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MEDIA REPORTS

FORESTS, DESERTS AND LAND

This page was updated on: 11/25/10

 

2010

 

Forests, Deserts and Land Media Reports Archives: 2009; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

Latest Media Reports

Options on Negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on European Forests Forwarded to Ministerial Meeting

World Bank Signs First ERPA on Soil Carbon in Africa

NOVEMBER 2010

Options on Negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on European Forests Forwarded to Ministerial Meeting

19 November 2010: FOREST EUROPE released a media notice, on 19 November 2010, noting that the FOREST EUROPE Working Group on preparing options for a decision on a possible legally binding agreement on forests in Europe has finalized its tasks. Documents prepared by the working group include: a non-paper on a possible legally binding agreement on forests in Europe; technical background for a ministerial decision on negotiating a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe; draft Oslo decision on opening negotiations on a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe; and consideration of possible rules of procedure for the Negotiating Committee to prepare a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe. The documents have been distributed for national consultations, and will be forwarded to the next FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference, which will be held on 14-16 June 2011, in Oslo, Norway. [The media release]

 

World Bank Signs First ERPA on Soil Carbon in Africa

November 2010: The World Bank signed the first African Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) on soil carbon for the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project, located on 45,000 hectares in the Nyanza Province and Western Province of Kenya. Small-holder farmers and small-scale business entrepreneurs are trained in cropland management techniques, which increase the yield of the land and generate additional sources of income for the farmers through the payment for environmental services in the form of carbon credits. The World Bank-administered BioCarbon Fund will buy the carbon credits, providing direct benefit to local communities of over US$350,000 with an initial payment of US$80,000 to be made in 2011. [World Bank press release]

OCTOBER 2010

International Forest Film Festival Calls for Entries

19 October 2010: As part of the celebrations planned for the International Year of Forests 2011, the UN Forum on Forests, with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, is organizing the International Forest Film Festival. The Festival’s theme is “Forests for People,” and has as subcategories for awards: 360 Degrees on All Things Forest; Living Forests; Issues & Solutions; Forest Hero; “This is my forest”; and Shorts. The Festival aims to raise awareness on the importance of forests, and humanity's relationship with them. The deadline for entry submission is November 30, 2010. Film screenings will take place from 24 January-4 February 2011, at UN headquarters in New York City, US. [Festival website] [International Year of Forests 2011 website]

 

World Bank receives pledge from Norway for Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund

9 October 2010: Norway has pledged US$30 million to the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), entrusted to the World Bank, with the aim of supporting Guyana’s policies for limiting greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and its progress in governance-related indicators. Guyana will invest the payments it receives, and any income earned on them, in its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). Norway’s payments to Guyana may amount to approximately US$250 million over the period to 2015, depending on Guyana’s performance according to a methodology set out by the two countries in November 2009. The partnership is based on the concept of “payment for ecosystem services” and aims to contribute to the creation of a global regime to assign economic value to standing forests. [World Bank press release]

SEPTEMBER 2010

Five New Countries Join UN-REDD as Partner Countries

3 September 2010: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Colombia and Guatemala have joined the UN-REDD Programme as partner countries.http://iisdrs.org/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif The Programme has nine pilot countries, where reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD)-readiness activities are taking place, and now 18 partner countries, which can take part in the Programme's online community of practice for sharing knowledge and networking. Partner countries can also take part in global and regional workshops, including technical workshops, and attend UN-REDD Policy Board meetings as official observers. [UN-REDD press release]

 

Global Mechanism Developing South-South Cooperation Web Portal

September 2010: The Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is developing a web-based, knowledge exchange tool to strengthen the role of local stakeholders in decision-making processes related to Sustainable Land Management (SLM). The scope|acp project is a component of the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries programme. The project is funded by the European Commission (EC). The Global Mechanism is currently developing the web portal's features, and is seeking feedback regarding its content and structure through a survey. [scope|acp web site]

JUNE 2010

EU Moves Towards Ban on Importing Illegal Timber

The European Council and European Parliament have signed a provisional agreement that would ban illegal timber from entering the EU. The provisional agreement contains two key provisions: the prohibition against bringing illegally logged timber into the European market; and the obligation that timber and timber products be traceable throughout the supply chain. It also includes a due diligence system where the importer bringing the timber into the European market must show that they have done everything possible to ensure the legality of the timber source, including conducting risk assessments based on all “relevant” information about the timber’s supply and source and attempting to mitigate those risks. The new agreement will reinforce forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) efforts, including voluntary partnership agreements between the EU and several countries. The Council and the Parliament have been negotiating this agreement for two years. The Parliament is expected to vote on the agreement on 7 July 2010. [ICTSD news release, 25 June 2010]

 

UN-REDD ACTIVITIES SUPPORT SAFEGUARDING MULTIPLE FOREST BENEFITS

7 June 2010: A recent editorial by the UN-REDD Programme Officer, Wahida Patwa-Shah, and UN-REDD Natural Resources Officer, Linda Rosengren, highlights activities supported by the UN-REDD Programme in their efforts to ensure that biodiversity and social safeguards are being met when implementing mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+). Activities in this vein include: developing a draft “do no harm” approach for minimal social standards related to governance, stakeholder livelihoods and policy coherence, as well as an accompanying risk assessment tool; developing maps that identify high biodiversity and high carbon overlaps to allow for informed decisions on the biodiversity benefits of prioritizing different areas for REDD+; and assessing the real costs of alternative uses of forests, including addressing who bears the cost of present or future changes in uses.

 

Link to further information

UN-REDD media release, 7 June 2010

MAY 2010

CAMEROON, EU SIGN TIMBER TRADE AGREEMENT

Cameroon and the European Union (EU) have signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) that seeks to ensure that only legally harvested timber from Cameroon enters the domestic or EU market. The VPA, which will be implemented in 2012, specifies that all wood products exported to the EU from Cameroon will require a license verifying the legal origin of the timber as well as proving that it was harvested in an ecologically-sound way that gives benefits back to forest communities. Civil society groups have praised the transparency of the negotiating process that led to the VPA. The EU has signed VPAs with two other African nations: Ghana and Republic of Congo.

 

Link to further information

ICTSD media release, 14 May 2010

 

UNEP-WCMC LAUNCHES CARBON AND CO-BENEFITS WEB SITE

The UN Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC), with support from the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), has launched a new website highlighting the potential for actions on maintaining natural carbon stocks to generate co-benefits, i.e. that are additional to climate change mitigation effects. The new UNEP-WCMC website demonstrates the utility of spatial analyses to assist decision makers in identifying areas where high carbon, high biodiversity priority and ecosystem service values overlap, in order to secure co-benefits. It showcases UNEP-WCMC’s recent work with in-country partners on developing such analyses and includes an interactive mapping tool that allows users to explore the spatial relationships between carbon and co-benefits.

 

Link to further information

Carbon, biodiversity & ecosystem services web site

APRIL 2010

DIALOGUE ON LARGE-SCALE INTERNATIONAL LAND ACQUISITIONS INITIATED

A partnership of civil society and intergovernmental organizations, the International Land Coalition (ILC), along with three regional farmers’ organizations and an international NGO, have initiated an international dialogue process on large-scale international land acquisitions. The goals of the dialogue are to amplify the voices of affected peoples who have been largely excluded from the discussions so far, and to widen the debate on how the international community should respond to this growing phenomenon. The global dialogue will have two stages: bringing together excluded groups for information-sharing and discussion of various possible responses; and broadening the dialogue with stakeholders involving multilateral and governmental organizations and the private sector. The dialogue will seek to enable a wider diversity of stakeholder groups to influence the nature of global responses to large-scale land acquisitions and to consider their alternatives. The initiators will expand into a Convening Committee during May 2010, with an aim to begin holding regional meetings, leading to a global dialogue meeting by the end of 2010.

The regional farmers’ groups participating in the dialogue are the Asia Farmers Association, Confederación de Organizaciones de Productores Familiares del MERCOSUR (COPROFAM) and Réseau des organisations paysannes et des producteurs agricoles de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA; Network of Peasants’ & Agricultural Producers’ Organizations of West Africa). The international NGO is ActionAid International (AAI).

 

Link to further information

Announcement, 23 April 2010

 

UNICEF ISSUES WARNING ABOUT MALNUTRITION CRISIS IN AFRICA DUE TO DESERTIFICATION

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that severe malnutrition is affecting an estimated 859,000 children under the age of five living in the Sahel region of Africa due to droughts and increasing desertification. The UN agency indicated that Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, northern Nigeria and Chad are suffering from severe malnutrition and will need support from donors to provide funds for humanitarian programmes. UNICEF indicated that only half of the funds sought to address the crisis have been raised. UNICEF spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume stressed that the ongoing drought in the Sahel region has created a food crisis that is already putting at risk the health of the region’s most vulnerable children.

 

Links to further information

UN News Centre, 9 April 2010

 

FAO: WORLD DEFORESTATION DECREASES, BUT REMAINS ALARMING IN MANY COUNTRIES

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has released the key findings of its 2010 Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2010). The report points out that global deforestation rates have declined in the past decade, but remain alarming in many countries. It states that 3 million hectares of forests were converted to other uses or were lost through natural causes each year between 2000 and 2010, with South America and Africa having the highest net annual loss of forests during that time. With extensive afforestation programmes in China, India and Viet Nam, the Assessment notes that Asia registered a net gain of 2.2 million hectares annually. It further notes that primary forests have decreased by more than 40 million ha since 2000, largely due to reclassification of primary forest to "other naturally regenerated forests" because of selective logging or other human interventions. The full report will be available in October 2010.

 

Links to further information

FAO media release, 25 March 2010

Key Findings of FRA 2010

 

UN-REDD AND INDONESIA COLLABORATE TO CURB DEFORESTATION

Indonesia and the UN-REDD Programme launched efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) in Indonesia by supporting the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry in their preparations for national REDD implementation. US$5.6 million, provided by the Norwegian Government, was allocated to help with policy preparation, testing of methodologies, and coordination between the different REDD initiatives in Indonesia. In launching the initiative, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan highlighted the importance of local communities in REDD, calling for REDD to help improve livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, as well as preserve forests and biodiversity.

 

Links to further information

Indonesian Embassy of Norway media release

UN-REDD News feed

MARCH 2010

FAO DIRECTOR-GENERAL PLANTS TREES IN HAITI

Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Jacques Diouf launched, with the Government of Haiti, the spring planting season by distributing seeds, fertilizer and tools to farmers at a ceremony during a recent four-day visit to Haiti. The Director-General also planted fruit trees with young people in the community of Croix-des-Bouquets, outside Port-au-Prince, and pledged FAO’s support to the Government’s campaign to plant 10 million trees, starting with fast-growing fruit trees that provide a quicker return on investment, and later including other tree species. The FAO had recently announced the launch of its “Fruit trees for Haiti” initiative to raise funds for fruit trees in school gardens and to build awareness of the role of trees in protecting the environment and reducing risks from hurricanes, flooding and erosion. 

 

Link to further information

FAO media release, 15 March 2010

 

UNECE AND FAO COLLECTING DATA ON EUROPE’S FORESTS

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have begun collecting data on the state of forests and forest management in Europe. Data will be collected from 46 countries in the European region, and will include information on forest health and vitality, productive and protective functions, biodiversity and social and economic dimensions of forest management.

 

UNECE/FAO have invited national correspondents to provide measurements of a variety of numeric data, such as forest carbon stock, timber trade and employment, as well as a description of policies, institutions and financial instruments.

 

The results of the data collection, which is performed every four years and is based on the pan-European Criteria and Indicators for sustainable forest management, will be presented in the “State of Europe’s Forests” report. This report will be released at the sixth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE), which will be held in Norway in 2011.

 

Link to further information

UNECE press release, 11 March 2010

 

WORLD BANK ANNOUNCES FIRST LARGE-SCALE FOREST CDM PROJECT REGISTERED IN AFRICA

The World Bank has presented Africa’s first large-scale forestry project to be registered under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The Humbo Assisted Natural Regeneration Project will bring environmental, economic and social benefits to poor communities in Ethiopia and is expected to cut an estimated 880,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next 30 years. The sale of carbon credits under the BioCarbon Fund will provide an income stream of over US$700,000 to the local communities over a minimum of ten years.

 

Link to additional information

World Bank press release, 3 March 2010

 

ITTO AND CBD SIGN COLLABORATION AGREEMENT

The Secretariats of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance their collaboration over the four coming years. The MoU, based on a request from the governing bodies of both secretariats, is aimed at facilitating the implementation of activities linked to the conservation and sustainable use of tropical forest biodiversity within the CBD and ITTO work programmes. Concrete joint activities for 2010 and 2011 include collaboration on the seamless bridging of the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010 and the International Year of Forests in 2011; the organization of an International Conference on Biodiversity Conservation in Transboundary Tropical Forests; the development, use and dissemination of publications of common interest; and the development of a support programme for the implementation of the CBD programme of work on forest biodiversity in ITTO member countries.

 

Link to further information

CBD communiqué, 2 March 2010

 

FAO CALLS FOR PROPOSALS FOR FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT PROGRAMME

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced the second call for proposals for pilot projects and technical assistance through the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Support Programme for African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP-FLEGT Support Programme). The four-year initiative has two main components: providing assistance to ACP countries in putting the European Union FLEGT Action Plan into practice, and supporting the collection, analysis and dissemination of FLEGT-related information and lessons learned among stakeholder groups in ACP countries.

 

Link to further information

The call for proposals

 

EIGHT COUNTRIES JOIN UN-REDD PROGRAMME POLICY BOARD

Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Republic of Congo, Solomon Islands and Sudan have been invited to join the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board. With these additions, there are now 13 UN-REDD observer countries, along with 9 pilot countries. While UN-REDD funding is programmed for the pilot countries, observer countries can take advantage of networking and knowledge-sharing benefits facilitated by the Programme. The Programme continues to consider requests from all countries.

 

Link to further information

UN-REDD media release

FEBRUARY 2010

UNCCD NATIONAL REPORTING AND REVIEW SYSTEM UNDERWAY

Parties at the ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 21 September-2 October 2009, adopted a new performance review and assessment of implementation system (PRAIS). To facilitate the new system, parties also called for a comprehensive capacity development programme. A large portion of the funding for the project was approved by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council on 4 February 2010, and the implementing and executing agencies have planned services to be rendered to affected country parties and other reporting entities in time for report submission scheduled for mid-July 2010, with a view to having reports reviewed by the early November 2010 session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC).

 

Link to further information

UNCCD PRAIS webpage

 

VCS AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND OTHER LAND USE METHODOLOGY UNDER REVIEW

An Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use methodology is being assessed under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) double approval process, and has been posted on the VCS website for a 30-day public comment period. This methodology is a “Baseline and monitoring methodology for conservation projects that avoid planned land use conversion in peat swamp forests, Infinite Earth, Ltd.”

 

Links to further information

The methodology
Full list of methodology elements available for public comment

 

FAO PUBLISHES WEBSITE ON ASSISTED NATURAL FOREST REGENERATION

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has published a new website on assisted natural regeneration (ANR) of forests. The website explains that ANR aims to accelerate, rather than replace, natural successional processes by removing or reducing barriers to natural forest regeneration such as soil degradation, competition with weedy species, and recurring disturbances. The website also lists benefits to ANR, including providing job opportunities for communities, increasing biodiversity, and increasing carbon sequestration.

 

Link to further information

The website

JANUARY 2010

CLIMATE INVESTMENT FUNDS EXTEND FUNDS TO EXPRESS INTEREST IN FOREST PILOT PROJECTS

The Carbon Investment Funds (CIF) have announced the extension of a deadline, to 1 February 2010, for eligible countries to submit expressions of interest to participate in the first projects to be funded by the Forest Investment Program (FIP). An Expert Group will be invited to recommend five pilots to the Sub-Committee and a list of up to three additional countries to be considered should funds become available to finance additional pilots or should some of the selected pilots prove not to be feasible.

 

Link to further information

FIP pilot programs

 

UNEP PUBLISHES ACP MEA PROJECT UPDATE

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Commission have released a newsletter on the Multilateral Environment Agreements in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP MEAs) Project. The newsletter contains an article by the Managing Director of the Global Mechanism (GM) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), describing the GM’s efforts to strengthen capacities of participating ACP country stakeholders by building partnerships on key cross-cutting and horizontal thematic issues that support the implementation process of the UNCCD. The newsletter also provides information on upcoming activities in the African, Caribbean and Pacific project hubs. 

 

Link to further information

African, Caribbean and Pacific Multilateral Environmental Agreements website

 

UN DECADE FOR DESERTS AND THE FIGHT AGAINST DESERTIFICATION COMMENCES

Following the December 2009 adoption by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) of the related decision, the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification (2010-2020) commenced on 1 January 2010. The decision designates the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification as the focal point for the decade, in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme, UN Development Programme, International Fund for Agricultural Development and other relevant UN bodies. States parties to the Convention, observers and other relevant stakeholders are encouraged to organize activities to observe the Decade “with the aim of raising awareness of the causes of and solutions to ongoing land degradation and desertification in the framework of the ten-year strategic plan and framework to enhance implementation of the Convention (2008-2018).”

 

Links to further information

Second Committee Decision A/C.2/64/L.67

UNCCD website

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