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Volume 10 Number 16 - Thursday, 22 October 2009
XIII WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS HIGHLIGHTS
Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The more than 6600 participants to WFC met troughout the day, in a morning plenary session on human development in harmony with forests, followed by eight parallel sessions and a poster session. One of the many side events of the day was a four-hour forum on the FAO’s initiative on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). The afternoon was dominated by a forum on forests and climate change that focused primarily on land-use change and REDD, and which concluded with a call to comment on a draft message from participants to the UNFCCC. Hard copies were made available to all participants with the request that suggestions be submitted by the evening of Thursday, 22 October 2009.

MORNING PLENARY

Amha Bin Buang, ITTO, delivered the keynote speech on behalf of ITTO Executive Director Emanuel Ze Meka. He reminded participants that although the right to development is enshrined in the Rio Declaration, when left unchecked, development has often gone hand in hand with deforestation. Buang submitted SFM as a middle way between over and underdevelopment, and maintained that PES is key to sustainable development.

Elizabeth de Carvalhaes, Brazilian Pulp and Paper Association, outlined Brazil’s use of efficient plantations to produce cellulose on restored degraded forestland. She said deforestation of natural forests should end, but halting it remains a challenge and will require offering alternative livelihoods for the millions whose survival depends on those forests. She said carbon sequestration from cloned trees should be recognized in the new climate agreement.

Frances Seymour, CIFOR, emphasized that to achieve harmony with local community rights and interests, forest policy must clarify and secure tenure rights, and recognize existing local institutions. Forestry agencies must also shift their focus from law enforcement and revenue collection to service provision by supporting local communities and defending their rights, accessing markets and overcoming bureaucratic requirements.

Teresa Presas, International Council of Forest and Paper, Associations, discussed industrial uses of wood benefitting communities and businesses. She noted that industrial forestry has not yet reached its full sustainability potential and companies’ returns on investment have not been encouraging. She advanced further industrial development of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), but said bioenergy projects require political support and recognition that wood is a climate-friendly material.

Discussion centered on three issues: 1) intercropping of trees and food crops on plantations, which Buang supported; 2) social movements’ effects on production, on which Carvalhaes noted impacts on native people’s rights of deforestation; and 3) institutional arrangements, for which Seymour promoted a toolkit with a broad approach for resolving conflicts by addressing all stakeholders.

SIDE EVENT: THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON GIAHS

The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) initiative was launched by FAO in 2002, aiming at international recognition of the biodiversity, food security, livelihood and cultural roles of traditional agricultural systems throughout the world.

Lucrecia Santinoni, Ministry of Agriculture, Argentina, said traditional agricultural systems are threatened by global politics, market forces and globalization.

Jorge de la Rocha, FAO, introduced a project concept related to the preservation of cultural heritage, aimed at reducing the presence of exotic livestock species in Argentina’s highlands by breeding local camelids and supporting local livestock producers.

M. S. Swaminathan, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, India, called for an ever-green revolution, based on conservation agriculture. He recalled that the 2°C cap in temperature rise above pre-industrial levels agreed at the G8 meeting in L’Aquila may have severe impacts on agriculture.  He highlighted: the importance of genetic resources; community conservation of genetic varieties; the role of traditional knowledge; and the risk of genetic erosion.

Henri Djombo, Minister of Sustainable Development, Republic of Congo, on behalf of Walter Erdelen, UNESCO, recalled the World Heritage Convention adopted in 1972 and said the collaboration between UNESCO and FAO on GIAHS is helping countries in the identification, conservation and protection of agricultural systems for future generations. He said that these traditional systems testify the spiritual and cultural vitality of humankind and are part of our common identity.

Dirk Gaul, GEF, on behalf on Monique Barbut, GEF CEO, said the GEF/FAO project on GIAHS has the potential to be geographically expanded and that success of ongoing activities is important to convince other countries to participate. 

SELECTED PARALLEL SESSIONS

1.1 STATE OF FORESTS AND ASSESSMENT TECHNIQUES

Christoph Kleinn, Georg-August-University, Germany, presented large-scale forest inventories and highlighted the need to: develop a clear methodology on the impact of forestry inventories in policy processes; develop better models, especially for carbon estimation; optimize sampling/plot design; and improve communication between national forest inventories and non-forestry inventories.

Rebecca Tavani, FAO, outlined FAO’s National Forest Monitoring and Assessment (NFMA) programme. Stressing nine NFMA-based inventories have been completed and eight more are underway, she highlighted NFMA as a cost-effective forest degradation monitoring approach, but stressed that assistance is still needed for countries to establish and maintain NFMA systems.

Vibrans Alexander, Universidade Regional de Blumenau, Brazil, presented the floristic and forest inventory of Santa Catarina, one of Brazil’s biodiversity hotspots. He noted that initial results show 432 woody species and some fragmented areas. He hoped the inventory would be continuously updated.

Sung-Ho Kim, Korea Forest Research Institute, outlined Korea’s national forest inventory efforts, which began in 1972 and have expanded in scope to include not only timber production but also measurements such as forest health, biodiversity and carbon stock. He said a number of statistics in past inventories need review.

Responding to a question regarding the incorporation of socioeconomic issues in forestry inventories, Kleinn said progress in the last decade is the recognition that socio-economic components should be incorporated in inventories through interviews with forest owners and users.

2.6 FOREST UTILIZATION PRACTICES:

César Sabogal, CIATT Iniciativa Amazónica, Brazil, presented research on the adoption of reduced impact logging and other sustainable forest management practices in Amazonian forests. He highlighted that methodology for SFM should be simple to apply and low cost, have a period of early accrual of benefits, and be accompanied by specific regulations to favor adoption of SFM, as well as certification schemes.

Víctor Gerding, Universidad de Chile, presented the hidden costs in whole-tree harvest of Pinus radiata in Chile. Among his conclusions, he emphasized whole-tree logging must consider the costs of reinstating nutrients contained in bark, leaves and canopy, which in traditional harvests are left on the land. For example, in low productivity lands, costs of exported nutrients, usually not taken into account, rise to 125% of reforesting costs, which increase to 690% if the whole tree is harvested.

Alejandro González, EUFORES, Uruguay, presented variations in concentration of nutrients in harvest residues, namely leaves, fine twigs, bark and branches; concluding that export of nutrients over the lifecycle of an Eucalyptus maidenii tree is similar to other crops on an annual basis.

César Polanco, Universidad Distrital de Bogotá, Colombia, presented a project to reactivate forest areas in Carare-Opon, which studied existing production methods and presented proposals for increased productivity and income, including opening markets for new species and dimensions, and strengthening community management and monitoring.

5.1 SUSTAINABILITY AND ECONOMIC VIABILITY

Jonas Kamugisha-Ruhombe, Global Mechanism, presented a case study of Ugandan mobilization and channeling of forest finance. He said in Uganda, actual allocations to the forestry sector are far below the level enunciated in the country’s national priority policies.  He noted, however, that civil society organization and private sector financial resources could be adequately mobilized.

James Stevens, International Woodlands Company (IWC), Denmark, described IWC’s strong commitment to socially responsible investment in its long-term funding of tropical and boreal forests. He projected that tropical plantation forestry will achieve high value-added and expand into energy plantations.

Peter Gondo, Southern Alliance for Indigenous Resources, Zimbabwe, highlighted the role of microfinance. He said 600 million clients (30 million in Africa) benefit from microfinance services in developing countries. He highlighted micro credit, group loans and out-grower schemes as examples of successful microfinance in Africa. He recommended strengthening the linkages between microfinance and formal financing.

Discussion examined the details of financing, such as proportions allocated for operating versus capital costs, loans versus equities, and issues of capacity building and management of investments. Gondo noted that capacity problems limit Africa’s access to PES – only one project has been funded - and that African countries need methods for demonstrating ecosystem benefits.

FORUM ON FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Tim Rollinson, Director-General, Forestry Commission of the United Kingdom, opened the forum by describing the threat of climate change to forests and the role of forests in mitigation. Robert Acosta, UNFCCC, indicated the importance the UNFCCC parties are giving REDD+, by discussing it in: AWG KP, involving LULUCF issues; AWG LCA, involving the scope, objectives and general principles of MRV; and SBSTA, involving methodological guidance on measuring and reporting. He urged attendees to work with their governments to facilitate an agreement in Copenhagen.

PANEL ON LAND USE, LAND-USE CHANGE AND FORESTRY (LULUCF)

Franca Braun, World Bank, presented the Biocarbon Fund (BioCF), whose goals include removing CO2 from the atmosphere and improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent people, including by ensuring their access to carbon markets. She highlighted two of BioCF’s windows, one for LULUCF activities and another for activities a new climate agreement might recognize, and outlined challenges such as LULUCF’s time lag between investment and returns, and forestry credit’s lack of access to the EU’s ETS.

Risto Seppälä, Finnish Forest Institute, presented information key findings of a Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) established in 2007 under the CPF, including: warmer climate reduces adaptation possibilities, and sink services of forests may turn into net emission sources.

Samuel Ebia Ndongo, Ministry of Forests and Wildlife, Cameroon, presented advances in his nation’s forest management, including the: promotion of participative management; promulgation of forest law; forest inventory; zoning plans; and protected areas. He noted Cameroon’s low capacity to measure carbon and lamented that solutions available under the current climate change regime do not meet Cameroon’s expectations.

In the ensuing discussion, questions were raised on the involvement of local communities in REDD and options for farmers to not encroach on forests, which Ndongo responded to with concrete examples.

PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON FORESTS AND PEOPLE: CHALLENGES AND ACTION REQUIRED

Andrea Tuttle, Pacific Forest Trust, said political winds are changing in the US with two draft cap-and-trade laws currently under consideration by Congress. Surprised at lack of discussion about the ‘elephant in the room,’ namely the potential infusion of significant amounts of capital into forest nations through future offsets bought by American firms, she challenged forest experts to confront risks, and use their expertise to identify opportunities for offset projects that incorporate high social and environmental standards, and that may serve to bridge the gap in the path towards a low carbon economy.

Avrim Lazar, Forest Products Association of Canada, said a lesson from the pine beetle’s devastating effect on Canada’s forests and communities is that nature “cannot be easily engineered.” While he supported carbon sequestration and trading, he said those measures will prove insufficient to tackle climate change unless they move towards a “deep retooling” of an economic system that depends on GHG emissions. This will require, he said, thinking in terms of holistic, interrelated systems, and a deep respect for nature and forests- which are much more than simply carbon sinks.

Victor Eamara Tello, Central de Pueblos Indígenas del Beni, Bolivia, said speeches need to be translated into reality, and indigenous people want to participate without intermediaries in sustainable development. He recalled Bolivian indigenous people are the owners of large areas of forests, for which they have management plans to protect social, cultural and environmental values, but they are powerless against armed groups who steal their timber.

In the discussion, one participant lamented that the WFC is not setting the example to reduce waste and consumption.

PANEL ON REDD FINANCIAL AND METHODOLOGICAL CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR COUNTRIES

Introducing the panel, Tiina Vahanen, UNREDD Secretariat, said REDD is needed to recognize the role of forests in mitigation as a global good, and pathway to low-carbon sustainable development. She also contended that USD 25 billion could result in a 25% reduction in the global deforestation rate.

Nazareno Castillo, Ministry of Environment, Argentina, explained the importance of REDD for his country, and said Argentina is looking forward to a REDD agreement, although he cautioned countries must simplify the vast number of options currently on the table to reach a decision in Copenhagen.

Thais Linhares Juvenal, Head of Brazilian Forestry Service, said Brazil is succeeding in reverting deforestation rates, albeit at high financial and political cost. Among issues to be resolved in Copenhagen she highlighted: methodologies to measure carbon stock and flow; REDD governance institutions, definition and scope; and REDD registry, monitoring and conflict resolution mechanisms.

Retno Maryani, Ministry of Forests, Indonesia, outlined Indonesia’s REDD Readiness strategy. She said Indonesia was creating the scientific, regulatory and technological framework required for REDD to start in 2012, including regulations that mandate reduced emissions from forest degradation and deforestation, and establishment of national carbon accounting systems.

Discussion touched on: use of methodologies such as satellite imagery that must be supplemented by field studies; costs of reforesting to local residents, which involve conversion of land uses and protection of local areas; and the role of plantations versus natural forests in REDD programs.

PANEL ON REDD INITIATIVES FOR EARLY ACTION

Trond Gabrielsen, Government of Norway, presented Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative, focusing on: the importance of early REDD related actions; coordinated efforts by donors and international agencies to provide predictable funds to developing countries, and a phased approach to results and performance-based compensation for REDD.

Gerhard Dieterle, World Bank, announced the new Forest Investment Programme (FIP), a targeted programme to provide upfront finance to initiate transformational changes and facilitate leveraging of additional public and private funding. FIP has already generated 348 million USD in pledges, and pilot countries will be selected in coming months.

Eduardo Mansur, ITTO, presented a new ITTO program, REDDES, which adds environmental services to REDD. He said ITTO has developed this program in partnership with the CPF and the World Bank, and has a pilot project in Indonesia’s Meru Betiri National Park.

Peter Saile, GTZ, highlighted his organization’s support for capacity development and early action on REDD. On key issues for a successful REDD scheme he identified, inter alia, the huge information needs to comply with monitoring, reporting, and verification requirements, governance aspects to implement REDD, and co-benefits from biodiversity and poverty reduction. Saile also pointed to new methodologies, actors and processes dealing with forests and the benefits of early action.

Jan Heino, Chair, Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), urged participants to review and comment on the draft message of WFC-XIII to the UNFCCC meeting in December. He said the aim of the declaration is to send a strong message to climate negotiators, including the notion that forests are “more than carbon” and all their services and values must be considered holistically.


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The World Forestry Congress Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Soledad Aguilar, Paula Barrios, Ph.D., Aaron Leopold, William McPherson, Ph.D., and Laura Russo. The Digital Editor is Angeles Estrada. The Editor is Leonie Gordon <leonie@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by FAO and GTZ. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (in HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://www.iisd.ca/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, New York 10022, United States of America. The IISD team at WFC 2009 can be contacted by e-mail at <aaron@iisd.org>.

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