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COMBATING DEFORESTATION

FAO, the task manager on forests, described its preparations for the next session of the CSD. A draft report has been distributed with information from UN agencies concerned with forests (World Bank, UNDP, UNEP and ITTO) and a number of NGOs and governments. FAO held a Special Meeting of Bureaus of Regional Forestry Commissions in preparation for the 12th session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO), which was held in Rome from 19-21 September 1994. A high-level panel of External Experts in Forestry was held in Rome from 19-21 October 1994, which advised on the revitalization of FAO"s normative activities and in particular in connection with the role of FAO"s Forestry Department in the post-UNCED period.

Brazil reported on the initiatives on forests involving the Amazon countries. This is not a formal process, but it does involve cooperation among the Amazon countries, which has gained strength since the last meeting of the CSD. At its third session, the CSD should identify the specific areas of cooperation that are needed on all types of forests. This exercise can be enriched by some amount of voluntary reporting to the CSD. The outcome of the Indo-British initiative should be given appropriate consideration at the CSD"s ad hoc working group meeting in February. The CSD needs to identify the difficulties faced by countries in the conservation, management and sustainable development of all types of forests. On the identification of criteria and indicators, Brazil mentioned the need to develop reliable, responsible parameters based on specific characteristics of areas concerned, taking into consideration economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects. There is a need to ensure that the utilization of criteria and indicators will not resort to discriminatory practice. Brazil has been developing a set of criteria and indicators for assessment of sustainability in general and forests in particular. The indicators of sustainable development should include three dimensional indicators: economic sustainability, social sustainability and environmental sustainability.

EXPERT LEVEL FOLLOW-UP MEETING TO THE HELSINKI CONFERENCE: The Helsinki Process, which began in 1990, developed the general guidelines for the sustainable management of forests in Europe. The need to identify measurable criteria and indicators for the evaluation of how different countries have progressed in their efforts to follow the principles of sustainable forest management and conservation of the biological diversity of European forests became the most pressing issue in the international follow-up of the 1993 Helsinki Conference. A core set of criteria and indicators was adopted at the first expert level follow-up meeting, which was held in Geneva in June 1994. The six European criteria are as follows: (1) maintenance and appropriate enhancement of forest resources and their contribution to global carbon cycles; (2) maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality; (3) maintenance and encouragement of the productive functions of forests (wood and non-wood); (4) maintenance, conservation and appropriate enhancement of biological diversity in forest ecosystems; (5) maintenance and appropriate enhancement of protective functions in forest management (notably soil and water); and (6) maintenance of other socio-economic functions and conditions.

NEW DELHI FORESTRY WORKSHOP: The UK and India jointly hosted a workshop on forestry in New Delhi from 25-27 July 1995. The workshop was attended by representatives from 39 countries as well as observers from most of the major international agencies involved in forestry and a number of NGOs. The workshop agreed on a standard framework for countries to use in reporting to the CSD"s 1995 session. The workshop found the following headings to be useful in these reports: (1) promotion and implementation of the conservation, management and overall sustainable development of forests; (2) promotion and implementation of the sustainable use of forests and related aspects of economic development, including harvesting and processing of wood and non-wood forest products, recycling of waste, recreation and tourism; (3) the role of major groups and social aspects of forests; (4) institutional building and capacity building; and (5) international and regional cooperation and support. The workshop also noted the work being undertaken on the development of internationally agreed criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.

WORKING GROUP ON CRITERIA AND INDICATORS FOR THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF BOREAL AND TEMPERATE FORESTS: This working group (also known as the Montreal Process) has met five times since Rio, where governments made a commitment to develop criteria and indicators that would characterize sustainable forest management. Nine countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation and the United States) are members of this working group that covers over 40% of worlds forests. At the meeting that was held in Tokyo from 17-18 November 1994, participants reached agreement on a first draft of seven criteria for the sustainable development and management of boreal and temperate forests. At its next meeting in February, the seven criteria and associated indicators will be reviewed and finalized.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL WORKING GROUP ON FORESTS: The second meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Forests (IWGF) was convened in Hull, Canada, from 10-14 October 1994. The first meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 18-21 April 1994. Participation in the second meeting was expanded to cover technical and policy experts from 32 countries, five intergovernmental organizations and 11 NGOs. The objective of the IWGF is to facilitate dialogue and consolidation of approaches to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests leading to the review of forest issues by the CSD at its third session. The IWGF has been considering seven issues: (a) forest conservation, enhancing forest cover and the role of forests in meeting basic human needs; (b) criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management; (c) trade and environment; (d) approaches to mobilizing financial resources and technology transfer; (e) institutional linkages; (f) participation and transparency in forest management; and (g) comprehensive cross-sectoral integration including land use planning and management, and the influence of policies external to the traditional forest sector. By the conclusion of the second meeting, the participants had produced synthesis papers on each issue that include the key points raised during the meeting and a set of suggested options, approaches and opportunities specific to each topic.

POLICY DIALOGUE ON SCIENCE, FORESTS AND SUSTAINABILITY: The Centre for International Forestry Research and the Government of Indonesia are co-hosting this policy dialogue in Indonesia from 10-16 December 1994. The dialogue brought together 50 scientists, key persons from the post-Rio processes, NGOs, indigenous people, industry, government and development agencies. Participants are expected to visit industrial logging areas, lands degraded by fire and shifting agriculture, communities dependent on forest products and an area protected for biological diversity. The primary objective was to review the results of the various forest initiatives, determine if they adequately incorporate the latest scientific information and determine their implications for future research and information needs. Participants were expected to discuss: the roles of forests in a world of 10 billion people with increasing food production needs; the potential of information technology for decision making on complex forest systems; how different systems of ownership and stewardship of forests influence sustainability and productivity; the implications of fossil fuel depletion and carbon dioxide build-up for forests; and the implications of the present moves towards globalization and multilateralism on forests.

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