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Forests, Deserts, Land

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December 2003


The UN Forum on Forests' ad hoc expert group on approaches and mechanisms for monitoring, assessment and reporting met at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 8 to 12 December 2003, following which the ad hoc expert group on finance and transfer of environmentally sound technologies (TESTs) convened from 15 to 19 December 2003. Both groups developed a number of recommendations that will be forwarded to the UNFF. Ad Hoc Expert Group on Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting: As decided by UNFF at its third session, this group's tasks included: assessing existing reporting requirements under relevant international conventions, processes, instruments and organizations; assessing existing monitoring and assessment procedures in international conventions, processes, instruments and organizations related to forests; proposing ways for the Forum to monitor and assess progress based on voluntary reporting by countries, members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), and other relevant organizations and international and regional processes; proposing an outline for voluntary reporting to the Forum; recommending options for drawing upon the reports provided to Forum sessions to identify trends and lessons learned; and developing recommendations on how to build capacity in countries, including the increase of resources for that goal, for monitoring, assessment and reporting, taking into account the special needs of developing countries. The group's recommendations include suggestions that the UNFF: call for greater efforts of international organizations and instruments to identify areas of overlap and redundancy in reporting and inconsistencies in information reported; invite FAO and other CPF members, criteria and indicators processes, and other relevant organizations and instruments to cooperate in preparing a document that provides a global overview of progress toward sustainable forest management for UNFF-5 consideration; continue monitoring and assessing progress in the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action according to established practices until UNFF-5, after which countries could use their national forest programmes or equivalents as one method to demonstrate progress in implementation to the international community; and recommend that there be greater coherence and linkage between reports generated for domestic purposes and international reporting, using, where possible, reports generated domestically on implementation of national forest programmes or their equivalent, reflecting the implementation of international commitments. The advance, unedited meeting report can be accessed at: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/pdf/aheg/mar/adv-uned_final-ah.... Documents for the meeting and more information on the ad hoc group can be accessed at: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/adhoc-monitor.html Ad Hoc Expert Group on Finance and Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies (TESTs): This group's terms of reference include: considering previous initiatives on finance; assessing the role and status of official development assistance (ODA) directed towards sustainable forest management and considering ways for enhancing its availability and effectiveness; reviewing the effectiveness of existing international financing for sustainable forest management; proposing measures to improve the effectiveness of that financing; exploring the potential of new and innovative approaches to attract increased financing for sustainable forest management; assessing country experiences towards mobilization of financial resources to support sustainable forest management; assessing and considering the role of the private sector in financing sustainable forest management; reviewing and assessing existing initiatives on the transfer of environmentally sound technologies and knowledge diffusion for the promotion of sustainable forest management; and recommending approaches to improve transfer of forest-related environmentally sound technologies. The group's December recommendations included the call for UNFF to recommend that Member States and CPF members facilitate the flow of information on environmentally sound technologies to forest related educational establishments by developing links to information networks, and by strengthening cooperation with enterprises and public institutions using environmentally sound technologies. UNFF was also encouraged to urge that the promotion of private investment be included in national SFM financing strategies and include all types of forests and forest activities, and that countries take measures to improve rent capture from forest management and develop capacity building programmes targeted at decision makers in forestry financing. The advance, unedited report of the meeting can be accessed at: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/pdf/aheg/finance-tests/adv-une.... Documents for the meeting and more information on the ad hoc group can be accessed at: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/adhoc-finance.html

Over 200 participants gathered in Valencia, Spain from 2-5 December 2003 for a NATO workshop to discuss security issues related to desertification in the Mediterranean region. The workshop sought to provide a better understanding of an environmental phenomenon that is likely to have serious consequences for human dynamics and security of societies, as well as to develop a network of experts on desertification to assist NATO for future assessments and initiatives. Participants noted that desertification is a common threat to the Mediterranean region and is not only a biophysical phenomenon but also has socio-economic and political implications. The main implications of desertification identified in Mediterranean countries were water crises in terms of quantity and quality of resources, loss of fertile areas and reduction in food production, and drop in rural incomes and lack of opportunities. For more information, see the NATO web site for the meeting: http://www.nato.int/science/news/2003/n031202a.htm

A community level workshop convened in Palapye, Botswana from 2-4 December 2003, in the context of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification's (UNCCD) Regional Action Programme (RAP) to combat desertification in Africa. Organized jointly by the Secretariat of the UNCCD and the government of Botswana, with financial support from Germany and Norway, the workshop showcased best practices and launched pilot activities in agroforestry and soil conservation techniques. Participants included approximately 50 community representatives, farmers and extension workers from five eastern and seven southern African countries, in addition to over 10 representatives from subregional organizations (IGAD, SADC), the World Agroforestry Centre (WAC) and specialized national institutions. In addition to presentations, participants: shared their experiences and views relating their own practices and experiences in their projects; visited a number of agroforestry project sites, planting trees on one of the sites and engaging in an onsite participatory evaluation; identified potential agroforestry projects and actions that can be implemented at community levels; and reviewed funding opportunities of agroforestry projects through possible assistance by the GEF, particularly through the PDF Block A Small Grants, and from other partners. The meeting report is available at: http://www.unccd.int/regional/africa/meetings/subregional/pa...

November 2003


The Forestry Agency of Japan and the Chiba Prefectural Government organized this International Expert Meeting to promote enhanced international collaboration for the effective development and implementation of national codes of practice for forest harvesting and to build on work in this field by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and others. Approximately 120 participants from 16 countries gathered for the meeting from 17-20 November 2003 in Chiba, Japan. Participants identified key issues and priority recommendations, including the need for: transparency and broad involvement of stakeholders in all aspects of formulating and implementing national codes of practice; each country to clearly identify what constitutes its national code of practice for forest harvesting; developing effective facilitation and conflict management skills to guide and manage processes related to formulation and implementation of codes of practice; developing sound communication strategies and systems to enhance widespread dissemination of codes and their potential; and ensuring the equitable distribution of benefits from forest harvesting among stakeholders. For more information contact: Yuji Imaizumi, Forestry Agency of Japan or visit: http://www.rinya.maff.go.jp/code-h2003/ (Note: this website will be launched in mid-January 2004.)
Second session of the Preparatory Committee for the Negotiation of a Successor Agreement to ITTA, 1994

Approximately 100 participants attended the second session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom II) for the Negotiation of a Successor Agreement to the 1994 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA, 1994), which met from 10-12 November 2003, in Yokohama, Japan. Over the course of three days delegates reviewed the draft working document of the successor agreement with a view to clarifying the elements therein, posing questions and presenting their views on the text. In the end, delegates produced a final draft text that will serve as the basis for discussion at the United Nations Conference for the Negotiation of a Successor Agreement to the ITTA, 1994 in July 2004, in Geneva. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of PrepCom II can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/forestry/itto/prepcom2/

The thirty-fifth session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-35) took place from 3-8 November 2003, in Yokohama, Japan. Approximately 200 participants were in attendance, representing 41 members (22 producing countries and 19 consuming countries), 1 potential member country, 6 IGOs, 4 governmental organizations, and 19 NGOs. The Council adopted decisions on: projects, pre-projects and activities; management of the administrative account for 2003; an Executing Agencies Account; and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Biennial Work Programme for 2004-2005. The Council also approved 16 projects and 4 pre-projects. The Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence (CEM), Reforestation and Forest Management (CRF), and Forest Industry (CFI) convened their thirty-third sessions to review: completed projects, pre-projects and activities in progress; ex-post evaluations; projects and pre-projects proposals; policy work; completed projects and pre-projects; and the Biennial Work Programme for 2004-2005. The Committee on Finance and Administration (CFA) convened its fourteenth session to discuss matters relating the management of the Administrative Account for the year 2003, the Draft Biennial Budget for 2004-2005 and the creation of an Executing Agencies Account. The second session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom II) for the negotiation of a successor agreement to the 1994 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA, 1994) met immediately following ITTC-35, from 10-12 November 2003. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of ITTC-35 is available at: http://enb.iisd.org/forestry/itto/ittc35/

October 2003

Forest Investment Forum

Nearly 150 senior executives of forest product companies, private and public sector financial institutions and non-governmental organizations gathered from 22-23 October for the Forest Investment Forum, which convened at the World Bank in Washington, DC. Hosted by Forest Investment Forum partners – World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Forest Trends, Program on Forests (PROFOR), the World Bank, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the forum agreed that prerequisites to achieving sustainability include containing illegal logging operations and forest corruption, establishing effectively managed protected area networks, and environmentally and socially responsible management and development of both natural forests and plantation resources. There was strong support for a multi-stakeholder process involving major groups as the most effective way to continue building consensus. The World Bank news release and Outcome Statement from Host Partners can be accessed at: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:...
International Workshop on Reform of Forest Fiscal Systems

Participants from Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Ghana, Honduras, Indonesia and Nicaragua shared their experiences in the forest fiscal reform process at the International Workshop on Reform of Forest Fiscal Systems, which convened at the World Bank in Washington, DC from 19-21 October 2003. The Workshop focused on three questions: how to define the mix of fiscal instruments and set the right levels; how to use revenues collected; and how to manage the politics of forest fiscal reform processes. Workshop documentation and additional information are available at http://www.profor.info/forestfiscalsystems.htm
Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) Ministerial Conference

The Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) Ministerial Conference took place from 13-16 October 2003, in Yaounde, Cameroon. The meeting was co-hosted by the Government of Cameroon and the World Bank. More than 300 participants from 39 countries attended the Conference, representing governments, IGOs, NGOs and the private sector. Participants shared and explored ideas on forest governance; considered priority issues, including illegal forest exploitation and associated trade in Africa; identified ways in which various stakeholders can address these issues, including partnerships between producers and consumers, donors, civil society and the private sector; and negotiated and endorsed a Ministerial Declaration and Action Plan for AFLEG. Sustainable Developments' coverage of the meeting can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/crs/sdyao/

September 2003


The XII World Forestry Congress (WFC) took place from 21-28 September 2003 in Quebec City, Canada. The general theme of the Congress was “Forests, Source of Life.” More than 4,000 participants from over 140 countries attended the Congress, representing the scientific community, governments, international organizations, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. A variety of sessions and fora convened during the eight-day Congress. During the Plenary Sessions, speakers shared their perspectives on challenges for the years to come, laying the groundwork for XII WFC deliberations. Thirty-eight Theme Sessions convened to address aspects of the following areas: Forests for People; Forests for the Planet; and Forests and People in Harmony. In the Ecoregional Sessions, participants engaged in roundtable discussions organized according to the five broad ecological regions of the Earth. In the Special Sessions, the conclusions of side events were presented, including the Youth Forum and the Indigenous Peoples' Forest Forum. In the Open Fora, participants engaged in discussions on emerging issues. In the final General Session, participants adopted a Statement that reflects their collective vision of “Forests, Source of Life.” For Sustainable Developments' full coverage of this meeting in English, French and Spanish, visit: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/sd/wfc12/

The Vth IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) convened in Durban, South Africa, from 8-17 September 2003 under the overarching theme of “Benefits beyond Boundaries.” More than 2,700 participants attended the Congress, organized by IUCN – the World Conservation Union every ten years. Participants addressed gaps within protected area (PA) systems by identifying under-represented ecosystems, defined tools to improve management effectiveness, sought new legal arrangements, and identified partnerships. The Congress produced several outcomes. The three main Congress Outputs are: the Durban Accord and Action Plan, consisting of a high-level vision statement for PAs, and an outline of implementation mechanisms; 32 recommendations, approved by workshops during the Congress; and the Message to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Other outcomes include: the UN List and State of the World's Protected Areas, a global report on the world's PAs; a Protected Areas Learning Network (PALNet), a web-based knowledge management tool for PA managers and stake-holders; and specific outputs on Africa's PAs, including a recommendation on Africa's PAs and the Durban Consensus on African Protected Areas for the New Millennium. During the Congress, new PAs were announced in countries such as Madagascar, Senegal and Brazil, covering 200,000 sq km, and a total amount of US$ 35 million was pledged for conservation both on land and sea. WPC highlights included heated debates between representatives of the extractive industries, conservationists and indigenous peoples, as well as discussions on, inter alia, linkages in the landscape and seascape, PA governance, PA financial future and evaluation of PA management. WPC discussions reflected: the importance of addressing the needs of people residing in and around PAs, and the need for those people's participation in PA management; the recognition that PAs provide valuable ecosystem services; and the need for providing tools, guidelines, training and resources for PA managers. For Sustainable Developments' summary report and web coverage on this meeting, visit: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/sd/worldparksV/

6 September 2003: The sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Mitigate the Effects of Drought in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa (UNCCD) took place at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana, Cuba. The meeting commenced on 25 August and concluded on 6 September 2003. The COP was attended by 12 Heads of State and Government, approximately 170 Parties, five observer States, 33 UN agencies and intergovernmental organizations, as well as 147 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Parties convened in informal consultations and plenary sessions of the Committee of the Whole (COW), Committee on Science and Technology (CST), and the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC). The COP also included two open dialogue sessions with NGOs and governments, and a High Level Special Segment that adopted the “Havana Declaration of Heads of State.” Progress was made on a number of issues including: the designation of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) as a financial mechanism of the UNCCD; activities for the promotion and strengthening of relationships with other relevant conventions and international organizations, institutions and agencies; enhancing the effectiveness of the CST; and follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The COP adopted 31 decisions, of which eight were developed in the CST and six in the CRIC. For more information, see Earth Negotiations Bulletin's coverage of the meeting: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/desert/cop6/.

July 2003

Asian and African Ministerial Conferences Held in Preparation for UNCCD COP 6

July 2003: Two meetings at the ministerial level convened recently to prepare for the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The African Ministerial Conference convened in Cotonou, Benin, from 3-4 July 2003, while the Second Asian Ministerial Conference on UNCCD Implementation convened from 10-11 June 2003 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Participants at both meetings discussed the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the first meeting of the UNCCD's Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC), progress on implementing their respective Regional Action Plans, and financing of implementation, especially in reference to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Operational Programme for land degradation. Each Conference adopted a Ministerial Declaration, both of which, inter alia, called on the UNCCD Parties to adopt at COP-6 a decision for the GEF to become a “funding” or “financial” mechanism of the UNCCD. For documents on the African Ministerial Conference, visit: http://www.unccd.int/regional/africa/meetings/meetings.php#r... For documents on the Asian Ministerial Conference, visit: http://www.unccd.int/regional/asia/meetings/meetings.php#reg...

June 2003


The third session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-3) took place from 26 May - 6 June 2003, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates addressed progress in implementation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests proposals for action related to three substantive items: economic aspects of forests; forest health and productivity; and maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs. They discussed means of implementation, including finance, transfer of environmentally sound technologies and capacity building for sustainable forest management, relating to the three thematic areas. Delegates also considered agenda items common to each UNFF session, including: enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination; country experiences and lessons learned; emerging issues relevant to country implementation; intersessional work, including further discussion on the ad hoc expert groups; monitoring, assessment and reporting; promoting public participation; national forest programmes; trade; and enabling environment. A multi-stakeholder dialogue was held on Tuesday, 27 May. During this session, delegates heard presentations from representatives of UNFF's nine major groups on the three thematic areas. Delegates were also invited to address a set of questions prepared by the major groups on: major group involvement in the elaboration of national forest programmes and in the work of the member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests; sustainable livelihoods; positive examples of cross-sectoral policy development; land tenure; non-timber values; and capacity building. UNFF-3 adopted six resolutions on: enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination; forest health and productivity; economic aspects of forests; maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs; the UNFF Trust Fund; and strengthening the Secretariat. UNFF-3 also approved two decisions: on the voluntary reporting format; and on the terms of reference for the three ad hoc expert groups, a task that had been carried forward from UNFF-2. Of particular concern were the terms of reference for the ad hoc expert group charged with recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found online at: http://enb.iisd.org/forestry/unff/unff3/

May 2003


The first session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom I) for the Negotiation of a Successor Agreement to the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 1994 (ITTA, 1994) took place from 20-21 May 2003, in Panama City, Panama. Approximately 100 participants attended the session, representing 37 member countries, 2 potential members, 2 intergovernmental organizations and specialized agencies, and 3 non-governmental organizations. Delegates engaged in preliminary discussions on the scope of and issues pertaining to a new agreement. The proposals made during the session will be consolidated and presented to the second session of the PrepCom in November 2003. There was general consensus that: the Successor Agreement should remain a commodity agreement; ITTA, 1994 should be the basis for the negotiations; and relevant new and emerging issues need to be included in the new agreement. The nature of the issues, however, and the extent to which they should be addressed, remained contentious. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found online at: http://enb.iisd.org/forestry/itto/prepcom1/

The 34th session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-34) took place from 12-17 May 2003, in Panama City, Panama. Approximately 220 participants attended the session, representing 43 member countries, two potential members, nine intergovernmental organizations and specialized agencies, and 23 non-governmental organizations. The Council adopted 11 decisions on: projects, pre-projects and activities; the management of the administrative budget; the Asia Forest Partnership; criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management ; matters related to Article 16 of the 1994 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA, 1994) related to the Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and staff; negotiations for a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994 Agreement; cooperation between ITTO and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) on broad-leaf mahogany; the management of project implementation; the biennial work programme and administrative budget; phased approaches to certification; and the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber. At the session, delegates approved nine projects and eight pre-projects. The Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence, Reforestation and Forest Management, and Forest Industry convened their 32nd sessions to review completed projects and pre-projects, consider ex-post evaluations, select projects and pre-projects for approval by the Council, and address policy work. The Committee on Finance and Administration held its 13th session to review financial and administrative matters, including contributions to the Administrative Budgets for 1986-2003, the current status of the Administrative Account and amendments to the Financial Rules. Delegates also held the ITTO Annual Market Discussion on World Trade and Business Developments. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin report outlining these discussions in detail can be found online at: http://enb.iisd.org/forestry/itto/ittc34/

April 2003

Fourth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe

30 April 2003: The fourth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE-4), also called the “Vienna Living Forest Summit,” convened at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, from 28-30 April 2003. It was attended by Ministers responsible for forests and high-level representatives of 40 European countries and the European Community, as well as representatives of four observer countries and 22 international governmental and non-governmental organizations. The Conference provided an opportunity to discuss and take decisions on the future of the protection and sustainable management of forests in Europe. Conference participants adopted the Vienna Living Forest Summit Declaration, “European Forests-Common Benefits, Shared Responsibilities,” and five Resolutions on: strengthening synergies for sustainable forest management (SFM) in Europe through cross-sectoral cooperation and national forest programmes; enhancing the economic viability of SFM in Europe; preserving and enhancing the social and cultural dimensions of SFM in Europe; conserving and enhancing forest biological diversity in Europe; and climate change and SFM in Europe. Other highlights of the Conference included: a tree-planting ceremony; the opening of an international exhibition “Forest.Art”; a multi-stakeholder dialogue; a signing ceremony for the Vienna Declaration; and an excursion to the Danube Floodplain National Park. [IISD RS coverage: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/sd/sdpfe/sdvol84num1.html]

March 2003


One hundred participants gathered from 24-30 March 2003 in Wellington, New Zealand at this meeting, which was convened to support the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) in the implementation of actions to promote sustainable forest management. Meeting sponsors were Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States and ITTO. Participants represented 45 countries in five continents and a range of sectors, including governments, the private sector, academia, international and non-governmental organizations and indigenous people's organizations. The programme included three keynote papers and four plenary sessions. The plenary sessions covered the benefits and challenges associated with planted forests, and considered how to ensure and facilitate sustainable forest management (SFM). Each session included up to four papers on the subject and was followed by working groups that addressed questions related to the papers presented. The working groups' conclusions were presented to a plenary session. Among the Experts Meeting's recommendations were calls on the UNFF, other relevant organizations and stakeholders to: note that planted forests encompass a diverse range from large-scale plantations to small-scale holdings for industrial, protection, rehabilitation and community needs; note that planted forests have an important role to play in poverty eradication and policies must encourage the development of planted forests that are appropriate to the local context and meet the needs of economically and socially marginalized groups and indigenous peoples; facilitate sustainable management of planted forests through the promotion and implementation of good governance frameworks and mechanisms; recognize and promote initiatives that achieve knowledge exchange and technology transfer, including research, communication with society, integration with agriculture, database development, compilation of case studies and training related to planted forests; encourage the further implementation of sustainable management tools for planted forests, including scientifically based criteria and indicator processes, certification and related instruments; and encourage FAO, IPCC, CIFOR, CBD, IUFRO, UNEP and other relevant stakeholders to urgently build upon the harmonization of forest-related definitions in particular encompassing planted forests. A full meeting report can be accessed at http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/unff-planted-forestry-meeting/....

Approximately 370 participants gathered in Vancouver, Canada for the third annual Certification Watch Conference from 25-29 March 2003. The meeting centered on seven panels, which discussed an update on the strategic directions of the four leading North American forest certification programmes; forest certification implementation strategies; lessons learned from the implementation of sustainable forest management and certification; key issues concerning forest certification in British Columbia; three perspectives on the driving forces of forest certification; the customer's perspective on certification; and concluding perspectives on the conference. For more information visit: http://www.certificationwatchconference.org/vancouver-2003-s...

The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) Country-Led Initiative on Lessons Learned in Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting on Implementation of IPF/IFF Proposals for Action convened in Viterbo, Italy, from 17-20 March 2003. Bringing together 100 participants from 51 countries, representing governments, IGOs and NGOs, the initiative focused on monitoring, assessment and reporting (MAR) on the implementation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) Proposals for Action (PFAs), particularly in relation to combating deforestation and forest degradation. The meeting was co-sponsored by Brazil, China, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States and supported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UNFF Secretariat. Participants convened in Plenary and working group sessions to discuss questions regarding approaches to monitoring and PFA implementation, stakeholder collaboration to improve country capacity to monitor, assess and report, and assessment of countries' relations with the UNFF. Their conclusions and recommendations will be forwarded to the third session of the UNFF, which will convene in Geneva, Switzerland, from 26 May to 6 June 2003. For Sustainable Developments' report outlining these discussions in detail, visit: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/sd/sdvit/

The sixteenth session of the Committee on Forestry of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) convened in Rome, Italy, from 10-14 March 2003. Over 350 delegates participated, including 113 FAO member States, as well as observers from one UN member State, the Holy See, eight United Nations agencies and programmes, and 23 IGOs and NGOs. Discussions focused on major forestry policy issues, such as the role of the Regional Forestry Commissions in implementing the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests' and Intergovernmental Forum on Forests' proposals for action, forests and freshwater, national forest programmes as a mechanism to implement the key outcomes of the World Food Summit (WFS) and World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD); decisions of FAO Governing Bodies; FAO programmes in forestry, including the future of forests and implications of the Forestry Outlook Study for Africa; review of FAO programmes; and the FAO medium-term planning process, particularly regarding forests, poverty and food security, forests and water, forests and climate change, forest governance, and forest biological diversity. Loosely structured side and satellite events, hosted by FAO, IGOs and NGOs, enabled participants to engage in detailed discussions, and provided a measured sense of progress to the meeting. For the ENB report outlining these discussion in detail, visit: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/FAO/COF16/

A workshop convened in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 6-7 March 2003 to develop civil society input for the Africa Ministerial Conference on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG). The AFLEG meeting was scheduled to take place 1-4 April 2003, but has been postponed due to the war in Iraq. The workshop was organized by IUCN-The World Conservation Union with sponsorship from the UK Department for International Development and was attended by some 20 civil society members from the West African countries of Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Senegal, Togo, Liberia, Mali and Guinea. Workshop participants brainstormed and shared experiences on forest law and governance issues in the region. They discussed case studies on illegal logging, timber trade, the bush meat crisis, and legal and institutional problems encountered in the drafting and implementation of forest laws and noted the state of West Africa's forest resources, which are threatened by bushfires and illegal logging. Participants agreed that sustainably managed forests are fundamental to good health, increased economic growth, productivity and environmental protection. Participants called on their governments to develop clear national policies for the conservation of forests resources as integral parts of national strategies for sustainable development and poverty reduction, and to strengthen policies that may be working well already. They stressed the need for networking among African civil society and urged African leaders to partner with African civil organizations for implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the AFLEG outcomes. Participants developed an action plan for citizens to influence decision makers in their respective countries, both before and after the ministerial conference, and they selected participants from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Senegal, Benin, Liberia, Guinea and Niger to represent West African civil society members at the ministerial conference. The AFLEG conference is being coordinated by the World Bank and sponsored by the governments of the United Kingdom, France and the United States. Its objective is to produce a ministerial declaration committing African governments to work on forest governance issues and an action plan to improve forest governance that has the support of governments and non-governmental organizations. For more information on the workshop and conference see IUCN's meeting report and press release, accessible through: http://www.iucn.org/places/brao/eng/programmes/forets/afleg/...

February 2003


On 12-14 February 2003, 97 delegates from 36 European countries, the European Commission and the MCPFE observer countries and organizations gathered in Vienna, Austria to prepare for the 4th Ministerial Conference, which will take place 28-30 April 2003 in Vienna. After three days of lively discussion, MCPFE participants reached agreement on the content of the Conference documents: a Vienna Declaration and five resolutions are now ready to be considered by the European ministers responsible for forests at the end of April. The documents were discussed in detail based on drafts that had been prepared at the MCPFE Drafting Meeting in Eisenstadt, Austria, on 9-10 December 2002. As the principal outcome, the Vienna Declaration "European Forests - Common Benefits, Shared Responsibilities" will focus on the roles of forests in relation to rural livelihood and urban societies, partnerships between the forest sector and other sectors, as well as the European contribution to global debates. The five resolutions address cross-sectoral cooperation and national forest programmes; the enhancement of economic viability of sustainable forest management (SFM); the preservation of the cultural dimension of SFM; and the conservation of forest biological diversity as well as climate change and SFM in Europe. Meeting participants also adopted the "Framework for Co-operation between MCPFE and Environment for Europe/Pan-European Biological Landscape Diversity Strategy" to be adopted also by the respective ministers both at the Living Forest Summit and at the Fifth Ministerial Conference, "Environment for Europe," which will take place on 21-23 May 2003 in Kiev, Ukraine. For further information on the above meetings visit: http://www.mcpfe.org and http://www.mcpfe.org/livingforestsummit/
Contribution of Criteria and Indicators to Sustainable Forest Management – The Way Forward

The International Conference on the Contribution of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management: the Way Forward (CICI-2003) met from 3-7 February 2003 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Over 100 participants attended the conference, representing 52 countries, 11 international organizations and three non-governmental organizations (NGOs). CICI-2003 was hosted by the National Forest Service of Guatemala (INAB), in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Program and Department of State. The conference was organized to follow up recommendations made by the Expert Consultation on Criteria and Indicators (C&I) for sustainable forest management (SFM) in Rome, Italy in November 2000. Discussions at CICI-2003 were structured around four thematic areas: strengthening the elaboration and application of C&I for SFM; promoting political commitment for the use of C&I as tools for SFM; strengthening institutional capacity and stakeholder partnerships for implementing C&I and facilitating the exchange of information among all stakeholders; and contributing to the work of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and to the international initiatives on C&I related to sustainable development. Consideration of each thematic area was conducted through background discussion papers, case studies and working group sessions. The Final Report of CICI-2003 included 30 conclusions and 23 recommendations. The Sustainable Developments report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/crs/forest/cici/

The Expert Consultation on Trade and Sustainable Forest Management: Impacts and Interaction convened at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy from 3-5 February 2003. Bringing together 73 participants from 26 countries, representing government, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector, the Expert Consultation provided a forum to debate how current developments in trade policies and market development affect the sustainability of forest management, and how sustainable forest management (SFM) is changing trade patterns and market share. The Expert Consultation meeting constitutes one of the activities within the FAO's international project on the Impact Assessment of Forest Products Trade in the Promotion of Sustainable Forest Management. The project is financed by the Japanese government. FAO will publish the results of this process and convene a second expert consultation meeting later this year that will include trade policy-makers and trade specialists involved in debates on a new International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA), the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Declaration, regional trade agreements and national trade policy making. During the meeting's concluding session, Co-Chair Killmann responded to comments on a draft copy of the Expert Consultation's Summary Report, saying that a meeting of the project's advisory group will decide how best to incorporate the expert consultation's inputs into its future activities. The Sustainable Developments report outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://enb.iisd.org/linkages/sd/tsfm/