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MEDIA REPORTS

FORESTS, DESERTS AND LAND

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2007

 

Forests, Deserts and Land Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

DECEMBER 2007

CHILE APPROVES FOREST LAW AFTER 15 YEARS OF NEGOTIATION
After 15 years of negotiations, the Chilean parliament has approved a law on the country’s native forests to promote their preservation and sustainable use and foster related scientific research. The Native Forest Law establishes an initial fund of US$8 million a year for forest conservation, recovery and sustainable management projects, and protects water sources.

Link to further information
SciDev.Net news article, 31 December 2007

UNGA PREPARES FOR ADOPTION OF FOREST INSTRUMENT
The UN Secretariat is organizing a High-Level Special Event during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Plenary Session on 17 December 2007, titled “The Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (NLBI) – Heralding a New Era in Implementing Sustainable Forest Management.”  This event will follow the expected adoption of the NLBI by the UNGA on the same day. The NLBI was adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council in October 2007, after having been negotiated and adopted by the UN Forum on Forests earlier in the year.

Link to further information
Under-Secretary General’s letter informing Permanent Missions about the event, 3 December 2007

NOVEMBER 2007

UNCCD SETS DATE FOR ESCOP
The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has set 26 November 2007 as the date for the first Extraordinary Session of the Conference of the Parties (ESCOP). COP 8 did not complete consideration of the programme and budget item on its agenda, and agreed to convene an ESCOP in New York, US, at UN headquarters before the end of 2007.

Link to further information
ESCOP webpage

CONSULTATION ON GLOBAL FOREST PARTNERSHIP ONGOING
The World Bank is proposing a new Global Forest Partnership, uniting several organizations to accelerate progress on managing forests for social, environmental and economic needs. In order to collect feedback from a wide range of stakeholders on what this Global Partnership could look like,International Institute for Environment and Development is conducting an independent assessment on the World Bank’s behalf and is asking for opinions from on what the overall objectives of such a partnership should be. The consultation continues until 30 November 2007.

Link to further information
IIED consultation website

OCTOBER 2007

NEW ITTO PROGRAM ON TROPICAL FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT RECEIVES US$ 3 MILLION CONTRIBUTION
The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) announced that the Netherlands has donated US $3 million to a new ITTO programme on tropical forest law enforcement and trade (TFLET). The new programme seeks to: enhance civil society’s capacity to contribute to forest law enforcement; enhance the capacity of small- and medium-sized enterprises to produce and trade timber from legal and sustainable sources; support and increase international trade in legally/sustainably produced tropical timber; and enable local forest-dependent communities to sustainably manage their forests to alleviate poverty. Several TFLET activities have already been included in ITTO's 2008-2009 Work Programme.

Link to further information
ITTO News Release, 17 October 2007

EU IMPOSES TIMBER TRADE SANCTIONS ON MYANMAR
The EU Council, at its meeting held from 15-16 October 2007, in Luxembourg, adopted trade sanctions on the Myanmar government in response to recent human rights abuses. The sanctions include a ban on imports of timber and other forest products from Myanmar as well as sales of equipment there.

Link to further information
Council Conclusions on Burma/Myanmar, 16 October 2007

AMAZON AT RISK FROM DEVELOPMENT, NGOs LAUNCH PACT TO END DEFORESTATION
The Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America is placing the Amazon at risk, according to a report by Conservation International scientist Timothy Killeen. The Initiative involves planned developments in transportation, energy and telecommunications to improve trade throughout the continent and make agricultural commodities, biofuels and industrial minerals more competitive in international markets. Meanwhile, nine Brazilian non-governmental organizations launched a pact to reduce deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon to zero by 2015. The pact involves adopting a system of reduction targets through economic mechanisms, mainly based on payment for environmental services. Economic incentives will be directed to strengthen forest governance and will be used to create and implement more protected areas and indigenous lands. Brazil’s Environment Minister, Marina Silva, committed the federal government’s support for the proposal.

Links to further information
SciDev.net News Release, 9 October 2007
WWF News Release, 4 October 2007

FOREST LOSS INCREASES FLOOD FREQUENCY AND DURATION -- STUDY
Researchers at Australia’s Charles Darwin University published a study supporting the hypothesis that deforestation increases the frequency and severity of flooding in developing countries. While a link between deforestation and flooding has been suspected for many years, the study is the first to provide global-scale evidence.

Links to further information
SciDev.Net Media Release, 5 October 2007

Abstract in Global Change Biology

WORLD BANK INADEQUATELY CONSIDERED FOREST-RELATED SAFEGUARDS IN DRC - INSPECTION PANEL
The World Bank’s Inspection Panel is reported to have found that two projects funded by the Bank since 2002 in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s rainforests inadequately considered many important socio-economic and environmental issues of forest use, which are embedded within the Bank’s safeguard policies designed to protect natural habitats and the rights of people living in them.

Link to further information
Rainforest Foundation News Release, 3 October 2007

SEPTEMBER 2007

BRAZIL REPORTED TO INCREASE AMOUNT OF CERTIFIED WOOD, TARGET ILLEGAL WOOD USE
The first ever forest concessions for wood production in the Brazilian Amazon were approved recently for the northern state of Rondônia. The concessions will begin in 2008, and a São Paulo newspaper states that it will likely increase the volume of certified wood from the region by 50%. Elsewhere in Brazil, the São Paulo Secretary of the Environment recently announced that a project will be initiated to intensify the control of wood transported from the Amazon into neighboring states. The project will include police blockades to inspect the Document of Forest Origin, and the production of a forest guide to classify and identify wood origin.

Link to further information
ITTO Tropical Timber Market Report, 16-30 September 2007

MOLDOVA DROUGHT COMPARED TO WORST IN LIVING MEMORY
The results of a UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/World Food Programme (WFP) Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Moldova have likened the current drought to that of 1946, the worst drought in living memory. The Mission visited Moldova in August 2007 to assess the drought’s impact on the agricultural and livestock sectors and the population at large. The Mission witnessed that many lakes and rivers, usually full to capacity at this time of the year, were dry and water tables in some areas had receded by almost two meters. The Mission’s report, which is dated 25 September 2007, identifies short, medium and long-term measures to address the drought and resulting needs in Moldova.

Link to further information
FAO assessment, 25 September 2007

MALAYSIA STRENGTHENS LAWS ON ILLEGAL LOGGING
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that logging companies would now be responsible for providing evidence that they had cut down trees legally, transferring the burden of proof to the party in possession of timber. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi also pledged last month not to indiscriminately approve logging licenses.

Link to further information
AFP news release, 18 September 2007

AUGUST 2007

DEFORESTATION PLANS SPARK DEBATE
Plans to reduce emissions by targeting deforestation in developing countries have been generating debate in Australia. According to reports, Australia has announced its support for a new initiative on climate change and forestry at a recent event in Sydney. While reducing deforestation is viewed by many as one of a range of useful tools to combat climate change, the significant costs involved have also been highlighted by some experts.

Links to further information
Globe-Net/WBCSD report, 8 August 2007
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 July 2007

JULY 2007

PROGRAMME BUDGET IMPLICATIONS OF UNFF7 RECOMMENDATIONS ISSUED; ECOSOC POSTPONES CONSIDERATION OF UNFF7 REPORT
The UN Secretary-General has submitted a report on the programme budget implications of the recommendations contained in the report of the UN Forum on Forests’ seventh session. The document, dated 19 July 2007, indicates that the budgetary implications include a call for an additional US$ 1,450,700, to cover the cost of activities that would follow the adoption by the General Assembly of the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests and the Multi-Year Programme of Work (2007-2015), both of which were negotiated at and adopted by UNFF7. Included in this budget are resources for: convening an ad hoc expert group to develop proposals for the development of a voluntary global financial mechanism/portfolio approach/forest financing framework, tentatively scheduled for December 2008; convening expert group meetings on, inter alia, forests and climate change, biodiversity conservation and regional inputs; and the creation of five new posts within the UNFF Secretariat.

The UN Economic and Social Council substantive session of 2007, held from 2-27 July 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland, postponed consideration of the UNFF7 report to its next substantive session.

Link to more information
Statement submitted by the Secretary-General on the proposed budget implications
, 19 July 2007

CHINA CALLS ON COMPANIES TO PRACTICE SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY
On 10 July 2007, the Chinese government unveiled a draft forestry handbook calling on its logging companies to practice sustainable forestry at home and overseas, and guiding and standardizing their activities to promote the sustainable development of forestry in those countries. Environmental groups accuse Chinese forestry companies of illegally importing wood from Africa, Latin America and other parts of Asia to satisfy its growing domestic demand for timber and fuel its exports of finished wood products.

Link to further information
Reuters Media Release, 11 July 2007

GLOBAL STUDY ON TROPICAL FORESTS AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION RECEIVES MAJOR FUNDING
The Poverty Environment Network (PEN), the world’s first global comparative and quantitative review of the role of tropical forests in alleviating poverty, recently received a £500 commitment from the UK Department for International Development (DfID) to support implementation of the review. PEN is managed by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the University of East Anglia.

Link to further information
CIFOR media release, 6 July 2007

FSC-CERTIFIED PAPER WIDELY AVAILABLE IN THE US
A brand of office paper, Domtar EarthChoice, produced from responsibly managed forestlands certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), is now widely available in the United States through a major office materials supplier, Office Depot. According to the Rainforest Alliance, the US’s production of paper greatly exceeds the availability of recycled fiber, meaning that sustainably harvested forestry products are critical to a responsible paper supply.

Link to further information
Rainforest Alliance media release, 5 July 2007

ILLEGAL LOGGING CONTINUES IN INDONESIA – WTO REPORT
A trade policy review (TPR) conducted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) stated that a ban on log exports has done little to stem forest over-exploitation and illegal logging in Indonesia. Illegal logging is estimated to account for over 50 percent of Indonesian timber production, despite a ban on the export of logs being reinstated in 2001. The WTO report said that foreign demand for cheap timber appeared to overwhelm Indonesia’s enforcement capacity.

Link to further information
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest, Volume 11, Number 24, 4 July 2007 

JUNE 2007

INDONESIA PUSHES DEFORESTATION DEAL, FRANCE SETS OUT 2008 GOALS
Indonesia has urged for deforestation to be part of a future multilateral deal on climate change, according to news reports. The inclusion of deforestation activities in a post-2012 deal is also backed by Papua New Guinea, Costa Rica, Congo and other equatorial countries.

Meanwhile, France’s Environment Minister has told reporters that France will use its presidency of the EU in 2008 to push for a new treaty on climate change. The fourteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is taking place in Poznan, Poland in 2008, will be a critical meeting, according to the French Minister.

Link to further information
Reuters news reports about Indonesia and France, 29 June 2007

US-PERU BILATERAL TRADE DEAL ADDRESSES ILLEGAL LOGGING
Environmental provisions in the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement that were announced on 25 June 2007, include measures to stop the flow of illegally logged timber from Peru. The Agreement also contains provisions requiring countries to fulfill their obligations under a set of multilateral environmental agreements.

Link to further information
CIEL media release, 26 June 2007 

CHINESE FOREST CERTIFICATION GROUP RECEIVES FSC ACCREDITATION
The International Board of Directors of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has announced the accreditation of the Forest Certification Working Group in China as the official FSC National Initiative in China (FSC China). Wang Xiaoping, Forest Certification Working Group in China, stated “the accreditation of FSC China is a crucial milestone in the progress of responsible forest management and certification in China.”

Link to further information
FSC media release, 25 June 2007

BRAZILIAN SENATE APPROVES PROCUREMENT BILL ON LEGALLY-SOURCED WOOD
On 30 May 2007, the Brazilian Senate voted and ratified a bill amending the National Procurement Act, to include an article requiring proof of the legality of the source of wood used in public construction and infrastructure projects. This followed initiatives by IUCN – the World Conservation Union, WWF and Greenpeace, in collaboration with senators from the state of Acre, Brazil.

Link to further information
IUCN media release, 12 June 2007

MAY 2007

US WINERY FIRST TO EARN CORK CERTIFICATION
Willamette Valley Vineyards, in Turner, Oregon, US, is the first winery in the world to earn chain-of-custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for using cork stoppers harvested from responsibly managed forestlands.

Link to more information
Rainforest Alliance news release, 22 May 2007

NEW TOOL HELPS PAPER INDUSTRY RATE ENVIRONMENTAL RISK
WWF launched a Paper Scorecard Tool to help paper producers score the environmental quality of their products. The tool covers the main environmental impacts of paper production, such as forest management and efficient use of fibers, carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use that contributes to climate change, and pollution from chlorinated compounds and waste.

Link to further information
WWF Media Release, 21 May 2007

APRIL 2007

INDIGENOUS LANDS AND PROTECTED AREAS UNDER THREAT IN BRAZILIAN AMAZON – WWF-BRAZIL
WWF–Brazil reports that developers, farmers, cattle ranchers, illegal loggers, and others are increasingly encroaching upon protected areas and indigenous lands in the Brazilian state of Rondonia. The report points to the lack of financial resources for enforcement of environmental legislation.

Link to further information
WWF Media Release, 25 April 2007

SPANISH PRADO MUSEUM TO USE FSC-CERTIFIED TIMBER
The extension of the Spanish Prado art museum is the first major Spanish construction project to include significant amounts of FSC-certified sustainable timber. The Rainforest Alliance’s Smartwood Programme reports that this project has led the trend toward sustainable timber sourcing in Spain.

Link to further information
Rainforest Alliance Media Release, 18 April 2007

US TRADE PANEL INVESTIGATES ILLEGAL LOGGING COMPLAINTS
The US International Trade Commission is investigating logging practices by China and other countries, after timber-producing states complained that as much as 30 percent of US hardwood imports are from suspicious or illegal sources. Industry groups say that illegally-harvested timber from some Latin American countries is sent to China for low-cost processing and then exported to the US and other countries.

Link to further information
International Herald Tribune news report, 18 April 2007

CHINESE WOOD-PROCESSING INDUSTRIES BLAMED FOR FORESTS LOSSES
Articles in the Washington Post and the Economist have highlighted the activities of Chinese logging companies in the Krang Skear forest, northwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. According to the articles, massive deforestation, often linked to corrupt practices, has resulted in large swaths of natural forest cut at alarming rates to feed a global wood-processing industry centered in coastal China. Processed wares mostly end up in offices and homes in Europe and the United States.

Links for further information
The Washington Post, 1 April 2007

The Economist article (requires paid subscription) 31 March 2007 Edition

MARCH 2007

AFRICA LOSING FORESTS FASTER THAN ANY OTHER CONTINENT � FAO REPORT According to the �State of the World�s Forests� report released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 13 March 2007, Africa lost over nine percent of its trees between 1990 and 2005, representing over half of global forest loss. The report points to weak implementation and law enforcement as causes, despite forests obtaining greater political support and commitment in Africa. The survey also highlighted positive actions in Latin American countries, including a large increase in forest area designated for biodiversity conservation.

Links to further information
FAO Media Release, 13 March 2007
SciDev.Net Media Release, 15 March 2007

COLOMBIA EXPANDS AMAZON PROTECTION
A new national park, the Complejo Volcanico Do�a Juana-Casacabel National Natural Park, was designated in south-west Colombia, covering 65,858 hectares of Amazonian forests. The creation of this park adds to the more than 11 million hectares of protected areas throughout the country.

Link to further information
WWF Media Release, 23 March 2007

100,000 DUTCH HOUSES TO BE BUILT FROM FSC-CERTIFIED TIMBER FROM BORNEO
During the �Jakarta Conference: Linking Dutch Markets to Borneo�s Sustainable Forest,� held in Jakarta from 26-29 March 2007, the Dutch housing associations committed to building 100,000 houses in the next five years using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber from Borneo, Indonesia. These houses will comprise 25 percent of the total number of houses to be built in the Netherlands over the next five years.

Link to further information
WWF Media Release, 26 March 2007

UNFF E-FORUM DISCUSSES COMMUNITY FOREST MANAGEMENT
The latest online discussion hosted by the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) asks �What are the main benefits and challenges associated with community-based forest management?�  This discussion forum aims to provide a platform for sharing experiences and knowledge in successful and failed activities, challenges and bottlenecks, and on enhancing efficiency and effectiveness.

Link to further information
UNFF online forum

FEBRUARY 2007

INVESTMENTS IN SAHEL SHOW POSITIVE ECONOMIC EFFECTS
The Inter-State Committee to Fight Drought in the Sahel (Comit� inter Etats de lutte contre la s�cheresse au Sahel, CILSS) has highlighted the positive economic effects of investment in the Sahel through a report on programmes against desertification in Niger, and has encouraged further investments in the region. 

Link to further information
IPS News Release, 25 February 2007

A THIRD OF BORNEO�S RAINFOREST TO BE CONSERVED
The three governments of the island of Borneo � Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia � signed a declaration to conserve and sustainably manage approximately 220,000 square kilometers of equatorial rainforests � almost a third of the island. The declaration put an end to plans to create the world�s largest palm oil plantation.

Link to further information
WWF Media Release, 12 February 2007

JANUARY 2007

RAINFOREST ALLIANCE HELPS LAUNCH SUSTAINABLE FURNITURE COUNCIL
The Rainforest Alliance is taking part in the Sustainable Furniture Council, a group of members of the home furnishings industry committed to promoting furniture that is produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Rainforest Alliance representatives will provide guidance and technical input as the Council identifies sustainable use practices. The Council is hoping to increase consumer awareness and demand for �green� or sustainable home products. It will become a legally chartered industry group in February 2007.

Link to further information
Rainforest Alliance Media Release, 29 January 2007

BRAZILIAN GOVERNMENT TO AUCTION TIMBER RIGHTS AND INCREASE MONITORING IN AMAZON; ATLANTIC FOREST LAW PASSED
In an attempt to create its first coherent, effective forest policy, the Brazilian government is reportedly planning to auction off timber rights to large tracts of the Amazon rainforest. The winning bidders will not have title to the land nor the right to exploit resources other than timber, and will pay a royalty on their activities. The government says the new title holders will be closely monitored by a new Forest Service consisting of 150 employees. The architects of the plan say it will also help reduce tensions over land ownership in the Amazon. The plan is reported to have received a mixed reception.

In other news, Brazilian President Luiz In�cio Lula da Silva signed a law providing guidelines for the protection and management of the Atlantic Forest. Although declared a national heritage in 1988, the law to protect the Atlantic Forest was held up in Congress for the past 14 years. The newly signed law aims to reverse the forest�s destruction by establishing strict regulations on how the forest can be used, limiting future development to sustainable projects, and providing tax incentives to property owners who agree to reserve or restore natural vegetation on their land.

Links to further information
New York Times article (requires free subscription), 14 January 2007
Conservation International media release, 17 January 2007

EU, INDONESIA TARGET ILLEGAL LOGGING
The EU and Indonesia have agreed to start negotiations on creating a voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) that would ensure that EU timber imports from Indonesia have been legally harvested. The VPA will be negotiated under the European Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme, which was established to improve developing country capacity to control illegal logging and reduce trade in illegal timber. The VPA includes measures such as a timber licensing scheme.

Link to further information
Environmental News Network article, 10 January 2007

UNFF-7 PROVISIONAL AGENDA, REPORT OF EXPERTS MEETING NOW AVAILABLE
The UN Forum on Forests Secretariat has posted the provisional agenda for the seventh session of the UNFF. At this session, the Forum will deliberate on, inter alia, its multi-year programme of work and a non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests. A multi-stakeholder dialogue is also planned for the session. The report of the ad hoc expert group that met in December 2006 to consider the content of the non-legally binding instrument is now available in an advanced unedited version.

Links to further information
UNFF-7 Session Documents
Report of the expert group meeting

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