Report of main proceedings for 15 March 1996

2nd Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests of the Commission on Sustainable Development

Delegates completed consideration of programme element III.1(b), methodologiesfor proper valuation of the multiple benefits of forests during the fourth day of the secondsession of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests. In the afternoon, they took updiscussion of programme element I.1, progress in national forest and land-use plans.


FAO stated that all forest resources should undergo valuation. The IPF should assesswhether existing methodologies are sufficient and if adequate use is being made ofexisting valuation data. He suggested data may not be acknowledged for political reasons.The EU stated that: valuation methodologies and political issues are closely linked andcalled for research to clarify their relationship; a lack of scientific understanding shouldnot be cause for inaction; and international and cross-sectoral cooperation in researchefforts is vital. The G-77/CHINA stated that a full valuation of forest resources wasimportant to strengthen international SFM, but it should be cost-effective and conductedwithin the scope of national plans. Methodologies should fully address social and culturalvalues.

The US stressed the need to adopt valuation methodologies that comport with nationalaccounting systems. She stated that: valuation data should be a neutral tool in decision-making, not a means of advocacy; the methodologies used should depend on the type ofdecision being made; and valuation may exceed the CSD mandate. NORWAY said that: aproper valuation of forest resources requires cooperation from all sectors, includingNGOs; the CBD’s COP has indicated a willingness to assist the IPF and should beconsulted; non-market goods and services deserve greater consideration in decision-making but may be difficult to quantify.

CANADA supported multiple economic and non-economic indicators. He proposedreferences to: an appropriate scale of valuation; the comparability of valuation activities,a standard protocol for sensitivity analysis; estimates of net present value; a protocol forvaluation transfers; and the needs of developing and developed countries. JAPANrecounted a valuation example that failed for lack of support from the industrial andpolitical communities. It revealed a gap between the general understanding of valuationand the concrete support needed for practical action. He said his statement from Thursdayshould have noted a contribution to FAO for 150 million rather than US$150 million.MALAYSIA noted a recent cooperative project on non-marketed goods and services andsaid IPF may wish to elaborate on effective transfer and sharing of experiences with otherdeveloping countries.

BELARUS has halted the conversion of its forests into agricultural land and isundertaking further evaluations. He recommended a national level approach andhighlighted the importance of protection for forests of strategic national interest. ThePHILIPPINES noted that valuation involves increasing knowledge on the range of values,but said the report deals primarily with economic benefits. She recounted local examplesof the difficulty in valuation. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed the need for acooperative framework for exchange of valuation techniques. IPF should consider cost-effectiveness as well as valuation techniques, and the diversity of economic and culturalperspectives. PAPUA NEW GUINEA said the report is academic in nature and will bedifficult to apply. He highlighted the difficulties in applying valuation policies whenforests are under private ownership.

The G-77/CHINA said valuation is important but should not be promoted at the expenseof higher priority activities, such as development of reliable data systems. AUSTRALIAsaid methodologies can be determined only after considering their purpose, level of data,costs and benefits. Assigning monetary values is not always necessary. INDONESIA saidit is difficult to assess social, cultural and environmental indicators. Improvement ofvaluation methodologies would improve environmental impact assessment. Social,cultural and religious values could be used for decisions in a restricted time frame.

The UK said IPF could set benchmarks as tools to illustrate relative forest values,especially those without obvious market value. Each country could decide how to use themeasures. NEW ZEALAND called for guidelines for incorporating timber and non-timber values in national accounts and cost-effective methodologies and guidelines forvaluation that note opportunity costs. ECUADOR said IPF-3 should consider criteria toincorporate the deterioration of natural resources in GDP. Without valuation methods, itis difficult to convince budgetary authorities to provide funds for forests.

MEXICO said guidelines are needed to quantify non-economic values. The totaleconomic value of forests, recognizing international implications, should be addressed.The NETHERLANDS said valuation methods may not be capable of including non-monetary values. He noted a programme in which recreational values justified expensiveplanting in crowded areas and suggested considering “function endowment” that rewardsroles forests fulfill.

FUNDACION NATURA DE ECUADOR, on behalf of several NGOs, stated that thereport focuses on economic values to the exclusion of spiritual, cultural and other values,and that governments should ensure wider participation in defining criteria for evaluation.ARGENTINA highlighted ecological, cultural and social values, protecting biodiversityand goods and services such as food and medical products, to avoid erroneous forestpolicies and irreversible degradation of forests. KENYA called for wider participation ineconomic valuation exercises, including use of simpler and more comprehensiblevaluation methodology. TANZANIA stated that the methodologies in the report are toocomplex to be easily absorbed by governments and local communities and called formore training opportunities in this field. POLAND posed the question of how to transfernonmaterial values to material ones, and noted that valuation methodology can be avehicle for moving toward a non-consumptive society. SWITZERLAND stated thateconomic valuation should be complemented by an evaluation of socioeconomic andlegal methods of policy implementation and asked whether there is a central point fordata collection and dissemination.

INDIA noted that forest values have both tangible and intangible aspects, and that theintangibles cannot be easily monetized, leading to undervaluation. He recommendedbroad estimates using simple models as tools for planning, rather than developing costlymodels.

COLOMBIA said that: valuation should complement the decision-making process and bebased on national priorities; local communities should be the subject of the process, notthe object, and that their participation is key. BRAZIL stated that valuation measuresshould be incremental in nature and suggested that significant changes in behavior,perceptions and attitudes were required. SWEDEN stated that the best ways to achieveSFM were through increasing the resource capacities of developing countries and supportfor scientific research. He urged cooperation among all sectors.

The RUSSIAN FEDERATION stated that all forest benefits must be identified andevaluated. The economic, social and environmental roles must be addressed, as shouldcontradictions between forest owners and users. FRANCE noted the need for valuationmethodologies that provide data which is useful in decision-making. The role of industryand lobbying groups in decision-making should also be acknowledged. The UKRAINEstated that international cooperation is crucial in developing valuation methodologies.Economic, legal, administrative, cultural and scientific factors should be considered. Allforests of significant cultural heritage should be protected against intense industrial use.

The FUNDACION PERUANA PARA LA CONSERVACION DE LA NATURALEZAstated that: the aesthetic and cultural aspects of forests must be valued; additional studiesare needed to assess the global economic effects of the world’s forests; and decision-making processes should recognize the value of sustaining non-renewable resources.


The FAO introduced the report on progress in national forest and land-use plans(E/CN.17/IPF/1996/8). The Chair suggested that delegates indicate issues to behighlighted for the substantive discussion at IPF-3. The EU noted the variousintersessional initiatives undertaken by EU members. He recognized the need for fullintegration of environmental issues to ensure multiple benefits, further development ofapproaches to participatory planning and the development of international guidelines forNFPs. CANADA noted several issues for further consideration: linking NFPs and theimplementation of the Forest Principles; improving accountability through monitoringand reporting; obtaining long-term commitments to facilitate planning in the forest sector;considering the role of decentralized planning; involving major groups in planningprocesses; and integrating the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into forestsector plans.

NORWAY said the report should be more balanced on forest ownership and relatedplans. Implementation of UNCED requires the development of democratic strategies forNFPs and a wide spectrum of policy means. INDONESIA said ownership varies widelyand proposed measures must be in accord with national legislation. TANZANIA notedactions taken following UNCED, but also noted constraints such as lack of nationalcapacity and financial means and sectoral coordination. He described the implementationof the NFP and noted policy revisions based on agreements such as CBD.

MALAYSIA said the IPF should focus on interactions between forestry and other land-use sectors and between national and state plans. The process should be country-driven.Constraints and donor coordination have technical as well as financial components. TheUS said open, participatory practices are necessary at all levels. National forest sectorplans are only one tool alongside other effective approaches. He called for coordinatingdonor-supported planning efforts. ZIMBABWE called for details on achieving country-driven planning frameworks and asked how sectoral investment would promotemultisectoral planning.

IUCN and the ASIA FOREST NETWORK called for: planning that recognizes the roleof indigenous people; identifying priority areas for community involvement; andmanagement systems responsive to local economic and environmental needs.GERMANY noted its plans to host an experts consultation on national forest and land-use plans. The meeting will concentrate on national plans, instruments and institutionalmechanisms to coordinate political, socioeconomic, and environmental interventions.SWEDEN said all countries need reliable forest inventories and national analysis units.The IPF-3 discussion should explore capacity building. He noted an October workshopplanned with Uganda on consensus building. UGANDA said the meanings ofparticipation and of local communities need to be discussed. Successful experiences inone country might not translate to other communities and societies. Legal, political andfield elements of sectoral integration should be described in practical steps.

The UK stated that sector planning should facilitate national discussion and underlinedthe importance of facilitating this among interest groups. He called for information on:tackling problems in national forest planning; participatory planning; and integratingmultiple planning frameworks. NEW ZEALAND described his nation’s ResourceManagement Act as an incentive-based approach that is output- rather than input-oriented. He noted the need to consider land-use planning and to adopt plans and policies at the highest national level. DENMARK stressed that national forest programmesshould include concrete targets and timetables, and be action-oriented and participatory.He requested specific guidelines on this for discussion at IPF-3.

The PHILIPPINES emphasized that forestry planning requires participation. She echoedFinland’s call for local experts. She stated that recognition of indigenous peoples’property rights in the National Forestry Action Plan will create a need to resolveconflicting land claims. The INTERNATIONAL INDIAN TREATY COUNCIL stressedconflict resolution as well, stating that land is synonymous with indigenous cultures, andthat honoring land treaties must be included in panel discussions. KENYA highlightedcoordination and leadership in forest planning, suggesting that the FAO could provideleadership for better coordination of proliferating plans. He noted the excessive relianceon foreign consultants.


Discussion of methodologies for proper valuation of the multiple benefits of forestsprompted a plethora of reactions, from praise to confusion, over the multitude ofeconometric models presented in the Secretary General’s report. Some delegates notedthat the report was not explicit enough in suggesting practical ways to integratetheoretical economic calculations into national accounting systems for forestry and land-use planning. Others questioned the very utility of econometric models, stating that, whilesuitable perhaps for guiding macro-policies, such models do not describe village-leveleconomics, where land-use decisions occur daily.


ISSUES FOR INITIAL CONSIDERATION: Delegates are expected to continuediscussion of progress in national forest and land-use plans and then consider programmeelements I.3, traditional forest related knowledge, III.2, criteria and indicators for SFMand possibly IV, trade and environment.

DRAFT REPORT OF THE SESSION: Look for sections of the draft report ofIPF-2 to circulate in the afternoon.

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