY REPORT
In a plenary session on Friday afternoon, Co-Chair Gschwandtl introduced the draft Co-Chairs’ summary report. He noted that it provides a summary of conclusions and recommendations from working groups and plenary discussions and is not intended as a consensus text. He also noted that the full name of the NLBI is provided at the beginning of the document but opted to use ‘Forest Instrument’ rather than an acronym in subsequent sections.
Participants suggested: adding that differences among countries must be recognized and that the linkages of forests to economic development must be stressed; making specific reference to indigenous people in the conclusions on policy, legal and institutional frameworks; renaming the NFP as a process instead of a programme; referring to “innovative traditional practices of environmental and sustainable use”; elaborating ‘local groups’ to list the demographics that it includes (e.g. women and indigenous people); recommending all relevant stakeholders monitor and evaluate their respective NFPs; the report should not simply refer to ‘tenure’ in relation to land; and it should recommend that new financial investments be provided in conjunction with capacity building to develop, negotiate and implement a robust plan to avoid exacerbating environmental costs or misappropriating funds.
FINAL TEXT:The Co-Chairs’ summary report lists conclusions and recommendations of the meeting. It recommendsthat policy and legal frameworks should, inter alia:
- promote horizontal and vertical communication;
- provide for secure rights, including rights over resources;
- ensure a transparent and participatory policy process and provide early and adequate information to stakeholders;
- support sustainable, forest-based livelihoods, in particular for forest-dependent populations;
- take into account the multiple values of forests;
- provide for periodic review of forest-related policies, NFPs and similar programmes, with a view to assessing impacts on local populations and responding to new challenges; and
- promote coordination of forest-related policies, strategies and programmes.
It further recommends that forestry institutions should, inter alia:
- establish feedback mechanisms on lessons learned;
- strengthen capacities for forest law enforcement;
- share and disseminate data and information; and
- foster cross-sectoral coordination by identifying mutual interests, establishing appropriate inter-agency mechanisms and involving relevant sectors early in policy design.
It recommends that sustainable production of goods and services should be promoted through, inter alia:
- policies and regulations to ensure tenure rights are diversified, well defined and defended;
- appropriate financial incentives, market-based instruments and access to markets;
- improved capacity of local populations to sustainably produce goods and services using community-based training, education networks and associations;
- increased understanding of the rights and responsibilities of community groups with regard to SFM;
- opportunities for key stakeholders (e.g. small producers) to learn about sustainable harvesting levels, negotiation skills, markets trends and access to market.
- local entrepreneurship and small and medium forest-based enterprises and related investment.
It also recommends that countries strengthen national arrangements to mobilize financing by, inter alia:
- mobilizing funding from all sources, including existing resources (e.g. revenues, taxes), and using information about existing funds more effectively;
- using the Forest Instrument and NFPs to establish national forest financing strategies;
- balancing resource needs and developing funding mechanisms specific for different purposes and forest types within the country;
- using NFP processes for dialogue with financing institutions (e.g. banks, insurance companies);
- identifying best practices for financing arrangements for their wider application;
- highlighting the role of forests for supporting people and alleviating poverty;
- recruiting prominent people to champion the importance of forests and involving media to attract the attention of decision-makers;
- identifying innovative financing mechanisms and ways to use PES;
- establishing transparent and clear benefit-sharing mechanisms to ensure that benefits reach local communities;
- linking forests to climate change financing options;
- conducting cost-benefit analyses of forest management practices;
- continuing the work on financing for SFM and means of implementation (finance, knowledge, technology transfer) within UNFF; developing concrete solutions; and further exploring the possibility of a global forest fund; and
- strengthening international support mechanisms to facilitate implementation of the Forest Instrument and financing for SFM.
It recommends that capacity building and participatory approaches be promoted through, inter alia:
- involvement of all stakeholders during the elaboration and reviewing of NFPs;
- a suitable mechanism to facilitate the elaboration and review of NFPs to be coherent with the NLBI;
- information dissemination to better understand the Forest Instrument and its links to NFP processes;
- an invitation to the UNFF and FAO to streamline requests for voluntary reporting on the Forest Instrument and NFPs in order to reduce countries’ reporting burden;
- a consultative evaluation process prior to starting a NFP (or as a monitoring tool for those countries with a NFP in place) to ascertain whether, inter alia: adequate capacity exists to conduct a meaningful stakeholder process; enabling conditions exist to address tenure issues, including legislation; and whether sufficient political will exists to implement NFPs;
- the establishment of a mechanism to collect and disseminate information on best practices related to development and implementation of NFPs;
- increased exchange on NFPs among countries;
- increased understanding and knowledge of indigenous peoples and communities concerning their tenure rights, especially in regards to multilateral environmental agreements to which their countries are signatories;
- improved skills for communication, facilitation, conflict management and negotiation;
- improved capacity for valuation of forest goods and services to use PES schemes more efficiently; and
- support for the NFP Facility in nurturing NFP processes.
On Friday afternoon, participants convened in a closing plenary session co-chaired by Ingwald Gschwandtl, Austria, and Lu De on behalf of Qu Guilin, China. Thomas Stelzer, UN Assistant Secretary General, said that the forest issue is high on the world’s political agenda and is critical to human development, and is related to climate change, biodiversity and agriculture. He added that SFM can contribute to sustainable development, poverty alleviation and food security. He expressed his satisfaction with the outcomes of the meeting and believed that it can contribute to UNFF 9. He assured participants that the UN will stand firm in supporting SFM.
Co-Chair Gschwandtl said that the meeting had accomplished a lot due to the outstanding expertise and knowledge of the participants. He expressed appreciation to: all participants for their active participation and contribution; the Chinese government for the hospitality and excellent organization; and staff of the CLI-China Secretariat. On behalf of the Chinese organizers, Lu De, Deputy Director General of APFnet expressed satisfaction with the success of the meeting and thanked the co-organizers and participants for their contribution. He declared the meeting closed at 3:31pm.
TROPICAL FORESTS UNDER A CHANGING CLIMATE: LINKING IMPACTS, MITIGATION, AND ADAPTATION: This conference, hosted by the Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters will be held on 11 - 13 February 2010 in New Haven, US. It will bring together practitioners and researchers from government, academia, communities, and environmental and development organizations to explore the relationship between tropical forests and climate change. For more information, contact: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; tel: +1-203-432-5100; fax: +1-203-432-5942; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.yale.edu/istf/
17TH SESSION OF THE AFRICAN FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION: This session to be held on 22 - 26 February 2010 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo will address: forestry and wildlife in support of sustainable livelihood systems in Africa; sustainable management and benefits; climate change, forests and wildlife in Africa; and other regional issues. The African Forestry and Wildlife Commission is one of the FAO’s six regional forestry commissions. It provides a policy and technical forum for countries to discuss and address forest issues on a regional basis. It meets every two years. For more information, contact: Foday Bojang, FAO Regional Office for Africa; e-mail: Foday.email@example.com; internet: http://www.fao.org/forestry/afwc/en/
19TH SESSION OF THE NEAR EAST FORESTRY COMMISSION: This session is to be held on 5 - 9 April 2010 in Hammamet, Tunisia. For more information contact: Moujahed Achouri, FAO Forestry Department; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.fao.org/forestry/31112/en/
35TH SESSION OF THE EUROPEAN FORESTRY COMMISSION: This session is to be held on 27 - 30 April 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal. For more information contact: Ed Pepke, FAO Forest Communication Service/UNECE Timber Branch; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.fao.org/forestry/efc/en/
COUNTRY-LED INITIATIVE ON FOREST GOVERNANCE AND REDD: This meeting, co-hosted by Switzerland and Mexico, will be held in Mexico in April or May 2010. For more information, contact: Christoph Dűrr, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, Forest Division; tel: +41-31-324-7689; fax: +41-31-324-7866; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
UNFF MAJOR GROUPS INITIATIVE: This intersessional meeting will be organized in May 2010 (dates to be decided) and will focus on the implementation of the Forest Instrument at national and local levels, through capacity-building and sharing the best practices. For more information, contact: UNFF Secretariat; tel: +1-212-963-3401; fax: +1-917-367-3186; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/participation.html
25TH SESSION OF THE NORTH AMERICAN FORESTRY COMMISSION: This session is to be held on 3 - 7 May 2010 in Palenque, Mexico. For more information contact: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.fs.fed.us/global/nafc/welcome.html
26TH SESSION OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN FORESTRY COMMISSION: This session is to be held on 24 - 29 May 2010 in Guatemala. For more information contact: Carlos Carneiro; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.rlc.fao.org/es/comisiones/coflac/default.htm
23RD SESSION OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC FORESTRY COMMISSION: This session is to be held on 7 - 11 June 2010 in Thimpu, Bhutan. For more information see: http://www.fao.org/forestry/33587/en/
18TH COMMONWEALTH FORESTRY CONFERENCE: This conference will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK from 28 June - 2 July 2010. The theme is “Restoring the Commonwealth’s Forests: Tackling Climate Change”. For more information, contact the Secretariat: tel: +44 (0)131 339 9235; fax: +44 (0)131 339 9798; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.cfc2010.org/index.html
XXIII IUFRO WORLD CONGRESS: The 23rd World Congress of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) will be held from 23-28 August 2010 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The theme is “Forests for the Future: Sustaining Society and the Environment.” For more information, contact: Korea Forest Research Institute; tel: +82-2-961-2591; fax: +82-2-961-2599; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.iufro2010.com
WORKSHOP ON FOREST GOVERNANCE, DECENTRALISATION AND REDD IN LATIN AMERICA: The workshop is to be held from 30 August - 3 September 2010 in Mexico City, Mexico. The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the UNFF, with a number of government collaborators, are organizing the workshop with participants from government, development and environmental NGOs and local community and indigenous peoples representatives to discuss regional perspectives on REDD and develop a better understanding of how decentralisation and forest governance contribute to sustainable management of forests. The results are expected to feed into the 9th session of the UNFF. For more information, contact: CIFOR; internet: http://www.cifor.cgiar.org/Events/CIFOR/decentralisation-redd.htm
FOREST LANDSCAPES AND GLOBAL CHANGE – IUFRO LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY CONFERENCE: This conference, to be held from 21 - 27 September 2010 in Bragança, Portugal, aims to bring together scientists, planners and managers to share science and experiences on approaches, methods and tools to assess and forecast change in structures and processes, and to optimize goods and services provided at multiscale-multifunctional levels. For more information contact: João Azevedo; tel: +351-273-303-341; fax: +351-273-325-405; e-mail: Iufrole2010@ipb.pt; internet: http://www.ipb.pt/iufro2010/
TWENTIETH SESSION OF THE FAO COMMITTEE ON FORESTRY (COFO): The 20th session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO) will convene in October 2010 at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: FAO Forestry Department; tel: +39-06-5705-3925; fax: +39-06-5705-3152; e-mail: COFO2010@fao.org; internet: http://www.fao.org/forestry
ITTC-46: The 46th meeting of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-46) and associated sessions of the four committees are expected to convene from 13- 18 December 2010 in Yokohama, Japan. For more information, contact: ITTO; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.itto.or.jp
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF FORESTS 2011: UN General Assembly resolution 61/193, adopted in December 2006, declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests. The UN Forum on Forests will serve as the focal point for the implementation of the International Year of Forests, in collaboration with governments, the CPF and international, regional and subregional organizations and processes as well as relevant Major Groups. For more information, contact: UNFF Secretariat; tel: +1-212-963-3401; fax: +1-917-367-3186; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/2011/2011.html
NINTH SESSION OF THE UN FORUM ON FORESTS (UNFF 9): UNFF 9 will be held from 24 January - 4 February 2011 at UN Headquarters, New York, US. The theme for UNFF 9 is “Forests for people, livelihoods and poverty eradication.” UNFF 9 is also expected to complete consideration of the means of implementation for sustainable forest management. For more information contact: tel: +1-212-963-3401; fax: +1-917-367-3186; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/
XIV WFC: The fourteenth World Forestry Congress (WFC) will take place in 2015. The venue will be decided at COFO-20 as both India and South Africa have offered to host the meeting. For more information, contact: FAO Forestry Department; tel: +39-06-5705-3925; fax: +39-06-5705-3152; internet: http://www.fao.org/forestry