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MEDIA REPORTS

FORESTS, DESERTS AND LAND

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2006

 

Forests, Deserts and Land Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

DECEMBER 2006

PARAGUAY EXTENDS ZERO DEFORESTATION LAW
The government of Paraguay has extended a law that seeks to curb deforestation rates in the endangered Upper Parana Atlantic Forest. The Zero Deforestation Law, which came into force in December 2004, aimed at assuring the conservation and recuperation of the forest by enforcing a series of procedures and penalties for those committing environmental crime by deforestation. The law would have expired at the end of 2006, but has been extended by two years, after having cut deforestation rates by more than 85 percent in the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest.

Link to further information
WWF Media Release, 18 December 2006

SEVEN NEW PROTECTED AREAS CREATED IN BRAZILIAN AMAZON
The governor of the Brazilian state of Pará announced on 4 December 2006 the establishment of seven new protected areas in Amazonia covering over 14 million hectares. Two of the seven new areas are designated as strictly protected areas, one of which is the world’s largest strictly protected area ever created in a tropical forest, and the remaining five allow for sustainable use and limited production. The region now boasts a mosaic of connected protected areas, which create a biodiversity conservation corridor that allows species to roam vast landscapes.

Link to further information
Conservation International News Release, 4 December 2006

NOVEMBER 2006

LARGEST TROPICAL FOREST CERTIFICATION IN THE WORLD
The Rainforest Alliance has granted Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification to 1.5 millions hectares of rainforest in the central Amazon owned and managed by a group of Kayapó, who harvest and sell Brazil nuts from the land. It is the largest area of tropical forest to receive FSC certification. With this, Brazil took the lead as the Latin American country with the most FSC-certified forestlands, totaling approximately 12.4 million acres -- 6.7 million acres in natural forest and 5.7 million acres in plantations.

Link to further information
Rainforest Alliance News Release, 13 November 2006

WASHINGTON, INDONESIA SIGN DEAL TO COMBAT ILLEGAL LOGGING
US President George W. Bush and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed an agreement on 16 November 2006 to work together to put an end to illegal logging in Indonesia. The US pledged an initial US$1 million for programmes to improve law enforcement capabilities through remote sensing devices and by supporting various conservation groups. The US and Indonesia have also pledged to share information on trade in illegal lumber products and to cooperate on law enforcement efforts. After the meeting, Bush said “Together, our nations will fight illegal logging while promoting trade in forest products that does not threaten the region's environmental quality."

Link to further information
Environment News Service News Release, 20 November 2006

IUFRO EUROPEAN CONGRESS CALLS FOR ABSTRACTS
The first announcement and call for abstracts for the IUFRO European Congress 2007, which will focus on “Forests and Forestry in the Context of Rural Development,” has been posted. The Congress will convene from 6-8 September 2007 in Warsaw, Poland.

Link to further information
The announcement

US$1.4 BILLION ANTICIPATED OVER 10 YEARS FOR CENTRAL ASIAN SUSTAINABLE LAND MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME
Five Central Asian countries and more than a dozen development cooperation partners have launched the Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management (CACILM), a ten year programme promoting sustainable land management (SLM). The 16 November 2006 launch comes after several years of work between five Central Asian Countries, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the Asian Development Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency, the CCD Project of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the UN Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme and the World Bank. The Global Environment Facility is also contributing funding for this project, which is anticipated to result in investments of US$1.4 billion to restore, maintain and enhance the productivity of degraded land and improve the livelihoods of local communities in the five countries.

Link to further information
Global Mechanism CACILM webpage

OCTOBER 2006

 

AMAZONIAN DEFORESTATION DECREASES - BRAZILIAN GOVERNMENT

The Brazilian government has reported that 13,000 square kilometers of Amazonian forest were destroyed between August 2005 and 2006, representing a 30% decrease in deforestation rates compared with the previous year. According to WWF-Brazil, the decrease in soy prices may have contributed to the reduced rate. In order to maintain these reduced levels, WWF-Brazil further highlighted the need for implementation of public forest policies and availability of financial resources to tackle deforestation, encourage cooperation of state governments, and stimulate sustainable forestry activities.

 

Link to further information
WWF News Release, 26 October 2006

 

SEPTEMBER 2006

 

GRASSROOTS DESERTIFICATION INITIATIVES HONORED

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has recognized two grassroots initiatives that combat desertification and land degradation in developing countries. The 2006 Sasakawa Prize, sponsored by UNEP and the Nippon Foundation of Japan, has been awarded to Rodrigo Vivas Rosas, leader of the Inter-institutional Consortium for Sustainable Agriculture, an alliance of 16 organizations and 6,500 people promoting the sustainable use of water in Colombia; and to the Tenadi Cooperative Group, which has ensured drinking water and prevented the movement of dunes through forestation in Mauritania.

 

Links to further information
UNEP press release, 28 September 2006

Sasakawa Prize information

 

SLOVENIA TO HOST DROUGHT MANAGEMENT CENTRE

Slovenia has been selected to host the new Drought Management Centre for South-Eastern Europe (DMCSEE). Slovenia’s proposal garnered two-thirds of the secret ballot vote from the eleven countries of South-Eastern Europe during a meeting hosted by the World Meteorological Organization with the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The Centre will: serve as an operational centre for South-Eastern Europe for drought preparedness, monitoring and management; prepare drought monitoring and forecast products; promote and strengthen technical and scientific capacity for drought preparedness, monitoring and management in participating countries; and help implement UNCCD in drought preparedness, monitoring and management, in particular to work out national drought strategies. The other countries in the region are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Romania and Turkey.  

 

Link to further information
WMO News Centre (29 September 2006)

 

MALAYSIA AND EU TO START TALKS ON FOREST GOVERNANCE, TRADE

The Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia and EU commissioners for Development and Environment have agreed to embark on formal negotiations towards conclusion of a voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT). The agreement, made in Brussels on 25 September, will be designed to provide an assurance that all timber trade between Malaysia and the EU is legal, and will include joint studies, knowledge-sharing and capacity building activities.  

 

Link to further information
Europa Press Release (25 September 2006)

 

UNFF EXPERT GROUP MEETING DOCUMENTS RELEASED

The UN Forum on Forests Secretariat has released the provisional agenda and terms of reference for the ad hoc expert group meeting on the Non-Legally Binding Instrument, which is scheduled for 11-15 December 2006. The ad hoc expert group will take into account the compilation of the draft indicative elements and other proposals submitted by member States during and after the sixth session of the Forum, and comments provided by member States regarding all the proposals.  

 

Link to further information
Meeting documents

 

FIRST TREE GENOME SEQUENCED

A team of scientists led by Gerald Tuskan of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and Daniel Rokhsar of the Joint Genome Institute in California, has successfully sequenced the genome of the black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa). The first tree species and only the third plant genome to be sequenced, cottonwoods, like most poplars, are fast-growing and provide a good source of fiber for paper, lumber, plywood, and a possible source of biofuel. Among the major discoveries yielded from the poplar project is the identification of over 45,000 protein-coding genes, more than any other organism sequenced to date. The research team identified 93 genes associated with the production of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, the building blocks of plant cell walls, which can be broken down into sugars that in turn can be fermented into alcohol and distilled to yield fuel-quality ethanol and other liquid fuels. The study was published in the 15 September issue of Science.

 

Links to further information
Article in Science, 15 September 2006 (subscription required for access to full article)

Doe Joint Genome Institute press release, 14 September 2006

 

ILLEGAL LOGGING COSTING BILLIONS—WORLD BANK

Illegal logging of public lands in developing countries causes estimated losses of more than US$10 billion a year in assets and revenue, according to a World Bank report released during the IMF-World Bank annual meeting held in September in Singapore. A further $5 billion in revenue was lost each year through tax evasion and loss of royalties on legal logging. The report stated that two-thirds of the 17 countries surveyed have illegal logging rates of at least 50 percent. In Indonesia, between 70 and 80 percent of all logging was illegal, in Bolivia, 80 percent, and in Cambodia, 90 percent. The report highlighted China’s appetite for timber as helping to escalate the problem. It added that illicit cash from illegal logging needed to be targeted and that anti-money laundering and asset forfeiture laws were important tools to combat forest clearing, corruption and organized crime. A panel discussion on raising the governance bar in the forest sector took place on 16 September 2006, as part of the Civil Society Forum of this year’s meeting.

 

Links to further information
Reuters news report, 16 September 2006

IMF-World Bank 2006 Annual Meetings website

 

AMAZON DEFORESTATION SLOWING– BRAZIL

According to data released by the Brazilian government, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon has decreased by approximately 11 per cent between August 2005 and August 2006. WWF- Brazil said that this may be partially due to a reduction in the price of soy resulting in reduced incentive to cut down the Amazon for soy planting. However, the Brazilian government noted that ranching, logging and agricultural activities continue to degrade the Amazon.

 

Link to further information
WWF press release (7 September 2006)

 

WWF, TIMBER COMPANY PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT IN AFRICA

WWF and the Danzer Group, a major global producer of hardwood veneer and lumber, are to work together to promote sustainable forest management in Africa. Danzer’s subsidiaries in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo are scheduled to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council starting in 2008. Covering a combined forest area of 3.2 million hectares, this is the largest African concession currently being prepared for FSC certification. Danzer has also announced it will join WWF's Global Forest and Trade Network, a partnership between leading NGOs, companies and communities aimed at eliminating illegal logging and improving the management of valuable and threatened forests.

 

Link to further information
WWF press release (14 September 2006)

 

FSC CLARIFIES RELATIONSHIP WITH MALAYSIAN TIMBER COUNCIL

The visit of the Malaysian Minister for Plantations and representatives of the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) to Europe this month had triggered a number of enquiries about possible collaboration and convergence between the MTCC and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). However, FSC has released a statement stating that while the Council recognizes the efforts that the MTCC has made to adapt its systems more closely to international FSC requirements, it believes the MTCC standard and scheme to not be compatible or in near compliance with FSC.

 

Link to further information
FSC statement (15 September 2006)

 

INTERNET TRACKING TO FIGHT ILLEGAL AMAZON LOGGING

Brazil has inaugurated an internet-based lumber tracking system that authorities say will help them combat illegal logging in the Amazon. Many environmental groups had criticized the ease with which paper documents previously requested for transporting timber and forest products were falsified, but Environment Minister Marina Silva said that the electronic system would reduce such fraud. Under the new system, loggers will have to register their shipments on the Internet. However, Greenpeace has noted that the wireless internet access needed for use by inspection officers to verify the validity of certificates remains almost nonexistent in the Amazon region.

 

Link to further information
The International Herald Tribune (Associated Press), 1 September 2006

 

AUGUST 2006

 

UNCCD TO RESCHEDULE CRIC-5

The fifth session of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s (CCD) Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC-5), which was originally scheduled for 4-13 October 2006, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been postponed. The UNCCD Secretariat announced that the Argentinean government requested that the meeting be rescheduled to March 2007, due to structural changes introduced in the government, including the repositioning of the Secretariat for Environment within the Prime Minister’s Office.

 

Link to further information
UNCCD announcement (28 August 2006)

 

BRAZIL PUBLISHES NATIVE PLANT NAMES TO PREVENT TRADEMARK MISUSE

The Brazilian government has published a list of more than 5000 generic plant names in a move to prevent further trademark disputes with companies that, for example, take a name of a Brazilian fruit in Portuguese and trademark it to get exclusive rights to commercialize it under that name in a certain country or region. Brazil has distributed the list to trademark offices around the world, hoping it will be used as a basis for consultation with parties involved. The focus of the list is solely on generic names from the Portuguese language used in Brazil that are associated with Brazilian biodiversity, not all Portuguese generic terms.

 

Link to further information
Intellectual Property Watch report, 4 August 2006

 

PROPOSALS PUBLISHED FOR NON-LEGALLY BINDING INSTRUMENT ON FORESTS

The Secretariat of the UN Forum on Forests has made available a compilation of country proposals, submitted at or after UNFF-6 in early 2006, on the indicative elements of a non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests. In December 2006, an open-ended ad hoc working group will convene and draw from this compilation in considering the content of the non-legally binding instrument prior to UNFF-7.

 

Link to further information

Country proposals (August 2006)

 

PLANTED FORESTS’ MARKET SHARE ON RISE IN LATIN AMERICA, CARIBBEAN

More than 60% of sustainable wood supply in Latin America and the Caribbean will come from planted forests by the year 2020, leaving more natural forests untouched, according to FAO forecasts. This shift from natural to planted forests for wood supplies is being driven by increasingly restricted access to natural forests and intensive reforestation programmes. However, the study cites the expansion of agriculture and cattle raising as continuing causes of deforestation in the area.

 

Link to further information

FAO media release (1 August, 2006)

 

JULY 2006

 

NEW UN COMPLEX OPENED IN BONN

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan participated in the 11 July 2006 opening of a new campus to house UN offices in Bonn, Germany. The “Langer Eugen” formerly housed the west German parliament and will now unite a number of UN agencies that are located in that city, including the Secretariats of the Convention on Migratory Species and the Convention to Combat Desertification.

 

Link to further information

UN News Report (July 2006)

 

US AND CANADA SIGN SOFTWOOD LUMBER AGREEMENT

The US and Canada have signed an agreement regulating trade in softwood lumber. The agreement, signed on 1 July 2006, comes after a dispute spanning two decades. As part of the agreement, the US will return US$4 billion of the $5 billion that has been collected from Canada since 2002 in antidumping and countervailing duties on Canadian lumber, while Canada will require its regions to levy export taxes that will rise from 0 to 15 percent based on export price triggers and US market share. The US had previously maintained duties on Canadian lumber throughout extensive legal battles in both the WTO and NAFTA dispute settlement systems, alleging that Canada’s low stumpage fees on state-owned land constituted a subsidy.

 

Links to further information

BRIDGES Trade BioRes New Brief (July 14 2006)

Text of the Agreement (July 1 2006)

 

JUNE 2006

 

EUROPEAN COMMISSION ADOPTS FOREST ACTION PLAN

The European Commission has adopted an EU forest action plan that seeks to focus on improving long-term competitiveness, improving and protecting the environment, contributing to quality of life, and fostering coordination and communication. The Action Plan provides a framework for forest-related actions and serves as an instrument of coordination between EU action and Member State forest policies. Eighteen key actions are proposed by the Commission to be implemented jointly with the Member States over a period of five years (2007–2011).

 

Link to further information

EC press release (15 June 2006)

 

NEAR EAST FOREST RESOURCES OVEREXPLOITED – FAO

Heavy grazing, fuel wood gathering, clearing of forests for agriculture, and urban development are depleting forest resources in the already forest-scarce Near East, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The announcement was made at the Near East Regional Forestry Commission, held from 5-8 June in Larnaka, Cyprus. One FAO expert said that forests and forest products are still largely neglected in policy- and decision-making processes in the region. However, forest area in many countries in the region has increased due to forest plantations. The Near East Forestry Commission meets every two years and is part of a global network of regional forestry commissions which together feed ideas and suggestions to the FAO Committee on Forestry, scheduled to meet in March 2007.

 

Link to further information

FAO press release (6 June, 2006)

 

FREE TRADE DEALS MAY HASTEN FOREST DESTRUCTION – REPORT

A free trade deal between the US and Malaysia may encourage illegal logging in Southeast Asia, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an international not-for-profit organization that aims to expose environmental wrongdoing. According to the EIA, demand for timber exports, approximately a third of which is illegally-cut wood, could surge with a free trade agreement. The EIA has urged the US government to enact a law prohibiting entry of illegal timber imports into the US before signing pending free trade agreements with other timber trading nations.

 

Links to further information

Illegal logging press release (21 June 2006)

Reuters news article (16 June 2006)

 

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZING DESERTIFICATION E-FORUM

Three civil society organizations – CARI (France), BothENDS (the Netherlands) and ENDA (Senegal) – have opened an electronic debate on the issue of dryland areas and the fight against desertification to prepare for an international forum on desertification and civil society to be held in September 2006. The e-forum will focus on three topics: (a) drylands and the political agenda at the national and international level – increasing the priority given to the issue of dryland areas; (b) economic potential of dryland areas and increasing local communities’ resources – the constraints, opportunities and possible innovations; and (c) strategy of civil society organizations and their national and international networks. The September meeting is organized in the framework of the International Year of Deserts and Desertification and is slated to take place in Montpellier, France, from 21-23 September 2006.

 

Links to further information

Desertif’Actions website

Desertif’Actions e-forum, June 2006

 

U.S TAKEN TO COURT OVER ALLEGED IMPORTS OF ILLEGALLY-LOGGED MAHOGANY

In a lawsuit filed on 6 June 2006 with the US Court of International Trade, the Natural Resources Defense Council and two Peruvian indigenous groups – the Native Federation of Madre de Dios and Racimos de Ungurahui – allege that the US government and private companies have been importing mahogany timber for use in luxury furniture without the proper documentation of legality required by the US Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which has included mahogany on its Appendix II since 2003.

 

Link to further information

ICTSD Trade BioRes, 16 June 2006

 

MOST FORESTS STILL NOT MANAGED SUSTAINABLY, SAYS ITTO

While considerable progress has been made in recent years, well over 90 percent of tropical forests are still not being managed sustainably, according to the ITTO. The organization has released an analysis of the state of tropical forestry in 33 countries in Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. Reflecting four years of work, the study incorporates data submitted by ITTO countries and information collected from a variety of independent sources. It assesses the effectiveness of plans to bring sustainable management practices to large areas of timber-producing tropical forests, and finds a significant gap between words and on-the-ground action in all regions examined. The report shows that the area of sustainably managed tropical forests has expanded from less than one million hectares in 1988 to at least 36 million hectares in 2005.  However, of the 353 million hectares designated as production forests, only 7 percent are being managed sustainably. The report was released at the 40th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council (29 May - 2 June, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico).

 

Links to further information

ITTO press release, 25 May 2006

ITTO press release, 2 June 2006

 

MAY 2006

 

RESEARCHERS WARN OF EXPANDING TROPICS, LAND DEGRADATION

An expansion of tropical regions towards both poles could increase the threat of land degradation in arid regions and cause deserts to spread, according to a new article in Science magazine. Co-authors Qiang Fu, Celeste Johanson, John M. Wallace and Thomas Reichler based their study on satellite data from 1979-2005 and found that the northern and southern hemispheres’ jet streams have moved about one degree of latitude nearer to the poles.

 

Link to further information

SciDev.Net news story and link to Science article (30 May 2006)

 

MELTING GLACIERS IN CHINA TURNING HIGH PLATEAU INTO DESERT

A study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences has found that glaciers on China’s Qinghai-Tibet plateau are shrinking, turning the plateau into desert. SciDev.Net cites a state news agency report indicating that the glaciers are shrinking by seven percent per year, due to global warming. Researchers warn that droughts and sandstorms will result.

 

Link to further information

SciDev.Net news story, 3 May 2006

 

NEW COALITION TO STRENGTHEN LOCAL FORESTRY RIGHTS, FIGHT POVERTY

A coalition of organizations has launched a new initiative advocating stronger community rights to own and use forests and develop sustainable forest-based economies. The Rights and Resources Initiative, which includes the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Forest Trends, and the IUCN, aims to assist communities and governments to double the global forest area under community ownership and management by 2015, boost incomes among the 1.6 billion forest-dependent poor, prevent illegal logging and protect forest biodiversity.

 

Link to further information

Rights and Resources press release (4 May 2006)

 

MOST LOGGING IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA ILLEGAL – REPORT

Most commercial industrial forestry operations in Papua New Guinea are illegal, according to a recent report from Forest Trends. According to the study, five independent reviews commissioned by Papua New Guinea’s government between 2000 and 2005 found most activities to be unsustainable and provided little benefit to the state and forest community. The reviews included an examination of fourteen unlawfully operating logging projects covering 3.17 million hectares and producing 1.3 million cubic meters of logs with a declared export value of US$70 million. The studies point to a lack of governance, arguing that this puts into question the government’s current proposal to sell forest carbon.

 

Links to further information

Forest Trends report (May 2006)

Forest Trends press release (1 May 2006)

 

IUCN BEGINS FIELD-TESTING REVISED ITTO GUIDELINES FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN TROPICAL PRODUCTION FORESTS

IUCN-The World Conservation Union has started the process of field-testing the revised International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) guidelines for the conservation of biological diversity in tropical timber production forests in Brazil, Cameroon, Indonesia and Guyana. Mandated by the member governments of the ITTO, IUCN will update and revise the previous version of the ITTO guidelines, and will help optimize the contribution of tropical production forests to global biodiversity conservation.

 

Link to further information

IUCN press release (2 May 2006)

 

APRIL 2006

 

FAO REPORTS HIGHEST RATE OF FOREST PLANTATION IN ASIA-PACIFIC

The FAO has released data indicating that the Asia-Pacific region recorded the world’s highest rate of forest plantation over the past five years. On 13 April 2006, FAO reported that this rate of plantation helped the region reverse the trend in the 1990s of a net loss in forest cover. The net loss in the 1990s was 1.3 million hectares per year, while the net gain between 2000 and 2005 was more than 600,000 hectares per year. FAO attributed the gain primarily to an increase in forest plantations. However, the FAO also warned that the gain concealed a “disturbing continued loss of natural forests” in recent years.

 

Link to further information
FAO news release, 13 April 2006

 

US, Indonesia launch bilateral talks to combat illegal logging

US Trade Representative Rob Portman has announced that bilateral negotiations will be held with Indonesia to combat illegal logging. The announcement was made during meetings with Indonesia’s Minister of Trade, Mari Pangestu, under the US-Indonesia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. The first of its kind for the US, this bilateral agreement is consistent with President George Bush’s global Initiative to Address Illegal Logging, launched in 2003. The agreement will seek to build on existing Indonesian efforts to combat illegal logging and help ensure that Indonesia’s legally produced timber and wood products have continued access to U.S. and other international markets.

 

Link to further information
US government press release, 4 April 2006

 

AGREEMENT ON FOREST LANDSCAPE RESTORATION SIGNED

WWF, IUCN and the Forestry Commission of Great Britain � the founding members of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) � have signed a memorandum of understanding formalizing their commitment to collaborate on the effective operation of the Partnership. The agreement was signed on 20 April 2006 at IUCN headquarters in Gland, Switzerland. A seminar on FLR held prior to the signing stressed that there was still a need to better express what FLR means on the ground.

 

Links to further information
IUCN press release, 20 April 2006

IISD RS report of the workshop in Brazil, April, 2005

 

FAO INVITES PROPOSALS FOR 2009 WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS THEME

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has invited proposals for the theme for the next World Forestry Congress, which will meet in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2009. The final selection of a theme will be made by the Government of Argentina and FAO. The theme for the World Forestry Congress should address a timely issue of interest around the world, be attractive to a wide range of interests (while not being too vague), and encompass a range of technical and policy-related topics. Submissions should be sent by e-mail to: FO-WFC-2009@fao.org

 

TROPICAL FOREST SCHEME�S CLIMATE BENEFITS PRAISED

A proposal by Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica for donor support to avoid tropical deforestation in the fight against climate change has been backed by an expert writing in New Scientist magazine. Biologist William Laurance of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has highlighted the scheme, which is likely to be discussed at the next round of multilateral UN talks, the 24th sessions of the subsidiary bodies to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in May 2006. The article was to be published on 14 April.   

 

Link to further information
EurekAlert release, 12 April 2006

 

MARCH 2006

 

T�PFER URGES KENYA TO PLANT TREES

Outgoing Executive Director Klaus T�pfer suggested on his final day at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) that Kenya should plant more trees to help fight the country�s water problems. UNEP is headquartered in Kenya�s capital of Nairobi, where the �soil can no longer contain rain water,� according to T�pfer.

 

Link to further information
The Standard (Kenya) article, 31 March 2006

 

CHINA ANNOUNCES DESERTIFICATION PLAN  

China�s cabinet has announced a �desert control scheme� that aims to reclaim 250,000 square kilometers of desert by 2020. The scheme, which was announced on 28 February 2006, will involve bans on land use in areas at risk of desertification, tree and grass planting projects, research on desertification, and the establishment of a system to monitor the spread of deserts. According to news reports, the Chinese government has invested more than 50 billion Yuan (US$6.2 billion) since 1978 on tree planting to protect the country�s northern cities from the encroaching desert. A report by the State Forestry Administration indicates that the nation�s deserts have shrunk at a rate of 1283 square kilometers a year since 2001.   

 

Link to further information

SciDev Net news article, 1 March 2006

The Guardian newspaper article, 28 February 2006

 

PARTNERSHIP ESTABLISHED TO PROMOTE DESERTIFICATION RESEARCH  

The United Nations University and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas have entered into a partnership to boost research on desertification in developing countries. The partnership, which was launched on 28 February 2006, will promote research on ways to reduce or reverse land degradation, and to conserve resources such as soil, water and biodiversity, among other things.  

 

Link to further information

SciDev Net news release

 

JANUARY 2006

 

ITTA, 2006 SET TO OPEN FOR SIGNATURE

The International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006, is set to open for signature at UN Headquarters in New York beginning 3 April 2006, and extending until one month after the date of its entry into force. The agreement, which was concluded in January 2006 as the successor agreement to ITTA, 1994, is expected to come into force in 2008 and will operate for ten years, with the possibility of extensions of up to eight years.  

 

Link to further information

ITTO press release, 31 January 2006

 

INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF DESERTS AND DESERTIFICATION LAUNCHED

The United Nations launched its International Year of Deserts and Desertification on 1 January 2006. The designation of a year on this topic is intended to raise global public awareness of the advancing deserts, which cover 41 percent of the earth�s surface, and to protect the knowledge and traditions of the two billion people affected by the phenomenon. Awareness raising efforts will be supported by honorary spokespersons Wangari Maathai, Peace Nobel laureate 2004, Cherif Rahmani, Minister of Environment of Algeria, and Bulgarian international football star and Golden Boot winner Hristo Stoitchkov.  

 

Link to further information

UN press Release

 

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