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Forests, Deserts, Land


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

December 2010

Forest Day Highlights Urgency to Act on REDD+

5 December 2010: Forest Day 4, held on the sidelines of the Cancun Climate Change Conference, addressed the need to press on with a global mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+). Forest Day 4, organized around the theme "Time to Act," highlighted the urgency of ensuring the survival of the world's forests, their biodiversity and the hundreds of millions of people that depend on them. The 1500 people in attendance discussed how to accelerate the integration of forests into climate protection and adaptation schemes from local to global levels. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico, addressed the day-long event, and underscored the urgency to "push and push hard for full incorporation of REDD+ into a long-term international climate change agreement." Participants attended several sessions focusing on forest-related issues such as: biodiversity; mitigation and adaptation; forest governance; monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV); optimizing multiple benefits of sustainable forest management and REDD+; agricultural drivers of deforestation; land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF); and experiences with community-based forest management. Frances Seymour, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), commented that regardless of  whether an agreement on REDD will take place in Cancun, "voluntary commitments and initiatives have a momentum of their own," noting that rural communities were taking matters into their own hands with community-based forest enterprises. The event was hosted by the Government of Mexico, through the National Forestry Commission, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and CIFOR. A summary of the event will be made available on CIFOR's website. [Forest Day 4 Website] [CIFOR Press Release]
Agriculture and Rural Development Day Forwards Recommendations to UNFCCC Negotiators

6 December 2010: Participants at Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) 2010, which convened in Cancun, Mexico, on 4 December 2010, in parallel with the UN Cancun Climate Change Conference, discussed agriculture sector adaptation and mitigation strategies and identified recommendations for UNFCCC negotiators regarding these strategies. The event featured opening statements by Mexico's Vice-Minister for Rural Development, Ignacio Rivera Rodríguez, and Inger Andersen, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Fund Council Chair and World Bank's Vice President of Sustainable Development. ARDD 2010 was co-hosted by the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, CGIAR, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, and the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA). A summary from the event was developed, and following revisions based on comments received during concluding discussions, the summary of ARDD 2010 will be presented on 6 December at a Cancun Climate Change Conference side event titled “Enabling Agriculture and Forestry to Contribute to Climate Change Responses.” This side event will also report on the results of Forest Day 4, which convened the day after ARDD 2010, on 5 December. In messages to the UNFCCC negotiators, participants call for: using fast-track financing to support agricultural adaptation and mitigation activities; including action on food security and hunger in any post-2012 agreement, especially in the Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) text; taking a decision to set up an agricultural work programme under the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA); REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) to promote sustainable agriculture intensification as a means to halt deforestation; recognizing the synergies and opportunities for adaptation and mitigation co-benefits; and ensuring that a new or revised Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) includes agriculture and other land-use changes. At the conclusion of ARDD 2010, CGIAR and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) launched a strategic partnership titled “Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).” [IISD RS Coverage of ARDD 2010] [ARDD 2010 Website]
Second Committee Adopts Texts on Biodiversity

1 December 2010: In meetings on 30 November and 1 December 2010, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) concluded its 65th Session, taking action on draft resolutions on agriculture development and food security, among other biodiversity-related items. In total, the Committee adopted 40 draft resolutions and three draft decisions during the present Session. The agreed drafts would have the General Assembly: declare 2011-2020 as the UN Decade on Biodiversity and ask the Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, to lead the coordination of the Decade's activities on behalf of the UN, with the support of the Convention's secretariat and those of other biodiversity-related instruments as well as relevant UN funds, programmes and agencies; call for a one-day high-level session, on 20 September 2011, on “Addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,” with the aim of raising awareness of those issues at the highest level, reaffirming the fulfillment of all commitments to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and its 2008-2018 Strategic Plan, and contributing to preparations for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also known as Rio+20); request the Governing Council (GC) of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to convene a plenary meeting providing for the full and effective participation of all member States, particularly developing countries, to determine modalities and institutional arrangements for the Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); and welcome the 26 February Nusa Dua Declaration as a contribution to the UNCSD. On agriculture development and food security, the Committee would have the UNGA: stress the need to enhance production, productivity and sustainability, while calling for the timely realization of the 2009 G-8 commitment to mobilize US$20 billion over three years for sustainable agricultural development; stress the need to achieve those aims through public and private investment, better access to markets and credit for smallholder farmers, improved land-use planning, crop diversification and commercialization, sound water management, strong agriculture value chains, and rural infrastructure investment, as well as by empowering rural women as critical agents of rural development and food security; call for efforts to boost the agricultural sector's ability to predict, prevent and address the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, recognizing the consequences of the global food crisis for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in developing countries and the need for Africa to embark on a “green revolution” to boost agricultural productivity, food production and regional food security; and urge Member States and international organizations to pursue policies and strategies to improve the functioning of markets and ensure equitable access for all, while calling on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to promote policies favorable to enhanced agricultural trade. [Summary of 30 November meeting] [Summary of 1 December meeting]

November 2010

CBD Secretariat Releases Report of Cairo Workshop on Biodiversity and Finance

10 December 2010: The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has released the report of the Regional Workshop on Biodiversity and Finance in Support of the Nagoya Outcome, held from 29-30 November 2010, in Cairo, Egypt. The workshop's objectives were to elaborate regional financial responses to the outcomes adopted by the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD. Responses were to include an effective action plan for the Arab region for the strategy for resource mobilization and innovative financial mechanisms, and to provide a platform for developing a common vision, shared commitments and concrete funding action for the Arab countries and their external partners to support implementation of the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan and the associated targets. The workshop participants agreed to the Arab Regional Statement for Action on the 2020 Biodiversity Targets, Funding Strategies and Innovative Financial Mechanisms, which underscored, inter alia, the need for all Arab countries to: sign and ratify the Nagoya Protocol as soon as possible, but no later than 2012; raise awareness at all levels of society; develop national policy framework on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) accordingly; update their national biodiversity strategies and action plans as the first step to respond to the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan; appoint resource mobilization focal points by 2012 and develop country-specific resource mobilization strategies; mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services into sectoral ministries, and mitigate the negative impacts of unsustainable tourism on biodiversity; launch a regional programme with the Rio Conventions to mitigate concurrent challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change and land degradation, and to enhance adaptability of the region to environmental changes; increase the number and coverage of protected areas for marine and coastal ecosystems; conduct national assessments and develop regulations on endangered species; and establish or update a clearinghouse mechanism. Furthermore, participants highlighted that the Arab Environment Facility provides an innovative example of mobilizing financial cooperation for environmental objectives at the regional level, and that the Arab Union for Protected Areas can assist in expanding the Arab protected areas system. They stressed the need for: an Arab regional biodiversity strategy and action plan and an Arab strategy for resource mobilization; national and regional workshops to promote better understanding of innovative financial mechanisms; valuing Arabic biodiversity and ecosystem services, in order to incorporate them into development sectors and national financing, inviting the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to undertake an Arab TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) initiative; regional workshops on invasive alien species; a regional training workshop to transfer knowledge from the North to the Arab region on ecological footprints and sustainability; and financial resources to enable the Palestine Authority to prepare national reports and undertake the biodiversity planning exercise. [The Report] [Meeting documents]
Tiger Summit Adopts Global Recovery Programme, Endorses St. Petersburg Declaration

24 November 2010: In an historic effort to save tigers from extinction, 13 Government representatives meeting at the International Tiger Conservation Forum endorsed the St. Petersburg Declaration and agreed to double tiger numbers by 2022. The International Tiger Conservation Forum, which was hosted by Russian Federation Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and World Bank President Robert Zoellick, took place from 21-24 November 2010, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Viet Nam are the tiger range countries that committed towards implementing the Global Tiger Recovery Program, the strategic plan envisaged by the St. Petersburg Declaration. Deliberations regarding the development of an institutional structure to implement the aims and objectives of the Declaration and its Recovery Program are also underway. The 13 countries have agreed to strengthen international collaboration, improve scientific monitoring to help restore the species' habitats and transboundary corridors, and halt poaching and illegal trade of tigers and tiger products. The Recovery Program underscores the importance of creating incentives for local people to protect tigers and strengthening wildlife law enforcement and legislation in order to achieve the St. Petersburg targets. The program also foresees the involvement of local people in biodiversity protection in an effort to reduce conflicts occurring between tigers and local communities. Speaking at the Forum, Zoellick announced that the World Bank, through its International Development Association (IDA), hoped to provide US$100 million to save the wild tiger by supporting wildlife habitat protection and stopping the illegal trade in tiger body parts. The Bank's support would amount to almost one-third down payment on the US$350 million that the Global Tiger Recovery Program is estimated to cost. The balance will be sought from governments and other International Financial Institutions. In an article published in The Guardian, Zoellick stresses that the crisis facing tigers overwhelms local capabilities and transcends national boundaries. Noting that saving tigers is a global challenge, he calls for a partnership of national governments and organizations "pooling their expertise and passion." Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), drew attention to the CBD new Strategic Plan, including targets to: at least halve and where feasible bring close to zero the rate of loss of natural habitats including forests; place 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas under protection; and restore at least 15% of degraded areas. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), underlined the importance of  safeguarding international migration corridors and trans-border habitats. She emphasized that the CMS "is unique in that it can provide a framework to protect not only the animal, but also its habitat."[UNEP Press Release][Zoellick's Article][Djoghlaf's Statement][Tiger Forum Website] [World Bank Press Release] [CMS Press Release]
GEF Council Expands Small Grants Programme

18 November 2010: The 39th Meeting of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Council approved US$134 million for the next phase of the Small Grants Programme (SGP), which awards up to US$50,000 in funds for  projects by civil society and community based organizations. The approved funds are expected to support as many as 3,640 new projects, a 27% increase over the last four-year period. Other projects approved aim to: strengthen governance of invasive alien species in Chile (US$4 million); use leopards to strengthen conservation efforts in Yemen (US$2.4 million); reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through industrial efficiency in Kazakhstan (US$7 million); and phase-out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in aerosol metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) in the Russian Federation (US$2.5 million). During the meeting, which convened from 16-18 November 2010, at GEF headquarters in Washington DC, US, the Council heard statements from: Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); Paul Horwitz, representing Marco Gonzalez, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat; Donald Cooper, Executive Secretary of the Stockholm Convention; and Marcia Levaggi, Manager of the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat. Regarding climate change adaptation, the Council reviewed the "Evaluation of the GEF Strategic Priority for Adaptation" (GEF/ME/C.39/4) and "Management Response" (GEF/ME/C.39/5), and requested the Secretariat to develop and implement screening tools to serve as a first step to ensure the mainstreaming and targeting of adaptation and resilience, to reduce the risks from climate change in GEF focal areas and its activities. The Council also approved a Results-based Management and Knowledge Management Work Plan for GEF-5, and agreed to establish a pilot process with the goal of building a new framework to expand the number of accredited institutions that are eligible to receive funding to assist countries to prepare and implement projects on the ground. New agencies accredited to the GEF shall be referred to as GEF Project Agencies, while the status of the ten GEF Agencies (the original three Implementing and the seven additional Executing Agencies) shall remain unchanged. [GEF Council Documents] [GEF Press Release]
FAO Holds Expert Meeting on Land Tenure and Mitigation in Forestry and Agriculture Sectors

17 November 2010: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) hosted an expert meeting on "Land tenure issues and requirements for implementing climate change mitigation policies in the forestry and agriculture sectors" in Rome, Italy, from 15-17 November 2010. The meeting resulted in an outcome document on sets of issues related to the beneficiaries of climate change mitigation policies, land tenure considerations for implementation of mitigation activities, and policy instruments for implementation. Participants highlighted the need for regional meetings to address land tenure configurations specific to regions and countries. The group also discussed the relevance of carbon rights in forestry and agriculture mitigation and debated whether carbon rights must be formalized for effective mitigation. Two commissioned background papers were also presented. The meeting aimed to provide input into the linkages between tenure and climate change mitigation for work on Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land and other Natural Resources. The meeting was attended by approximately 50 experts in the fields of land-based climate change mitigation and land and resource tenure. It was co-organized by the FAO Land Tenure team, the UN-REDD programme and the Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture project (MICCA). [Meeting website]
Third Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification Develops Statement to UNCCD CST

11 November 2010: The third conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification, which convened from 8-11 November 2010, at the Sede Boqer's Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Ben Gurion University in Israel, developed a "Statement on the Synergistic Implementation of the Rio Conventions in the Drylands." The conference was attended by government and non-government officials, senior representatives of the UNESCO, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as researchers from 63 countries working in areas related to combating desertification and the development of sustainable livelihoods in the drylands. Among the central topics discussed in a special session sponsored by UNESCO was the potential for synergistic implementation of the Rio conventions in the drylands. Conference participants called upon the UNCCD Committee on Science and Technology (CST) as well as its Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) to consider the issue of synergies at their upcoming meetings in Bonn, Germany, in February 2011. Specific proposals also included: recognizing and addressing both the physical and socio-economic drivers that jointly lead to land degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss in the drylands through improved monitoring, assessing and reporting on the interlinkages among desertification, biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development; creating stronger synergies between national reporting schedules and requirements for the three Rio conventions to improve the efficiency and reduce the reporting burdens, particularly on affected developing countries; integrating UNCCD National Action Plans, National Biodiversity Action Plans and UNFCCC National Adaptation Plans of Action, and to mainstream these plans into National Sustainable Development Plans; creating synergies between the UNCCD impact indicators and the newly adopted CBD Strategic Plan and targets; encouraging bilateral and multilateral donors to fund projects and programmes that jointly implement the Rio conventions; and recognizing the importance of payment for dryland ecosystem services and other appropriate incentives to promote a favorable enabling environment for the national and local implementation of the three Rio conventions in the drylands. [Meeting Website]
INTERPOL General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Environmental Crime

8 November 2010: Meeting in Doha, Qatar, from 8-11 November 2010, the General Assembly of INTERPOL has adopted a resolution in support of the organization's Environmental Crime Programme. The resolution calls upon national law enforcement authorities to recognize that “environmental crime is not restricted by borders and involves organized crime networks which engage in other crime types including murder, corruption, fraud and theft.” It notes that there is a vital need for a global response and that INTERPOL should play a leading role in supporting national and international enforcement. Environmental crime encompasses activities ranging from illegal trade in wildlife, timber and marine species, to transborder movements of hazardous waste and the illicit exploitation of natural resources. The adopted resolution was welcomed by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). [The Resolution] [CITES Press Release]
Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Receives New Pledges

2 November 2010: The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, managed by the World Bank, recently held its Participants Assembly meeting, during which donor countries committed over US$100 million in new pledges. The meeting, which took place in Washington DC, US, on 1 November 2010, gathered donors and stakeholders who announced new pledges to the two funds that make up the Partnership - the Readiness Fund and the Carbon Fund. Germany announced an additional €4 million to its previous commitment of €50 million; Norway pledged US$50 million to the Carbon Fund over several years; and Finland pledged €4 million, both on the condition that it is approved by the parliaments of their respective countries. These commitments come in addition to the Participation Agreement just completed with the US for US$10 million for the Carbon Fund and a recent pledge by Canada of CAN$40 million for the Readiness Fund. The Participants Assembly is meeting to review the past year's activities and to discuss strategic directions for the year ahead, including participation in knowledge sharing on key REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) issues and fostering cooperation amongst REDD+ initiatives. The Participants Assembly is followed by two days of meetings by the Participants Committee, which meets three times a year to discuss and assess REDD+ Readiness proposals submitted by the participating REDD countries. This year, Lao PDR and Tanzania are presenting their formal Readiness Preparation Proposals (R-PPs); Viet Nam and Ethiopia are making informal country presentations; and Madagascar and Peru are presenting progress reports on their R-PP development. [World Bank Press Release]
FCPF, FIP and UN-REDD to Streamline REDD+ Action

6 November 2010: The governing bodies of the UN-REDD Programme and the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and Forest Investment Program (FIP) met in Washington DC, US, on 6 November, to discuss collaborative approaches for the three initiatives in implementing REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks). During this first joint meeting, representatives of the three initiatives, as well as observers from civil society, indigenous peoples, the private sector and other global partners, came together to advance a common approach for REDD+ assistance centered on individual country-led strategies and a phased approach to REDD+. Alexander Muller, Assistant Director General, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stressed the need to adopt a coordinated approach "to meet the big challenges of our time: poverty, food security, the degradation of ecosystems and dangerous climate change." In the open dialogue, participants presented experiences, reflected on progress, challenges and opportunities in REDD+ implementation, and considered ways to maximize REDD+ activities at the country level. [UN-REDD Press Release]
UN-REDD Policy Board Approves Funding for Five New Countries

5 November 2010: The fifth UN-REDD Policy Board meeting, which took place in Washington DC, US, from 4-5 November 2010, approved US$15.2 million for five new countries, and confirmed or pledged funds of US$7.4 million. Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay received approvals for US$3 million, $6.4 million and $4.7 million, respectively, after having presented the Board with full national REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) readiness programmes. Solomon Islands and the Philippines were allocated approximately US$500,000 each for their initial national programmes. Also during the meeting, Denmark pledged an additional US$6 million to the Programme, and Spain confirmed its US$1.4 million pledge. The Board also endorsed UN-REDD's five-year Strategy, outlining main work areas for the Programme, and heard progress reports from pilot countries currently implementing REDD+ activities with the UN-REDD's support. [UN-REDD Press Release]

October 2010

UN-REDD and Japan Support REDD+ in Asia-Pacific

25 October 2010: The Japan-UN Development Programme (UNDP) Partnership Fund approved a project titled "Promoting Regional REDD+ Approach and REDD+ Readiness in Under-Supported Regions of Asia/Pacific."   The project, which is being applied by the UN-REDD Programme's Asia-Pacific team, aims to harmonize REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) readiness across the region through a regional platform for coordination and collaboration among development partners. It will also provide special assistance at the national level to under-supported countries (Mongolia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga) to reach REDD+ readiness. This project is the first Tier 2 project of UN-REDD, where activities are funded through sources other than the UN-REDD Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The project will last 17 months. [UN-REDD Press Release]
Land Day 3 Considers the Nexus Between Biodiversity and Desertification

23 October 2010: The Secretariats of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) organized Land Day 3 on 23 October 2010, in parallel to the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD, in Nagoya, Japan.  Land Day 3 was part of the Rio Conventions Ecosystem and Climate Change Pavilion, and was co-sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ - Germany) and the Arid Land Research Center of Tottori University (ALRC). It addressed the theme "The Nexus Between Biodiversity and Desertification." Panel sessions considered: how the synergetic implementation of the CBD and UNCCD fosters action at the country level; how decision makers can ensure an equal sharing of environmental benefits through sustainable use of biodiversity and land; and how scientists can contribute to biodiversity conservation in the drylands of Eastern and Central Asia. Ambassador Tommy Koh (Singapore), who served as the Chair of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, also known as the 1992 Rio Earth Summit), delivered the keynote address. Noting that the CBD, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UNCCD were products of the Earth Summit, Ambassador Koh reflected on how agreement was reached to negotiate the UNCCD, why the global community should care about desertification and why synergies among the three Rio Conventions is important. Among the issues raised during discussions were: proposals for approaches at the country-level financing that could enhance synergy; the need to bring back small holders who had fallen off the national level agenda on synergy; organic farming as an strategy to foster synergy; the policy failure to promote synergy; how development cooperation could support the development of local business; and an over-expectation that the ABS protocol could capture all the concerns surrounding biodiversity loss. In his closing remarks, UNCCD Executive Secretary Gnacadja stressed the need to mainstream what others consider to be externalities. He announced that Land Day 4 would take place in Bonn, Germany, in June 2011, and closed Land Day 3 with a quote from The Forgotten Billion, a new study by UNCCD and the UN Development Programme that claims: “for too long, the drylands have been overlooked by political and business leaders the world over. Now is the time to reverse this history of neglect. Spotlighting drylands offers great untapped potential, certainly in terms of MDG achievement but also because many of our planet's drylands represent some of the last great frontiers for economic development.” [UNCCD Land Day 3 webpage] [Rio Conventions Ecosystem and Climate Change Pavilion]
UNECE, FAO to Explore the Role of Forests in the Green Economy, Call for Comments on Action Plan

16 November 2010: The chair of the Timber Committee of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Linda Langner, and the chair of the European Forestry Commission under the aegis of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Peter Blomback, reported that at a meeting on 15 October 2010, the joint Bureaux of the two bodies decided that the theme of their joint session scheduled for October 2011 will be “Forests in a Green Economy.” The special session will include discussions on concrete examples and suggested actions in several areas, including: sustainable forest management for a green, sustainable, climate-friendly economy; the forest industry's role in green building; wood energy's contribution to a sustainable energy future; sustainable production and consumption; valuation of forest ecosystem services ("value creation through conservation and sustainable management"); green jobs in forestry; and policy and institutional frameworks conducive to achieving a green economy. The Bureaux also agreed to develop an action plan, directed at policymakers, on improving and promoting the forest sector's contribution to a green economy. The action plan is expected to address forest-based products, wood energy, sustainable forest management, valuation of ecosystem services, green building, and institutional and policy incentives, providing a concrete contribution to the UNCSD (also called Rio+20) in 2012. As part of the formulation of the action plan, the Bureaux also launched a consultation open to States, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, the private sector and academic institutions. The consultation, open until 15 January 2011, is soliciting views on the possible main topics of the action plan; the objectives for increasing the role of the forest sector under each topic; and for each objective, the actions that are already taken and/or should be required to increase the role of the forest sector in achieving a green economy. A draft of the action plan will be developed in the first quarter of 2011 and reviewed during an informal consultation meeting open to all stakeholders on 18-19 April 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland. [UNECE/FAO Action plan and Call for comments]
EU Environment Ministers Adopt Negotiating Position for Cancun

14 October 2010: At their meeting on 14 October 2010, in Brussels, Belgium, the Council of the EU Environment Ministers agreed on a negotiating strategy for the Cancun Climate Change Conference to be held in late 2010. In the Council's conclusions, the Ministers stress the need for a stepwise approach, building on the Kyoto Protocol and the outcomes of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and paving the way for a global and comprehensive legally binding framework, integrating the political guidance given in the Copenhagen Accord. Ministers note the limited progress made at the Bonn and Tianjin sessions towards identifying elements of a balanced package in Cancun, and emphasize that a very significant increase in the pace of the negotiations will be needed in order to reach a successful and balanced outcome in Cancun. Ministers indicate that decisions to be adopted in Cancun should cover: adaptation; mitigation; technology; capacity building; REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks); agriculture; monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV); finance and market-based mechanisms. They stress the need to anchor all countries' pledges in Cancun, whether made pursuant to the Copenhagen Accord or otherwise, in the context of the UNFCCC, with a view to facilitating the clarification of those pledges, mobilizing support for their implementation and supporting discussions on options to strengthen the collective level of ambition with a view to meeting the 2°C objective. Ministers also express support for a decision in Cancun to establish a registry to start capturing and facilitate matching of actions and support. Ministers commit to make rapid progress towards developing sound guidelines, rules and modalities for REDD+ actions, in order to operationalize the REDD+ mechanism through a decision in Cancun, thereby ensuring its environmental integrity. They indicate that a decision on REDD+ in Cancun should address: securing safeguards, in particular with regard to biodiversity, consistent with the EU's objectives at the Nagoya Biodiversity Conference; recognizing the rights and knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities; and improving forest governance structures, supported by appropriate MRV requirements. In addition, Ministers note that the Cancun Climate Change Conference should urge the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop without delay a global policy framework in a manner that ensures a level playing field and that does not lead to competitive distortions or carbon leakage, in accordance with the principles and customary practices of ICAO and IMO, taking into account the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC in the use of potential revenues. Ministers also underline that the Cancun Climate Change Conference should provide a basis for the introduction of new sectoral or other scaled-up market mechanisms, including through pilot schemes, and the recognition of units resulting from such mechanisms, while preserving environmental integrity. They also: commit to work with all UNFCCC parties to develop guidelines for a coherent and balanced system for MRV, including international consultation and analysis; underline the need to promptly operationalize a Climate Technology Centre and Network; and emphasize their willingness to strengthen bilateral and regional alliances with a view to building bridges between parties that reinvigorate and feed into the UNFCCC, stressing the importance of the partnerships that the EU and its Member States have initiated with other UNFCCC parties on REDD+, MRV and mitigation, transparency of fast-start financing, adaptation and access to renewable energy, in preparing the ground for Cancun. [Council Conclusions]
COFO 2010 Calls for 360 Degree Perspective on Forests

8 October 2010: The 20th session of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Committee on Forestry (COFO 2010), which convened from 4-8 October 2010, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, was dominated by calls for an inter-sectoral approach to address problems facing forests. COFO participants also urged a “360 degree” perspective that takes into consideration the multiple functions and services that forests provide. In plenary sessions held throughout the week, participants discussed, inter alia: forest biodiversity, fire and water in the context of climate change; the Global Forest Resources Assessment; emerging opportunities and challenges in forest finance and forest governance; and preparations for the International Year of Forests (IYF) 2011. In the discussions on planned activities for the IYF, Jan McAlpine, Director, UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), said “Forests 2011” should be a celebration of the positive things related to forests and their role for people, highlighting biodiversity, climate and health. She explained that the UNFF, as the focal point for the UN system during IYF, will be working closely with the Secretariats of the Rio Conventions, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), and major groups, as well as artists and filmmakers. COFO 2010 adopted a final report, which includes requests to FAO to: assist countries in valuing the potential contribution of forests in climate change adaptation and mitigation; strengthen its capacity to share information related to biodiversity conservation in the context of climate change; and continue efforts to develop a report on the state of the world's forest genetic resources. On forests and water in the context of climate change, the Committee recommended that countries intensify work in this area and pay increased attention to socioeconomic issues related to forests and water and financing mechanisms, such as payments for ecosystem services, and recommended that FAO continue to review critical related issues and facilitate information exchange. In parallel to the meeting and throughout the week, many special events were held as part of the second “World Forest Week.” These events included panel discussions on, inter alia: phytosanitary standards; new developments in forest finance; linking policy dialogue and implementation; forest governance; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing couuntries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+); and Growing Forest Partnerships. [IISD RS Coverage of COFO 2010] [COFO 2010 Website]
UN-REDD Workshop Highlights Community Consent in REDD

7 October 2010: The UN-REDD Programme held a consultation workshop with representatives of civil society organizations and indigenous peoples from Latin American and the Caribbean to facilitate the development of guidance on free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) and recourse mechanisms for national UN-REDD activities. During the meeting, which was held in Panama City, Panama, from 4-7 October 2010, participants heard presentations on,inter alia: the legal foundation of FPIC and recourse; FPIC and recourse in the context of the UN-REDD Programme's specific obligations to international law; and a FPIC consultation workshop held in Viet Nam in June 2010. Participants focused on: assessing the obstacles to accessing effective and timely recourse mechanisms; ensuring information on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) reaches communities; defining true representation and consent; using local languages; and creating uniform global guidelines for different and distinct regions. Participants agreed that, in addition to the broad guidelines agreed upon at the meeting, each community has its own process for reaching consent that will need to be determined and applied. The workshop was one of a series of workshops to develop definitive FPIC and Recourse guidelines for UN-REDD programmes. A third regional consultation will be held in Africa in November 2010. After the guidelines from the three workshops are merged, the draft document will be released for a public comment and input process. [UN-REDD Press Release]
Asia-Europe Summit Discusses Climate Change

5 October 2010: The eighth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), which convened in Brussels, Belgium, from 4-5 October 2010, discussed climate change among other issues. The meeting brought together Heads of States and of Governments of 46 Asian and European countries, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary-General of ASEAN. Representatives from Australia, New Zealand and the Russian Federation attended the ASEM Summit for the first time and, on this occasion, became ASEM members. During the meeting, leaders underlined: the centrality and legitimacy of the UNFCCC process; a shared goal of reaching urgently a fair, effective and comprehensive legally binding outcome under the mandate of the Bali Roadmap; and the need to address the remaining gaps on all major issues during the Cancun Climate Change Conference. Leaders then called on developed countries to follow up, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and of transparency in implementation of these actions, on their commitment to the goal of mobilizing jointly US$100 billion per year by 2020 in order to address the needs of developing countries. Leaders also stressed that energy efficiency and increased use of renewable energy across all sectors of the economy are major contributions to addressing climate change, while fostering security in energy supplies. They called for making full use of international cooperation, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UNFCCC, to exchange best practices between developed and developing ASEM partners and stimulate the development, transfer, deployment, dissemination and adaptation of advanced, affordable, safe and environmentally-sound energy technologies and know-how, including aspects of policy and regulation. They underlined the benefits deriving from transparent, competitive and environmentally sustainable energy markets, from consistent legal frameworks at national and international levels and from diversification of sources, routes and types of energy supplies. In addition, leaders expressed their support for the UN Collaborative Initiative on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+), noting the contribution of the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT) and of parallel Asian initiatives in addressing illegal logging and introducing transparency in forestry operations. Furthermore, leaders recognized the importance of promoting sustainable forms of production and consumption, including through the promotion of a green, low-carbon economy. They noted the rising interest among ASEM partners for developing carbon markets and supported the objective of scaling up finance and investment through the development of the international carbon market. Leaders committed to intensify ASEM cooperation in raising awareness, in exchanging information and best practices, in training experts in resource efficiency and in making technologies and know-how more widely available. [ASEM 8 Chair's Statement]
UNEP Completes GEO-5 Regional Consultations

5 October 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has completed its scheduled regional consultations for GEO-5. The consultations were convened in Washington DC, US (September 2), Panama City, Panama (September 6-7), Ottawa, Canada (September 9), Bangkok, Thailand (September 16-17), Nairobi, Kenya (September 20-21), Geneva, Switzerland (September 23-24) and Bahrain (October 4-5). The consultations sought to identify priority environmental issues and challenges for each region. Agreed priorities for North America included land use, energy, freshwater and environmental governance. Priorities agreed for Latin America and the Caribbean region included: biodiversity; climate change; freshwater; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; seas and oceans; and environmental governance. Priorities for the Asia and Pacific region included: climate change; environmental governance; biodiversity; freshwater; and chemicals and waste. Priority issues for Africa included: climate change; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; biodiversity; freshwater; and seas and oceans. European priorities included: air pollution and air quality; biodiversity; chemicals and wastes; climate change; and freshwater, water and water resources. Priorities for West Asia included: freshwater; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; energy; environmental governance; and oceans and seas. [UNEP GEO Meetings webpage] [IISD RS coverage of selected GEO regional consultations]
REDD+ Interim Partnership Holds Technical Workshop

9 October 2010: The REDD+ Interim Partnership held a technical workshop on the REDD+ Database, Analysis of Financing Gaps and Overlaps, and the Effectiveness of Multilateral REDD+ Institutions in Tianjin, China, on 2 October 2010, prior to the UNFCCC Climate Change Talks. The workshop was followed by a series of informal and plenary meetings of the REDD+ Interim Partnership during the course of the Tianjin Climate Change Talks. During the Technical Workshop, delegates discussed: lessons learned and possible future enhancements from the Voluntary REDD+ Database; analysis of financing gaps and overlaps; effectiveness of the multilateral REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) institutions; as well as country case studies on each of these issues and stakeholders' views on participation. In the informal and plenary meetings held throughout the week, the Partnership addressed stakeholder participation and began to address the Partnership's work plan. A technical workshop that was planned to meet during the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the  Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Nagoya, Japan, was postponed until the Cancun Climate Change Conference at the end of the year. A Ministerial Meeting of the REDD+ Partnership is still scheduled to take place on 26 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. The REDD+ Interim Partnership also recently launched a new website. [REDD+ Partnership Website]  [Partnership Meeting Documentation]

September 2010

CBD Workshop Highlights Biodiversity Benefits from REDD

1 October 2010: The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has circulated the results of the Global Expert Workshop on Biodiversity Benefits of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which convened from 20-23 September 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya. The Co-Chairs' summary of the workshop highlights that a well designed mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+), if successful, will have significant and unprecedented benefits for biodiversity, as well as for indigenous peoples and local communities. Both biodiversity and the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples were considered as necessary for the success of REDD+, with the permanent storage of carbon depending on well-functioning and resilient forest ecosystems, and on community participation and ownership. The meeting also identified risks to biodiversity and indigenous peoples, and highlighted the need for safeguards, national plans and approaches, and transparent and effective national governance structures. Participants recommended that the CBD explore possibilities for a technical workshop organized jointly by the CBD and UNFCCC Secretariats on how the CBD can support REDD+ safeguards, without prejudice to the negotiations. The Nairobi workshop was convened by the CBD Secretariat in collaboration with the UN-REDD Programme. [Workshop Report, including Co-Chairs' Summary]
GEO-5 Regional Consultation for Africa Identifies Regional Priorities

22 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Africa took place in Nairobi, Kenya, on 20-21 September 2010. This was the fifth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5). The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each region containing the outcomes of the meeting, including key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and target audiences. The Africa regional consultation  resulted, inter alia, in agreement on regional priority environmental issues and challenges as follows: climate change; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; freshwater; biodiversity; and oceans and seas. On climate change, participants clustered relevant issues into the categories of: climate extremes; adaptation; mitigation; financing; governance; climate monitoring and information; and capacity building among stakeholders. The Secretariat was advised to take note of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) list of priorities, which some participants described as representative of the region's needs. Regarding goals, most participants favored UNFCCC Article 3 paragraphs 1-3 on responsibilities, specific needs and special circumstances of parties to the UNFCCC and on precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change, and mitigate its effects. They also requested the authors to reference paragraph (e) of the Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, which calls for the support of effective and results-based measures for the development of approaches on vulnerability and adaptation. [IISD RS Report] [Consultations Website]
UNFF Expert Group Discusses Forest Financing

17 September 2010: The open-ended intergovernmental Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) on Forest Financing held its first meeting from 13-17 September 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya. The AHEG is mandated to make proposals to the 10th Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), in 2013, on strategies to mobilize resources from all sources to support implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM), the achievement of the global objectives on forests and the implementation of the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests, including strengthening and improving access to funds and establishing a voluntary global forest fund. More than 160 experts from 60 countries and 20 international and regional organizations, as well as major groups, heard presentations in plenary and parallel sessions on topics including: the cross-sectoral importance of forest financing for achieving internationally agreed development goals; national and regional experiences; policies and strategies on forest financing; the activities undertaken by forest-related financing mechanisms; and the work of the UNFF facilitative process. Experts also explored various national, regional and international actions to mobilize resources for SFM in two breakout groups. The Co-Chairs' Summary of the meeting includes proposals for intersessional actions and activities including: inviting substantive input on forest financing options; inviting the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) Advisory Group on Finance to undertake a series of studies and analyses related to forest financing; the UNFF Secretariat to undertake a feasibility study on forest financing options; holding an informal consultation; inviting the CPF to hold an organization-led initiative; and requesting the UNFF Facilitative Process to implement all its functions and to continue with its current work on low forest cover countries and small island developing States. The report of the meeting, which takes note of the Co-Chairs' Summary, will be submitted to UNFF 9, to be held in January 2011. [IISD RS Sources; Meeting Website]
UNFF Country-Led Initiative Addresses Forest Governance, Decentralization and REDD+

3 September 2010: The Oaxaca Workshop on Forest Governance, Decentralization and REDD+ in Latin America and the Caribbean took place in Oaxaca, Mexico, from 31 August-3 September 2010. This country-led initiative in support of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) aimed to identify trends, and facilitate sharing of experiences and lessons learned with sustainable forest management (SFM), forest governance and decentralization, and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+). Participants engaged in plenary and roundtable sessions throughout the Workshop to discuss four themes: people, forest governance and forests; landscape change, forest management and REDD+; forest finance and finance for REDD+; and rights, livelihoods and forests. Participants also took part in field trips to nearby community-owned forest-related enterprises, as well as “open spaces” to discuss in more detail: payment mechanisms; forest planning; REDD+ legal frameworks; and indigenous peoples. Participants produced a report summarizing the Workshop's deliberations, which includes recommendations to countries and the ninth session of UNFF, to be held in early 2011. The document is also expected to inform discussions during the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) of the UNFCCC, to be held in late 2010. [IISD RS Coverage of the Meeting] [Workshop Website]
ITTO and JICA Launch Tropical Forests Partnership

3 September 2010: The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement to collaborate on further promoting the sustainable use and conservation of tropical forest resources. The agreement aims to identify, develop and implement targeted joint activities on forest management in countries that are assisted by JICA, and to promote capacity building in ITTO developing member countries and facilitate information exchange between parties and interested countries to advance sustainable forest management in the tropics. Several areas for cooperation have been identified, including: joint project development and financing at sub-national, national and regional levels; providing services by ITTO for JICA project implementation in countries where ITTO has a comparative advantage and opportunities; and forest fire prevention and management, and development of regional early warning and detection systems. The two organizations pledged to liaise closely to raise funds for joint activities. [ITTO Media Release]

August 2010

CPF Organizations Discuss Climate Change and Forestry at IUFRO Congress

23 August 2010: On the opening day of the XXIII International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress, held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 23-28 August 2010, the Heads of several member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) presented in a sub-plenary session on biodiversity, climate change and forestry. Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant-Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), presented on the CPF's objectives and achievements, including the Forest Days at the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to the UNFCCC. Bill Jackson, Deputy Director General of IUCN, discussed the landscape approach for linking climate change, forest management and the needs of people. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), highlighted the CBD's global tree-planting initiative, Green Wave. Emmanuel Ze Meka, Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), described the ITTO's programme on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), and enhancing environmental services in tropical forests. He called for financial incentives for sustainable forest management (SFM) and functional markets. Tony Simons, Deputy Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), highlighted how far forestry has come in the international development dialogue in recent years. Jan McAlpine, Director of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), underlined that the UNFF values and creates institutional partnerships beyond the forestry sector to enhance cross-sectoral connections. The IUFRO World Congress, co-hosted by IUFRO and the Korea Forest Research Institute, brings together over 2700 participants from international organizations, governments, academia, the private sector and civil society. The opening plenary included a welcome address from the President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung-Bak. The theme of the Congress is “Forests for the Future, Sustaining Society and the Environment.” [IISD RS Coverage of the IUFRO World Congress] [IUFRO World Congress Website]
IUFRO World Congress Focuses on "Sustaining Society and Environment"

28 August 2010: The XXIII International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress convened in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 23-28 August 2010, under the theme "Forests for the Future: Sustaining Society and Environment." The Congress, co-hosted by IUFRO and the Korea Forest Research Institute, brought together over 2700 participants from 92 countries, representing international organizations, governments, academia, the private sector and civil society. The six-day event began with a speech from Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea, and continued with daily keynote speeches from prominent figures in forestry, 15 sub-plenaries, a special discussion led by IUFRO's President on the future challenges of forest education, 150 technical sessions, many poster sessions, side events, and a trade and exhibition area. Participants also attended eight forest-related field trips illustrating innovative forest-related projects around the Republic of Korea. Recurring themes during the week included: narrowing knowledge and other gaps between science and policy; the need for the discipline of forestry and forestry education to evolve with changing demands on forests; the need for greater interdisciplinary work efforts; the importance of adopting more socioecological perspectives, which recognize the social embeddedness of efforts to protect and improve forest ecosystems; and the need for, and role and approaches of, forestry in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Beyond these emerging concerns, participants also discussed and reviewed advances in areas of long-standing concern for forest research, including forest health and statistical modeling of forest growth. During the closing ceremony, the 2010 Congress Resolution was distributed, which details focal areas for future work and institutional commitments for IUFRO as an organization. [IISD RS Coverage of the Congress]
ICID 2010 Discusses Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Drylands

23 August 2010: The Second International Conference on Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions (ICID 2010), which convened in Fortaleza, Brazil, from 16-20 August 2010, brought together participants to discuss climate change and sustainable development in arid and semi-arid regions, and sought to raise the priority of these issues on the agenda of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). ICID 2010 began with the launching of the UN Decade on Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification. The main theme of ICID 2010, “climate, sustainability and development,” was addressed in four sub-themes, namely: climate information; climate and sustainable development; climate governance, representation, rights, equity and justice; and climate policy processes. ICID 2010 concluded with a discussion of the primary conference output, the Fortaleza  Declaration, which was developed with the goal of raising the profile of issues facing semi-arid regions at UNCSD and during its preparatory process. Among other items, the Declaration calls for: better governance of the drylands, representation of their populations and enhanced livelihoods; the enhancement of climate-sensitive sustainable development interventions in drylands; recognition of potential synergies to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience for the poor; the creation of favorable conditions for sustainable development in drylands through integrated actions to fight land degradation, mitigate drought effects, conserve biodiversity and adapt to climate change; and investment opportunities to exploit the comparative advantage of drylands in renewable energy production. [IISD RS Coverage of ICID 2010] [ICID 2010 Website]
UN Launches Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification

16 August 2010: The UN has launched the Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification, which will run from 2010-2020 and will seek to raise awareness and action to improve the protection and management of the world's drylands.  In a statement announcing the launch, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Continued land degradation – whether from climate change, unsustainable agriculture or poor management of water resources – is a threat to food security, leading to starvation among the most acutely affected communities and robbing the world of productive land.” The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is spearheading events to mark the Decade, along with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). The global launch took place in Fortaleza, Brazil, during the Second International Conference on Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions (ICID 2010).  The regional launch for Africa was held in Nairobi, Kenya, at the headquarters of UNEP and in partnership with UNDP. Other regional launches are scheduled to take place in New York, US, in September, for the North American Region, in the Republic of Korea in October, for the Asian Region, and in November for the European region. [UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification ...] [UN News Release] [IISD RS Coverage of ICID 2010 and the Launch]
Asia Forest Partnership Meeting Examines Governance Beyond Copenhagen

6 August 2010: The ninth meeting of the Asia Forest Partnership Dialogue, titled "Forest Governance Challenges Beyond Copenhagen," examined the linkages between forest governance and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+). The Dialogue took place in Bali, Indonesia, from 4-6 August 2010. In plenary sessions, participants heard presentations on: national policy initiatives related to REDD+, including on the REDD-readiness of Indonesia and Viet Nam; progress related to sub-national forest carbon initiatives in Indonesia; and synergies between national and international initiatives related to sustainable forests and REDD+, including on the significance of the US Lacey Act for REDD+ efforts in Southeast Asia; and illegal logging in Indonesia and Cambodia. Participants also met in working groups to discuss the role of various actors who influence decisions on REDD+ and governance, and to address issues of legality and synergies with REDD+. Presentations from the Dialogue are available online. [Meeting Abstracts]

July 2010

GEF Council Approves Major Reforms in New Funding Cycle

2 July 2010: The 38th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council took place in Washington DC, US, from 29 June-1 July 2010, and approved major reforms aimed at helping developing countries to meet international environmental challenges, including those related to climate change and biodiversity. During the meeting the Council approved major reforms designed to give developing countries and stakeholders more control and access to funds, including: direct access to GEF resources for recipient countries looking to meet various UN convention requirements; streamlined GEF project cycle and a move to a more refined and strategic programmatic investment approach; reformed GEF's Country Support Program with$26 million in funding. The Council also agreed to initiate a process to determine how best to integrate new agencies, including qualified national entities, into the GEF network. In May 2010, during the sixth meeting of donors for the Fifth GEF Replenishment, held in Paris, France, over 30 countries pledged US$4.34 billion to fund projects with global environmental benefits during the next four years. The meeting of donors also agreed to channel US$1.3 billion to the climate change focal area. The financial pledges included some of the Fast Start Financing discussed at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Commenting on the reforms, Monique Barbut, GEF CEO and Chairperson, stated that "the GEF Council has accorded long overdue recognition to the ability of countries to take the lead in the efficient and effective programming of their multilateral assistance." [38th GEF Council Meeting Website] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the GEF Replen...] [Joint Summary of the Chairs]

June 2010

AMCEN 13 Focuses on Rio Conventions, Prepares for Cancun

25 June 2010: The 13th Session of the African Ministers' Conference on Environment (AMCEN) took place in Bamako, Mali, from 20-25 June 2010, under the theme “Enhancing the interrelationship between climate change, biodiversity and desertification for sustainable development.” The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Bamako Declaration, which was developed to serve as the continent's new road map for sustainable development and basis for strengthening the common negotiating position on climate change and biological diversity.  The session aimed to provide a platform for environment ministers to deliberate on substantive issues of importance to Africa, including ongoing negotiations on climate change and biodiversity. A ministerial dialogue reviewed progress towards: Africa's development of a common negotiating position on a comprehensive international climate change regime beyond 2012; the development of a comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes; and Africa's preparations for developing a common negotiating position on the international regime on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources (ABS). The Ministerial segment on climate change discussed: the outcomes of the meetings of the Conference of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 11 May 2010, and in Bamako, Mali, on 23 June 2010; and the salient aspects of the comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes, including opportunities presented by climate change responses, in addition to the institutional arrangements in Africa for managing and using climate funding provided by the international community. The ministerial dialogue on desertification focused on the links between desertification, land degradation and climate change, particularly on efforts needed to combat climate change in Africa taking into account measures for sustainable land and water management. At the opening of the session, Buyelwa Sonjica, South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, stressed that the AMCEN 13 theme presents a useful approach to expanding the strategic focus of AMCEN to include "other important environmental issues facing the continent - in addition and in relation to the challenges posed by climate change." Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission (AUC), stressed that climate change is a developmental emergency for Africa and urged contextualizing the next round of global climate change negotiations into the development agenda. She underscored that the AUC, in partnership with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Agency and the EU, is currently engaged in discussions to ensure that agriculture is taken forward in the climate change negotiations. She stressed that Africa does not need to compromise its economic growth due to mitigation efforts, but rather should push for access to affordable technology for a green economy. She reported that the 23rd June CAHOSCC meeting deliberated on how best to organize the coordinating structure of CAHOSCC at ministers and experts levels, and that their recommendations will be considered by the Heads of State and Government during the July Summit in Kampala, Uganda. She also noted an initiative by the UN Secretary-General to set up a High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, to ensure the interconnectivity between food security, climate change, access to water and energy among others, in which Africa will be represented. AMCEN 13 was preceded by the third meeting of African high-level expert panel on climate change, held on 20 June 2010, which discussed: a draft AMCEN climate change communication strategy; a draft comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes; climate change, clean technology and green growth opportunities; air pollution abatement in relation to other environmentally-friendly initiatives: the case of sustainable transport in Africa; carbon market, innovation and Arabic gum; and the status of the international climate change negotiations. The UN Environment Progarmme (UNEP) Regional Office for Africa serves as the Secretariat to AMCEN. [AMCEN 13 Website] [Sonjica's Speech] [Tumusiime's Speech]
CIF Strategic Climate Fund Holds Program Meetings

24 June 2010: The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Sub-Committee meetings took place from 22-24 June 2010, in Washington DC, US. These included meetings of the following target programs of the CIF Strategic Climate Fund (SCF): the Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP); the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR); and the Forest Investment Program (FIP). Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Maldives, Mali and Nepal were selected by the SREP to undertake the first pilot programmes to scale up renewable energy, transform their energy sectors and shift the market toward renewables. Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mexico were selected as pilots for the FIP to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), and promote sustainable management of their forests. Finally, Bolivia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Tajikistan and Yemen, which are already undertaking activities under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), were each awarded US$1.5 million to begin preparation of their national-level Strategic Programs for Climate Resilience (SPCR) and build capacity for their implemention. [CIF Website] [World Bank Press Release] [CIF Sub-Committees Meeting Website]
17th Katoomba Meeting Discusses Payments for Ecosystem Services

24 June  2010: The Katoomba Group, an international network of individuals working to promote and improve capacity related to markets and payments for ecosystem services (PES), held its 17th meeting in Hanoi, Viet Nam, from 23-24 June 2010. The meeting was co-hosted by several organizations, including two centers of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR): the Center for International Forestry Research and the World Agroforestry Center. Participants discussed carbon financing and systems for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), focusing on Southeast Asia. On carbon financing, participants focused on: national-level REDD systems; international, regional and national experiences; engagement of stakeholders, including investors; pilot demonstration sites; and training, capacity building and research agendas. On forest carbon and REDD architecture, presentations and discussions highlighted: work and experiences in Papua New Guinea, Viet Nam and Indonesia; a comparative analysis of policy implementation and approaches across Southeast Asia; the design of national REDD programmes from the bottom up;  public-private partnerships; and the state of emerging environmental markets. Tim Boyle, Asia Pacific regional coordinator for the UN-REDD Programme, presented on UN-REDD's activities with partner countries in the region. Participants also discussed schemes for payments for watershed and marine ecosystem services, and biodiversity markets and market-like structures like biodiversity banking. [2010 Katoomba Meeting XVII]
UN-REDD Holds Workshop on MRV

25 June 2010: The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme), along with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Mexican Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), held a workshop titled “Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), a roadmap for implementation at the country level,” from 22-24 June 2010, in Guadalajara, Mexico. The workshop brought together representatives from pilot and partner countries of the UN-REDD Programme, as well as other forested countries. Participants shared experiences in implementing MRV systems for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) while identifying current challenges, bottlenecks and data issues. Over 80 participants from 30 different countries discussed methodological approaches to monitoring land use changes, focusing especially on forest land use changes; developing Green House Gas (GHG) inventories for forests; measuring Reference Emission Levels (REL) and Reference Levels (RL); and estimating emission factors (carbon stock changes) by implementing national forest inventories. The GEO group offered its support to work jointly with the UN-REDD Programme to make satellite imagery available to countries, which will allow for better integration of MRV systems. The World Bank expert on MRV expressed his willingness to work jointly with the UN-REDD Programme to maximize the resources offered to countries. Participants agreed to strengthen capacity building towards improved design and operation of MRV systems along the lines of the current cooperation between the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). [UN REDD Press Release]
RRI Dialogue Addresses Forests, Governance and Climate Change

24 June 2010: The fifth Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change took place on 22 June 2010, in Washington DC, US. The Dialogue provided a forum for representatives from governments and civil society to discuss recent developments in the global architecture for a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+).   The Dialogue's principal focus was on governance, efforts to protect the rights and interests of local peoples, and the prospects for REDD at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC. In four sessions, participants: took stock of recent meetings, particularly the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference (May 2010) that saw agreement on an interim REDD+ partnership; addressed challenges in REDD implementation; discussed progress towards a framework of standards and safeguards for forests and climate; and identified critical issues to be addressed and the next steps to be taken in preparation for COP 16. Participants also discussed the role of bilateralism, which some noted could complement multilateral efforts in REDD financing and has the advantage of faster implementation, while others worried about consistency of standards and over-burdening local institutions with both bilateral and multilateral efforts. They also noted discrepancies between statements on safeguards and actual implementation, and discussed the drivers of deforestation and the costs and risks involved with REDD implementation. Regional RRI Dialogues are being planned for El Salvador, Nepal and Ethiopia, to continue discussion prior to COP 16. [IISD RS Coverage of the Dialogue]
World Day to Combat Desertification Celebrated

17 June 2010: In statements marking World Day to Combat Desertification, celebrated annually on 17 June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja have called attention to the interlinkages between soil, biodiversity and climate change. In his statement, the Secretary-General notes that the " human, environmental and social vulnerability come together with unusual force and symmetry in the world's drylands.  Climate change will only exacerbate such pressures." He further suggests that, in this International Year of Biodiversity, "we must remember that drylands are areas of enormous biological diversity and productivity. Thirty per cent of the crops that are cultivated and consumed in every corner of the world originate in drylands. The biodiversity of dryland soil also plays a critical role in transforming atmospheric carbon into organic carbon – the Earth's largest pool of organic carbon." Executive Secretary Gnacadja's statement highlights that “Enhancing soils anywhere enhances life everywhere” is this year's motto for World Day to Combat Desertification, and states that the theme "places soil health where it needs to be: at the very foundation of our survival and well-being." [UN Secretary-General Ban's Statement] [Executive Secretary Gnacadja's Statement]
UNFF Bureau Discusses Financing, REDD+ and UNFF 9 Preparations

17 June 2010: The Bureau of the Ninth Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 9) held its fourth meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 17 June 2010. The Bureau appointed officers for the Ad Hoc Expert Group on Forest Financing and considered the meeting's organization of work. The Bureau was informed of a recent meeting among forest-related regional processes, multilateral development banks and  international institutions, organized by the UNFF Secretariat. The meeting had concluded that: forests should be elevated on the agenda of major events;  financial resources should be explored beyond REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of carbon stocks); and the importance of UNFF forest financing process should be emphasized. The Bureau took note of a progress report on the Facilitative Process, which included case study reports on identifying gaps, obstacles and opportunities in forest financing in seven small island developing States (SIDS) and low forest cover countries. The Bureau also discussed preparations for UNFF 9, agreeing that the High-level Segment should result in a Ministerial Declaration that can provide input into the Rio +20 Summit. Several Bureau members expressed concern about attempts to reinterpret the concept of sustainable forest management (SFM) in other fora, and were made aware of the outcome of a meeting of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests on advancing a common message on SFM, which took place in April 2010. The Bureau was also briefed on a REDD+ coordination meeting, which sought to increase coordination among separate implementation operations in various countries where REDD+ was being implemented. [UNFF 9 Bureau Meeting Minutes]
UNFCCC Publishes AWG-LCA and AWG-KP June Meeting Reports

28 June 2010: The UNFCCC Secretariat has released the report (FCCC/KP/AWG/2010/7) of the 12th session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the report (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/7) of the tenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), held in Bonn, Germany, from 1-11 June 2010. In its conclusions, the AWG-KP requests the Secretariat to, inter alia: organize an in-session workshop at AWG-KP 13 on the scale of emission reductions to be achieved by Annex I parties in aggregate and the contribution of Annex I parties, individually or jointly, to this scale; and organize, before AWG- KP 13, subject to the availability of supplementary resources, a pre-sessional workshop on forest management accounting, including any new available information, taking into account progress made during AWG-KP 12 regarding the use of reference levels. The AWG- LCA did not adopt conclusions at the June session. [AWG-LCA Report] [AWG-KP Report] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the UNFCCC Jun...]
UNCCD Organizes Events to Follow-up on COP Decisions

June 2010: A number of meetings have taken place recently to follow-up on decisions by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Conference of the Parties (COP) related to National Action Programmes (NAPs) and indicators. Delegates from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) parties met from 7-10 June 2010, in Prague, Czech Republic, to discuss the alignment of national action programmes (NAPs) with five operational objectives of the 10-Year Strategy of the UNCCD (2008-2018), adopted at COP 8 in September 2007. This meeting also considered the regional initiative on financial resource mobilization to strengthen the implementation of the Convention in CEE parties. This element focused on enabling focal points and others concerned to start the formulation of Integrated Financing Strategies relevant to the UNCCD objectives. Following this meeting, a meeting of the Chairpersons of the five Regional Implementation Annexes of the UNCCD convened in Prague, on 11 June 2010. The meeting focused on the alignment of action programmes with the 10-Year Strategy, the assistance programme to be facilitated by the Secretariat in partnership with the UN Development Programme and the Global Mechanism, the fourth UNCCD reporting and review process, and support to be provided to parties in the 2012-2013 reporting and review exercise.  Also on 11 June 2010, the UNCCD Secretariat organized a meeting with relevant institutions that have experience related to the implementation of the sub-set of two impact indicators. The meeting, which took place in Bonn, Germany, sought to: discuss methodologies in use to measure the two impact indicators and provide practical recommendations on data collection, processing, monitoring and reporting methods for the production of these indicators; review availability, accessibility and quality of the necessary data for the impact indicators and identify data sources and gaps; and initiate the discussion on the technical support that the invited institutions and agencies could provide in the reporting process of the impact indicators at the global and national levels. [http://www.unccd.int/publicinfo/announce/docs/Resolution_fin...; http://www.unccd.int/publicinfo/announce/first-regional-NAP-...; http://www.unccd.int/publicinfo/announce/chairpersons-meet-p...http://www.unccd.int/science/announce/meeting-on-methodologi...]
UNECE Organizes Energy and Climate Meetings

11 June 2010: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has hosted a series of energy and climate meetings at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The first meeting of the Group of Experts of the Global Energy Efficiency 21 (GEE21) Project convened on 10 June 2010. It was preceded by the 15th Session of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation, on 9 June 2010, and followed by the 21th Session of the Steering Committee of the GEE21 Project, on 11 June. At the first meeting of the Group of Experts of the GEE21 Project, representatives from the five UN regional commissions adopted the programme of work of the Group and mapped out future activities, including the development of regional concepts on energy efficiency and elements for a Global Strategy for Energy Efficiency Market Formation to Mitigate Climate Change. The strategy is expected to reflect the experiences and lessons learned in financing investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, through the work of the UN Regional Commissions, the financial community and other energy sector stakeholders. The 15th Session of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation reviewed: progress in the implementation of the project “Financing Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation” (FEEI); the outcome of the Regional Analysis of Policy Reforms to Promote Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Investments, in particular recommendations to overcome barriers to energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in countries participating in the project; and preparations for a Workshop on Investments in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects to be organized jointly by the UNECE and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in the framework of the FEEI and GEE21 projects. The 21st Session of the Steering Committee of the GEE21 Project discussed: the development of the renewable energy sector in the Russian Federation and in countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): prospects for inter-regional cooperation; increasing energy efficiency for secure energy supplies; the Regional Network for Efficient Use of Energy and Water Resources in South- Eastern Europe; energy efficiency market formation in South-Eastern Europe; removing barriers to energy efficiency improvements in the state sector in Belarus; green procurement for smart purchasing; the Action Plan for Energy Efficient Housing in the UNECE Region; modern and sustainable heat and power from woody biomass in South- Eastern Europe; and Best Practice Guidance on Effective Methane Drainage and Use in Coal Mines. [UNECE Press Release] [GEE21 Expert Group Meeting Documents] [FEEI Meeting Documents] [GEE21 Steering Committee Meeting Documents]
UNCCD Organizes Land Day 2

6 June 2010: The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) organized Land Day 2 on 5 June 2010, in parallel to the May/June Climate Change Talks in Bonn, Germany. The event sought to heighten the attention of policy- and decision-makers to the importance of land issues in the ongoing climate change negotiations, and to foster a dialogue that could strengthen an agreement regarding the post-2012 period for climate change policy. Discussions were organized around questions related to: how synergetic implementation of the actions mandated under the UNFCCC and UNCCD can be fostered at the country level; how land and soil fit into an agreement for the post-2012 period; and what negotiators need to know about water and land assets in confronting climate change. Among the ideas highlighted during the conclusion were: the importance of cooperation at various levels in order to minimize the proliferation of actions; the need for social innovation to transform success stories into processes with broader national and regional impacts; the need for a change in perception of water sources; the need to give attention to upscaling and downscaling of actions; the role for investment in human resources in order to build the capacity to make long-term change; and the need to focus on poverty eradication and economic growth as primary objectives. [UNCCD Website] [Land Day 2 Website]

May 2010

UNECE/FAO Forest Communicators Network Meets in Sweden

28 May 2010: The Forest Communicators Network of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)/UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) met in Gothenburg, Sweden from 26-28 May 2010 for their annual session. Thirty experts from 13 countries and six international organizations participated in discussions on the International Year of Forest 2011, best practices in the field of communication, and the scope and concept of a future European forest communication strategy. Participants heard presentations on activities to promote communication from various European countries, and heard preparations for the Sixth Forests Europe Ministerial Conference, to be held in 2011. [UNECE/FAO Forest Communicators Network Meeting Website]
Fifth GEF Replenishment Negotiations Conclude

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) finalized its Fifth Replenishment negotiations, with over 30 countries pledging US$4.25 billion to fund projects with global environmental benefits during the next four years. The sixth meeting of donors for the Fifth GEF Replenishment, held in Paris, France, on 12 May 2010, also agreed to channel US$1.3 billion to the climate change focal area. The financial pledges also include some of the Fast Start Financing discussed at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and will feature the creation of a Sustainable Forest Management-REDD Plus (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) initiative. Some of the main areas of work for the GEF during the four-year period starting July 2010 will be to: lower carbon dioxide emissions; expand sustainable management of protected areas and critical landscapes; strengthen multi-State cooperation on transboundary water systems management; reduce persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in land and water; reduce mercury emissions; and expand and protect the Earth's forest cover. Links to further information GEF press release, 12 May 2010 Documents for the Sixth Meeting of the GEF-5 replenishment

April 2010

Regional Commissions Discuss Forests and Climate Change in Europe, Latin America

The 35th Session of the European Forestry Commission (ECE) met from 27-29 April 2010, in Lisbon, Portugal, to discuss European forests' central role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The conference considered the role of European forests as carbon sinks, as a major source of renewable energy, and as a provider of ecosystem services such as protection of freshwater resources and reduction of risks from natural disasters. Conference participants further recognized the forest sector's relevance for countries' economic well-being. The Commission decided to engage and intensify the dialogue with water, energy and climate change sectors. Meanwhile, from 26-30 April 2010, the 31st Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) met in Panama City, Panama, and considered, among other issues, the impacts of climate change on agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the region. Links to further information Latin American and the Caribbean FAO Regional Conference web... UNECE press release, 30 April 2010
Mediterranean Dialogue Addresses Environment and Renewable Energy

The First Ministerial Conference on the Environment and Renewable Energy within the framework of the 5+5 Mediterranean Dialogue convened on 26 April 2010, in Oran, Algeria, with representatives from Northern Mediterranean countries (Spain, France, Italy and Portugal) and five Southern Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia). The Conference produced the “Oran Declaration,” which underscores the need for more significant integration of environmental issues into the development strategies adopted by the countries in the region, as well as in their international cooperation policies. The Declaration, inter alia, calls for cooperation in renewable energy and energy efficiency, indicating that the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) must constitute a supplementary framework for strengthening agreement between countries in this area. It also addresses the protection of the marine environment, water, waste, desertification and sustainable urban development. Link to further information Spanish Government press release
European Conference on the Protection of Forests Develops Valsaín Declaration

The European Commission and the Spanish Presidency of the EU hosted a conference on forest protection in Europe from 6-7 April 2010, in Segovia, Spain, to discuss the Green Paper on Forest Protection and Information, published by the Commission in March. High-level representatives of the General Coordinating Committee of FOREST EUROPE, of the Ministerial Conference on Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE), presented on FOREST EUROPE's ongoing work and achievements, highlighting the role of Europe's forests in combating climate change. Delegates adopted the Valsaín Declaration, which underlines the importance of pan-European cooperation on sustainable forest management and acknowledges the need for supporting actions that enable forests to provide lasting goods and services and to join forces to increase their quality and quantity. Link to further information MCPFE media release, 16 April 2010
Dialogue Takes Place on Forests, Governance and Climate Change

The fourth Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change took place in London, England, on 6 April 2010. The meeting was attended by approximately 100 representatives of governments, indigenous peoples, civil society, investors and business, and conservation and development organizations from around the world. Participants convened in four panel sessions throughout the day, reviewing the outcomes of the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the upcoming UNFCCC meeting in April in Bonn, Germany, and addressing the outcomes of the International Conference on the Major Forest Basins, held on 11 March 2010 in Paris, France, and its anticipated follow-up meeting in May in Oslo, Norway. Participants also discussed options and recommended principles and criteria for proposed interim and global architectures for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, plus conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+), and focused on implications of the proposed architectures on adoption and implementation of standards, safeguards and recourse mechanisms. The Dialogue concluded by identifying critical issues to be addressed and next steps to be taken in Oslo, Bonn and at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico. The fifth Dialogue is scheduled to take place in Washington, DC, in May 2010 and will focus on operationalizing standards and safeguards, and ensuring adequate recourse mechanisms across the suite of REDD initiatives and implementing organizations. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting Meeting website

March 2010

UNEP Convenes Meeting on Existing Environmental Goals and Objectives

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) convened the Existing Internationally Agreed Environmental Goals and Objectives meeting from 29-31 March in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was attended by over 80 governments who considered the preparation of a compilation of internationally agreed environmental goals and objectives, which includes thematic areas on: air pollution and air quality; biodiversity; chemicals and waste; climate change; energy; environmental governance; forests; freshwater; oceans and seas; and soil, land use, land degradation and desertification (IISD RS sources).
Global Conference on Agriculture Research for Development Discusses Investment Needs

The first Global Conference on Agriculture Research for Development (GCARD), which convened in Montpelier, France, from 29-31 March 2010, examined the need for investment in agricultural research and the roles that can be played by various institutions to increase the impact of new knowledge among the poor. The event produced a non-binding “Montpelier Roadmap” for how to tailor agricultural research to the needs of the rural poor. It highlights the need for implementation of regional priorities, identified through regional consultations, and suggests that characteristics of a well-functioning agricultural research for development system include mutual and equal accountability among all stakeholders and strengthened relationships among those involved with research, development and farming. The document will be further refined in the coming months. GCARD was organized by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), in collaboration with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). It will be a biennial meeting that will replace the triennial GFAR meetings and the annual general meetings of the CGIAR. At the event, CGIAR introduced its proposed large-scale collective-action programmes through eight thematic areas: climate change and agriculture; agricultural systems for the poor and vulnerable; enabling agricultural incomes for the poor; optimizing productivity of global food security crops; agriculture nutrition and health; water, soils and ecosystems; forests and trees; and agricultural biodiversity. Link to further information Meeting website
ADDITIONAL $1 BILLION PLEDGED FOR REDD+ FUNDING

The International Conference on the Major Forest Basins, which took place in Paris, France, on 11 March 2010, brought representatives from 64 countries together to discuss funding for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, plus conservation, sustainable management of forests, and stock enhancement) activities during 2010-2012. Donors pledged an additional $1 billion in REDD+ funding, to add to the $3.5 billion pledged in December 2009 by Australia, France, Japan, Norway, the UK and the US. The conference, which was hosted by the French Government, was opened by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and included speeches from other high-level government officials from, inter alia, Brazil, Republic of the Congo and Norway. Participants engaged in three sessions on: pledges of initial funding and action for forests; coordination of initial funding and action for forests; and organization of long-term international action concerning REDD+. Representatives from ten countries, including both developed and developing countries, were appointed to form a REDD+ steering group. Among its first tasks will be to consider how to fairly distribute the billions in early funding among forest countries, which include Brazil, Congo, Indonesia and a host of smaller tropical countries. A second conference will be organized in Oslo, Norway, in May 2010, with a view to delivering to the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico in December 2010, a concrete plan devoted specifically to deforestation. Links to further information NPR media release, 11 March 2010 Conference press kit Conference website
UNFF Secretariat Hosts Briefing Sessions on Forest Financing

The Secretariat of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) hosted a series of briefing sessions on the UNFF Strategic Work Plan on Forest Financing on 10 March 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The Strategic Work Plan was recently endorsed by the UNFF 9 Bureau as a means to pave the way for full implementation of the UNFF 9 Special Session's Resolution on means of implementation, and outlines a four-year roadmap including two official ad hoc expert group (AHEG) meetings and the UNFF Facilitative Process. The Strategic Work Plan follows the Resolution's vision on forests – a cross-cutting and multi-sectoral approach that involves substantive inputs from member States, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, regional processes and other stakeholders and encompasses resources from international, regional and national sources. Discussions at the briefing also focused on the first phase of the activity of the Facilitative Process, launched to identify gaps, obstacles and opportunities in forest financing. The first phase of the Process is focused on small island developing States and low forest cover countries. Depending on additional funding, it would then expand to other groups of countries and provide its inputs on issues referred to it by the Forum. Delegates also discussed logistical and substantive preparations for the upcoming first meeting of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental AHEG on Sustainable Forest Management Financing, scheduled to take place in Nairobi in September 2010. The AHEG will discuss forest financing actions, analyses and experiences at all levels, as well as some features of forest financing strategies and mechanisms. [Background information] [UNFF website]
WORLD AGROFORESTRY CENTRE AND IISD CONVENE REDD WORKSHOPS

Workshops for developing countries working to reduce emissions from deforestation and land use change were held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1-3 March 2010, and Hue City, Viet Nam, from 8-10 March 2010. The workshops were hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Alternatives to Slash and Burn Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins (ASB), and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). The workshops follow previous meetings in 2009 on “REDD at the Copenhagen Climate Talks and Beyond – Bridging the Gap between Negotiations and Actions.” The workshop in Kenya included 70 participants from 15 countries and the workshop in Viet Nam included 55 individuals from seven countries. At both meetings, delegates discussed: experiences with reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) pilot projects; information on REDD methodologies; opportunities for funding; and issues at play in the lead up to COP16. The meeting organizers produced a background paper, titled “REDD After Copenhagen: The Way Forward,” which analyzes the COP15 outcomes on REDD-plus and agriculture, forests and land use and assesses key areas for moving ahead with REDD implementation. Links to further information Background paper Workshop website
BRAZIL AND US SIGN AGREEMENT ON DEFORESTATION

Brazil and the United States have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to reduce deforestation as part of an effort to slow climate change. The MoU was signed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Brasilia on 3 March 2010. Under the agreement , Brazil and the US will establish a Climate Change Policy Dialogue that will meet at least once a year to work towards: developing and implementing pragmatic solutions and policies for reducing emissions, including carbon markets; coordinating “joint efforts on research, development, deployment and dissemination of technologies for combating climate change;” and capacity-building in sectors related to climate change. Links to further information Mongabay.com press report, 7 March 2010 US State Department press release, 3 March 2010 Memorandum of Understanding

February 2010

IFAD Governing Council Convenes 33rd Session

18 February 2010: The Governing Council of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) held its 33rd session from 17-18 February 2010, in Rome, Italy, to discuss: the Eighth Replenishment of IFAD's resources; IFAD's budget; revisions of IFAD's lending policies and criteria; progress on the performance-based allocation system; progress on the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and a synthesis of the global meeting of the Farmers' Forum 2010. Among other things, the Council called for investment in smallholders to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Link to further information IFAD Governing Council website
NEPAD COORDINATION ON AGRICULTURE PROGRESSES

A number of recent developments have been reported related to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). At the 14th African Union Summit, which convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 25 January-2 February 2010, leaders agreed in AU Assembly Decision AU/14(XIV) to transform the NEPAD Secretariat into an implementing agency, to be called the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA). The NPCA is also mandated “to mobilize resources and partners in support of their implementation.” On 9-10 February 2010, in Bamako, Mali, 60 subregional institutions and international organizations, farmers' and community-based organizations met under NEPAD coordination, to validate the framework document for first pillar of Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – land and water management. This meeting was the culmination of a 12-month consultation process. In addition, participants agreed to set priorities and action lines on the basis of current scenarios that can be supported by scientific evidence, and to strengthen the links between the content of the framework document and the three Rio Conventions. And on 16 February 2010, African and Arab Ministers met in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to agree on a Joint Action Plan (JAP) that would guide their collaboration in agriculture and food security. The Joint Afro Arab Ministerial Meeting on Agricultural Development and Food Security, sought to create a partnership to promote food security and identify ways to achieve best use of land resources through cooperation. Links to further information CAADP news report, 7 February 2010 CAADP news report, 16 February 2010 Global Mechanism news report, 2 March 2010
MULTISTAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE CONSIDERS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IMPLEMENTATION

A one-day meeting convened on 1 February 2010 at UN Headquarters, with the goal of accelerating the pace by which decisions of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) are turned into action. Convened by the Division for Sustainable Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), this innovation brought together the former and current leadership of the CSD along with major implementing partners to discuss how the Commission could become more results oriented. With a focus on the issues of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and and sustainable development in Africa – recent CSD 17 themes – participants noted that the Commission's work has been important to policymaking, especially decisions relevant to the global food, financial and energy crises. Meant to deepen and hasten implementation of such CSD decisions, stakeholders crafted a seven point implementation strategy based on the use of new modalities like ICT, partnerships and the fast tracking of successful practices. This strategy, as well as other outcomes from the meeting, are available on the event website. Link to further information Multistakeholder Dialogue website

January 2010

UNFF 9 CHAIR ADDRESSES ECOSOC MEETING

At a joint meeting of the Bureau of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Chairpersons of its functional commissions, Arvid Ozols, Chair of the ninth session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 9), delivered an address on recent achievements of the UNFF with regard to sustainable forest management and its contributions to gender equality and internationally agreed development goals. On 29 January 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, Ozols stated that the theme of the 2010 Annual Ministerial Review, “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to gender equality and the empowerment of women,” is an integral part of the Forum's work, noting that one of the purposes of the Non-legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests is to enhance the contribution of forests in achieving the millennium development goals and, inter alia, gender equality. He also highlighted that UNFF 9's theme, “Forests for people, livelihoods and poverty eradication,” would include a discussion on the needs of women who are highly dependent on forests. Link to further information UNFF 9 Chair's statement, 29 January 2010
CHATHAM HOUSE ORGANIZES ILLEGAL LOGGING UPDATE AND STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION

The fifteenth Chatham House Illegal Logging Update meeting took place at Chatham House, London, from 20-21 January 2010. A keynote address was delivered by Hilary Benn, UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and participants listened to presentations on various issues pertaining to forest law enforcement, governance and trade, and discussed the merits of including industrial logging in development strategies. In addition, the third Chatham House-Rights and Resources Initiative Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change was held on 22 January 2010, and provided an opportunity to discuss the implications of the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference held in December 2009. Links to further information Illegal Logging.Info website for Illegal Logging Update Illegal Logging.Info website for Dialogue