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MEDIA REPORTS

FORESTS, DESERTS AND LAND

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2009

 

Forests, Deserts and Land Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

DECEMBER 2009

NORWAY LAUNCHES CLIMATE GROUP ON FORESTS
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced, on 22 December 2009, that he would put together a group of rainforest countries, including Brazil, Indonesia, Guyana, Gabon and Papua New Guinea, with the goal of ensuring that efforts against deforestation will be central in a climate agreement in Mexico in 2010.

In related news, during the Copenhagen negotiations, Australia, France, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States collectively agreed to dedicate US$3.5 billion as initial public financing between 2010-2012 for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, including conservation, sustainable forest management (SFM) and stock enhancement).

 

Links to further information
Norwegian Government website, 22 December 2009

UK Government press release, 16 December 2009

SEPTEMBER 2009

FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AND GOVERNANCE INITIATIVE FOR AFRICA, CARIBBEAN AND PACIFIC LAUNCHED
The Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Support Programme for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP-FLEGT) has been launched and is issuing its first call for pilot projects and technical assistance proposals. The Programme, a collaborative effort among the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the European Commission, and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), is a four-year initiative with two components: providing assistance to ACP countries to put into practice the European Union’s FLEGT Action Plan; and supporting the collection, analysis and dissemination of FLEGT-related information and lessons leaned among stakeholders in ACP countries.

Links to further information
ACP-FLEGT website

ACP-FLEGT call for proposals

AUGUST 2009

ITTO FUNDS PROJECTS ON FOREST GOVERNANCE AND BUILDING A VOLUNTARY CARBON MARKET SCHEME
The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) has disbursed funds to initiate implementation of two projects under its new thematic programmes, Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (TFLET) and Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Environmental Services in Tropical Forests (REDDES). The funded projects aim to strengthen the capacity of local communities to manage their forests in Chaiyaphum Province, Thailand, and to build a voluntary carbon marketing scheme to promote SFM.

Link to further information
ITTO media release, 19 August 2009

JULY 2009

ITTO AWARDS FELLOWSHIPS FOR FOREST-RELATED ACTIVITIES
The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) awarded twenty-three fellowships in June 2009, offered through the Freezailah Fellowship Fund. The fellowships aim to promote human resource development and to strengthen professional expertise in member countries in tropical forestry and related disciplines. Activities sponsored through the fellowships include: attending various forest-related conferences, including the 13th World Forestry Congress in Argentina in October 2009; attending courses and undertaking post-graduate degrees in, inter alia, forest ecosystem and climate change management, climate change and desertification, and climate change and development; and preparing and publishing documents. All together, the fellowship recipients represent thirteen different countries and include seven female fellows.

Link to further information
ITTO media release

JUNE 2009

UNCCD MARKS WORLD DAY TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION, DRYLANDS PROJECTS ANNOUNCED
The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) selected the theme “Conserving land and water = Securing our common future” for the 17 June celebration of World Day to Combat Desertification. The 2009 Day marks 15 years since the Convention was adopted and opened for signature. To mark the Day, the heads of a number of UN agencies discussed the linkages between efforts to address desertification and climate change, agricultural productivity, and the alleviation of poverty.

A number of projects were also announced, including a joint statement, the UNCCD and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) announcing that they have agreed to develop a US$7.5 million project to support countries to meet their obligations under the Convention. The project will be implemented in collaboration with UNEP/GEF, and will assist parties to the UNCCD to set up or strengthen national monitoring and assessment systems, enabling them to report back to the COP on the status of implementation of their National Action Programmes in the context of their national sustainable development objectives.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced the findings of the US$10 million Desert Margins Programme (DMP), led by UNEP in partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and with support from the GEF. This project has involved nine pilot countries in Africa and has employed technologies that combine modern science with traditional and indigenous knowledge in an effort to identify anti-desertification strategies.

And Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), highlighted UNESCO’s global research project “Sustainable Management of Marginal Drylands” (SUMAMAD), which pools the expertise of dryland scientists and environmental experts from Belgium, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Syria and Uzbekistan to promote the conservation of soil and water resources in drylands. He said the second phase of this project would cover 2009-2013, and will also develop climate change scenarios so that policy-makers and dryland communities are better able to respond and adapt to the challenges posed by climate change and desertification. Matsuura also announced the publication of a “Teaching Resource Kit for Dryland Countries,” that is available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish, and targets secondary school environmental education by stimulating pupils’ curiosity and appealing to their artistic sensibilities to better transmit scientific and environmental knowledge.

Links to further information
UNCCD World Day to Combat Desertification webpage
UNEP World Day to Combat Desertification webpage
UNESCO Director-General’s message

Joint statement by the GEF and UNCCD

WHITE PAPERS FOR UNCCD SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE OPEN FOR REVIEW
The Dryland Science for Development Consortium (DSD), which is helping to organize the first scientific conference for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s (UNCCD) Committee on Science and Technology (CST), has invited scientific colleagues and stakeholders of the UNCCD to review the drafts of scientific analysis papers that will feed into the 22-24 September 2009 conference on “Bio‐physical and socioeconomic monitoring and assessment of desertification and land degradation, to support decision-making in land and water management.” The Conference, popularly known under the shorter title “Understanding Desertification and Land Degradation Trends,” will take place at the ninth session of the UNCCD Conference of Parties in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In preparation for the Conference, three Working Groups have drafted ‘white papers’ summarizing leading scientific knowledge relevant to the topic assigned by the Convention that leads towards recommendations that can support decision making in land and water management by the Convention and its Parties. The drafts will be open for review by scientists and stakeholders worldwide from 28 May-28 June 2009.

Link to further information
DSD website
UNCCD First Scientific Conference website

APRIL 2009

UNCCD SEEKS COMMENTS ON DRAFT COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification Secretariat is seeking comments on the draft Communication Strategy that it has prepared, following Decision 3 of the eighth Conference of the Parties, which took place in September 2007. Comments are requested by 30 April 2009.

Link to further information
UNCCD Draft Communication Strategy website

WORLD BANK CLIMATE INVESTMENT FRAMEWORK REQUESTS FEEDBACK ON FOREST PROGRAM
The World Bank is seeking feedback on the design documents for its Forest Investment Program (FIP), a part of its Climate Investment Framework (CIF) that seeks to pilot and demonstrate new approaches to forest management that lead to major impacts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forests. The deadline for comments on the design documents is 6 April 2009. A revised document will then be prepared for approval at the final design meeting, to be held on 7-8 May 2009, in Washington DC, US.

Link to further information
World Bank CIF website

MARCH 2009

LIBERIA AND EC AGREE TO NEGOTIATE VPA ON FLEGT
Liberia and the European Community (EC) agreed to commence negotiations on a voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) under the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade programme. A joint statement from both governments, issued on 31 March 2009, notes that the main objectives of the VPA will be to help Liberia maintain and secure markets and to promote verified legal timber, in congruence with Liberia’s objective of ensuring sustainable forest management.

Link to further information
Liberia and EC Joint statement, 31 March 2009

FAO AND FINLAND DEVELOP SFM PARTNERSHIP
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Government of Finland have established a €14 million partnership titled “Sustainable Forest Management in a Changing Climate.”
The partnership aims to assist developing countries in protecting forest resources and building livelihoods around sustainable forestry. The programme will enhance the collection and analysis of forest data, as well as bolster skills for sustainable forest management (SFM). Spanning four years initially, the programme will be launched with three to six developing countries as pilot cases, to be chosen in the coming weeks. Lessons learned will then be disseminated among FAO global networks.

Link to further information
FAO press release, 27 March 2009

EC RELEASES REPORT ON SOILS’ ROLE IN CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION

The European Commission (EC) has released a report that underlines the role that soils can play in mitigating climate change. The report “Review of existing information on the interrelations between soil and climate change,” is a synthesis of the best available information on the links between soil and climate change, and highlights that soils contain around twice the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and three times the amount to be found in vegetation. The authors underline the need to sequester carbon in soils, adding that the technique is cost competitive and immediately available, requires no new or unproven technologies, and has a mitigation potential comparable to that of any other sector of the economy.

Links to further information
CLIMSOIL study
Europa press release, 5 March 2009

FEBRUARY 2009

EU, CHINA ESTABLISH BILATERAL FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AND GOVERNANCE MECHANISM
China and the European Commission have signed an EU-China bilateral coordination mechanism on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG). The mechanism provides a framework for policy dialogue and joint activities on timber legality verification, supply chain transparency, and public and private procurement policies. The agreement was signed on 30 January 2009.

Link to further information
ITTO Tropical Timber Market report, 1-15 February 2009

EC PARLIAMENT CONSIDERING ILLEGAL LOGGING PROPOSAL
The European Parliament and Council are currently considering adopting proposals for new legislation designed to remove illegal timber from the supply chains of products destined for the European market. The proposed legislation places a direct obligation on European operators, specifically primary producers and European importers, to implement a �due diligence system� to minimize the risk of any illegal wood entering their supply chain. Under the proposed legislation, the EC would provide guidelines, but individual Member States would be responsible for enforcement and imposition of sanctions. The proposed legislation has received mixed reviews from EU politicians and environmental groups, with some arguing that the proposals do not go far enough to combat trade in illegally sourced wood, and that the systems might vary widely between Member States.

Link to further information
ITTO Tropical Timber Market report, 1-15 February 2009

UNFF TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS ON FOREST FINANCE, UNFF8 DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE
The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) will hold an informal consultation to further the work of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Expert Group to Develop Proposals for the Development of a Voluntary Global Financial Mechanism/Portfolio Approach/Forest Financing Framework. The consultation will convene from 12-13 March 2009, at Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, prior to FAO�s 19th meeting of the Committee on Forestry (COFO). The Expert Group had originally met in 2008 to discuss proposals on financing sustainable forest management, a principal agenda item for the Forum�s eighth session, to be held from 20 April-1 May 2009, in New York.

In other UNFF news, the Secretariat has made available session documents in preparation for UNFF8. The Secretariat has posted the provisional agenda, a Secretariat note on forests in a changing environment, and reports from countries, regions and multi-stakeholder dialogues. Included also are responses from member States and major groups on proposals for financing sustainable forest management.

Link to further information
UNFF website

MCPFE EXTERNAL REVIEW BEGINS
The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) is undergoing an external review in 2009. The aim of the review is to provide a basis for decisions on the future strategic direction of the MCPFE, and will involve signatories as well as stakeholders. The report is expected before the next Expert Level Meeting, scheduled for 24-25 November 2009.


Link to further information

MCPFE Media Release

JANUARY 2009

IFAD ANNOUNCES FINANCING FOR RURAL, LAND DEGRADATION PROJECTS
The Executive Board of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has approved US$258 million in new funding to reduce rural poverty in 16 developing countries, as noted by IFAD President Lennart B�ge. It is estimated that 75% of the world�s poorest people, around 1 billion, live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. IFAD hopes to support economic activities for an estimated 60 million of people through the projects. IFAD has also
announced it will provide US$16 million, in the form of a US$8 million loan and US$8 million grant, to support the second phase of a rural rehabilitation and development project in Niger. The project will establish local funds to finance the collective investments of 56 rural communes and empower them to decide on their agricultural priorities, in-line with the Government�s push for greater decentralisation. The project also seeks to reduce or reverse land degradation by promoting sustainable land management.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 15 January 2009

UN News Centre, 19 December 2008

DIGITAL MAP OF AFRICA�S DEPLETED SOILS TO BE PRODUCED
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), a research center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), will produce a detailed digital soil map of 42 sub-Saharan countries. The project, named the African Soil Information Service (AfSIS), will provide information necessary to overcome soil depletion and improve crop production through better soil management. AfSIS is supported through a four-year grant of US$18 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. The project will use innovative technologies such as remote sensing via satellite and infrared spectroscopy to analyze the chemical and physical properties and organic matter of soil samples. This information will be made available via the Internet and ultimately will become part of a global soil mapping initiative called GlobalSoilMap.net.

Links to further information
CIAT press release
AfSIS website

UNECE, FAO LAUNCH INDICATORS DATABASE FOR SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF EUROPEAN FORESTS
The Timber and Forestry programme of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) have released a new web-based resource tool to enable researchers, policymakers, practitioners and the general public to access data on Europe�s forests. The database includes information on the balance of carbon in forest ecosystems, forest health condition, status of forest biodiversity, aspects of production, and protected forest areas, as well as social and economic aspects of the forestry sector.

The database is a comprehensive research tool based on the report �State of Europe�s Forests 2007,� and includes information collected by hundreds of individuals and dozens of agencies. It makes information available for 27 quantitative indicators, structured by six criteria for sustainable forest management endorsed by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe.

In line with the structure of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, the data illustrate trends of chosen variables for the years 1990, 2000 and 2005. It is expected that this series will be continued. The interface enables online review and simple analysis, but also allows selective extraction of the requested data in different formats.

Links to further information
Indicators Database
UNECE Press Release

FAO RELEASES FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE VIDEO
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UN), with the Forestry Commission of the United Kingdom, has produced a 17-minute video on �Forests and Climate Change: a Convenient Truth.� The video shows how forests can contribute to the mitigation of climate change, stressing the importance of reversing forest loss. The video explains how society can combat climate change by conserving and managing existing forests, by tackling causes of deforestation and by planting new forests. It stresses the use of wood as a renewable energy source and as a raw material. A section on adaptation notes how the world�s changing climate will affect the health and composition of forests and stresses the importance of adapting and planning ahead for the changes. The DVD is available in all UN languages, as well as Italian.

Links to further information
FAO Press Release
The Video

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