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Forests, Deserts, Land


Meetings from: 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 

December 2009

EU CLOSER TO FLEGT TRADING REGULATIONS

The EU Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries, held in Brussels, Belgium, from 14-16 December 2009, reached a partial political agreement on the text of a draft regulation laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market. According to the press release, agreement on the entire text could be reached during one of the Council's forthcoming meetings. The Council adopted the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Regulation in December 2005 and gave the Commission a mandate to open negotiations with third countries willing to enter into voluntary partnership agreements. Link to further information ITTO news release, 16 January 2010
FOREST DAY 3 SUPPORTS INCLUDING REDD+ IN CLIMATE AGREEMENT

The third Forest Day event convened in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 13 December 2009, taking place in parallel with the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Forest Day 3 was co-hosted by the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR), the Government of Denmark and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), a partnership of 14 forest-related international organizations. The 1600 registered Forest Day 3 participants heard keynote statements, discussed mitigation, adaptation and degradation in three subplenary sessions, and participated in eight learning events. The UN Forum on Forests, the International Tropical Timber Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and IUCN co-hosted a subplenary session on forest degradation, which explored, inter alia, the risks and benefits of different forest restoration objectives offered as incentives under the UNFCCC, and difficulties in measuring emissions from degradation. A summary statement from Forest Day 3 was developed based on participants' responses to a series of questions posed to the subplenary sessions, and was presented to Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, during the closing plenary. The statement indicates that participants supported including “REDD+ (including conservation, sustainable forest management (SFM) and stock enhancement)” in the climate change agreement. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

November 2009

UNFF CLI MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS ON FORESTS FOR PEOPLE

The Country-Led Initiative (CLI) in support of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) met from 17-20 November 2009, in Guilin, China, focusing on forests for people and the role of national forest programmes (NFPs) and the Non-Legally Binding Instruments on All Types of Forests (NLBI). Participants gathered to share experiences and lessons learned in the use of NFPs to achieve sustainable forest management (SFM) and as a means to implement the NLBI. During plenary, participants heard presentations on: forests for people in the context of the NLBI, NFPs and the UNFF; global and regional activities to promote forests for people contributing to the implementation of NFPs and the NLBI; and NFPs as a tool to facilitate stakeholder participation in promoting forests for people and implementing the NLBI. Delegates also heard country experiences and lessons learned in implementing NFPs and the NLBI to improve livelihoods and eradicate poverty. Throughout the meeting, participants also convened in working group sessions on: policy, legal and institutional frameworks; sustainable production of goods and services; national arrangements to mobilize finance; and capacity building and participatory approaches. A Co-Chairs' summary report, listing conclusions and recommendations of the meeting, was prepared and will be submitted for consideration by the UNFF at its ninth session in 2011. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
UNFF CLI ON FORESTS FOR PEOPLE OPENS IN GUILIN, CHINA

A week-long country-led initiative (CLI) in support of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) opened on 16 November 2009, in Guilin, China. The CLI will focus on forests for people and the role of the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (NLBI). It is designed to share experiences and lessons learned in the use of national forest programmes to achieve sustainable forest management and as a means to implement the NLBI. Conclusions and recommendations arising from the meeting will provide the basis of a summary report that will be submitted to UNFF to facilitate and inform discussions at its ninth session. The CLI is organized by the People's Republic of China in collaboration with Austria, Finland, Germany, and the US. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting CLI website
SIXTH PLENARY SESSION OF THE GROUP ON EARTH OBSERVATIONS ASSESSES STATUS OF ACTIVITIES

The sixth plenary session of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO-VI) convened in Washington, DC, US, from 17-18 November 2009, to assess and promote the partnership's progress towards making information about global environmental change readily available to those who need it. Among the issues addressed were: GEO Data Sharing principles, including open access to space data; global carbon monitoring, including the GEO Forest Carbon Tracking task, which is estimating trends in the spatial extent and carbon content of the world's forests; and the GEO Biodiversity Observation Network, which involves approximately 100 organizations working to support the Convention on Biological Diversity's establishment of biodiversity baselines to support future targets, including the 2010 target. A Ministerial Summit will convene in Beijing, China, from 3-5 November 2010, at the mid-point in implementation of the GEO partnership, to highlight and assess its outputs. GEO is a voluntary partnership of governments and international organizations that provides a framework within which these partners can develop new projects and coordinate their strategies and investments. Participating organizations include the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Educational , Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UNFCCC, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the UN University (UNU), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Links to further information IISD RS sources GEO-VI website PRNewswire news report, 17 November 2009
ITTC-45 PLEDGES US$9.3 MILLION IN FUNDING FOR FOREST MANAGEMENT

The 45th session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-45) and the associated sessions of its four Committees convened in Yokohama, Japan, from 9-14 November 2009. At this session the Council considered: implementation of the Biennial Work Programme 2008-2009, and activities to be included under the Biennial Work Programme for 2010-2011; and the current status of implementation of the International Tropical Timber Organization Thematic Programmes, including on Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Environmental Services in Tropical Forests (REDDES), and on Tropical Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (TFLET). The Council also reviewed the status of the deposit of instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession to the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006, and discussed the frequency and location of future Council sessions. Delegates also convened the 43rd sessions of the Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence, Forest Industry, and Reforestation and Forest Management to approve projects and pre-projects, review projects and pre-projects under implementation and ex-post evaluations, and conduct policy work. The 23rd session of the Committee on Finance and Administration also met to discuss, inter alia, the administrative budget, the current status of the Administrative Account, and resources of the Special Account and the Bali Partnership Fund. A total of US$9.3 million in new funding was announced, including US$2 million towards Thematic Programmes on Community Based Forest Management, and on Enterprise and Trade and Market Transparency. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
ITTC-45 AWARDS FELLOWSHIPS IN TROPICAL FORESTRY

The 45th meeting of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) awarded 22 fellowships to recipients from 16 different counties, including seven female fellows. ITTO offers fellowships through the Freezailah Fellowship Fund to promote human resource development and to strengthen professional expertise in member countries in tropical forestry and related disciplines, with the goal to promote the sustainable management of tropical forests, the efficient use and processing of tropical timber, and better economic information about the international trade in tropical timber. Link to further information ITTO press release
GEF COUNCIL ADOPTS NEW ALLOCATION FRAMEWORK

The 36th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council took place in Washington DC, US, from 10-12 November 2009, and adopted a new allocation framework, the System for a Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR), to be applied to the fifth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund (GEF-5). Resources in the focal areas of biodiversity, climate change and land degradation will thus be distributed following STAR criteria. Every country will receive a minimum allocation of $4 million, from whichUS$2 million would be used for climate change, $1.5 million for biodiversity, and $0.5 million for land degradation. The maximum a country may get is $300 million for these three focal areas. The Council also approved a work programme comprising 34 project concepts worth US$159.29 million, and decided its next meetings would convene the weeks of 29 June 2010 and 15 November 2010. The fourth meeting for the GEF-5 Replenishment also took place in the same venue on 13 November 2009. Participants welcomed the Russian Federation as new donor to GEF-5, and continued discussions on the level of funding and focus of GEF-5. The next meeting to discuss GEF-5 is, subject to confirmation, scheduled for February 2010 in Rome. On 12 November 2009 the Council of the Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund (LDCF/SCCF) also met and approved projects in Brazil and Jordan. Links to further information Council meeting summary of the Chairs GEF replenishment meeting summary of the Chairs GEF Council and LDCF/SCCF Council meeting and documents

October 2009

UNFF Adopts Decision on Forest Financing

Member States to the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) adopted a decision on means of implementation on 30 October 2009, during a special session of the ninth session of UNFF (UNFF 9), held at UN headquarters in New York, US. The special session of UNFF 9 was convened for the purpose of adopting this decision, after informal consultations had resulted in agreed text on means of implementation, an issue that had remained unresolved at the last UNFF session in April 2009. The decision launches two initiatives to catalyze funding for sustainable forest management (SFM). The Forum will establish an intergovernmental process to conduct in-depth analysis of all aspects of forest financing over the next four years. An intergovernmental ad hoc expert group will analyze existing financing strategies for SFM, and explore ways to improve access to funds, including the option of establishing a voluntary global forest fund. The decision also launches a “facilitative process” on forest financing, to assist countries to mobilize funding from all sources. The facilitative process addresses the special needs of countries that have faced a 20-year decline in forest financing. Specifically, these include least developed countries, low forest cover countries (LFCCs), high forest cover countries with low deforestation, low to medium income countries, small island developing States (SIDS), and low income countries in Africa. The facilitative process has received immediate support, including for a first project on “Facilitating Financing for SFM in SIDS and LFCCs,” from the Government of the United Kingdom. This project will be implemented by the UNFF Secretariat as the first phase of a larger project with other phases to be financed by a large multilateral donor. The immediate objective of this first component is to strengthen the capacity development of SIDS and LFCCs to better address the main obstacles and challenges in financing SFM, and associated global, national and local environmental public goods, and to improve the governance frameworks to secure a conducive policy environment for SFM. Jan McAlpine, UNFF Director, said that the facilitative process will develop innovative solutions by bringing together all actors including donors, governments, stakeholders and the private sector, and that 90 percent of the value of the process will be in the dialogue generated by this initiative. Links to further information IISD RS web coverage Agreed text on means of implementation UN media release, 30 October 2009
WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS DELIVERS MESSAGE ON IMPROVING THE BALANCE BETWEEN FORESTS AND DEVELOPMENT

The XIII World Forestry Congress, themed “Forests in Development: A Vital Balance,” attracted over 7,000 participants to Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 18-23 October 2009. Participants convened in daily plenaries; roundtables on forests and energy, forests and climate change, investment and finance and a business round; over 60 thematic parallel technical sessions; seven poster sessions; and numerous side events. The main outcome of the Congress, besides the broad interchange of ideas among participants, was a declaration from the WFC outlining nine findings and 27 strategic actions through which the “vital balance between forests and development can be improved;” and a message from the organizers to the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 15) calling for urgent action on, inter alia, the promotion of sustainable forest management and recognition that forests are more than just carbon, the need to address climate change mitigation and adaptation concurrently, the improvement of monitoring and assessment techniques, and inter-sectoral cooperation. Links to further information IISD RS coverage World Forestry Congress website
WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS CONVENES IN BUENOS AIRES

The XIII World Forestry Congress, co-organized by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Argentina, opened on the evening of Sunday, 18 October 2009, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Themed “Forests in Development: A Vital Balance,” the Congress brings together approximately 7000 participants from international organizations, governments, academia, private sector and civil society, representing160 nations, to discuss forest issues. During this weeklong event, participants will convene in daily plenary sessions, roundtables on forests and energy and forests and climate change, over 60 thematic technical and poster sessions and numerous other events and side events. The thematic sessions will focus on: forests and biodiversity; producing for development; forests in the service of people; caring for our forests; development opportunities; organizing forest development; and people and forests in harmony. Links to further information IISD RS coverage World Forestry Congress website
MEETING DISCUSSES NEAR EAST AND NORTH AFRICAN FORESTRY ISSUES

The FAO's Near East Forestry Commission convened a Near East Forestry Day on 19 October 2009, in conjunction with the World Forestry Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During the event, a panel discussion debated key issues and challenges facing forestry, range and wildlife in the Near East region, highlighting national efforts, and discussed the role of Near East forestry in international forestry processes. Link to further information Near East Forestry Commission website
UNFF PRESENTS ON IMPLEMENTING THE FOREST INSTRUMENT

On the sidelines of the XIII World Forestry Congress, the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat hosted a side event on 19 October 2009, on the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests, entitled “the Forest Instrument: Translating Policy into Action.” The event provided an overview of UNFF and its process and highlighted the recently agreed forest instrument and the Global Objectives on Forests. Participants were updated on the multi-year programme of work and the emerging cooperation within and outside the Collaborative Partnership on Forests on key issues including climate change, biodiversity, desertification, financing and means of implementation. Link to further information UNFF website
WORKSHOP DISCUSSES REGIONAL FOREST COOPERATION

The workshop on Regional Forest Cooperation took place on 17 October 2009, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the occasion of the XIII World Forestry Congress, organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the German Organization for Technical Cooperation GmbH (GTZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Thirty experts from regional organizations and initiatives, as well as 25 experts from research organizations, national and international institutions, and representatives of multilateral and bilateral donors attended the event. The Workshop built on previous events in support of the work of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the Convention on Biological Diversity. During the one-day event, participants heard presentations on challenges and impacts of regional forest cooperation and discussed in working groups the added value of the various forms of regional cooperation initiatives and potential for attainment of their common goals. The result of the workshop was a series of recommendations to be forwarded to the World Forestry Congress, including that the international community should make better use of regional organizations and initiatives to: build regional capacity; address technical and sensitive political issues; take into account the rights and interests of indigenous and forest-dwelling people; attract and channel funds; develop and promote common positions; and promote SFM and related subjects, such as reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation (REDD), access and benefit sharing, and payment for ecosystem services. The declaration states that international and national level entities are well positioned to mobilize resources (financial and technical) to implement SFM on the national level, but more support is required at the regional level for transboundary aspects. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
UNECE-FAO FORUM UNDERSCORES IMPORTANCE OF FORESTS AND WOOD PRODUCTS IN COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE

A policy forum on “The Forest Sector in the Green Economy,” organized by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 15 October 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, highlighted the need to promote and maximize the forest sector's contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to reflect this in post-Kyoto climate change agreements. The forum discussed the need to promote the sustainable management of forests, including through certification processes, to reinforce the forest-based sequestration of carbon and therefore contribute to offsetting global greenhouse gas emissions. Participants also noted that significant opportunities are vested in green building to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and the contribution of wood-based products to green construction and furniture production can be significant, with wood as a renewable and eco-friendly material. Link to further information UNECE press release, 21 October 2009
UNCCD COP 9 DISCUSSES IMPLEMENTATION OF TEN YEAR STRATEGY

The ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 21 September-2 October 2009, along with the eighth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 8) and the ninth session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST 9). This was the first COP following the adoption in 2007 of the ten-year strategic plan and framework for the implementation of the Convention (2008-2018) (Strategy), and the 1,700 registered participants discussed numerous agenda items related to that decision. The CST convened during the first week, including for its first Scientific Conference, to discuss “Biophysical and socioeconomic monitoring and assessment of desertification and land degradation, to support decision-making in land and water management.” A high-level segment also took place, with over 60 countries participating in three roundtables on global trends of desertification, land degradation and drought, linkages with climate change and partnerships. Participants also attended an open dialogue session with civil society organizations. The COP approved thirty-six decisions before the final gavel came down at 7:50 am on Saturday, 3 October. Delegates highlighted several positive outcomes, including: development of impact indicators in the CST; a budget decision that includes a small increase in funding; enabling the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention to become a standing subsidiary body of the COP; and support for the long-discussed regional coordination mechanisms. The agenda item on the GM-Secretariat relationship, however, overshadowed much of the conference. Despite expectations that a COP 9 decision might lead to a new shared understanding of the structure and mandate of the Convention's bodies, polarized positions on this issue resulted in a late night impasse and decision that largely left resolution on this issue to a future COP. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
CSO REPRESENTATIVES ELECTED TO UN-REDD POLICY BOARD

The Civil Society Organization (CSO) representatives to the UN-REDD Policy Board were recently announced. Pacifique Mukumba Isumbisho, Support Center for Indigenous Pygmies and Vulnerable Minorities, Effrey Dademo, the Papua New Guinea Eco-Forestry Forum, Paula Moreira, Amazon Environmental Research Institute, and Rosalind Reeve, Global Witness were nominated and self-selected by CSOs worldwide. One full member seat and three observer seats on the Policy Board are reserved for representatives of civil society, and full member status will rotate among the group of CSO representatives at least once per year. The CSO representatives will, inter alia, participate in and provide input for Policy Board meetings and share and disseminate information among their networks and constituencies. Link to further information UN-REDD media release

September 2009

HEADS OF STATE PLEDGE TO TAKE ACTION ON REDD

On the sidelines of the opening of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted a high-level event on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Many Heads of State in attendance committed to take action on this issue. Featuring 18 Heads of State and government and senior ministers, as well as the President of the World Bank, the event highlighted efforts undertaken so far to develop a formal framework for REDD. Participants highlighted, inter alia, the need for: a cost-efficient and accurate standardized methodology for measuring avoided carbon emissions; scaling up current pilot projects into a global framework; financing from both public and private sources; a strong accountability framework; results-based economic incentives for avoided deforestation; and a flexible system to take diverse situations into account. Several Heads of State and government called for adequate funding to match the pledged commitment to take action. Links to further information UN press release, 23 September 2009 UN-REDD press release
UNCCD COP 9 UNDERWAY

The ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during an afternoon plenary meeting on Monday, 21 September 2009. In addition to the work of the COP, parties will also convene the eighth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 8), and the ninth session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST 9). The UNCCD First Scientific Conference will meet from 22-24 September, in conjunction with CST 9, to consider the theme “biophysical and socio-economic monitoring and assessment of desertification and land degradation, to support decision-making in land and water management.” The two-week meeting will consider: four-year work plans and two-year work programmes of the CRIC, CST, Global Mechanism (GM) and the Secretariat; the Joint Inspection Unit assessment of the GM; the Terms of Reference of the CRIC; the CST's operation; the communication strategy; arrangements for regional coordination mechanisms; impact indicators and performance indicators; and the budget. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
UNFF INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS RESULT IN AGREEMENT ON MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION

Informal consultations among delegates to the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) took place from 15-16 September 2009, in New York, US, and resulted in agreed ad referendum text on means of implementation for sustainable forest management (SFM). The objective of the consultations, which were led by co-facilitators UNFF 7 Chair Hans Hoogeveen (the Netherlands) and UNFF 8 Chair Boen Purnama (Indonesia), was to advance negotiations on means of implementation, which had stalled when a decision on the matter could not be reached at UNFF 8. The agreed ad ref text now states that an ad hoc expert group will be established with a view to making proposals on strategies to mobilize resources including, inter alia, strengthening and improving access to funds and establishing a voluntary global forest fund. The group will meet before UNFF 9 and 10. The text also establishes a facilitative process to catalyze implementation of SFM and the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests. The informal consultations will continue on 8 October 2009 to permit delegates to conclude their work. According to an ECOSOC decision, since an agreement has been reached on these issues, a one-day special session of UNFF 9 will convene for the purpose of adopting the agreed text. Link to further information UNFF website
IFAD EXECUTIVE BOARD APPROVES OVER US$200 MILLION IN GRANTS

The 97th meeting of the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which convened from 14-15 September 2009, in Rome, Italy, approved grants and loans totaling US$217.82 million for projects in 15 countries. The projects included funding to: enable Chad's water network to support the seasonal movement of shepherds and livestock; encourage small-scale water resources management to increase yields in Bangladesh; and strengthen water harvesting and soil conservation measures in Lebanon. Grants were also awarded to international research centers and intergovernmental organizations, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development's Development Marketplace 2009 on Climate Adaptation, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification's (UNCCD) Global Mechanism for its programme to design Integrated Financing Strategies for UNCCD Implementation in selected countries in Asia- Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. Links to further information IFAD press release Executive Board meeting documents
EU MINISTERS CALL FOR STRONGER LINKS BETWEEN REDD, BIODIVERSITY AND DEVELOPMENT

Environment ministers and senior officials of the European Union met in Strömstad, Sweden, with a view to contributing to the revision of the Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) after 2010. At a High-level Meeting entitled “Visions for Biodiversity Beyond 2010 – People, Ecosystems and the Climate Crisis,” held from 7-9 September 2009, participants endorsed a target to halt global forest cover loss by 2030 and to reduce gross tropical deforestation by at least 50% by 2020 compared to current levels. They further agreed on strategic principles on ecosystem services, a global vision for biodiversity, and climate change and sustainable development. The principles pointed to the need to increase ecosystems' resilience to threats from climate change and to use “REDD+” (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) to create synergies between biodiversity, climate change and development policies, including the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. Link to further information Chair's conclusions
UNFF SUBMITS CPF PAPER ON SFM TO UNFCCC, CONSULTATIONS ON MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION CONTINUE

The Secretariat of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) submitted a reference document to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), on sustainable forest management (SFM). The document provides background information on already agreed language at the multilateral level regarding SFM. The language, from the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (forest instrument), describes SFM and the actions to be taken by member States to achieve the purpose of the forest instrument. In other UNFF news, informal consultations on means of implementation took place at UN Headquarters in New York on 4 September 2009. A draft negotiating text has been circulated to member States by the co-facilitators of the consultations, UNFF 7 Chair Hans Hoogeveen (the Netherlands) and UNFF 8 Chair Boen Purnama (Indonesia). The informal consultations, based on the draft text, will continue in New York on 15-16 September 2009. Link to further information CPF submission to UNFCCC, 3 August 2009
DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE ON LEGALLY BINDING AGREEMENT FOR EUROPEAN FORESTS

The Working Group of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) on exploring the potential added value of and possible options for a legally binding agreement (LBA) on forests in the pan-European region took place from 1-2 September 2009 in Rome, Italy. Participants discussed recommendations of possible elements of an LBA, cost assessments, and possible implications for international forest agreements, bodies and processes. Participants also decided on an appropriate negotiation process. Link to further information MCPFE News release

August 2009

AGROFORESTRY CONFERENCE PROMOTES SUSTAINABLE LAND USE

The Second World Congress on Agroforestry took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23-28 August 2009. Under the theme “Agroforestry – the future of global land use,” participants heard talks and took part in technical sessions and policy dialogues on food security and livelihoods, conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources, and policies and institutions. Keynote speakers addressed, inter alia, how agroforestry can play an important part in the battle against climate change, encourage conservation, and promote a paradigm of multi-functional agriculture. During a symposium on agroforestry systems in Africa, participants noted that more work needed to be done in promoting germplasm supply, sensitizing farmers to agroforestry's multiple benefits, and studying different types of farmer adoption and gender roles in agriculture. Link to further information Conference website

July 2009

CBD HOLDS MEETINGS ON SOUTH-SOUTH EXCHANGE FOR FORESTS

The Secretariat of the Convention Biological Diversity (CBD) has facilitated a meeting, held from 8-10 July 2009, in Montreal, Canada, on South-South Cooperation and sustainable forest management with a focus on forest biodiversity, between the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, the Association of South-East Asian Nations and the Central Africa Forests Commission. The purpose of the meeting was to share knowledge, strategies and experiences in order to promote mutual learning on forest policy coordination and cooperation, and to improve the impact of regional organizations. Link to further information CBD press release, 16 July 2009
CONFERENCE AND ACTION PLAN PROMOTE INTRA-AFRICAN TIMBER TRADE

A conference on the intra-African trade in timber and timber products was convened by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) in Accra, Ghana, from 30 June - 2 July 2009. Over 100 participants shared ideas on expanding the regional timber trade and produced the Accra Action Plan to promote intra-African trade. The Plan identifies the main constraints faced by African suppliers in regional markets and proposes steps to be taken by governments, the private sector and international/regional organizations to overcome them. It also proposes that ITTO act, in liaison with other international/regional organizations, as a coordinating body to oversee the Plan's implementation. Link to further information ITTO Accra Action Plan

June 2009

CBD WORKSHOP ON ABS AND FORESTS RECOMMENDS BETTER INTEGRATION OF ABS AND FOREST POLICIES

The first pan-African workshop on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) and Forests was held from 22-25 June 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop brought together more than 50 forest and ABS experts from across Africa, and resulted in a set of recommendations to better integrate ABS and forest sector policies. Among its key findings, the workshop noted that ABS and forest management are inextricably linked, however existing legislation relating to forests and the environment do not sufficiently address the issue of ABS. The workshop also noted that: there is a need to develop/implement legal provisions as well as tracking and monitoring systems that address ABS and forestry issues; and national and regional strategies to deal with ABS and forest management are required, as some genetic resources and traditional knowledge are shared among countries and communities. Link to further information Workshop recommendations
UNCCD

On 6 June 2009, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Secretariat hosted “Land Day” at the Gustav-Stresemann-Institut, in Bonn, Germany. The event, attended by 170 participants, aimed to help climate change negotiators and other stakeholders attending the concurrent Bonn climate change talks consider the linkages between climate change and desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD). The event was opened by Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, and Adolf Kloke-Lesch, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Director-General. Jeffrey Sachs, Earth Institute Director, Columbia University, offered a pre-recorded keynote address, and called for, inter alia: better science on the effects of climate change in dryland regions; increased understanding of human systems, such as the impacts of climate change on herders' livestock assets; and increased understanding of intervention measures that are needed for adaptation and climate change preparedness. Participants then attended three panels, entitled: “How does sustainable land management support climate change adaptation?”; “What options can soil carbon sequestration offer for mitigating and adapting to climate change?”; and “Sustainable land management in climate change policy frameworks: what is the way forward?” UNCCD Executive Secretary Gnacadja closed the event by highlighting that: adaptation financing is a sound way to secure everybody's future; synergies will not occur by accident but must be promoted and monitored; carbon sequestration is measurable, cost-effective and provides multiple co-benefits; agriculture must be integrated into a future climate regime; and a comprehensive study on the economics of sustainable land management should be conducted. Links to further information IISD RS ENBOTS report from Land Day Land Day programme
UNCCD AND UNDP AGREE TO ESTABLISH STRATEGIC WORKING PARTNERSHIP

Representatives from the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) participated in a retreat that sought to build common ground and a framework for partnership to combat desertification, land degradation and to mitigate effects of drought. The retreat, which convened from 4-5 June 2009, in Bonn, Germany, was attended by 14 participants from the UNCCD Secretariat, two from the Global Mechanism, and six from the UNDP Environment and Energy Group and Drylands Development Center. The event was co-chaired by UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja and Director of UNDP Environment and Energy Group Veerle Vandeweerd. Based on their discussions, the UNCCD and UNDP agreed to establish a strategic working partnership, on a pilot basis, to raise awareness of and catalyze international cooperation to address the needs of the world's poorest living in the drylands, in particular under scenarios of climate change. This partnership will build on the complementarities and respective comparative advantages of the two institutions, and will cover a range of programmatic actions with the overall aim of reducing poverty by enhancing ecosystem functions and services in the drylands. Link to further information UNCCD website

May 2009

ITTO AND RRI CO-ORGANIZE CONFERENCE ON FOREST TENURE IN AFRICA

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and others have co-organized a conference on forest tenure in Africa. The conference, which convened from 25-29 May 2009, in Yaoundé, Cameroon, was organized in response to calls from African participants of the 2007 International Conference on Community Forest Management and Enterprise in Acre, Brazil. One of the main objectives of the Yaoundé conference was to push governments toward broader actions that secure land rights for forest communities in West and Central Africa. An ITTO and RRI study released during the meeting indicated that African countries have less control over land rights than do other tropical nations, with only two percent of forested land being owned or managed by communities, and explained how progress on land tenure could help slow deforestation and climate change and reduce poverty. Links to further information ITTO media release ITTO, RRI report on tropical forest tenure assessment
CSD 17 OPENS HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

The 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 17) is meeting for its annual session from 4-15 May 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. At the end of the first week, delegates met past midnight in two Working Groups to negotiate the session's decisions on agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa. Negotiations have continued into the second week of the session, and these issues are also being discussed by ministers and heads of delegations and UN agencies during a High-Level Segment. Ministerial Roundtables taking place this week are focusing on: responding to the food crisis through sustainable development; realizing a sustainable green revolution in Africa; and integrated management of land and water resources for sustainable agriculture and rural development. The results from the Ministerial Roundtables will be collated in a Ministerial Vision Statement. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of CSD 17
CSD ADOPTS DECISION OUTLINING POLICIES FOR AGRICULTURE, DESERTIFICATION, DROUGHT, LAND, RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND AFRICA

Delegates to the 17th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD17), which convened from 4-15 May 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, focused on the thematic cluster of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa. CSD17 negotiated policy recommendations based on CSD16's review of the issues and the development of a draft Chair's Negotiating Text during an Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting, which convened in February 2009. Delegates adopted a “Text as prepared by the Chair” by acclamation during the closing plenary. In addition to negotiating policy options related to the thematic cluster of issues, CSD17 delegates also engaged in dialogues with Major Groups and the policy research community, and a High-level Segment and Ministerial Roundtables focused on the food crisis, a sustainable green revolution in Africa, and integrated management of land and water resources for sustainable agriculture and rural development. The results from the Ministerial Roundtables were summarized in a Shared Vision Statement, which was annexed to the CSD17 report. The CSD17 Organization of Work also included, for the first time, a tripartite dialogue among Heads of UN agencies, Chairs of Executive Boards/Governing Councils of UN agencies, and ministers. These closed and informal discussions took place prior to the morning sessions of the first two days of the High-level Segment. A Partnerships Fair, Learning Center and side events also took place during the two weeks. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
UNFF8 NEGOTIATING FOREST FINANCING, FORESTS IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT

The eighth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF8) entered the last week of deliberations this week, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The main topics being discussed at UNFF8 are: forests in a changing environment, including forests and climate change, reversing the loss of forest cover and degradation, and forests and biodiversity conservation; and means of implementation. Delegates are expected to adopt one of the three proposed options for financing sustainable forest management: a dedicated fund; a facilitative mechanism; or a combination of the two. Delegates are also expected to adopt recommendations to address the key challenges facing forests in a changing environment. During the first week of the meeting, delegates participated in a Multi-stakeholder Dialogue, with a panel discussion on forests, women and fuelwood, and heard a panel discussion on the financial crisis and sustainable forest management. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

April 2009

GEF STAP MEETS IN ROME, ADDRESSES GEF'S ROLE IN REDD

The Global Environment Facility's Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (GEF-STAP) met in Rome, Italy, from 28-30 April 2009, to review GEF methodologies and the emerging strategies for the fifth GEF Replenishment (GEF-5). The meeting addressed GEF-5 draft strategies and the role of the GEF within sustainable forest management, land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD). Other topics addressed included oceans and over-fishing, biofuels and biodiversity, improved chemicals management and new and cross-cutting focal area objectives for consideration in GEF-5 and beyond. The meeting also provided an opportunity for GEF Agencies to provide expert advice to the Panel within a set of priorities relevant to development of GEF-5 strategies. Link to further information GEF STAP meeting website

March 2009

UNECE AND FAO HOLD WORKSHOP ON ESTIMATING SUSTAINABLE WOOD SUPPLY FOR ENERGY

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized a one-day workshop on estimating how much wood is available in Europe on a sustainable basis, including for use as biomass for energy. The workshop, held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 30 March 2009, aimed to address gaps in knowledge, including considering socio-economic and bio-technical constraints to theoretical wood availability when assessing wood supply. The workshop recommended that countries should: carry out and share studies of potential sustainable wood supply; and use the workshop's good practice principles for studies of potential wood supply, in the interests of international comparability. A revised version of the recent UNECE/FAO study on potential sustainable wood supply will be issued later in 2009. These recommendations, and other workshop conclusions, were subsequently endorsed by the 31st Session of the FAO/UNECE Working Party on Forest Economics and Statistics, which convened on 31 March 2009. Link to further information UNECE press release, 3 April 2009
FAO's COFO URGES MEMBERS TO DELIBERATE ON FOREST SECTOR RESPONSES TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Over 550 participants gathered at the 19th session of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Committee on Forestry (COFO), from 16-20 March 2009, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, to discuss: the FAO Strategy for Forests and Forestry; the Collaborative Partnership on Forests' Strategic Framework on Forests and Climate Change and related topics including sustainable forest management (SFM) and climate change; forest genetic resources; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; access to financing; the impacts of recent economic turbulence on the forest sector; and preparations for the XIII World Forestry Congress (WFC XIII). Delegates also attended presentations on: ecosystem-based adaptation; fire and climate change; the future of forestry research and education; and preparations for the eighth session of the UN Forum on Forests, which will meet from 20 April to 1 May 2009. COFO19 adopted a final report, in which it, inter alia: urges members to deliberate on national and international responses of the forestry sector to climate change; recommends that FAO and other organizations strengthen members' capacities to implement SFM; and recommends that FAO prepare a report on the State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources by 2013. In parallel to the meeting and throughout the week, many special events were held as part of “World Forest Week.” Link to further information IISD RS coverage
UNFF HOLDS INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON FINANCE

Delegates to the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) gathered in Rome, Italy, from 12-13 March 2009, for informal consultations on finance. Boen Purnama (Indonesia), Chair of the Bureau of UNFF8, stressed that the meeting would provide an opportunity to further discuss and expand on Member States' understanding on options for forest financing and the role and actions of the UNFF in this regard, and said it was hoped that the consultations would facilitate and advance consensus at UNFF8. Participants focused on identifying key elements in relation to the three proposed financing options: dedicated fund; facilitative mechanism; or a combination of these two. Link to further information UNFF8 Informal Consultation website
WORLD BANK DESIGNS FOREST INVESTMENT PROGRAM

The second design meeting on the World Bank's Forest Investment Program (FIP), a part of its Climate Investment Framework (CIF), took place on 5-6 March 2009, in Washington DC. The FIP's main objective is to pilot and demonstrate new approaches to forest management that lead to major impacts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forests. Among the issues discussed were the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities, and the establishment of a Sub-Committee for the FIP to oversee the operations and activities of the Pilot Program. Link to further information World Bank CIF website

February 2009

IPM PREPARES FOR CSD17

The Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM) for the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD17) took place from 23-27 February 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The IPM's role was to provide a forum to discuss policy options and possible actions to enable the implementation of measures and policies concerning agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa – the thematic issues under consideration during the CSD16/CSD17 two-year “implementation cycle.” The IPM discussed each thematic area and delegates proposed policy options and actions for adoption at CSD17. Delegates also considered inter-linkages, cross-cutting issues and means of implementation, as well as small island developing states. The IPM's deliberations were reflected in a Chair's Negotiating Text that was distributed on the final afternoon of the meeting. The document was developed with the expectation that it could form the basis for further discussions and negotiations during CSD17, scheduled to convene from 4-15 May 2009, at the same venue. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of CSD17 IPM
EXPERT MEETING ADVISES GREAT GREEN WALL PROJECT ON SPECIES AND MANAGEMENT SYSTEM ISSUES

Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal and Coordinator of the Environment component of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa Development), presided over a meeting on 11-12 February 2009, in Dakar, Senegal, within the framework of the implementation of the major project of the “Green Great Wall.” The project seeks to plant an erosion barrier stretching across these desert countries, and is being overseen by the African Union, the Sahel and Sahara Observatory and the Community of Sahel-Saharan Nations (CEN-SAD). Experts at the meeting were encouraged to identify vegetal species, systems of management, production methods for local species and valorization most appropriate on drylands along the Great Green Wall, from Dakar to Djibouti (through Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti). Links to further information The Great Green Wall website Le Soleil News Report