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Background Paper Streering Committee Concept Paper Agenda Of the Meeting
List of Issue Paper List of Participant Forestry in IRAN General Information

 

INTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM ON FORESTS ( IFF)
GOVERNMENT- LED INITIATIVE IN SUPPORT OF THE
PROGRAMME OF WORK OF IFF

Open-ended Expert Meeting on
Special Needs and Requirements of Developing Countries with Low Forest Cover and Unique Types of Forests

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

CONTEXT
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.

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.

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.up.gif (1756 bytes)

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, including nomads.

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:

1-

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

2-

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.

3-

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 resources
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, WORLD BANK,GEF,...)

OBJECTIVES OF THE EXPERT MEETING
Proposed short-term objective:

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; and

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.

FOLLOW UP
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.

PARTNERSHIPS
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.

PARTICIPANTS
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.

SUPPORTING MECHANISMS
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 Steering Committee.

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 meeting.

CONTACT PERSONS

Mr. Shams-allah Shariat Nejad
Head of the Iranian High Council on Forests and Range Organization
Ministry of Jihad Sazandegi (Rural Development)
Tehran, Iran
Tel: ( 98-21) 244-6505/244-6537(Ext,257)
Fax: ( 98-21) 244-6551/2446547
E-mail:faro-high-concil @Mavara.com

Mr. Mohsen Esperi
Counselor
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, New York
Tel: (212) 687-2020
Fax: (212) 867-7086
E-mail: mesperi@un.int