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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE XI WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS
13-14 OCTOBER 1997
The XI World Forestry Congress (XI WFC), on "Forestry for Sustainable Development: Towards the 21st Century," began on 13 October 1997 in Antalya, Turkey. Delegates convened at the opening ceremony on Monday evening, 13 October and in two Plenary sessions on Tuesday morning, 14 October. They heard keynote speeches on the challenge to forestry for sustainable development and progress reports from the various regional sustainable forest management (SFM) processes. On Tuesday afternoon, participants convened in the first of many technical sessions.
At the opening ceremony, XI WFC delegates were welcomed with several Turkish cultural presentations and with introductory speeches by WFC Organizing Committee Chair Hari Berk and Lord Mayor of Antalya Hasan Subasi.
Mesut Kamiloglu, XI WFC Secretary-General, outlined highlights from the Congress agenda and noted that more than 3,500 participants from 148 countries were in attendance. He reported that the Procedures and Nominations Committee had established a working group that has already begun drafting the Antalya Declaration and announced the nominated members, who were then approved by acclamation.
Ersin Taranoglu, Turkish Minister of Forestry and Congress Chair, introduced the main theme of the Congress: Forestry for Sustainable Development Towards the 21st Century. He underscored the problem of high consumption of forest products due to population pressures and noted the threat of forest fires to sustainable forestry. He stated that forests house biological diversity and are important for sustainable agriculture.
Jacques Diouf, FAO Director-General, emphasized the critical role of forestry in food security and highlighted the outcomes of the World Food Summit. He stressed FAO's commitment to sustainable forestry as an integral part of overall socio-economic development and the importance of partnerships among international organizations to address the challenges of sustainable forestry.
Mesut Yimaz, Prime Minister of Turkey, said the Congress would provide information about recent developments in forestry, stimulate new ideas for decision making and raise global awareness of forestry issues, thereby enabling countries to expedite decision making and make joint decisions. He commented that forestry policies should be aimed at sustainable management, not at solving national economic problems. He concluded that the Congress would be important for environmental issues at large and expressed hope that everyone would benefit from the Congress.
Suleyman Demirel, President of Turkey, noted that in the 20th century humanity has made great progress, but major wars and environmental ills also threaten it and other life forms. He said preparation for the 21st century must be conducted with a sense of responsibility for future generations. He lauded the progress since UNCED in building international consensus on sustainable forestry and stated that the WFC is part of these efforts to pursue sound criteria and guidance for the sustainable development of all types of forests. He called for a renewal of the pledge for global partnership to meet the needs of the present without compromising the "green dreams" of future generations.
THE CHALLENGE TO FORESTRY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Five keynote speakers set the stage for Congress deliberations, highlighting the main issues of the current debate on global forestry and analyzing trends and the need for change in the forestry sector.
David Harcharik, Assistant Director-General, FAO Forestry Department, stressed that forests must be managed according to a conceptual framework uniting science with social consciousness. He outlined challenges in the environmental, economic and social dimensions of SFM, including: broadening sustained yield forestry to incorporate sustaining forests as ecological systems; increasing commercial uses for non-wood products; and broadening the forest stewardship community. He challenged delegates to redouble efforts to manage forests in ways that enhance their environmental, economic and social values and to build partnerships among the various stakeholders.
Jeffrey Burley, President of IUFRO, challenged forestry research to: produce innovative, timely knowledge for all levels; use collaborative integrative approaches directed towards applicable outputs; draw on existing information; and be fully accountable, with adequate compensation and public and private funding. Results must be disseminated, including electronic versions wherever copyright law permits; donors must support research, particularly in developing countries; and taxpayers and policy-makers must be convinced of the value of long-term research.
Jag Maini, Secretary, Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF), spoke on forest-related events in the 1990s, the current state of thinking on SFM and challenges in the next millennium. He cited the IPF's achievements, including agreement on proposals for action and consensus that SFM must take socio-economic, political and environmental conditions into account, as a significant step forward. He identified future challenges, including future demand for forest products, allocation of resources to SFM and cross-sectoral policy creation.
Ola Ullsten, Co-President, World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development, stated that forest security was as important as food security. He underscored forest decline as a political issue and indicated a need to stop trade-distorting subsidies. He called on the multinational forest industry to develop criteria and indicators (C&I) and a code of conduct for SFM and suggested that a "forest watch" organization be established to monitor forest practices.
David Bills, on behalf of the Standing Commission on Commonwealth Forestry, presented the outcomes of the 15th Commonwealth Forestry Conference in May 1997. The conference theme, "Forestry in a changing political environment," underlined the need for the forest sector to address means of cooperation, technological means to ensure sustainable forestry, and forestry products and services. He highlighted Conference recommendations on participation, forest management, and research training and information.
TAKING STOCK OF THE VARIOUS SFM PROCESSES
Congress delegates were briefed on the status of the eight regional processes on C&I for SFM. Don Wijiwardena, New Zealand Ministry of Forestry, discussed development of C&I for SFM. Criteria include: enabling conditions; soil and water protection; ecosystem health; biological diversity; productive capacity; production flow; and social, cultural and economic effects. Each criterion is measured by indicators. Eight ongoing voluntary international C&I processes conceptualize forests as complex ecosystems and use similar approaches. They differ in scope, level of assessment, array and number of indicators. A global dialogue is underway to encourage: participation in C&I development; national implementation of C&I; development of subnational C&I; and common understandings of what is needed.
Montreal: Hoduck Kang, Korean Forestry Administration, noted the convening of the ninth meeting of the Montreal Process in Seoul in July 1997 and the completion of the First Approximation Report of the MP Countries. The report revealed that, for a large percentage of indicators, data are being collected and gaps identified. The application, monitoring and capacity to apply C&I vary. He announced that the tenth meeting would be held in 1998.
Helsinki: Luis Costa Leal, Secretariat, Ministerial Conference on Protection of Forests in Europe, outlined the Ministerial Conferences in Strasbourg in 1990 and in Helsinki in 1993. He noted that implementation and follow-up of Conference resolutions are undertaken through national and Pan-European activities. Ongoing Pan-European activities include developing guidelines for SFM at the operational level, developing a work programme on conservation and enhancement of biological and landscape diversification for ecosystems, and preparing a report on the status of SFM in Europe. At the third Ministerial Conference in June 1998, ministers will review progress, provide regional responses to the IPF's action proposals, and emphasize socio-economic challenges in forestry.
Tarapoto: Victor Carazo, Amazon Cooperation Treaty, stated that in 1995, Amazonian countries established the Tarapoto Process in order to guide policy, establish positions at meetings, preserve biodiversity and plan sustainable development. He explained that national consultations that analyze C&I in the economic, environmental and political context of each country are an important and ongoing part of the regional process.
Dry Africa Zones: Jinhoa Zhang, UNEP, described this regional process, initiated in 1995 by FAO and UNEP, which created C&I for SFM in sub-Saharan dry-zone Africa. He said a follow-up workshop in November will discuss the significance of C&I to individual countries in a regional context and the applicability of the criteria. He identified challenges to the process, such as new data collection, implementation capacity and limited financial resources.
Lepatique Central America: Juan Blas Zapata, CCAB, noted that the Central American C&I cover a variety of forest types, including wetlands, highland forests and conifer forests, and are founded on four principles: ensuring integration of peace and democracy; benefiting from experiences in other regions; cooperating with FAO; and encouraging international support.
Near East: Hosny El-Lakany, FAO Forest Resources Division, stated that C&I had only recently been introduced into the Near East. The application of these criteria present challenges due to the prevalent aridity and ecological, social and technical problems of the region. As a result, foresters had to be trained to apply the C&I.
ITTO: Lachlan Hunter described the International Tropical Timber Organization's (ITTO) efforts in C&I development, mainly on trade and productivity of tropical forests. These efforts complement other ITTO processes, including its objective to achieve SFM in forests producing tropical timber for international trade by 2000. As the first intergovernmental effort to develop C&I for SFM, the ITTO's C&I are being revised, to be used as templates for national-level development of more stringent guidelines.
ATO: Mohammed Lawal Garba, African Timber Organization (ATO), spoke of the need to reconcile forests' productive functions with their environmental role. ATO, with CIFOR, is developing unit-level C&I to improve market competitiveness in connection with certification. The C&I will also reflect national forestry plans. Six countries have been selected for pilot tests based on recently completed studies. The approach is expensive but pragmatic, transparent, participatory and realizable.
CIFOR: Denis Dykstra, Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR), noted that CIFOR is researching whether C&I: can be applied across different eco-regions; can consider the needs of forest dwellers; and need to be modified for community forestry. It is also investigating whether natural forest C&I can be applied to plantation forests.
FOREST AND TREE RESOURCES
The position paper on forest and tree resources surveyed topics such as public information, forest and tree sustainability indicators, international harmonization, population growth, climate change and the effects of plantations on forest health. Suggested actions include broad consultation, capacity building, adaptation to climate change and regional networks.
Assessment and Monitoring of Forest and Tree Resources: A special paper was presented on global assessments. It noted that techniques for inventory exist, but many inventories are unreliable due to a lack of funds, capacity and data.
Six voluntary papers discussed analysis and application of technologies for gathering information, including remote sensing, innovative mapping and field assessments in Brazil, Russia, Chile, France and Thailand.
PRODUCTION FUNCTIONS OF FORESTS
The position paper on productive functions of forests discussed challenges in enhancing the productive functions of tropical rain forests and addressed natural forest management, logging, silviculture and enrichment planting.
Non-wood Forest Products: A special paper was presented on the importance of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) and strategies for sustainable development, emphasizing the social and economic importance of NWFPs to rural development. It recommended adoption of a sustainable management strategy that addresses the need for: a new silviculture system; improved tenurial rights; micro-level management; and marketing and conservation measures.
Voluntary papers were presented on: harvesting techniques in tapping Philippine resins; processing and application of almaciga resin for paints; marketing of NWFPs; "Kekik" in trade in Turkey; SFM by local communities; an integrated approach to sustainable development of NWFPs in the Sundarban reserve forest; and commercial and sustainable extraction of NWFPs.
EXCHANGE OF EXPERIENCE AND STATE OF ART IN SFM BY ECOREGION
Boreal Forests: A special paper on the state of Russian boreal forests and the impact of natural processes and human activity examined the effects of fire, harvesting practices, pests, disease and atmospheric pollutants on Russian forests.
Temperate Forests: A special paper on perspectives on temperate forest management outlined the history of temperate forests, and a special paper on sustainable management of European and temperate forests focused on the SFM of privately-owned forests in Europe.
A guest speaker, Kalevi Hemil, Minister of Environment of Finland, discussed: IPF follow-up; national forest programmes; C&I; and national implementation of SFM.
Voluntary papers were presented on, inter alia: reforestation; sustainable forest industry practices; and SFM in various countries.
ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTION OF FORESTRY TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The position paper highlighted the need for macroeconomic policies to ensure SFM and the need to expand economic evaluation to incorporate non-market based benefits.
Demand for Forest Products, Consumption Patterns and Marketing: A special paper noted that forest sector policies are influenced by macroeconomic policies and hence SFM is not dependent solely on forest management practices. Other papers: emphasized the fact that 60% of the world's population will live in urban areas by 2025, creating an increased demand for sophisticated wood-based products; and described market trends in Korea, underscoring the increase in softwoods and recycled paper.
A summary of voluntary papers noted: the growth in demand for forest products in China; the need for change in infrastructure to make wood more available; the decrease in demand for species variety as income increased in Costa Rica; and the need to use lesser-known species.
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