XII WFC HIGHLIGHTS:
Side events were held throughout the day, including those organized by the Indigenous Peoples' Forest Forum, the Youth Committee of the WFC, FSC Canada and the Canadian Institute of Forestry. In the evening, participants attended the opening ceremony and heard welcome addresses by dignitaries, including FAO Director General Jacques Diouf, and Jean-Louis Kérouac, Secretary General of the XII WFC. Cultural events and the opening of an exhibition also took place in the evening.
The XII World Forestry Congress (WFC) opened on Sunday, 21 September and will continue until Sunday, 28 September, in Quebec City, Canada. The Congress is held approximately every six years under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and serves as a forum to exchange views and experiences, discuss forestry issues and formulate broad regional or global recommendations. The theme of the XII WFC is "Forests: source of life."
The ceremony opened with a performance by a Canadian indigenous peoples group from Wendake. Jean-Louis Kérouac, XII World Forestry Congress Secretary-General, underscored the WFC's objective to develop a vision for the future of forests, and welcomed participants to the Congress. Participants appointed Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Natural Resources Canada and Sam Hamad, Quebec's Minister of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Parks, as WFC President and Co-President of the WFC, respectively.
Wellie Picard, Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation, on behalf of Phil Fontaine, National Chief of Canada's Assembly of First Nations, stressed that the future of the majority of indigenous peoples depends on forests and announced indigenous peoples' determination to demand the recognition of their fundamental rights.
Osman Pepe, Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Turkey, recalling the XI WFC in Turkey and the approval of the Antalya Declaration, reaffirmed his country's commitment to protect forests, conserve biological diversity and achieve sustainable forest management (SFM).
Jacques Diouf, FAO Director General, identified the important relationship between forests and human well-being, noting in particular the role of forests in alleviating hunger, generating income and providing environmental benefits.
Sam Hamad, Minister of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Parks in Quebec, on behalf of Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec, welcomed participants to Quebec and said the province is ready to share its positive experiences in sustainable forest management with the world.
Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, on behalf of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, stressed the importance of forests to Canadians and expressed his country's commitment to worldwide dialogue and partnerships to ensure the sustainable future of forests.
Indigenous Peoples’ Forest Forum
Presented by the Indigenous Peoples’ Forest Forum Steering Committee
The Indigenous Peoples' Forest Forum was held from 19-21 September in Huron-Wendat Territory. On Friday 19 September, Chief Wellie Picard of the host nation and Regional Chief Ghislain Picard of the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador welcomed participants to their nations' traditional territories. On Saturday 20 September, Arthur Manuel, Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, elaborated on rights-based submissions regarding indigenous proprietary interests that have been officially accepted by international trade tribunals. Parshuram Tamang, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, presented indigenous positions from the World Parks Congress held in Durban, South Africa, September 2003, calling for the recognition of ancestral rights to territories and natural resources.
Dave Nahwegahbow, FSC International, explained how the structure and principles of FSC provide protection for indigenous rights. Rune Fjellheim, International Saami Council, reported on the lengthy negotiations of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, calling for its adoption by 2004. In the afternoon, participants split into three linguistic working groups to develop key points for the Wendake Action Plan.
In plenary, indigenous participants reported on special initiatives and specific concerns regarding forestry. On Sunday 21 September, Russell Diabo presented the Tri-lateral Agreement between the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and the Governments of Québec and Canada, which includes the implementation of an Integrated Resource Management Plan. Peggy Smith, Lakehead University, presented a vision of indigenous peoples' participation in the forest economy after overcoming obstacles such as long-term tenure. Nicolas Aguilar Murillo, San Juan community, Mexico, reported on his peoples' communal forestry operations. Valérie Courtois, Innu Nation, explained how her nation mitigates impacts from industrial developments in Nitassinan territory through integrated planning, noting that Innu guardians with traditional knowledge monitor the different developments. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Tebtebba Foundation, expressed concern over various World Trade Organization agreements. Tom Griffiths, Forest Peoples Programme, noted the lack of binding policies regarding indigenous rights in national and multi-national development agencies.
Harry Bombay, National Aboriginal Forestry Association, presented the first draft of the Wendake Action Plan. A number of participants called for stronger wording on self-determination and permanent sovereignty over land and natural resources. Some delegates expressed concern that the Plan allowed taking of forest resources instead of prioritizing indigenous rights.
Minister Dhaliwal encouraged forest management that benefits present and future generations. Participants agreed to have a drafting committee finalize the Wendake Action Plan for presentation at the WFC.
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What should we do with our
forests? Think, talk and take action
Participants addressed the role of youth in sustainable forest management (SFM) in presentations and discussions.
Catalina Santamaria, United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), highlighted the role of youth in the international dialogue on forests. She encouraged participants to become involved in international policy making and described opportunities for participation.
Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Women Acting Together for Change (WATCH), presented the Nepalese experience in community forest management. He stressed the need to have local communities manage their forest resources, and noted that land-tenure is the key to SFM.
Mark Hubert, Forest Products Association of Canada, described the Canadian forest industry's efforts to ensure sustainability through certification, technological innovation, partnerships, improved public reporting and corporate social responsibility. He stressed the role of youth as future leaders in the forest industry.
Heather Sarantis, The Natural Step, described how The Natural Step helps businesses adopt sustainable strategies. She recommended that youth take on challenges related to SFM.
Minister Hamad underlined the challenges in achieving SFM that need to be addressed by today's young foresters.
Minister Dhaliwal highlighted Canada's commitment to use local knowledge, innovation and technical development for SFM.
Participants discussed, inter alia: the roles of governments and industry in SFM; ways to influence consumer choices; the need to involve foresters in decision making at all levels and the importance of local perspectives in the development of criteria for SFM.
In small groups, participants identified common concerns, and proposed possible solutions and concrete actions to help people live in harmony with forests. Common concerns included poverty and inequity, unsustainable consumption, deforestation, transparency in decision making and enforcement of legal measures. Recommended solutions included independent monitoring of forest management, government-led measures to promote sustainable production and consumption, improved participation and the recognition of local knowledge.
Participants identified the following concrete actions: educational measures such as funding for school programmes and international exchanges; measures to promote integrated practices for SFM and institutional measures to increase participation; and the recognition of the rights of future stakeholders.
Mia Söderlund, Youth Forum, encouraged participants to continue their commitment and engage in international initiatives such as the UNFF. She also called for a broader representation of youth in the Congress, recommending that youth be part of the official programme at the XIII WFC.
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Martin von Mirbach, FSC Boreal Coordinating Committee, introduced the FSC Canada National Boreal Standard and provided a comprehensive overview of the boreal standard negotiating process. Overall he deemed the negotiation a success, and identified the factors contributing to this outcome, including consensus recommendations submitted by working groups on high conservation value forests and environmental impact; input and legal opinion submitted by the Indigenous Advisory Council; and public input. Von Mirbach also noted the goals of the Boreal Coordination Committee to promote improvements in boreal forest management, design a feasible and adoptable standard, and develop a common understanding for good forestry in the boreal. He concluded that the true measure of the standard's success will be its implementation.
Jean-Pierre Martel, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), stated that a condition for FPAC membership is a commitment to certification by 2006. He noted the importance of setting an achievable FSC boreal standard that promotes good forestry and emphasized the importance of harmonizing the boreal standard with those in Finland, Sweden and Russia.
Peggy Smith, Lakehead University, highlighted that the FSC is the only forest management standard that effectively accommodates indigenous peoples' rights. She noted that the boreal standard requires certification applicants to account for aboriginal peoples' concerns in tenure management plans.
Harvey Mead, Quebec Union for the Conservation of Nature, stated that due to growing public attention on corporate responsibility, auditing systems, such as the FSC boreal standard, are becoming increasingly important.
Marie-Anick Liboiron, Model Forest of the Lower Saint Lawrence, described the model forest program in Quebec, expressed her groupï¿½s support for the FSC boreal standard and emphasized that model forests can be adapted to FSC standards.
Addressing the global significance of the Boreal Standard, Matthew Weban-Smith, FSC International Centre, noted the FSC's mission to promote forest stewardship through common certification standards. Marcelo Levy, FSC Canada, described the complexity involved in harmonizing boreal standards with Sweden and Finland. He highlighted that the Sweden's standard is prescriptive, whereas Canada's standard is considerably less so.
Keith Moore, Moore Resource Management, reviewed the process of certifying Russia's Perugia forest, noting that the process faced many challenges, including the non-recognition of indigenous peoples by the Russian Federation and non-compliance with domestic law.
A world of forest practitioners
Len Moores, CIF/IFC President, opened the CIF/IFC's 95th Annual General Meeting. Moores indicated that during the next year, CIF/IFC will focus on encouraging future forest practitioners and maintaining professional competencies. Moores noted the upcoming meeting entitled "One Forest Under Two Flags," which is jointly sponsored by the CIF/IFC and the Society of American Foresters, and will be held from 3-6 October 2003 in Edmonton, Canada.
An awards ceremony acknowledged outstanding achievements in Canadian forestry by individuals and groups, including: John Spence; Mike Apps; Jacques Carette; Yvan Hardy; Peter Blake; David Sharpe; and the Ottawa Valley Section of the CIF/IFC.
In the afternoon, panelists discussed global forest partnerships. Thomas Geary, International Society of Tropical Foresters, discussed the organization's mission of protecting, managing, and rationally using the world's tropical and subtropical forests. Bharat Pokharel, Nepal Swiss Community Forestry Project, explained the importance of community forestry in improving the livelihoods of the poor.
Diek van der Zel, Southern African Institute of Forestry, stressed the need for greater volunteerism and financial resources to support forestry work. Alan Pottinger, Commonwealth Forestry Association (CAF), indicated that CAF will provide forest information and facilitate networking for its members, and continue to focus on education and training. Jason Jabbour, International Forestry Students Association, discussed capacity building and institutional frameworks, and noted that youth are valuable partners today, not merely tomorrow's leaders.
Michael Goergen, Society of American Foresters (SAF), discussed SAF's role in providing: current information on forestry through publications; leadership support; advice to political leaders and the press; and certification tests to ensure greater credibility of foresters. Shen Gui, Chinese Society of Forestry, called for improved world forestry development, guaranteed global ecological safety, and increased educational exchanges and international cooperation.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
The Programme Opening will take place at 9:00 am in room 200 to hear
stakeholder perspectives, including those of the forest community, forest
workers, indigenous peoples, the forest industry, private forest owners,
environmental NGOs, forestry research organizations and youth. The Session
will reconvene at 2:30 pm for a presentation of the Congress programme.
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