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Forests, Deserts, Land


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December 2007

CONFERENCE ADDRESSES TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE

A conference entitled “Sustainable Forest Management and Poverty Alleviation: Roles of Traditional Forest-related Knowledge (TFK)” was held in Kunming, China from 17-20 December 2007. With a focus on Asia, 150 conference participants from 20 countries identified opportunities for the forest science community to contribute to the revitalization of traditional forest-related knowledge, including by: documenting TFK in close partnership with holders and users of this knowledge; researching traditional forest management and conservation practices that help to elucidate the ecological underpinnings of TFK; and integrating TFK into forestry curricula. This conference was jointly organized by the Chinese Academy of Forestry, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations' (IUFRO) Task Force on Traditional Forest Knowledge, and the Asia-Pacific Association of Forestry Research Institutions (APAFRI) with the cooperation of and funding from several other organizations. Link to further information The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO)..., 2008
UNFF 8 BUREAU DISCUSSES TRUST FUND

The Bureau of the Eighth Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) met on 17 December 2007, in New York, US. The Bureau discussed a number of upcoming activities for 2008, including region- and country-led initiatives on regional processes, forest governance and decentralization in Africa, and finance. In discussing the UNFF Trust Fund, Bureau members noted the need for additional funding to cover temporary staffing and travel support for representatives from developing countries and countries with economies in transition to attend Forum sessions and expert meetings. Link to further information UNFF 8 Bureau minutes
FORESTS HIGH ON BALI CLIMATE CONFERENCE AGENDA

Running parallel to the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, a “Forest Day” event was organized on 8 December 2007 by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and co-hosted by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. The first of its kind, Forest Day was attended by more than 800 people, including scientists, policymakers and representatives from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. With widespread recognition of the key role that forests play in both mitigation and adaptation to climate change, Forest Day was convened as a platform for multi-stakeholder discussion to help shape the global forest agenda. Included in the event were 25 side events and sessions on four cross-cutting themes: methodological challenges in estimating forest carbon; market and governance; equity versus efficiency; and adaptation. A number of side events held at the Climate Change Conference also focused on reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), with speakers, inter alia, proposing new tropical deforestation emission reduction schemes, describing the political economy of avoided deforestation, and urging private sector participation. In addition, a study was released by the World Agroforestry Center, CIFOR and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture showing that, in many cases, activities resulting in deforestation rarely returned more that US $5 for every ton of carbon they released, while a ton of carbon on the European market is currently trading at 23 euros. Another study by New Forests showed that REDD can compete well against other land uses except for palm oil, which was still much more profitable. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of Forest Day IISD RS coverage of UN Climate Change Conference side events CIFOR media release, 5 December 2007

November 2007

UNCCD ESCOP ADOPTS BUDGET

The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), at its eighth meeting in Madrid, Spain, agreed to hold an Extraordinary Session of the COP (ESCOP) to complete consideration of agenda item 6 on the programme and budget for the biennium 2008-2009. The ESCOP convened at UN headquarters in New York, US, on 26 November 2007. Delegates undertook extensive consultations and adopted a decision that increases the budget by 4% (euro value) for the biennium 2008-2009, with 2.8% to be assessed from all parties and 1.2% to be contributed a voluntary contribution. The ESCOP was gaveled to a close at 3:58 am. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
SCIENTISTS CALL FOR CROP RESEARCH ON ADAPTATION

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) organized an International Symposium on Climate Change from 22-24 November 2007, to coincide with the 35th Annual Day celebrations of the Institute. The symposium brought together experts from the 15 international agricultural research centers under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) as well as other scientists to discuss their research on adaptation needs related to their mandate crops. Martin Parry, Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), delivered the keynote address on ‘The Implications of Climate Change for Crop Yields, Global Food Supply and Risk of Hunger.' Parry and William Dar, Director-General of ICRISAT and current Chair of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification's Committee on Science and Technology, emphasized the need to focus crop research on adaptation to environmental stress, such as rising temperatures and water scarcity. Link to further information ICRISAT press release, 22 November 2007
PALM OIL CERTIFICATION SCHEME LAUNCHED

About 540 participants attending the Fifth Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil, held from 20-22 November 2007 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, witnessed the launch of a certification scheme for the sustainable production of palm oil. Development of the certification process, which is expected to produce certified palm oil in the first quarter of 2008, followed weeks of intense criticism by environmental groups that palm oil production is destroying natural habitats for wildlife and indigenous peoples, and contributing to global warming. Links to further information Fifth Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil meeting website Bridges Trade BioRes, Vol. 7, No. 2, 30 November 2007
AFRICAN WORKSHOP ADDRESSES ROLE OF WOMEN IN FORESTRY

Representatives of national forest services, international organizations and universities attended a workshop on gender in forestry in Africa, held from 12-13 November 2007, in Accra, Ghana. The workshop, organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the University of Ghana, the Center for International Forestry Research and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, reviewed studies carried out on gender in forestry in ten African countries, formulated recommendations for better inclusion of women in forest management and discussed the creation of local networks of women in forestry. Link to further information FAO Media Release, 12 November 2007
ITTO COUNCIL COMMITS $10.1 MILLION IN FUNDS FOR TROPICAL FORESTS

The forty-third session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-43) took place from 5-10 November 2007, in Yokohama, Japan. The Council approved 15 projects and three pre-projects, and pledged US$ 5.6 million in project financing. The Council also approved the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Biennial Work Programme (BWP) for 2008-2009, with a total budget of US$ 9.2 million. Part of the funding announced at this session included US$ 4 million targeted at Tropical Forest Law Enforcement and Trade, provided by a major contribution by the Netherlands coupled with Japan, the US, Australia, Norway and the Japan Lumber Importers Association. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
EUROPEAN MINISTERS ADOPT RESOLUTIONS ON ROLE OF FORESTS IN WOOD-BASED BIO-ENERGY AND WATER PROTECTION

At the Fifth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE 5), held from 5-7 November 2007 in Warsaw, Poland, European ministers responsible for forests adopted the Warsaw Declaration and Resolutions on “Forests, Wood and Energy” and “Forests and Water.” The documents focus on the role of forests in energy production, mitigating climate change and protecting water quality and quantity. Ministers also adopted Ministerial Statements on the Southern European forest fires and on declaring 20-24 October 2008 as the Pan-European Forest Week 2008. The conference, centered on the theme “Forests for Quality of Life,” was attended by ministers and high-level representatives of 44 European countries and the European Community, as well as representatives of 14 observer countries and 31 observer organizations. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

October 2007

WORLD BANK AND IMF ANNUAL MEETINGS ADDRESS POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGIES, CLIMATE CHANGE AND AFRICAN AGRICULTURE

The Development Committee, a joint ministerial committee of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), met on 21 October 2007 in Washington DC, US, during the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF. Among the issues highlighted by the Committee were the “need to sharpen the focus of poverty reduction strategies on stronger, shared, private sector-led growth, to link these strategies better to budgetary frameworks, and to implement them effectively.” They also emphasized the importance of relying on country-based models and strong country ownership for improving aid effectiveness and harmonization, and called on donors to meet their respective commitments to scale up aid for development, improve aid predictability and address financing gaps for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Regarding clean energy and climate change, the Committee asked the World Bank to increase its support for access to modern, cost-effective, clean energy, especially among the poorest and in Sub-Saharan Africa, and to develop a strategic framework for Bank Group engagement in climate change, including support for developing countries' efforts to adapt to climate change and to achieve low-carbon growth while reducing poverty. World Bank President Robert Zoellick also told the Development Committee that “We need a 21st century ‘green revolution' designed for the special and diverse needs of Africa,” and promoted initiatives to boost Africa's agriculture sector by investing in land management, strengthening local markets and encouraging private investments in the sector. Links to further information IMF/World Bank Development Committee Communiqué, 21 October 2007 World Bank Clean Energy for Development Investment Framework..., 28 September 2007 JapanToday.com News Story, 22 October 2007
FAO CONFERENCE ADDRESSES FUTURE OF ASIAN FORESTS

About two hundred and fifty experts from throughout the Asia-Pacific region participated in the conference “The future of forests in Asia and the Pacific: Outlook for 2020,” which took place from 16-18 October 2007 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Conference participants assessed the likely changes in the impact of societal demands on forests and how to address the emerging challenges and opportunities. During the meeting, UN forestry experts said that Asian countries would need to make dramatic adjustments in how they manage forests in the face of rapid globalization. The conference was organized as part of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission's Forestry Sector Outlook Study. Links to further information FAO News Release, 16 October 2007 Meeting website
ECOSOC DEFERS DECISION ON UNFF 7 REPORT, UNFF 8 BUREAU CHAIR SELECTED

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), at its meeting on 4-5 October 2007, deferred adoption of the report of the seventh session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 7), after having already deferred the matter from its July 2007 session, to allow the UN Secretariat more time to accurately reflect changes made to the Program and Budget Implications. The Council did adopt two decisions, establishing two-year terms for UNFF Bureau members and setting the dates for the eighth session of the Forum (20 April to 1 May 2009). The Council is expected to reconvene and adopt the report in the coming weeks. In other UNFF news, UNFF 8 Bureau members, at a 6 September 2007 meeting, selected Boen Purnama (Indonesia) to act as the Chair of the Bureau. UNFF 8 will formally elect its Chair on its opening day, in April 2009. Links to further information ECOSOC News Release, 4 October 2007 UNFF Bureau meeting minutes, 6 September 2007
UNFF BUDGET CONSULTATIONS CONTINUE

Informal consultations on the updated Program and Budget Implication (PBI) of the outcomes of the seventh session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 7) continued at UN headquarters in New York, US, on 1 October 2007, after having first convened earlier in September 2007, under the chairmanship of Hans Hoogeveen, UNFF 7 Chair. The updated PBI, released in July 2007, added several budget implications to the original PBI, which was produced following the adoption of a non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests and a multi-year programme of work at UNFF 7. The July 2007 updated PBI included the addition of five new posts at the UNFF Secretariat and a number of expert group meetings in preparation for UNFF 8 in 2009. Delegates attending the informal consultations in September expressed the need to strengthen the Secretariat, from existing resources within the UN and the UNFF Trust Fund, to assist in the implementation of the Forum's commitments. Delegates also encouraged the reallocation of posts within the UN to the UNFF Secretariat and secondment of posts from members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, thus requesting the Secretariat to “neutralize” the updated PBI. Consultations held on 1 October focused on ensuring that the appropriate UN offices were able to follow the guidance of the member States to offset the July PBI (IISD RS Sources).

September 2007

ITTO HOSTS MEETINGS ON NON-TIMBER AND TEAK FOREST PRODUCTS

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) hosted an international conference to promote the development of tropical non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and services. The 23-28 September 2007 conference met in Beijing, China, with a field visit to Hangzhou. Through panel discussions and keynote presentations, participants shared experiences in promoting tropical NTFPs in domestic and international trade, and made recommendations on policy and other measures to promote their sustainable production and sustainable provision of forest services. In other ITTO news, with the Kerala Forest Research Institute, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations and the government of India, hosted a regional workshop on processing and marketing of teak wood products from planted forests. The workshop, which took place from 25-28 September 2007, in Peechi-Kerala, India, addressed the use of innovative technologies for quicker teak production and processing with value addition for better marketing. Link to further information ITTO website
CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE GENERATES 245 COMMITMENTS TO ACTION

The third annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative convened in New York, US, from 26-28 September 2007. Participants made 245 commitments to take specific action related to the four focus areas: education, energy and climate change, global health, and poverty alleviation. Among the commitments are: US$ 150 million funded by the Geothermal Power Company of Iceland to help countries in the African Rift Valley to develop their geothermal energy resources; Swiss Re will offer its expertise and a dedicated team of specialists to develop, structure, price and implement innovative financial risk transfer solutions, such as weather index insurance, that support adaptation to the consequences of climate change in low-income countries; and IUCN-World Conservation Union, the Swiss government, Mava Foundation and Holcim will work together in a US$ 36.2 million three year program to build an environmentally friendly new headquarters for the World Conservation Union on Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Swiss Re reports that the first phase of its Climate Adaptation Development Programme (CADP) will aim to provide financial protection against drought conditions for up to 400,000 people in Africa. In related news, Swiss Re has also announced that, together with the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Millennium Promise Alliance, it has provided weather derivative contracts protecting several villages in Kenya, Mali and Ethiopia against severe drought. Links to further information Clinton Global Initiative News Release, 28 September 2007 Swiss Re News Release, 27 September 2007 Swiss Re News Release, 6 September 2007
FOREST COMMITMENTS FEATURED AT CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE MEETING

Hundreds of international leading figures from government, industry, academia, philanthropy and civil society met at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, held in late September 2007 in New York, US. Among the commitments featured at the meeting was the commitment that the Indonesian government and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) made to address the role of forests in climate change. The commitment plans to analyze the options for including avoided deforestation into global and national climate policy and to ensure that the risks of such policies are not borne by those least able to afford them. Also during the meeting, the Rainforest Alliance announced a commitment to work with three global leaders in the forest products sector on increasing their use of wood from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The three companies, Domtar, Gibson Musical Instruments, and Time, pledged to increase their use of certified wood products over five years, and the Rainforest Alliance pledged to, inter alia, certify 170 million additional acres of forestland. Links to further information CIFOR News Release Rainforest Alliance News Release, 26 September 2007
UN Holds “Largest-Ever” Leaders' Meeting on Climate Change

September 2007: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has convened the largest-ever meeting of global political leaders on climate change. The event, which took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 24 September 2007, was attended by 80 heads of State or Government, and representatives from 150 countries. The event involved four plenary sessions focused on adaptation, mitigation, technology and financing. The meeting was entitled, “The Future in our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change.” “Today I heard a clear call from world leaders for a breakthrough on climate change in Bali,” Ban said at the conclusion of the meeting. The next major meeting on climate change will take in Bali in December 2007, when negotiators at the 13th session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will seek to agree on a framework for reaching agreement on combating climate change after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period ends. “We have come a long way in building understanding and a new consensus this year. More remains to be done, but this event has sent a powerful political signal to the world, and to the Bali conference, that there is the will, and the determination, at the highest level, to break with the past and act decisively,” Ban said. A Chair's summary of the 24 September meeting stressed the “clear call from world leaders for a breakthrough on climate change in Bali” and highlighted the need for swift action. It also noted the need to: make the Adaptation Fund operational as quickly as possible; achieve the Millennium Development Goals; halve emissions by 2050; limit temperature increase to 2°C; make deep emission reductions in industrialized countries; minimize emissions from deforestation; support and scale-up technological solutions and cooperation; improve energy efficiency; ensure that adequate resources are available for developing countries to combat climate change; and strengthen the Clean Development Mechanism. The Chair's summary concluded by noting that this event was not intended as an occasion for negotiations, but was meant to express the political will of world leaders at the highest level to tackle the problem. The summary added that the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Bali should be the “starting point for intense negotiations driven by an agreed agenda.” It stressed that these negotiations should be comprehensive, inclusive, and lead to a single multilateral framework, and that all other processes or initiatives should be compatible with the UNFCCC process and feed into it. While many world leaders attended this event, some media reports noted the absence of US President George Bush, who is hosting a meeting on climate change on 27 September, in Washington, DC. Links to further information Official event website Chair's Summary, 24 September 2007 UN news releases/reports from the event BBC news report, 24 September 2007
UNCCD COP 8 ASSESSING INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE

The eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 8) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is negotiating proposals that could alter its institutional structures. The meeting, which started on 3 September 2007, in Madrid, Spain, has already adopted a decision by its Committee on Science and Technology (CST) that calls for future sessions of the CST to be organized in a conference-style format, organized by the CST Bureau in consultation with a lead institution or consortium with experience related to the selected thematic focus. Decisions related to a ten-year strategic plan for the Convention, its Secretariat and Global Mechanism, as well as its national reporting process, are expected before the meeting ends on 14 September. Links to further information IISD RS coverage
UNCCD COP 8 ADOPTS TEN-YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN, DELAYS BUDGET DECISION

The eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 8) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which convened in Madrid, Spain, from 3-14 September 2007, approved twenty-nine decisions before the final gavel at 7:43 am on Saturday, 15 September. The decision on the ten-year strategic plan attracted the most attention from COP 8 delegates, because they saw it as an opportunity to refocus the Convention's institutions with the goal of furthering implementation. The decision on programme and budget, however, was not adopted. As a result, an Extraordinary COP will take place in New York, US, during the UN General Assembly to finalize this element of the decision. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
WORKSHOP ADDRESSES FOREST LAW COMPLIANCE AND GOVERNANCE

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines (DENR), organized a workshop on improving forest law compliance and governance, from 11-13 September 2007 in Manila, the Philippines. The 50 workshop participants, from government agencies, NGOs, and the private sector, identified the major obstacles to improving compliance and governance, and formulated concrete recommendations to surmount these barriers with a holistic strategy. Link to further information Meeting website
FOREST CONFERENCE ADDRESSES POVERTY REDUCTION, TENURE REFORM

Three hundred representatives from 46 countries participated in the conference “Poverty reduction and Forests: Tenure, Market and Policy Reforms,” held from 3-7 September 2007, in Bangkok, Thailand. After Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister, HE Paiboon Wattanasiritham, delivered an inaugural speech highlighting the importance of tenure security, participants shared experiences and lessons learned from pro-poor forestry, and took part in sub-sessions on, inter alia, decentralization, payment for ecosystem services and forest land allocation. Link to further information Conference website
SCIENTIFIC CONGRESS EXAMINES ROLE OF FORESTS IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) organized a European congress to help increase the understanding of the role of forests in rural development. The Congress, which convened in Warsaw, Poland, on 6-7 September 2007, focused on the role of research as a foundation for the development of forestry and rural development policies and the planning and management of natural resources. Four themes were addressed: policies supporting rural development; forests and rural development in light of global change; social aspects of forests and forestry; and the economic role of forests in rural development. Link to further information Congress website
MCPFE EXPERTS PREPARE FOR MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE

The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) Expert Level Meeting convened in Warsaw, Poland on 3–4 September 2007, to discuss such issues as preparations for the 5th Ministerial Conference, which will be held from 5–9 November 2007, also in Warsaw. The MCPFE experts addressed agenda items including the Ministerial Conference's commitments to Warsaw Resolutions 1 and 2, on “Forest, Wood and Energy” and “Forests and Water,” respectively. Link to further information MCPFE report
SOILS FORUM DEVELOPS PROGRAMME OF ACTION

The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland organized the International Forum on Soils, Society and Global Change to explore the synergistic roles of soil conservation and vegetation restoration in meeting local, regional and global environmental and social challenges. Working Groups at the 31 August - 4 September 2007 Forum in Selfoss, Iceland, identified key issues and related recommendations, together with a set of actions and modus operandi for implementing their recommendations. Additionally, forum participants accepted a Programme of Action summarizing key aspects of the working group outcomes. A book of conference proceedings that incorporate working group reports and presenters' papers will be released in late 2007 or early 2008. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

August 2007

AFRICAN TROPICAL FOREST INVESTMENT FORUM DOCUMENTS NOW AVAILABLE

Presentations and papers from the conference West and Central African Tropical Forest Investment Forum are now available online. The conference, organized by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the World Bank, the Ghana Forestry Commission, the African Development Bank and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, was held in Accra, Ghana, from 28-30 August 2007. Participants addressed issues and opportunities for investment in natural tropical forests in West and Central Africa, with a focus on small and medium enterprises in the promotion of sustainable forestry. Link to further information ITTO meeting website

July 2007

STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION DISCUSSES ILLEGAL LOGGING

The 10th illegal logging update and stakeholder consultation was held at Chatham House, London, England, from 9-10 July 2007. Participants discussed, inter alia, an update on the action plan of the EU Forest Law Enforcement and Governance and Associated Trade (FLEGT), procurement policies, and certification and markets. Link to further information Illegal Logging website
AU SUMMIT RECOMMENDS THAT SG APPOINT AN AFRICAN TO HEAD UNCCD

The 9th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) convened in Accra, Ghana, from 25 June to 3 July 2007. The Summit was devoted to a “Grand Debate on the Union Government,” with governments discussing the proposal to develop a pan-African government. Among other issues discussed, the Summit adopted a decision on the position of Executive Secretary for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), expressing appreciation and gratitude to the current Executive Secretary, Hama Arba Diallo, and recommending that the UN Secretary-General appoint another African to this post. Links to further information AU website Decisions taken by Summit

June 2007

FAO AND ITTO SPONSOR FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT WORKSHOP IN CENTRAL AMERICA

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) co-sponsored a regional workshop to promote better forest law compliance in the Central American region. The workshop, which convened from 27-29 June 2007, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, brought together over 60 experts from nine countries to discuss regional experiences in dealing with illegal logging and illegal timber trade, and to develop recommendations of best practices to improve forest law compliance. Honduran president José Manuel Zelaya Rosales addressed the workshop, stating that social change was needed to improve recognition of the importance of sustainable development and management of forest resources.

Link to further information ITTO media release
BALI WORKSHOP DISCUSSES MAINSTREAMING DRYLANDS INTO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORKS

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Drylands Development Centre, in collaboration with the UN Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD) Global Mechanism and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), convened an international workshop from 18-20 June 2007 in Bamako, Mali, gathering governments, civil society, bilateral and multilateral partners to discuss how environment and particularly drylands issues can be integrated into national development frameworks. The objectives of the workshop included: to validate mainstreaming generic guidelines; to promote a common understanding between UNDP and UNEP of the challenges and opportunities for mainstreaming drylands issues into national development frameworks; and to share experiences, lessons and best practices in the mainstreaming process. Link to further information UNDP Press release, 18 June 2007
CITES COP CONCLUDES WITH CONSENSUS ON AFRICAN ELEPHANT

The fourteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-14) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 3-15 June 2007, in The Hague, the Netherlands. The meeting achieved a hard-won consensus on the Strategic Vision, which sets out three strategic goals on: compliance and enforcement; securing financial resources; and CITES' role in the broader international environment agenda. Among other highlights, the meeting agreed that no cetacean species should be subject to periodic review while the International Whaling Commission moratorium is in place, and decided to list slender-horned and Cuvier's gazelles and slow loris on Appendix I (species endangered due to international trade, trade permitted only in exceptional circumstances), and Brazil wood, sawfish and eel on Appendix II (species that may become endangered if their trade is not regulated). Following the achievement of a landmark regional consensus on ivory trade by the African elephant range states, the meeting amended the annotation on African elephants to allow a one-off sale of ivory from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe with a nine-year resting period for further ivory trade. Delegates also agreed to additional trade restrictions for Brazilwood, which grows only in Brazil. Under the new provisions, the tree will be listed in CITES' Appendix II, meaning that trade in the species will be tightly controlled, while trade in finished products will remain exempted. Other timber species, including Spanish cedar and two species of rosewood, did not receive the same protection, but delegates agreed to establish a working group composed of officials from range states to consider alternative ways to protect the trees. CITES delegates also agreed to a US proposal to draw up an official memorandum of understanding to strengthen the relationship between the convention and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). CITES and the ITTO have worked together to help build the capacity of range states to conduct sustainable timber management. Link to further information IISD RS meeting coverage
EUROPEAN EXPERTS DISCUSS LINKAGES BETWEEN FORESTS, WATER AND ENERGY

The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) Expert Level Meeting met from 5-6 June 2007, in Warsaw, Poland, to decide on the main topics of the 5th Ministerial Conference, to be convened from 5-7 November 2007. Experts from 31 countries and 13 international organizations discussed the scope of the Ministerial Declaration and two Warsaw Resolutions, which address the linkages between forests and water, as well as wood biomass for energy. Link to further information MCPFE media release

May 2007

OSCE ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL FORUM FOCUSES ON LAND, SOIL AND WATER

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) 15th Economic and Environmental Forum, which convened in Prague, Czech Republic, from 21-23 May 2007, focused on “Key challenges to ensure environmental security and sustainable development in the OSCE area: Land degradation, soil contamination and water management.” The meeting focused on how the Organization can help its 56 participating States and 11 Partners for Co-operation tackle environmental security threats. The OSCE Spanish Chairmanship is developing an Environmental Security Strategy for the Organization that will be discussed during the year and debated at the OSCE Ministerial Council to be held in November in Madrid. Among the issues discussed was whether the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and OSCE should launch a capacity and institution building initiative in Central Asia to raise awareness on and strengthen implementation of the Convention, including through working with the countries in the region towards the creation of an International Centre for Monitoring Land Degradation and Desertification in Central Asia, with a regional workshop to be held as a first step in this direction. Participants at the first part of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum, held in January in Vienna, Austria, decided that a dialogue about such a Centre should begin. The Prague Forum reiterated this intent. Link to further information OSCE 15th Economic and Environmental Forum website
CONFERENCE DISCUSSES WOOD-BASED BIOENERGY

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) hosted an international conference on wood-based bioenergy in Hannover, Germany, from 17-19 May 2007. About 90 participants convened to discuss the use of logging and wood-processing residues and dedicated bioenergy timber plantations for energy generation and agreed, inter alia, that the international community should support the development of efficient and cost-effective wood-based bioenergy in tropical countries, and that the wood-based bioenergy sector needs to be developed on the basis of sustainable forest management. Link to further information Conference website
CONFERENCE ADDRESSES WILDLAND FIRE

The 4th International Wildland Fire Conference, held in Sevilla, Spain, from 13-17 May 2007, brought together over 1500 participants from 88 countries. Held under the auspices of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the European Commission, participants discussed the state-of-the-art in fire science, fire management and fire management training on all continents. Participants recommended the development of, inter alia: a global-scale international resource sharing strategy, by the international wildland fire community, to assist countries with fire management planning activities; regional fire management strategies designed for the specific needs of regions; and an international framework for fire management standards. Links to further information Conference website FAO New Release, 31 May 2007
TROPICAL TIMBER COUNCIL SELECTS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The forty-second session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-42), which took place from 7-12 May 2007 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, selected Emmanuel Ze Meka (Cameroon) as the new Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization, after much heated debate. Delegates also discussed issues concerning operational, project and policy work, including: forest law enforcement in the context of sustainable timber production and trade; CITES listing proposals; ITTO guidelines for the restoration, management and rehabilitation of degraded and secondary tropical forests; civil society/private sector partnerships for SFM; and developments in the UNFCCC regarding forests. Link to further information IISDRS coverage

April 2007

Delegates at UNFF-7 Begin Deliberations

April 2007: The seventh session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF-7) commenced this week at UN Headquarters in New York. Participants adopted an agenda that calls for them to formulate and adopt a multi-year programme of work (MYPOW), including a description and scheduling of the tasks for the period 2008-2015, and to conclude and adopt a non-legally binding instrument (NLBI) on all types of forests. A multi-stakeholder dialogue is also scheduled to present stakeholders' priority areas of action with respect to the MYPOW and salient themes and perspectives on the NLBI. Other agenda items include consideration of enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination, and provision of further guidance to the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). Preparatory meetings for UNFF-7 were held in Liberville, Gabon (3-4 April 2007) for African countries, and in Bogotá, Colombia (25-27 March 2007) for member countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO). Participants discussed the MYPOW, the NLBI, means of implementation and regional involvement. [IISD RS coverage][ECOSOC News Release, 13 April 2007]
UNFF7 ADOPTS INSTRUMENT ON FORESTS AND MULTI-YEAR PROGRAMME OF WORK

The seventh session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF7), which convened from 16-27 April 2007, at UN headquarters in New York, US, negotiated a non-legally binding instrument (NLBI) for sustainable forest management (SFM) for all types of forests and a Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW) for the period 2007-2015. Nearly 600 participants attended the two-week session, which focused on the Chair's composite NLBI draft text, forwarded from the ad hoc expert group meeting in December 2006, and a suggested draft text on the MYPOW. The final day of negotiations extended into the night, with both documents adopted by 6:00 am on Saturday, 28 April. Delegates also adopted the draft resolution to which the NLBI will be annexed, for consideration by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). During the meeting, delegates participated in two Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues, a panel discussion with member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and the launching of preparations for the International Year of Forests 2011. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
WORKSHOP ADDRESSES REDUCING EMISSIONS FROM TROPICAL DEFORESTATION

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Chatham House hosted a workshop on reducing emissions from tropical deforestation from 16-17 April 2007, at Chatham House in London, UK. Approximately 30 participants from governments, international and non-governmental organizations, and other experts discussed options for advancing negotiations on reducing emissions and explored the advantages and disadvantages of such options. Participants discussed, inter alia: drivers of deforestation and their implications; monitoring, definitions and reference periods; implementation and costs; specific national needs; and scope, demand and supply. Link to further information Workshop report

March 2007

UNU HOSTS BRIEFING ON SUSTAINABLE LAND MANAGEMENT

The UN University has hosted a briefing in New York, NY, to raise awareness about the fact that land degradation is a global concern primarily because of its effects on human beings and its linkages with global climate change. Participants at the 27 March 2007 meeting heard presentations on the global impacts of land degradation, a UNU programme on “Knowledge, Capacities and Networks for Sustainable Land Management,” and a UNU programme on “Land Degradation in the Pamir Alai Mountains of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia.” Link to further information Briefing website
UNCCD'S CRIC REVIEWS IMPLEMENTATION IN REGIONS OTHER THAN AFRICA

The fifth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC-5) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 12-21 March 2007, to review implementation of the Convention in affected country parties in regions other than Africa. Accordingly, the Committee discussed national reports and the results of regional meetings in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Northern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe. The meeting also addressed how to improve information communication and national reporting, reviewed the 2006 International Year for Deserts and Desertification (IYDD), and conducted a Global Interactive Dialogue with stakeholders, among other activities. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
FAO COMMITTEE ADDRESSES FORESTRY ISSUES

The eighteenth session of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Committee on Forestry (COFO) convenes this week at FAO headquarters in Rome (13-16 March, 2007). Participants from COFO member States will discuss, inter alia, forest health, forest tenure, fire management, small and medium-scale forest enterprises, voluntary guidelines, quantitative targets in forest policy, and social standards for sustainable certified forests. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
COMMITTEE ON FORESTRY RECOMMENDS ACTIVITIES FOR FAO

The eighteenth session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO18) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) convened at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 12-16 March 2007. In their final report, COFO delegates requested and recommended that FAO undertake numerous activities related to the issues debated during the meeting, including forests and energy, forest protection, putting forests to work at the local level, progressing towards SFM and shaping an action programme for FAO in forestry. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
AFRICAN GOVERNMENTS DISCUSS LOCAL COMMUNITY RIGHTS TO OWN AND MANAGE FORESTS

Government officials, researchers and civil society leaders from West and Central Africa convened on 13 March 2007, in Yaoundé, Cameroon, to discuss recognizing local community rights to own and manage forests, as a means to reduce poverty and conflict. Participants shared experiences and assessed the impact of recent reforms involving recognition of community-based property rights and devolution of management authority to indigenous and local communities. The meeting, organized by Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a coalition of local and international development and conservational organizations, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and IUCN-the World Conservation Union, also helped forge better understanding and cooperation among different constituencies seeking to achieve sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Link to further information CIFOR Media Release, 13 March 2007
GM FACILITATION COMMITTEE MEETS DURING CRIC

The Facilitation Committee (FC) of the Global Mechanism (GM) met on the sidelines of the fifth meeting of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC-5) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The 17th FC meeting convened on 12 March 2007, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, chaired by the World Bank and attended by the UN Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme, the Global Environment Facility Secretariat, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UNCCD Secretariat. FC members were informed that the GM is working on a six-year business plan, commencing in 2008, that will be presented to COP-8 in September 2007. The GM also announced that it is adopting a results-based work plan and budget for 2007, in collaboration with the UN Capital Development Fund, and informed the FC that a strategic programme on forests and their rehabilitation had been launched and would be further developed in cooperation with FAO and the World Bank.

Link to further information The Global Mechanism website

February 2007

COUNTRY-LED INITIATIVE ADDRESSES UNFF MULTI-YEAR PROGRAMME OF WORK

The Country-Led Initiative in Support of the Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW) of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF): Charting the Way Forward to 2015, met from 13-16 February 2007 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia. Over 150 experts from governments, international and regional organizations, and Major Groups gathered to explore, elaborate and develop a broader understanding of the possible concepts and elements to be included in the new MYPOW of the UNFF. The meeting was also intended to provide the seventh session of the UNFF (UNFF-7) with guidance regarding: the structure and substance of the MYPOW; inter-linkages between the MYPOW and the non-legally binding instrument (NLBI) on forests; strengthening the regional dimension in the work of the international arrangement on forests through the MYPOW; and possible approaches to accomplishing the global objectives on forests and the new principal functions of the UNFF. A Co-chairs' Summary Report was produced, which aims to provide a starting point for UNFF-7 deliberations on this topic. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

January 2007

WORKSHOP ADDRESSES EUROPE'S DEMAND FOR WOOD

The workshop “Mobilizing Wood Resources,” held from 11-12 January 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland, addressed the capacity of Europe's forests to satisfy the increasing demand for raw material and energy under sustainable forest management. One hundred stakeholders and country delegates presented on increasing wood mobilization and discussed opportunities and risks. The results of the conference will be considered by the 5th Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE), to be held in Warsaw, Poland in November 2007. Links to further information Meeting website MCPFE Press Release, 22 January 2007