INTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM ON FORESTS ( IFF)
GOVERNMENT- LED INITIATIVE IN SUPPORT OF THE
PROGRAMME OF WORK OF IFF
Expert Meeting on
Special Needs and Requirements of Developing Countries with Low Forest Cover and Unique Types
To be held in Tehran
4-8 Oct. 1999
Organized by Government of
the Islamic Republic of Iran,
with support of FAO, UNEP and other interested countries
The Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF),
the successor to the IPF, also paid particular attention to this complex
problem with global dimensions and addressed, in the context of its deliberations, various
aspects of LFCCs. Now, it is timely that the international community,
particularly the affected developing countries, engage in a substantive discussion to
develop national, regional and international strategies to address this issue and to
formulate modalities for cooperation at various levels through exchange of views,
experiences and information.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF)
addressed the needs and requirements of developing Low Forest Cover Countries (LFCC
)as one of its programme elements and devoted a full section of its final report to this
matter (document E/CN.17/1997/12, available on the World Wide Web at http: // www.
un. org/ esa/susteev/ipf. htm). While deliberating on the economic, social and
ecological conditions of developing LFCCs, the IPF
recognized the severity of this problem for the well-being of the people who depend on
these forests, and its negative impact on their overall social, economic and environmental
conditions. The IPF made a number of recommendations to address this
issue, associated with ecological conditions as well as with human activities, and
emphasized the urgent need for international cooperation, taking into account the sectoral
and cross- sectoral dimensions of this area of critical concern.
Sustainable development of natural resources is of critical
importance to the developing countries . Furthermore, in these countries, scarce forest
and wooded lands are particularly significant in terms of their economic, social,
cultural, environmental and subsistence values. In this context the Islamic Republic of
Iran prepared a report on the needs and requirements of the developing LFCCs
and on unique types of forests. This report (copy enclosed) was supported by the Group of
77 and China and, at the request of this Group, it was subsequenty, issued as an official
document of IFF II (document E/CN.17/IFF/1998/13) .
Subsequently, the initiative undertaken by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
concerning the convening of an international meeting of experts on ZSpecial Needs and
Requirements of Developing Countries with Low Forest Cover and Unique Types of ForestsZ
announced at IFF II (24 August- 4 September 1998, Geneva),
was welcomed by the IFF.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS OF THE NEEDS AND REQUIREMENTS OF
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES WITH LOW FOREST COVER AND UNIQUE FOREST TYPES
What are the needs:
Forests in developing countries with low forest cover provide subsistence
to the local population and are deeply integrated into the fabric of rural society .
However, the informal, subsistence type economies of environmentally degraded areas with
low forest cover, are not generally reflected adequately in national economic and
development statistics. Only an analysis of the importance of increasingly scarce forest
and other wooded lands for poor rural people will allow the assessment of the true value
of these ecosystems and the compelling reasons for increasing investment in them.
Generally, these countries lack adequate financial and technical
resources, as well as the necessary institutional framework, and there is a critical need
for international partnerships to undertake the management, conservation and sustainable
development of forests, other wooded lands and trees in LFCCs. While most
of the resources needed will come from the local communities themselves, additional
support is, however, needed through national and international cooperation. International
partnerships are sought to make the needed investment, in the first phase, for
rehabilitation of degraded forest and other wooded lands.
Other critical needs include creating national capacity for local
participation in planning and decision-making, in settling land tenure questions, in the
improvement of rural infrastructure (communication, education, health services, water
supply, etc.) and improving the status and situation of rural women and indigenous people,
Why the needs of developing countries with low forest
cover are relevant to the IFF:
|The IFF has a
global mandate which includes consideration of the needs of developing countries with low
forest cover. There are compelling reasons for IFF to address this issue.
||Many countries with low forest
cover have large and increasing populations that live in and around forests which make
increasing demands for forest products and services for their subsistence. There is an urgent
need to protect, restore, rehabilitate and sustainably manage these ecosystems for the well-
being of the people who depend on them.
||Developing countries with low
forest cover possess rich, albeit often degraded examples of forest biological diversity. This
includes some of the wood and non-wood forest products longest known to man, in some of the
worldZs oldest cultural landscapes. Many remnants of unique forest types and species need
urgent attention and protection.
||There is a considerable potential
for establishing trading partnerships in forest products, between forest- rich countries and LFCCs
for economic and benefits and to meet the expanding needs for forest products in countries
with low forest cover.
||Developing countries with low
forest cover also include densely populated, but degraded mountain areas and dry zones which
are social ZhotspotsZ and areas of continuing conflict, outmigration and human suffering.
Investment in rural development in these areas, including the restoration of degraded forest
ecosystems and watershed forests, is in the interest of global, national and regional social
and economic stability.
||The consideration of
Zinternational arrangements and mechanisms to promote the management, conservation and
sustainable development of all types of forests,Z by the IFF, will not be comprehensive, nor
inclusive, without due consideration of the special needs and requirements of countries with
low forest cover and unique forest types.
Major issues involve
The following three areas are
considered to be of priority concern:
|Specificities of Low Forest Cover
Countries. There are a number of unique characteristics of developing LFCCs ,
including the need for:
|developing criteria and a comprehensive
definition for LFC, taking into account the specific economic, social and
ecological conditions of developing LFCCs
||protection and conservation of unique
types of forests as a valuable environmental heritage, and
||assessment of ecological, economic and
social significance of forests and other wooded lands in developing LFCCs
|National Strategies and
Action: These need to include:
|priorities of developing LFCCs
for management, conservation and sustainable development of forests;
|urgent needs and requirements of LFCCs
in terms of short-, medium- and long- term supply and demand of a range of products and services;
|the roles of major groups including
local communities, forest owners, forest dwellers, indigenous people, women, youth, NGOs
and the private sector in developing LFCCs in the conservation, management and
sustainable development of forests and other wooded land ecosystems and in capacity building.
|International Cooperation: There is a need to consider the:
|diversity and other global and regional
environmental issues and agreements
||relationship between desertification,
climate change, conservation of biological possibilities fthe establishment of consultative
mechanisms and coordination at regional and global levels for the provision of resources,
technology transfer and know- how for conservation and sustainable management of forest and forest
||international strategies, mechanisms
and arrangements for the promotion of conservation, management and sustainable development of all
types of forests and other wooded land, especially unique types in LFCCs and,
||the role of international organizations (FAO, IFAD,UNEP,UNDP,
OBJECTIVES OF THE EXPERT MEETING
1- Identify factors
contributing to low forest cover, as well as the special needs and requirements of LFCCs;
2- Engage in substantive
discussion and exchange of views on key issues affecting developing LFCCs;
3- Contribute to the
preparation of the final deliberations of the IFF, in particular by
providing the perspective of developing LFCCs to the consideration of
options for future international arrangements and mechanisms.
Proposed long-term objective:
1- Foster national forest
programmes in all LFCCs, and promote regional and sub- regional
arrangements, for the exchange of experience and for support to national processes, in
partnership with the international donor community.
2- Establish linkages
between action by LFCCs and the objectives of the three UNCED
global environmental conventions (CCD,CBD,FCCC)
as a strategic approach in order to call the attention of the international community to
the needs of LFCCs.
3- Identify common areas of
cooperative action through networks, regional projects and other joint efforts, and
through building partnerships between countries and with international organizations and
donors. Some possible areas of cooperative action include: afforestation and land
rehabilitation, sylvo-pasture management, non- wood forest products, community forestry
and peopleZs participation.
In view of the multi-dimensional character and a
wide range of issues relating to LFC, other countries and regions might
find it necessary to follow- up the Tehran meeting through organizing similar meetings at
sub- regional and regional levels.
RELATIONSHIP WITH IFF
The outcome of Tehran meeting would serve as an
input to support the programme of work of the IFF in accordance with the
guidelines established by the first session of the IFF and reflected in
paragraph 12 of the report of IFF I (Document E/CN.17/IFF/1997/4).
According to the guidance provided by IFF III to the IFF
secretariat in preparation for the fourth session of the IFF, the
secretariat in its report to IFF IV will take into
account country-led initiatives in an elaboration of possible elements which could be used
as a basis for future work of international arrangement and mechanisms. Equally, any
analysis of various options for international forestry policy dialogue for action should
take into account the work of country - led initiatives.
Thus the initiative on the special needs and requirements of LFCCs,
through contributing to IFF IV intends to highlight and incorporate the
concerns and needs of about 70 countries with less than 10 percent forest cover, covering
two thirds of the worldZs population, in any future international negotiating process on
forestry or to highlight them in any international agenda.
The final report of this initiative will be forwarded for
consideration, as part of the official documentation, at the fourth session of the IFF
scheduled to be held in New York, 31 January to 11 February 2000. It is envisaged that the
final report of the meeting would contain a number of recommendations to the IFF
regarding the subject under discussion.
Undoubtedly, wider participation of countries
and international organizations will greatly contribute to ensuring that the meetingZs
outcome will provide the basis for productive partnerships among developing countries,
developed countries, the private sector and multilateral organizations.
Iran also invites the interested countries, UN Funds
and Programs, and international organizations to provide financial resources to ensure the
participation of at least one nominee, particularly women, from each developing LFCC.
The Islamic Republic of Iran invites all
countries, particularly developing LFCCs, international organizations, UN
Funds and Programs, NGOs, indigenous people, womenZ NGOs and the private
sector to participate in the open-ended international expert meeting in Tehran.
METHOD OF WORK
Simultaneous translation into English and French
will be provided but the documentation will be issued in English only. The background
papers and working documents will be sent to all permanent missions in New York and Geneva
and will be made available on the Internet for all interested. (Web site: http://
www. Mavara. com)
The Islamic Republic of Iran also invites all countries as well as
international and Non-governmental Organizations to send their views and information
regarding the economic, social and ecological conditions, policies and programs of LFCCs,
as well as other issues referred to in the above-mentioned objectives of the meeting.
A National Committee composed of representatives
from the Iranian High Council on Forests, Ministry of Jihad Sazandegi (Rural Development),
Research Institute for Forests and Range, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and NGOs,
including womenZs NGOs, has been established in the Forests and Range
Organization in Tehran. This Committee provides substantive support to the International
Expert Meeting and will coordinate the preparation of the necessary documentation.
Interested countries, and international and non- governmental
organizations who wish to co-sponsor the initiative are invited to become members of the
In the course of IFF III the first
session of the steering committee comprising interested countries and international
organizations including Canada, Germany, France, Finland, Denmark,
Norway, Egypt, Sudan, UNEP,FAO and representatives from IFF secretariat was held
in Geneva during which the initiative received considerable support and inputs.
The IFF Secretariat and the distinguished Co-chairmen of IFF are
invited to become members of the Steering Committee. An Organizing Committee has also been
established to be in charge of all logistical aspects related to the organization of the
Shams-allah Shariat Nejad
Head of the Iranian High Council on Forests and Range Organization
Ministry of Jihad Sazandegi (Rural Development)
Tel: ( 98-21) 244-6505/244-6537(Ext,257)
Fax: ( 98-21) 244-6551/2446547
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, New York
Tel: (212) 687-2020
Fax: (212) 867-7086