Forests, Deserts, Land
FIRST MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE FOR THE REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION (CRIC)
The first meeting of the Convention to Combat Desertification's (CCD) Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC-1) convened from 11-22 November 2002 at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy.
The CRIC was established by the fifth Conference of the Parties (COP) in October 2001 to review and assess the implementation of the Convention. During the first week, delegates heard case study presentations from the five CCD regions, addressing seven thematic issues:
* participatory processes involving civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs);
* legislative and institutional frameworks or arrangements;
* linkages and synergies with other environmental conventions and, as appropriate, with national development strategies;
* measures for the rehabilitation of degraded land, drought and desertification monitoring and assessment;
* early warning systems for mitigating the effects of drought;
* access by affected country Parties, particularly affected developing country Parties, to appropriate technology, knowledge and know-how;
* and resource mobilization and coordination, both domestic and international, including conclusions of partnership agreements.
During the second week, CRIC-1 delegates engaged in an interactive dialogue on lessons learned and made recommendations for the Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean Regions, and the Northern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern European Regions and Other Affected Parties. A drafting group also negotiated “conclusions and concrete recommendations on further steps in the implementation of the CCD,” which will be forwarded to the sixth session of the COP, to be held from 1-12 September 2003 in Havana, Cuba. The Earth Negotiation Bulletin's summary and analysis, and digital coverage of CRIC-1 can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/desert/cric1/
33rd session of the INTERNATIONAL TROPICAL TIMBER COUNCIL
The thirty-third session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-33) met from 4-9 November 2002, in Yokohama, Japan.
Approximately 220 participants attended the session, representing 47 member countries, 4 potential members, 18 intergovernmental organizations and specialized agencies, and 32 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
ITTC-33 focused on the review of ongoing projects and activities and procedural matters related to the organization of work of the Council and its Committees, and preparations for the negotiation of a successor agreement to the 1994 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA, 1994). The Council adopted nine decisions on: projects, pre-projects and activities; management of the administrative budget for 2002; the International Tropical Timber Organization's (ITTO) 2003 work programme; public relations, education and outreach; partnerships for sustainable forest management (SFM); prevention and management of forest fires; measures to reduce costs and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization; preparations for negotiating a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994 and extension of the ITTA, 1994. After ITTC-32, considered by many as one of the most successful Council sessions in the history of the ITTO process, ITTC-33 served as an opportunity to set the foundations for consolidating ITTO's role in SFM, and moving it beyond basic project funding to become a valued contributor to the international forest policy making process.
The thirty-first sessions of the ITTC's Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence (CEM), Reforestation and Forest Management (CRF), and Forest Industry (CFI) also met to, inter alia: review projects, pre-projects and activities in progress; consider ex-post evaluations; and select projects and pre-projects for approval by the Council. The ITTC's Committee on Finance and Administration (CFA) convened its twelfth session to review financial and administrative matters, including the 2003 administrative budget and appointment of auditors. A Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) Panel discussion also convened. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in details can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/forestry/itto/ittc33/
PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE AFRICAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AND GOVERNANCE (FLEG)
The Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) Ministerial Planning Meeting took place in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo, from 18-20 June 2002.
The meeting brought together 73 participants from 27 countries, representing governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector. The meeting was co-hosted by the Government of the Republic of Congo and the World Bank; sponsored by the Governments of France, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US); and facilitated by Jeffrey Sayer, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-International), and Jean Prosper Koyo, World Forestry Congress.
Over the course of the three day meeting, participants met in Plenary and working group sessions to: share knowledge and address issues of forest law enforcement and governance (FLEG) in Africa and globally; identify priority issues; and develop recommendations for a ministerial declaration on FLEG for African forests. The Sustainable Developments report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/sd/afleg/
32nd Meeting of the International Tropical Timber Council
The thirty-second session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-32) met from 13-18 May 2002, in Bali, Indonesia.
Nearly 300 participants attended the session, representing 40 ITTC member countries, two potential members, five intergovernmental organizations and specialized agencies, and 29 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The Council adopted eleven decisions on: projects, pre-projects and activities; a Civil Society Advisory Group; International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Tropical Forests; preparation for renegotiation of the 1994 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA, 1994); ITTO's contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD); management of the Administrative Budget for 2002; sustainable management and conservation of mangrove forest ecosystems – ITTO Mangrove Workplan; organization of work under the ITTA, 1994; forest law enforcement in Africa; promotion of sustainable forest management (SFM) in the Congo Basin; and the potential role of phased approaches to certification in tropical timber producer countries as a tool to promote SFM.
The 30th sessions of the ITTC's Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence, Reforestation and Forest Management, and Forest Industry also met to, inter alia, review projects, pre-projects and activities in progress, conduct ex-post evaluations, and select projects and pre-projects for approval by the Council. The ITTC's Committee on Finance and Administration convened in its eleventh session to discuss financial and budgetary matters.
By the end of the meeting, most delegates seemed proud of the achievements of the session. However, undercurrents in the certification discussion and mounting pressure regarding the organization of work of the Council revealed the complexity of issues and challenges still facing the ITTO. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/forestry/itto/ittc32/
Sixth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
19 April 2002: The sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) took place from 7-19 April 2002, at the Netherlands Congress Centre in The Hague.
Approximately 2000 participants attended, representing 176 governments, as well as UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), indigenous and local community organizations, and others. Delegates to COP-6 considered and adopted 36 decisions on the following substantive topics: forest biodiversity; alien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats and species; identification, monitoring, indicators and assessments; the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI); the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC); the ecosystem approach; sustainable use; incentive measures; liability and redress; progress on ecosystem themes; access and benefit-sharing (ABS); the strategic plan, national reporting, CBD operations, and the multi-year work programme; financial resources and mechanism; scientific and technical cooperation and the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM); education and public awareness; cooperation with other conventions and international initiatives; a contribution to the ten-year review of Agenda 21; and Article 8(j) on traditional knowledge. A High Level Segment on the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), including a Ministerial Round Table, and a multi-stakeholder dialogue were convened during the second week of the meeting.
COP-6 was arguably the busiest COP to date, with afternoon and evening contact groups throughout. Despite contentious debates, the COP's highlights included adoption of a revised forest work programme, the Bonn Guidelines on ABS, the Strategic Plan and guiding principles for alien species. The meeting also served as an opportunity to review the Convention's activities in light of the upcoming WSSD and the long-term Strategic Plan. In addition to the substantive discussions, procedural questions were raised about the correlation of the Ministerial Declaration with the COP's decision on forest biodiversity, as well as the decision-making procedures regarding consensus and adoption of the guiding principles over the objections of some countries. Despite these concerns, most delegates noted the significant amount of work accomplished by COP-6, which sets the stage for national and intersessional activities in the lead up to COP-7.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/vol09/enb09239e.html
SECOND SESSION OF THE UN FORUM ON FORESTS
The second session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-2) took place from 4-15 March 2002, at UN Headquarters in New York.
Delegates addressed progress in implementation of the proposals for action of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IPF/IFF), and the UNFF Plan of Action, related to the following substantive items, or elements: combating deforestation and forest degradation; forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems; rehabilitation and conservation strategies for low forest cover countries; rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands and promotion of natural and planted forests; and concepts, terminology and definitions. UNFF-2 also considered means of implementation, including finance, transfer of environmentally-sound technologies (ESTs), and capacity building for sustainable forest management, in the context of these elements. The following "common items" were also addressed: enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination; emerging issues relevant to country implementation; monitoring, assessment and reporting; promoting public participation; national forest programmes; trade; enabling environments; and intersessional work.
A multi-stakeholder dialogue was held to address multi-stakeholder contributions to, and engage in genuine dialogue on, the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action and related key issues.
A High-Level Segment also took place, with ministers engaging in a policy dialogue with heads of member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. On the second day of the Segment, ministers engaged in a dialogue focusing on the UNFF's input to the WSSD, and on national commitments to country goals and strategies for implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
The outcomes of UNFF-2 included a Ministerial Declaration and Message to the WSSD, and eight decisions on: combating deforestation and forest degradation; forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems; rehabilitation and conservation strategies for countries with low forest cover; rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands and the promotion of natural and planted forests; concepts, terminology and definitions; specific criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests; proposed revisions to the medium-term plan for 2002-2005; and other matters.
UNFF-2 was also mandated with establishing terms of reference for three ad hoc expert groups on: approaches and mechanisms for monitoring, assessment and reporting; finance and transfer of environmentally sound technologies; and consideration with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests. However, delegates were not able to reach agreement and instead took a procedural decision to forward to UNFF-3 an entirely bracketed paper containing the draft terms of reference, which was appended to the report of UNFF-2. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/forestry/unff/unff2/
INTERNATIONAL EXPERT MEETING OF FOREST LANDSCAPE RESTORATION
The International Expert Meeting on Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) took place from 27-28 February 2002 in Heredia, Costa Rica.
The meeting was hosted by the Governments of Costa Rica and the United Kingdom, in collaboration with IUCN-The World Conservation Union, WWF International, the International Tropical Timber Organization, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Centre for International Forestry Research, and the Northeast Asian Forest Forum. Approximately 60 participants attended, representing governments, universities and research institutions, and international and non-governmental organizations.
The purpose of the meeting was to present the FLR approach to a broader audience and engage them in the development and refinement of key concepts related to implementing FLR. The specific objectives of the meeting were to: increase understanding of FLR among forest experts and decision makers through an exchange of experiences and lessons learned; initiate a process for working with partners to refine and implement FLR concepts; and generate political commitment to and interest in pursuing FLR in specific countries and/ or regions and/or through the appropriate intergovernmental processes.
The meeting was divided into five sessions on: the definition of FLR; stakeholder engagement at the landscape level; biophysical challenges; an enabling environment; and a framework for implementation. Each session was introduced with the presentation of a technical paper, followed by case study presentations and, in three of the sessions, discussions in break-out groups. The meeting was followed by a two-day field visit to Guanacaste, in northwest Costa Rica, where participants observed several stages of natural regeneration in the area's dry tropical forest and witnessed a controlled burn in the Santa Rosa National Park. The Sustainable Developments report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/sd/sdcfr/sdvol71num1.html
The second annual meeting of the German Competence Network for Research to Combat Desertification (DesertNet) was held from 31 January to 2 February 2002 in Bonn, Germany.
The meeting considered European DesertNet initiatives, international co-operation and a possible DesertNet-Europe, noting activities in Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland and the UK. Participants also discussed activities for the International Day to Combat Desertification, the current structure of DesertNet, thematic working groups and future activities. On the creation of thematic working groups, suggestions were made for a group on public relations and one composed of young scientists. On future activities, participants proposed holding an international scientific symposium on desertification problems in 2003, and enhancing awareness raising and lobbying. For more information visit: http://www.desertnet.de/protokol2002.htm