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Low Forest Cover and Unique Types of Forests in Relation to the UNCED Conventions and the Global Debate on Forests

1- Introduction

This background/issues paper consists of a brief text covering some issues for consideration in the inclusion or otherwise of the needs of low forest cover countries and unique types of forest in the three main UNCED Conventions and the global debate on forests, largely in the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and its successor, the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF). An extensive review is included in an Annex of the actual provisions for meeting the special needs of low forest cover countries in the recent international debates, in particular:

(a) three of the existing Conventions related to forests and forestry

the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC),

the Convention on biological Diversity (CBD);

and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

provisions of Agenda 21 of UNCED

conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests in its final report

The aim of the paper is to contribute to discussion of possible areas where the agreements could be strengthened in regard to the needs of low forest cover countries.

None of the Conventions have been very long in operation; the FCCC and the CBD came into force in 1995 while the UNCCD was ratified in 1997. The present paper thus only looks at their provisions, rather than at the experience of countries in their implementation. Of the three Conventions, the UNCCD is directly relevant to the needs of LFCC. It is incorporates a holistic and participatory approach in which the conservation and management of existing trees, forests and other woodlands as well as reforestation and aforestation are seen as key elements contributing to the combatting of desertification.

 2- Background

Low forest cover can arise as a result of natural climatic or ecological conditions, as well as from human activities, and the situation may be constantly changing within a country.

Fragile ecosystems are important ecosystems, with unique features and resources. Fragile ecosystems include deserts, semi-arid lands, mountains, wetlands, small islands and certain coastal areas. Most of these ecosystems are regional in scope, as they transcend national boundaries. Small islands and coastal areas are discussed in chapter 17 of Agenda 21.

Desertification is land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities. Desertification, in particular, is caused by complex interactions among physical, biological, political, social, cultural and economic factors (from the Preamble to the UNCCD). Such factors will be discussed and identifed in the expert workshop on LFCC as will the definition of low forest cover.

Desertification effects about one sixth of the world's population, 70 per cent of all drylands, amounting to 3.6 billion hectares, and one quarter of the total land area of the world. The most obvious impact of desertification, in addition to widespread poverty, is the degradation of 3.3 billion hectares of the total area of rangeland, constituting 73 per cent of the rangeland with a low potential for human and animal carrying capacity; decline in soil fertility and soil structure on about 47 per cent of the dryland areas constituting marginal rained cropland; and the degradation of irrigated cropland, amounting to 30 per cent of the dryland areas with a high population density and agricultural potential.

3. Issues related to the inclusion of the interests of low forest cover countries and unique types of forest in the post-UNCED Conventions

The two main issues related to the inclusion of the interests of low forest cover countries and unique types of forest in the post-UNCED Conventions will emerge from the debates and conclusions of the Workshop. They are

identification of the common and particular needs related to low forest cover; and

definition of low forest cover as it is applied to a country – or to a location in a country

If these two points can be at least broadly settled, then consideration can be given to specific features of the Conventions as they relate to low forest cover countries. There would then appear to be three issues:

whether the existing Conventions, as presently agreed, include adequate provision to meet the identified and particular needs of LFCC;

if not, then whether the issues identified those which one or more of the Conventions could address,

allied to, whether amendment of the Conventions would help meet the particular needs of LFCC.

If the needs of low forest cover countries are such that one or more of the Conventions could address them, or if it would be agreed that amendment of one or more of the Conventions would help meet the particular needs of LFCC then there are some issues arising from the review of the international debate (see Annex) which could be considered for inclusion in the conventions regarding LFC countries and unique types of forest. They might include:

inclusion of the needs of low forest cover countries and unique types of forest as part of any holistic approach in an international policy agreement;

provision for coordination of international action, donor inputs, or for the exchange of information and experience between parties of the three Conventions regarding the needs of low forest cover countries, or unique types of forests;

the specific need to strengthen regional or sub-regional organisations;

the need for criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management, specifically developed for low forest cover countries and unique types of forest.

ANNEX

The following texts from Agenda 21, UN FCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, UN CCD and UN CBD could have some relation to the objectives of LFCCs. All aspects of different international instruments related to forests, such as their mandate, scope, objectives, programmee and management, transfer of technology, research and financial support, could also apply to the needs of LFCCs.

The relevant texts are categorized under the following titles:

Needs and Requirements, Fragile ecosystem and/or unique type, Policy making, Management and conservation, Providing financial resources and Applications. In addition, other texts generally relevant to forests which could also apply to LFCCs are also cited.

AGENDA 21

Chapters 11 (Combating deforestation and the Forest Principles), 12 (Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought) and 13 (Sustainable mountain development) in some way refer to the objectives of LFCCs.

Chapter 11 – Combating deforestation and the Forest Principles

The Non-legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests (the Forest Principles) is the basic text of IPF work, and its programme elements organized based on contents of that (Table 1, documents E/CN.17/IPF/1996/24). Paragraphs 4, 7(b), 8(a), and 8(f) of forest principles refer to protected areas and unique ecosystems which Programme element I-5 of IPF prepared to cover its needs.

The Forest Principles constitute a non-legally binding “forest instrument”, agreed upon at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, that provides a framework for the sustainable development of all types of forests worldwide, while recognizing the sovereign right of countries over their forest resources, as well as the right to manage their forest resources according to their own goals and policies.

Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 urges countries to develop forest strategies and concrete plans of action for sustainable forest development. Specifically, it refers to the Forest Principles and contains a comprehensive description of the various policy areas that can address deforestation and promote sustainable forest management.

Fragile ecosystem and/or unique type:

Para. 8(b) of Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 refers to fragile ecosystems and/or unique type.

Chapter 12 – Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Combating Desertification And Drought

Fragile ecosystem and/or unique type:

In Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Para. 12-1:

Fragile ecosystems are important ecosystems, with unique features and resources. Fragile ecosystems include deserts, semi-arid lands, mountains, wetlands, small islands and certain coastal areas. Most of these ecosystems are regional in scope, as they transcend national boundaries. This chapter addresses land resource issues in deserts, as well as arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. Sustainable mountain development is addressed in Chapter 13; small islands and coastal areas are discussed in Chapter 17.

Policy-making:

In Paragraph 12-24-a of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Human resource development:

Governments at the appropriate level and local communities, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should: Establish mechanisms to ensure that land users, particularly women, are the main actors in implementing improved land use, including agroforestry systems, in combating land degradation (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Paragraph 12-24-a ).

In Paragraph 12-29-b of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Data and information:

Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should: Conduct inventory of natural resources (soil, water and vegetation) and their state of degradation, based primarily on the knowledge of the local population (e.g., rapid rural appraisal) (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Paragraph 12-29-b).

Management and conservation:

In paragraph 12-5; Basis for action; of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21:

Adequate world-wide systematic observation systems are helpful for the development and implementation of effective anti-desertification programmes. At the time of writing Agenda 21, The capacity of existing international, regional and national institutions, particularly in developing countries, to generate and exchange relevant information was limited. And suggested that an integrated and coordinated information and systematic observation system based on appropriate technology and embracing global, regional, national and local levels was essential for understanding the dynamics of desertification and drought processes. It was also important for developing adequate measures to deal with desertification and drought and improving socio-economic conditions (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, paragraph 12-5).

In paragraph 12-17,a,b,d; Objectives; of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21:

The objectives of this programme area are:

As regards areas not yet affected or only slightly affected by desertification, to ensure appropriate management of existing natural formations (including forests) for the conservation of biodiversity, watershed protection, sustainability of their production and agricultural development, and other purposes, with the full participation of indigenous people;

To rehabilitate moderately to severely desertified drylands for productive utilization and sustain their productivity for agropastoral/agroforestry development through, inter alia, soil and water conservation;

To improve management of forest resources, including woodfuel, and to reduce woodfuel consumption through more efficient utilization, conservation and the enhancement, development and use of other sources of energy, including alternative sources of energy (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, paragraph 12-17,a,b,d).

In paragraph 12-19,b; Data and information; of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21,

Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

Develop, test and introduce, with due regard to environmental security considerations, drought resistant, fast-growing and productive plant species appropriate to the environment of the regions concerned (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, paragraph 12-19,b).

In paragraph 12-23,a of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Scientific and technological means:

Governments at the appropriate level and local communities, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

Integrate indigenous knowledge related to forests, forest lands, rangeland and natural vegetation into research activities on desertification and drought (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, paragraph 12-23,a).

Providing financial resources:

In Para. 12-18,g of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21,

Promote and encourage investment in forestry development in drylands through various incentives, including legislative measures (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Para. 12-18,g).

Applications (plantation, afforestation, reforestation and rehabilitation of degraded land):

In paragraph 12-4- a of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, refer to one of

The programme areas :
- Strengthening the knowledge base and developing information and
monitoring systems for regions prone to desertification and drought, including
the economic and social aspects of these ecosystems (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, paragraph 12-4- a).

In paragraph 12-6- a of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, one of the Objectives of the programme area is:

To promote the establishment and/or strengthening of national environmental information coordination centres that will act as focal points within Governments for sectoral ministries and provide the necessary standardization and back-up services; to ensure also that national environmental information systems on desertification and drought are linked together through a network at subregional, regional and interregional levels (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, paragraph 12-6- a).

In Para12.12,a ;Scientific and technological means ; of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21,

Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations working on the issue of desertification and drought, should:

Undertake and update existing inventories of natural resources, such as energy, water, soil, minerals, plant and animal access to food, as well as other resources, such as housing, employment, health, education and demographic distribution in time and space (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Para12.12,a).

And in Para. 12.16. An increasing vegetation cover would promote and stabilize the hydrological balance in the dryland areas and maintain land quality and land productivity. Prevention of not yet degraded land and application of corrective measures and rehabilitation of moderate and severely degraded drylands, including areas affected by sand dune movements, through the introduction of environmentally sound, socially acceptable, fair and economically feasible land-use systems. This will enhance the land carrying capacity and maintenance of biotic resources in fragile ecosystems (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Para12.16).

In Para12.17,b; Objectives; of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21,

One of The objectives of the programme area is:

(b) To rehabilitate moderately to severely desertified drylands for productive utilization and sustain their productivity for agropastoral/agroforestry development through, inter alia, soil and water conservation (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Para12.17,b).


In Para12.18,b,h; of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21,

For Management-related activities; Governments at the appropriate level, and with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

Carry out accelerated afforestation and reforestation programmes, using drought-resistant, fast-growing species, in particular native ones, including legumes and other species, combined with community-based agroforestry schemes. In this regard, creation of large-scale reforestation and afforestation schemes, particularly through the establishment of green belts, should be considered, bearing in mind the multiple benefits of such measures;

- Promote the development and use of sources of energy which will lessen pressure on ligneous resources, including alternative sources of energy and improved stoves (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Para12.18,b,h).

In Para12.20,a; of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, For International and regional cooperation and coordination

The appropriate United Nations agencies, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and bilateral agencies should:

Coordinate their roles in combating land degradation and promoting reforestation, agroforestry and land-management systems in affected countries (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Para12.20,a).

In Para12.23,a; of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, For Human resource development

Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should:

Train members of rural organizations in management skills and train agropastoralists in such special techniques as soil and water conservation, water harvesting, agroforestry and small-scale irrigation (Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, Para12.23,a).

Other texts related to forests that could also apply to LFCCs

Governments at the appropriate level, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations working on the issue of desertification and drought, should:

... Combating land degradation through, inter alia, intensified soil conservation, afforestation and reforestation activities.

An increasing vegetation cover would promote and stabilise the hydrological balance in the dryland areas and maintain land quality and land productivity. Prevention of not yet degraded land and application of corrective measures and rehabilitation of moderate and severely degraded drylands, including areas affected by sand dune movements, through the introduction of environmentally sound, socially acceptable, fair and economically feasible land-use systems. This will enhance the land carrying capacity and maintenance of biotic resources in fragile ecosystems.


The objectives of this programme area are:
(a) As regards areas not yet affected or only slightly affected by desertification, to ensure appropriate management of existing natural formations (including forests) for the conservation of biodiversity, watershed protection, sustainability of their production and agricultural development and other purposes, with the full participation of indigenous people;
(b) To rehabilitate moderately to severely desertified drylands for productive utilisation and sustain their productivity for agropastoral / agroforestry development through, inter alia, soil and water conservation;
(c) To increase the vegetation cover and support management of biotic resources in regions affected or prone to desertification and drought, notably through such activities as afforestation/reforestation, agroforestry, community lowwry and vegetation retention schemes;
(d) To improve management of forest resources, including woodfuel, and to reduce woodfuel consumption through more efficient utilisation, conservation and the enhancement, development and use of other sources of energy, including alternative sources of energy.

Develop, test and introduce, with due regard to environmental security considerations, drought resistant, fast-growing and productive plant species appropriate to the environment of the regions concerned:
(a) Carry out accelerated afforestation and reforestation programmes, using drought-resistant, fast-growing species, in particular native ones, including legumes and other species, combined with community-based agroforestry schemes. In this regard, creation of large-scale reforestation and plantation schemes, particularly through the establishment of green belts, should be considered, bearing in mind the multiple benefits of such measures;
(b) Promote and encourage investment in forestry development in drylands through various incentives, including legislative measures;
(c) Promote the development and use of sources of energy which will lessen pressure on ligneous resources, including alternative sources of energy and improved stoves.

The appropriate United Nations agencies, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and bilateral agencies should co-ordinate their roles in combating land degradation and promoting reforestation, agroforestry and land-management systems in affected countries.

Governments at the appropriate level and local communities, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should integrate indigenous knowledge related to forests, forestlands, rangeland and natural vegetation into research activities on desertification and drought.

Governments at the appropriate level and local communities, with the support of the relevant international and regional organizations, should establish mechanisms to ensure that land users, particularly women, are the main actors in implementing improved land use, including agroforestry systems, in combating land degradation.

FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

UNFCCC does not refer directly to low forest cover countries; it only refers to forests as sink but not indicating low or high forest cover.

LFCCs could share in the following objectives of UN FCCC:

Forests as both sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide and a reservoirs of carbon,

Maintaining and improvement for increasing forest cover;

Needs and requirements:

In the Preamble of UNFCCC:

Affirming that responses to climate change should be coordinated with social and economic development in an integrated manner with a view to avoiding adverse impacts on the latter, taking into full account the legitimate priority needs of developing countries for the achievement of sustained economic growth and the eradication of poverty....

Recognizing that all countries, especially developing countries, need access to resources required to achieve sustainable social and economic development and that, in order for developing countries to progress towards that goal, their energy consumption will need to grow taking into account the possibilities for achieving greater energy efficiency and for controlling greenhouse gas emissions in general, including through the application of new technologies on terms which make such an application economically and socially beneficial.(UNFCCC, Preamble)

In Article 4, Commitments, of UNFCCC, Para. 7:

The extent to which developing country Parties will effectively implement their commitments under the Convention will depend on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of their commitments under the Convention related to financial resources and transfer of technology and will take fully into account that economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country Parties (UNFCC B, Art. 4-7).

In Article 4, Commitments, Para. 8:

In the implementation of the commitments in this Article, the Parties shall give full consideration to what actions are necessary under the Convention, including actions related to funding, insurance and the transfer of technology, to meet the specific needs and concerns of developing country Parties arising from the adverse effects of climate change and/or the impact of the implementation of response measures, especially on:

(a) Small island countries;

(b) Countries with low-lying coastal areas;

(c) Countries with arid and semi-arid areas, forested areas and areas liable to forest decay;

(d) Countries with areas prone to natural disasters;

(e) Countries with areas liable to drought and desertification;

(f) Countries with areas of high urban atmospheric pollution;

(g) Countries with areas with fragile ecosystems, including mountainous ecosystems;

(h) Countries whose economies are highly dependent on income generated from the production, processing and export, and/or on consumption of fossil fuels and associated energy-intensive products; and

(i) Land-locked and transit countries (UNFCC B, Art. 4-7).

Fragile ecosystem and/or unique type:

In Preamble of UNFCCC:

Recognizing that low-lying and other small island countries, countries with low-lying coastal, arid and semi-arid areas or areas liable to floods, drought and desertification, and developing countries with fragile mountainous ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change (UNFCCC, Preamble).

Policy-making:

In Article 3-3; Principles; of UN FCCC,:

In their actions to achieve the objective of the Convention and to implement its provisions, The Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures, taking into account that policies and measures to deal with climate change should be cost-effective so as to ensure global benefits at the lowest possible cost. To achieve this, such policies and measures should take into account different socio-economic contexts, be comprehensive, cover all relevant sources, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and adaptation, and comprise all economic sectors. Efforts to address climate change may be carried out cooperatively by interested Parties (UNFCCC, Art. 3-3).

In Article 4 –2; Commitments; of UNFCCC:

The developed country Parties and other Parties included in Annex I commit themselves and shall adopt national policies and take corresponding measures on the mitigation of climate change, by limiting its anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting and enhancing its greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs. These policies and measures will demonstrate that developed countries are taking the lead in modifying longer-term trends in anthropogenic emissions consistent with the objective of the Convention. These Parties may implement such policies and measures jointly with other Parties and may assist other Parties in contributing to the achievement of the objective of the Convention and, in particular, that of this subparagraph (UNFCCC, Art. 4-2-a).

Each of these Parties shall Coordinate as appropriate with other such Parties, relevant economic and administrative instruments developed to achieve the objective of the Convention; and

Identify and periodically review its own policies and practices (UNFCCC, Art. 4-2-e-i,ii).

In Article 12-2-a,b; Communication of Information Related to Implementation; of UNFCCC:

Each developed country Party and each other Party included in Annex I shall incorporate in its communication the following elements of information:

A detailed description of the policies and measures that it has adopted to implement its commitment;

A specific estimate of the effects that the policies and measures referred to in subparagraph (a) immediately above will have on anthropogenic emissions by its sources and removals by its sinks of greenhouse gases (UNFCCC, Art. 12-2-a,b).

Management and conservation:

In Article 4-1-d,e; Commitments; of UN FCCC,

All Parties, taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities and their specific national and regional development priorities, objectives and circumstances, shall:

- Promote sustainable management, and promote and cooperate in the conservation and enhancement, as appropriate, of sinks and reservoirs of all greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol, including biomass, forests and oceans as well as other terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems;

- Cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change; develop and elaborate appropriate and integrated plans for coastal zone management, water resources and agriculture, and for the protection and rehabilitation of areas, particularly in Africa, affected by drought and desertification, as well as floods (UN FCCC, Article 4-1-d,e).

Providing financial resources:

See Articles 4-7 and 4-8 under Needs and requirements, above.

Applications (plantation, afforestation, reforestation and rehabilitation of degraded land):

In Article 4-1-c ,f of UN FCCC, Commitments:

All Parties, taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities and their specific national and regional development priorities, objectives and circumstances, shall:

- Promote and cooperate in the development, application and diffusion, including transfer, of technologies, practices and processes in all relevant sectors, including the energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management sectors (UNFCCC, 4-1b).

Take climate change considerations into account, to the extent feasible, in their relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions, and employ appropriate methods, for example impact assessments, formulated and determined nationally, with a view to minimizing adverse effects on the economy, on public health and on the quality of the environment, of projects or measures undertaken by them to mitigate or adapt to climate change (UNFCCC, 4-1f).

Other texts related to forests that could also apply to LFCCs

Article 4(d) of UNFCCC specifically calls on Parties to promote sustainable management and conservation of forests and other natural ecosystems that serve as sinks of greenhouse gases. Related topics in the text of UNFCCC include the following:

... Aware of the role and importance in terrestrial and marine ecosystems of sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases,

Recalling the pertinent provisions of General Assembly resolution 44/172 of 19 December 1989 on the implementation of the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification,

In their actions to achieve the objective of the Convention and to implement its provisions, such policies and measures should take into account different socio-economic contexts, be comprehensive, cover all relevant sources, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and adaptation, and comprise all economic sectors. Efforts to address climate change may be carried out co-operatively by interested Parties.

The Conference of the Parties, as the supreme body of this Convention, shall keep under regular review the implementation of the Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt, and shall make, within its mandate, the decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of the Convention. To this end, it shall:

Promote and guide, in accordance with the objective and provisions of the Convention, the development and periodic refinement of comparable methodologies, to be agreed on by the Conference of the Parties, inter alia, for preparing inventories of greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks, and for evaluating the effectiveness of measures to limit the emissions and enhance the removals of these gases;

CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION

UNCCD is relevant to low forest cover countries but does not refer directly to them as such.

LFCCs could share in the following objectives:

Causes of desertification,

Control desertification activities,

Rehabilitation and vegetation recovery include afforestiation and plantation.

Needs and requirements:

In Preamble, of UNCCD:

Aware that arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas are the habitat and source of livelihood for a large segment of world population.

Recognizing the urgent need to improve the effectiveness and coordination of international cooperation to facilitate the implementation of national plans and priorities (UNCCD, Preamble).

In Article 3-a,b,c,d of UNCCD, Principles:

In order to achieve the objective of this Convention and to implement its provisions, the Parties shall be guided, inter alia, by the following:

The Parties should ensure that decisions on the design and implementation of programmes to combat desertification and/or mitigate the effects of drought are taken with the participation of populations and local communities and that an enabling environment is created at higher levels to facilitate action at national and local levels;

The Parties should, in a spirit of international solidarity and partnership, improve cooperation and co-ordination at subregional, regional and international levels, and better focus financial, human, organizational and technical resources where they are needed;

The Parties should develop, in a spirit of partnership, cooperation among all levels of government, communities, non-governmental organizations and landholders to establish a better understanding of the nature and value of land and scarce water resources in affected areas and to work towards their sustainable use; and

The Parties should take into full consideration the special needs and circumstances of affected developing country Parties, particularly the least developed among them.

In Article 17-1-b; of UNCCD, Research and development:

The Parties undertake, according to their respective capabilities, to promote technical and scientific cooperation in the fields of combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought through appropriate national, subregional, regional and international institutions. To this end, they shall support research activities that:

respond to well defined objectives, address the specific needs of local populations and lead to the identification and implementation of solutions that improve the living standards of people in affected areas (UNCCD, Article 17-1-b).

Policy-making:

See Article 2-2 under Applications, below.

See Article 3-b under Needs and requirements, above.

In Article 4-2 of UN CCD, General obligations:

In pursuing the objective of this Convention, the Parties shall:

adopt an integrated approach addressing the physical, biological and socio-economic aspects of the processes of desertification and drought;

give due attention, within the relevant international and regional bodies, to the situation of affected developing country Parties with regard to international trade, marketing arrangements and debt with a view to establishing an enabling international economic environment conducive to the promotion of sustainable development

Integrate strategies for poverty eradication into efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought;

Promote cooperation among affected country Parties in the fields of environmental protection and the conservation of land and water resources, as they relate to desertification and drought;

Strengthen subregional, regional and international cooperation;

Cooperate within relevant intergovernmental organizations;

Determine institutional mechanisms, if appropriate, keeping in mind the need to avoid duplication; and

Promote the use of existing bilateral and multilateral financial mechanisms and arrangements that mobilise and channel substantial financial resources to affected developing country Parties in combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought. (UNCCD, Art.4-2).

In Article 5-b,e of UN CCD, Obligations of affected country Parties:

In addition to their obligations pursuant to article 4, affected country Parties undertake to:

establish strategies and priorities, within the framework of sustainable development plans and/or policies, to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought;

provide an enabling environment by strengthening, as appropriate, relevant existing legislation and, where they do not exist, enacting new laws and establishing long-term policies and action programmes (UNCCD, Art. 5-b,e).

In Article 10-2-a,e,f of UN CCD, National action programmes:

National action programmes shall specify the respective roles of government, local communities and land users and the resources available and needed. They shall, inter alia:

incorporate long-term strategies to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought, emphasize implementation and be integrated with national policies for sustainable development;

promote policies and strengthen institutional frameworks which develop cooperation and coordination, in a spirit of partnership, between the donor community, governments at all levels, local populations and community groups, and facilitate access by local populations to appropriate information and technology;

provide for effective participation at the local, national and regional levels of non- governmental organizations and local populations, both women and men, particularly resource users, including farmers and pastoralists and their representative organizations, in policy planning, decision-making, and implementation and review of national action programmes (UNCCD, Art. 10-2-a,e,f).

Management and conservation:

In Article 8-1; of UN CCD, Relationship with other conventions:

The Parties shall encourage the coordination of activities carried out under this Convention and, if they are Parties to them, under other relevant international agreements, particularly the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, in order to derive maximum benefit from activities under each agreement while avoiding duplication of effort. The Parties shall encourage the conduct of joint programmes, particularly in the fields of research, training, systematic observation and information collection and exchange, to the extent that such activities may contribute to achieving the objectives of the agreements concerned (UN CCD, Article 8-1).

In Article 19-1-c; of UN CCD, Capacity building, education and public awareness:

The Parties recognize the significance of capacity building -- that is to say, institution building, training and development of relevant local and national capacities -- in efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought. They shall promote, as appropriate, capacity- building:

by establishing and/or strengthening support and extension services to disseminate relevant technology methods and techniques more effectively, and by training field agents and members of rural organizations in participatory approaches for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources (UN CCD, Article 19-1-b).

In Article 19-3-e; of UN CCD,

The Parties shall cooperate with each other and through competent intergovernmental organizations, as well as with non-governmental organizations, in undertaking and supporting public awareness and educational programmes in both affected and, where relevant, unaffected country Parties to promote understanding of the causes and effects of desertification and drought and of the importance of meeting the objective of this Convention. They shall:

assess educational needs in affected areas, elaborate appropriate school curricula and expand, as needed, educational and adult literacy programmes and opportunities for all, in particular for girls and women, on the identification, conservation and sustainable use and management of the natural resources of affected areas (UN CCD, Article 19-3-e).

Providing financial resources:

In Preamble of UNCCD:

Recognizing further the importance of the provision to affected developing countries, particularly in Africa, of effective means, inter alia substantial financial resources, including new and additional funding, and access to technology, without which it will be difficult for them to implement fully their commitments under this Convention (UNCCD, Preamble).

In Article 6-b,c of UNCCD, Obligations of developed country Parties:

In addition to their general obligations, developed country Parties undertake to:

provide substantial financial resources and other forms of support to assist affected developing country Parties, particularly those in Africa, effectively to develop and implement their own long-term plans and strategies to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought;

promote the mobilization of new and additional funding (UNCCD, Article 6-b, c ).

In Article 20-5,a; of UNCCD, Financial resources:

In order to mobilize the financial resources necessary for affected developing country Parties to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought, the Parties shall:

rationalize and strengthen the management of resources already allocated for combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought by using them more effectively and efficiently, assessing their successes and shortcomings, removing hindrances to their effective use and, where necessary, reorienting programmes in light of the integrated long- term approach adopted pursuant to this Convention (UNCCD, Art. 20-5,a).

Applications (plantation, afforestation, reforestation and rehabilitation of degraded land):

In Articles 2-1,2 of UN CCD, Objective:

The objective of this Convention is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa, through effective action at all levels, supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements, in the framework of an integrated approach which is consistent with Agenda 21, with a view to contributing to the achievement of sustainable development in affected areas (UN CCD, Article 2-1).

Achieving this objective will involve long-term integrated strategies that focus simultaneously, in affected areas, on improved productivity of land, and the rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources, leading to improved living conditions, in particular at the community level (UN CCD, Article 2-2).

Other texts related to forests that could also apply to LFCCs

There are several common goals and objectives between this convention and the needs and requirements of LFCCs, because among the main causes of low forest coverage in those countries are aridity and drought. Related texts in UN CCD include the following. Some of the terms used for the purposes of this Convention could be used in the same line for FLCC objectives, and this terminology is included below.

The Parties to this Convention,

Reflecting the urgent concern of the international community, including States and international organizations, about the adverse impacts of desertification and drought,

Acknowledging that desertification and drought are problems of global dimension in that they affect all regions of the world and that joint action of the international community is needed to combat desertification and/or mitigate the effects of drought,

Noting the high concentration of developing countries, notably the least developed countries, among those experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, and the particularly tragic consequences of these phenomena in Africa,

Noting also that desertification is caused by complex interactions among physical, biological, political, social, cultural and economic factors,

Appreciating the significance of the past efforts and experience of States and international organizations in combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought, particularly in implementing the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification which was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Desertification in 1977,

Recognising the validity and relevance of decisions adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, particularly of Agenda 21 and its chapter 12, which provide a basis for combating desertification,

Bearing in mind the relationship between desertification and other environmental problems of global dimension facing the international and national communities,

Bearing also in mind the contribution that combating desertification can make to achieving the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity and other related environmental conventions,

Terminology:

"desertification" means land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities;

"combating desertification" includes activities, which are part of the integrated development of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas for sustainable development, which are aimed at:

(i) Prevention and/or reduction of land degradation;

(ii) Rehabilitation of partly degraded land; and

(iii) Reclamation of desertified land;

"drought" means the naturally occurring phenomenon that exists when precipitation has been significantly below normal recorded levels, causing serious hydrological imbalances that adversely affect land resource production systems;

"mitigating the effects of drought" means activities related to the prediction of drought and intended to reduce the vulnerability of society and natural systems to drought as it relates to combating desertification;

"land" means the terrestrial bio-productive system that comprises soil, vegetation, other biota, and the ecological and hydrological processes that operate within the system;

"land degradation" means reduction or loss, in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, of the biological or economic productivity and complexity of rainfed cropland, irrigated cropland, or range, pasture, forest and woodlands resulting from land uses or from a process or combination of processes, including processes arising from human activities and habitation patterns, such as:

(i) Soil erosion caused by wind and/or water;

(ii) Deterioration of the physical, chemical and biological or economic properties of soil; and

(iii) Long-term loss of natural vegetation;

"arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas" means areas, other than polar and sub-polar regions, in which the ratio of annual precipitation to potential evapotranspiration falls within the range from 0.05 to 0.65;

"affected areas" means arid, semi-arid and/or dry sub-humid areas affected or threatened by desertification;

"affected countries" means countries whose lands include, in whole or in part, affected areas;

In Article 5, In addition to their obligations pursuant to Article 4, affected country Parties undertake to:

Address the underlying causes of desertification and pay special attention to the socio-economic factors contributing to desertification processes;

In Article 6, Obligations of developed country Parties in addition to their general obligations:

Encourage the mobilisation of funding from the private sector and other non-governmental sources; and

Promote and facilitate access by affected country Parties, particularly affected developing country Parties, to appropriate technology, knowledge and know-how.

Capacity building, education and public awareness:

... By providing appropriate training and technology in the use of alternative energy sources, particularly renewable energy resources, aimed particularly at reducing dependence on wood for fuel...

Affected country Parties of the region may include, in their national action programmes, measures relating to:

Legislative, institutional and administrative areas;

Land use patterns, management of water resources, soil conservation, forestry, agricultural activities and pasture and range management;

Management and conservation of wildlife and other forms of biological diversity;

Protection against forest fires;

Promotion of alternative livelihoods; and

Research, training and public awareness. 

CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

UNCBD does not refer directly to low forest cover countries; it only refers to genetic resources as plant or animals and not to forest or low forest cover.

LFCCs could share in the following objectives:

Forest as rich habitat for plants and animals,

Conservation of genetic resources.

Fragile ecosystem and/or unique type:

In Annex 1; Paragraph 1 of UNCBD, Identification and monitoring:

Ecosystems and habitats: containing high diversity, large numbers of endemic or threatened species, or wilderness; required by migratory species; of social, economic, cultural or scientific importance; or, which are representative, unique or associated with key evolutionary or other biological processes (UNCBD, Annex 1, Para. 1).

Policy-making:

In Article 16-3,4 of UNCBD, Access to and Transfer of Technology:

Each Contracting Party shall take legislative, administrative or policy measures, as appropriate, with the aim that Contracting Parties, in particular those that are developing countries, which provide genetic resources are provided access to and transfer of technology which makes use of those resources. And also, with the aim that the private sector facilitates access to, joint development and transfer of technology (UNCBD, Art. 16-3,4).

In Article 19-1; of UNCBD, Handling of Biotechnology and Distribution of its Benefits:

Each Contracting Party shall take legislative, administrative or policy measures, as appropriate, to provide for the effective participation in biotechnological research activities by those Contracting Parties, especially developing countries, which provide the genetic resources for such research, and where feasible in such Contracting Parties (UNCBD, Art. 19-1).

Management and conservation:

In Preamble of UNCBD, The Contracting Parties,

Conscious of the intrinsic value of biological diversity and of the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic values of biological diversity and its components,

Reaffirming that States are responsible for conserving their biological diversity and for using their biological resources in a sustainable manner,

Noting further that the fundamental requirement for the conservation of biological diversity is the in-situ conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings,

Noting further that ex-situ measures, preferably in the country of origin, also have an important role to play,

Stressing the importance of, and the need to promote, international, regional and global cooperation among States and intergovernmental organizations and the non-governmental sector for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components,

Desiring to enhance and complement existing international arrangements for the conservation of biological diversity and sustainable use of its components (UNCBD, Preamble).

In Article 1 of UNCBD, Objectives:

The objectives of this Convention, to be pursued in accordance with its relevant provisions, are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding (UNCBD, Article 1).

In Article 8-a,b,b,d,e,f,k of UNCBD, In-situ Conservation:

Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate:

Establish a system of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity;

Develop, where necessary, guidelines for the selection, establishment and management of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity;

Regulate or manage biological resources important for the conservation of biological diversity whether within or outside protected areas, with a view to ensuring their conservation and sustainable use;

Promote the protection of ecosystems, natural habitats and the maintenance of viable populations of species in natural surroundings;

Promote environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas;

Rehabilitate and restore degraded ecosystems and promote the recovery of threatened species, inter alia, through the development and implementation of plans or other management strategies;

Develop or maintain necessary legislation and/or other regulatory provisions for the protection of threatened species and populations (UNCBD, Art. 8-a,b,b,d,e,f,k).

In Article 9,a,b,c of UNCBD, Ex-situ Conservation:

Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate, and predominantly for the purpose of complementing in-situ measures:

Adopt measures for the ex-situ conservation of components of biological diversity, preferably in the country of origin of such components;

Establish and maintain facilities for ex-situ conservation of and research on plants, animals and micro-organizms, preferably in the country of origin of genetic resources;

Adopt measures for the recovery and rehabilitation of threatened species and for their reintroduction into their natural habitats under appropriate conditions (UNCBD, Article 9,a,b,b).

In Article 10,a,b,c of UNCBD, Sustainable Use of Components of Biological Diversity:

Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate:

Integrate consideration of the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources into national decision-making;

Adopt measures relating to the use of biological resources to avoid or minimize adverse impacts on biological diversity;

Protect and encourage customary use of biological resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices that are compatible with conservation or sustainable use requirements (UNCBD, Article 10,a,b,c ).

Providing financial resources:

In Preamble of UNCBD,

Acknowledging that the provision of new and additional financial resources and appropriate access to relevant technologies can be expected to make a substantial difference in the world's ability to address the loss of biological diversity,

Acknowledging further that special provision is required to meet the needs of developing countries, including the provision of new and additional financial resources and appropriate access to relevant technologies,

Acknowledging that substantial investments are required to conserve biological diversity and that there is the expectation of a broad range of environmental, economic and social benefits from those investments (UNCBD, Preamble).

In Article 9,e of UNCBD,

Cooperate in providing financial and other support for ex-situ conservation (UNCBD, Article 9,e).

Applications (plantation, afforestation, reforestation and rehabilitation of degraded land):

In Article 19-2 of UN CBD, Handling of Biotechnology and Distribution of its Benefits:

Each Contracting Party shall take all practicable measures to promote and advance priority access on a fair and equitable basis by Contracting Parties, especially developing countries, to the results and benefits arising from biotechnologies based upon genetic resources provided by those Contracting Parties. Such access shall be on mutually agreed terms (UN CBD, Article 19-2).

In Annex I, Para. 2 of UN CBD, Identification and monitoring:

Species and communities which are: threatened; wild relatives of domesticated or cultivated species; of medicinal, agricultural or other economic value; or social, scientific or cultural importance; or importance for research into the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, such as indicator species (UN CBD, Annex I, Para. 2).

Other texts related to forests that could also apply to LFCCs

All references to biological diversity in this convention could be used for LFCC objectives related to unique types of forest as important source of plant diversity. Related texts in UN CBD include the following:

From Preamble,

Noting that it is vital to anticipate, prevent and attack the causes of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity at source,

Aware that conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity is of critical importance for meeting the food, health and other needs of the growing world population, for which purpose access to and sharing of both genetic resources and technologies are essential,

Use of Terms, for the purposes of this Convention:

"Biological diversity" means the variability among living organizms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

"Ecosystem" means a dynamic complex of plant, animal and microorganizm communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit.

"Genetic material" means any material of plant, animal, microbial or other origin containing functional units of heredity.

Relationship with Other International Conventions;

The provisions of this Convention shall not affect the rights and obligations of any Contracting Party deriving from any existing international agreement, except where the exercise of those rights and obligations would cause a serious damage or threat to biological diversity.

KYOTO PROTOCOL

Policy-making:

In Art. 2-1-a. of Kyoto Protocol:

Each Party included in Annex I, in achieving its quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments under Article 3, in order to promote sustainable development, shall: Implement and/or further elaborate policies and measures in accordance with its national circumstances, such as:

Protection and enhancement of sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol, taking into account its commitments under relevant international environmental agreements; promotion of sustainable forest management practices, afforestation and reforestation;

Promotion of sustainable forms of agriculture in light of climate change considerations;

Research on, and promotion, development and increased use of, new and renewable forms of energy, of carbon dioxide sequestration technologies and of advanced and innovative environmentally sound technologies (Kyoto Protocol, Art. 2-1-a- ii, iii,iv).

Management and conservation:

See Art. 2-1-a-ii under Policy making, below.

In Art. 10-b,i, of Kyoto Protocol,

All Parties, taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities and

their specific national and regional development priorities, objectives and circumstances, and continuing to advance the implementation of these commitments in order to achieve sustainable development, shall:

Formulate, implement, publish and regularly update national and, where appropriate, regional programmes;

Such programmes would, concern the energy, transport and industry sectors as well as agriculture, forestry and waste management (Kyoto Protocol, Art. 10-b,I).

Applications (plantation, afforestation, reforestation and rehabilitation of degraded land):

In Articles 3-3,4, and 7 of Kyoto Protocol,

The net changes in greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks resulting from direct human-induced land-use change and forestry activities, limited to afforestation, reforestation and deforestation since 1990, measured as verifiable changes in carbon stocks in each commitment period, shall be used to meet the commitments under this Article of each Party included in Annex I. The greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks associated with those activities shall be reported in a transparent and verifiable manner and reviewed in accordance with Articles 7 and 8.

The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Protocol shall, at its first session or as soon as practicable thereafter, decide upon modalities, rules and guidelines as to how, and which, additional human-induced activities related to changes in greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks in the agricultural soils and the land-use change and forestry categories shall be added to, or subtracted from, the assigned amounts for Parties included in Annex I,

In the first quantified emission limitation and reduction commitment period, from 2008 to 2012. Those Parties included in Annex I for whom land-use change and forestry constituted a net source of greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 shall include in their 1990 emissions base year or period the aggregate anthropogenic carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by sources minus removals by sinks in 1990 from land-use change for the purposes of calculating their assigned amount (Kyoto Protocol, Articles 3-3,4, and7),

Other texts related to forests that could also apply to LFCCs

The Kyoto Protocol recognized a limited set of forest activities (afforestation, reforestation and deforestation) that could be used by industrialized countries to meet their legally binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are no clear definitions for these terms, leading to concerns that countries may adopt a narrow focus towards forests and other natural ecosystems valuing them only for their carbon sequestration benefits. Such an approach could lead to policies that promote the development of fast growing, monoculture plantation forestry, at the expense of the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity, encompassing ecosystem, species and genetic diversity.

At CBD COP4 in May 1998, Parties noted the forest activities in the Kyoto Protocol and their potentially negative consequences on forest biodiversity. A workshop looked at the provisions of CBD and UNFCCC and examined whether they were sufficient to safeguard against the narrow focus that could arise from the provisions of Kyoto protocol.

Other related texts in the Kyoto Protocol include the following.

Each Party included in Annex I shall strive to implement the commitments in such a way as to minimize adverse social, environmental and economic impacts on developing country Parties, particularly those identified in Article 4, paragraphs 8 and 9, of the Convention.

 

THE AD HOC INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON FORESTS (IPF)

AND THE AD HOC OPEN-ENDED INTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM ON FORESTS (IFF)

International arrangements and mechanisms to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests were discussed by IPF during a three-year process of work (documents E/CN.17/IPF/1996/24) and then this issue was treated by IFF under programme element III (documents E/CN.17/IFF/1998/11, E/CN.17/IFF/1998/9, E/CN.17/IFF/1998/5). The IPF and IFF documents refer to low forest cover countries, and this subject has been discussed in different meetings.

IPF

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) established the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) at its third session in April 1995. IPF was set up for a two-year period and tasked with furthering the initiatives started at UNCED and encouraging international consensus on key issues related to forests.

By the time IPF completed its work in February 1997, it had developed over 100 negotiated proposals for action on issues related to sustainable forest management, including national forest programmes; forest assessment; criteria and indicators; traditional forest-related knowledge; and underlying causes of deforestation. These proposals for action have received worldwide recognition and endorsement by a large number of intergovernmental and professional.

IPF addressed the needs and requirements of developing LFCCs as one of its programme elements and devoted a full section of its final report (documents E/CN.17/1997/12)

IPF met four times between 1995-1997 and adopted a final report at its fourth session in February 1997, which it submitted to CSD-5.

IPF1, 11-15 Sep., New York, 1995

IPF2, 14- 25 March, 1996

IPF3, Sep. Geneva, 1996

IPF4, 11-21 Feb., New York, 1997

The key issues for priority action included 11 programme elements grouped in the following interrelated categories:

(a) Implementation of the UNCED decisions through the formulation and implementation of national forests and land-use plans taking into account sectoral and cross-sectoral linkages, causes of deforestation, traditional forest-related knowledge, restoration of ecosystems affected by desertification or pollution and needs of countries with low forest cover;

(b) International Cooperation in financial assistance and technology transfer;

(c) Forest assessment and development of criteria and indicators for sustainable management;

(d) Trade and environment relating to forest products and services;

(e) International organizations and multilateral institutions and instruments including appropriate mechanisms.

The eleven programme items were considered by IPF1 (CSD IPF1 report, New York, 11-15 September 1995) as outlined in E/CN.17/IPF/1995/2, including; I.5 - study the needs of countries with low forest cover.

Countries with limited forest cover, low per capita income and few forest-based industries are experiencing severe difficulties in trying to find domestic, private and public funding.

Private capital flows into the forest sector have been rising and gaining in significance as a source of funding.

There are cases of successful private sector participation in large-scale reafforestation programmes.

Sharing of experiences among developing countries has increased during the last years. This technical cooperation among developing countries (TCDC) and among countries in transition (TCCT) is strongly supported by United Nations organizations, in particular UNDP and FAO.

The Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations has made significant progress in improving market access for forest products, especially in terms of reducing tariffs for all types of forest products.

PRIORITIES AND RECOMMENDATIONS EMERGING FROM THE PANEL PROCESS DISCUSSIONS

Implementation of forest-related decisions of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development at the national and international levels, including an examination of sectoral and cross-sectoral linkages

Under this heading, priorities and recommendations comprise:

(a) The development, implementation and monitoring of national forest programmes or other policy frameworks within wider intersectoral policies and land-use plans;

(b) The financing of research, technology transfer and capacity-building activities to allow an integrated approach towards the formulation and application of national policy frameworks and the conducting of strategic analysis of relevant political, legal and institutional policies that have contributed to forest degradation and deforestation as well as of those that have had a positive effect.

International cooperation in financial assistance and technology transfer

Under this heading, priorities and recommendations comprise:

(a) The strengthening of financial assistance to the poorest countries;

(b) The development of actions to enhance private sector investment (appropriate regulations and incentives);

(c) The enhancement of the co-ordination, collaboration and complementarily of activities among bilateral and multilateral donors and among international instruments related to forests;

(d) The promotion of North-South and South-South cooperation in forest- related technology transfer through public and private sector investment, joint ventures, exchange of information and greater networking among forest- related institutions.

Scientific research, forest assessment and the development of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management

Under this heading, priorities and recommendations comprise:

(a) The implementation of the Forest Resources Assessment 2000 with the inclusion of a broad range of forest values and a strong, efficient co-ordination and collaboration between forest and other related information systems;

(b) The development of a strategic framework for a global forest research network, making full use of existing organizations, and providing and implementing research on priority areas;

(c) The formulation and the implementation of national-level criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management and their use in promoting best available practices.

Trade and environment relating to forest products and services

Under this heading, priorities and recommendations comprise:

(a) The improvement of market access to forest products and services, including further reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade;

(b) The promotion of community-based processing and marketing of wood and non-wood forest products;

(c) The development and exchange of experiences in respect of the implementation of full cost internationalisation and its application to sustainable forest management, and relevant policy mechanisms;

(d) The promotion of certification of forest products.

International organizations and multilateral institutions and instruments including appropriate legal mechanisms

Under this heading, priorities and recommendations comprise:

(a) The clarification of roles and mandates of international organizations;

(b) The enhancement of their cooperation and the removal of gaps and duplication;

(c) The creation of a high-level intergovernmental forum for policy co-ordination and dialogue on all types of forests.

 

IPF1

The Secretariat of the biodiversity convention stated that the Biodiversity Convention's contribution to the Panel will be brought up at the next Conference of the Parties in November in Jakarta, and expects that a statement indicating the Conference's level of input will be adopted. She stated that the Convention would be most helpful by providing information on science and technology transfer, indigenous peoples and the sharing of traditional knowledge. She added that because the Convention will not complete its work on traditional knowledge before the second meeting of the Panel, that this issue is deferred until the Panel's third session.

The Co-Chair summarised the discussion on Item I. (I.1, I.2, I.3, I.4, and I.5)

On Item I.3, protection and use of traditional forest-related knowledge, the initial Secretariat proposal fell short, and wider attention to some points was necessary. The close relationship between Item I.3 and the Biodiversity Convention should be established. He added that progress may be made by second session, but the third session is the time for discussion.

On Item I.4, actions in Africa and central and Eastern Europe, a synthesis report is needed. The Panel should also utilise the work of the Convention to Combat Desertification. This item should be discussed at second session as a substantive item.

On Item I.5, countries with low forest cover, there is a need for a study of areas with low forest cover, protected areas and dryland regions, and how far the coverage was being expanded. The FAO may be able to do this study. There may be discussion on this item at the second and third sessions.

IPF2

Delegates of IPF2 (IPF2 14- 25 March 1996) conducted their substantive discussions of six programme elements: including; needs and requirements of countries with low forest cover, and discussed the SG’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/4) on Programme Element I.5, the needs and requirements of countries with low forest cover (LFCs), introduced by representative of UNEP. The report identifies LFCs based on FAO statistics and definitions. It concludes that LFCs require assistance to reduce their dependence on foreign forest goods and services and that they may consider investing in "minimum permanent forest estates."

The Co-Chair circulated his draft summary on Programme Element I.5 on 21 March.

The report calls for: a more consistent definition of LFCs, applicable to developed and developing countries; restricted forest areas and permanent forest estates; biodiversity conservation integrated into NFPs; country-specific minimum and optimal cover; efficient use of existing information; security of forest goods and services; and the use of plantations.

The Panel’s relationship to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) were highlighted.

A Representative of CBD introduced the SG’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/9) prepared by the CBD Secretariat. The report encourages cooperation and communication between the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP) and the IPF in considering protection of traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities, and highlights conservation, sustainable use and benefits-sharing.

In consideration of Programme Element I.4 on issue of DESERTIFICATION, by delegates of IPF2 several issues, including placing the IPF within the context of the CBD, the FCCC and the CCD have been highlighted.

The Secretariat introduced the SG’s report on Programme Element V (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/12), (International organizations and multilateral institutions and instruments, including appropriate legal mechanisms), which provides a preliminary list of international organizations and instruments, summarises work of the interagency task force on forests, and notes the Swiss/Peruvian initiative on work of international organizations, multilateral institutions and instruments in the forest sector. A more extensive document will be prepared for IPF-3.

The G-77/China proposed adding a new paragraph noting the need to avoid duplication of work with FCCC, CCD and CBD. He also proposed: including descriptions of existing legal instruments "related to forestry"; finding ways to "affect", rather than "effectively streamline", the contributions of organizations involved in research; and specifying that organizations be "engaged in forestry activities."

IPF2 refers to “Experts Meeting on Rehabilitation of Forest Degraded Ecosystem” sponsored by Portugal, Cape Verde and Senegal, in cooperation with the FAO, (24-28 June 1996 in Lisbon). The meeting analysed afforestation, reforestation and restoration of forests, especially in countries with fragile ecosystems affected by drought or desertification. It identified practical measures for promoting integrated strategies for sustainable forest management.

 

IPF3

Delegates at IPF3 (September 1996, Geneva) undertook substantive discussions on eleven programme elements, including: I.5 (needs of countries with low forest cover). Working Group II has considered this programme element. Representative of UNEP presented the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/18), which was discussed on 12 September.

 

IPF4

IPF4 (New York, 11-21 February 1997) considered different topics including Needs and requirements of developing and other countries with low forest cover and reported to CSD5 (7-25 April 1997).

The report in the first paragraph of conclusions mentions that many of the issues arising under this subsection also arise elsewhere. The Panel emphasised that actions under the present section need to be co-ordinated with actions, inter alia, under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention to Combat Desertification.

he Panel recognised the importance of the services provided by forests, including those relating to biological diversity and global climate regulation, and the potential for developing mechanisms to translate those values into monetary terms to encourage forest owners, forest dwellers, indigenous populations and local communities to conserve forests and manage them sustainably. Further discussion on those issues should take place in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Panel took note of the input received from the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity with respect to the development of methodologies for valuing forest biodiversity.

The Panel invited relevant organizations, in accordance with their mandate, to carry out further studies on various aspects of voluntary certification and labelling schemes, including; The needs of countries with low forest cover.

The Panel noted that there are existing international legally binding instruments that are relevant to forests, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the International Tropical Timber Agreement, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitat. Those instruments address forest-related issues in a specific context, embody the concept of sustainability, and address many cross-cutting issues that are relevant to forests, such as financial resources, technology transfer, trade, and traditional knowledge. They do not deal comprehensively with all issues relating to forests, including sustainable forest management. Some delegations considered that trade in products from all types of forests also need further consideration in a legal instrument.

The lead agencies responsible for co-ordinating follow-up to IPF proposals for action:

FAO: national forest and land use programmes; fragile ecosystems affected by desertification and drought; impact of airborne pollution on forests; assessment of the multiple benefits of all types of forest; criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management; technology transfer for sustainable forest management (originally under UNDP).

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): underlying causes of deforestation and land degradation; needs and requirements of countries with low forest cover.

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological diversity (CBD): traditional forest-related knowledge.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): international cooperation in financial assistance.

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR): forestry research.

World Bank: methodologies for the proper valuation of the multiple benefits of forests.

International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO):

The Forestry Advisers Group has attempted to structure international cooperation so that it is consistent with IPF's proposals for action. In addition, it has agreed to give high priority to supporting national forest programmes.

25-From concluded report of the IPF4 related to Needs and requirements of developing and other countries with low forest cover to CSD5, 1997:

The Panel emphasised that actions under the present section need to be co-ordinated with actions, inter alia, under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention to Combat Desertification.

The Panel recognised that there are both developed and developing countries with low forest cover. Low forest cover can arise as a result of natural ecological conditions, as well as of human activities, and the situation is constantly changing. Some countries are actively expanding their forest cover, while others are approaching qualification for entry into the low forest cover category.

The Panel felt that there was a need for more precise identification of countries categorised as countries with low forest cover. The definition of forest used by the Panel, based on the global forest resources assessment of the Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations (FAO), is that it includes vegetation with 20 per cent and 10 per cent minimum tree crown cover for developed and developing countries, respectively. That definition does not have a strong scientific foundation, nor does it allow for comparability of data on a worldwide basis. Furthermore, there is no consistent way of classifying countries by the extent of forest, however defined, into those with low and those with high forest cover.

In some countries, economic development has been historically associated with the significant loss of forests, leading to disturbing consequences today in terms of land degradation and social, cultural and economic hardship. The restricted area of forests in countries with low forest cover results in reduced capacity for the production of timber and for the provision of goods and services, including the protection of watersheds, the supply of fuelwood, the maintenance of biological diversity and endemic species, and recreation and amenity. Moreover, many of the forest types in those countries are distinctive or even rare, and require national protective measures and international support, while the proportion included in nationally designated protected areas is often below average.

The Panel recognised the seriousness of problems faced by both developing and developed countries with low forest cover in satisfying their needs for forest goods and services. It also recognised that, owing to economic factors and circumstances, the impact of the problem in developing countries is much more severe than in developed countries. The needs of low-income and middle-income countries with low forest cover are likely to differ from those of high-income countries, and consequently, different sets of actions to address those needs will apply.

The Panel noted that national forest programmes might provide a good vehicle for addressing at least some of the needs and requirements of countries with low forest cover. They can provide a framework for analysing and considering alternative ways of satisfying diverse demands for forest products and other goods and services within and outside the forest sector. While additional information may be necessary as a basis for national forest programmes in countries with low forest cover, this should not prevent the preparation of interim plans based on information already available.

The Panel emphasised the importance of international cooperation to address the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests in low-income countries with low forest cover, particularly through financial assistance and the transfer of environmentally sound technology, as well as through the establishment of appropriate research and information networks. In that connection, the Panel noted that the increasing focus of private investments in countries with abundant forest resources has made forest ecosystems in developing countries with low forest cover particularly vulnerable. In those countries, ODA is and will continue to be the most important source of funding. National forest programmes should be considered as one of the main vehicles to channel and secure the effectiveness of the required financial and technical assistance.

Proposals for action

The Panel:

Called upon FAO, in consultation with relevant organizations and countries, as appropriate, to develop a workable and precise definition of low forest cover, applicable to all countries and suitable for use in the forest resources assessment in the year 2000;

Urged countries with low forest cover:

(i) To seek long-term security of forest goods and services through the development of national forest programmes for sustainable forest management, in accordance with the guiding principles set out in subsection IA above, taking into account the particular conditions of each country, defining as far as possible in those programmes their national requirements for a permanent forest estate, in those countries that may have a need to define a permanent forest estate as a policy goal;

(ii) To plan and manage forest plantations, where appropriate, to enhance production and provision of goods and services, paying due attention to relevant social, cultural, economic and environmental considerations in the selection of species, areas and silviculture systems, preferring native species, where appropriate, and taking all practicable steps to avoid replacing natural ecosystems of high ecological and cultural values with forest plantations, particularly monocultures;

(iii) To promote the regeneration and restoration of degraded forest areas, including by involving, inter alia, indigenous people, local communities, forest dwellers and forest owners in their protection and management;

(iv) To fully analyse and take into account the related social, economic and environmental implications and costs and benefits, when considering non-wood substitutes or imports of forest products;

(v) To establish or expand networks of protected areas, buffer zones and ecological corridors, where possible, in order to conserve biodiversity, particularly in unique types of forests, working in close liaison with the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant international environmental agreements;

(vi) In particular developing countries and countries with economies in transition, to embark on capacity-building programmes at national, subnational and local levels, including especially existing national institutions, to promote effective participation in decision-making with respect to forests throughout the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation processes, and taking full advantage of the wealth of traditional knowledge available in the country;

(vii) To develop adequate research and information systems based on reliable evaluations and periodic assessments, including the use of national-level criteria and indicators and establishing sectoral and cross-sectoral mechanisms for information exchange, in order to allow for timely decisions related to national forest policies and programmes;

Urged developed countries with low forest cover that are nevertheless endowed with suitable land and climate conditions to take positive and transparent action towards reforestation, afforestation and forest conservation, while urging other developed countries, where appropriate, notably those with low forest cover but with limited land and unsuitable climatic conditions, to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition, in particular countries with low forest cover, to expand their forest cover, taking into account principle 8 (a) of the Forest Principles, through the provision of financial resources and transfer of appropriate technology, as well as through the exchange of information and access to technical know-how and knowledge;

Urged countries and international organizations to improve the efficiency of and procedures for international cooperation to support the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests in developing countries and countries with economies in transition with low forest cover;

Urged donor countries and multilateral and international organizations to facilitate and assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition with low forest cover, where required, in building capacity for data gathering and analysis so as to enable them to monitor their forest resources.

IFF

ECOSOC, at its meeting in Geneva in July 1997, decided to establish the ad hoc open-ended Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) under CSD. IFF will submit a progress report to the seventh session of CSD in 1999 and its final report to the eighth session of CSD in 2000.

Three meetings of IFF have been held and a fourth one will be held in the year 2000.

IFF-1, 1-3 October 1997, New York.

IFF-2, from 24 August-4 September 1998, Geneva,

IFF -3, 3-14 May 1999, Geneva,

IFF-4 is tentatively scheduled for 31 January to 11 February 2000 in New York.

IFF-1

IFF’s first session (October 1997) established its programme of work.

Implementation of IPF's proposals for action - Addressing issues on which international consensus has yet to be achieved, including finance and technology transfer, trade and environment, underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, rehabilitation of forest cover and conservation, traditional forest-related knowledge, valuation of forests and the use of economic instruments.

Identification of possible elements of, and work towards, consensus on international arrangements and mechanisms for the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests, such as a legally binding instrument on all types of forests.

The following bodies were instrumental in IPF’s work and continue to support the intergovernmental process through IFF: the Interagency Task Force on Forests (ITFF) (which consists of the following organizations: CIFOR; FAO; ITTO; the Secretariat of CBD; the United Nations Department for Social and Economic Affairs; UNDP); UNEP; and the World Bank.

To structure the support from the UN agencies, ITFF prepared and presented to UNGASS in June 1997 an implementation plan for the IPF proposals addressed to international organizations. This plan, entitled "Interagency partnership on forests: implementation of IPF proposals for action by the ITFF", indicates the agency that will take the lead for each proposal for action.

IFF-2

IFF-2 (Geneva, 24 August to 4 September 1998) reiterated the provisions of paragraph 12 of the report of its first session and welcomed, among other initiatives, ihe initiative of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to organize, in cooperation with other interested countries and international organizations, an international meeting on the "Special Needs and Requirements of the Developing Countries with Low forest cover" which is expected to provide a valuable expert input to its future deliberations.

Promoting and facilitating the implementation (programme element I.a) of the proposals for action of the IPF and reviewing, monitoring and reporting on progress in the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests (category I)

IFF-2 underscored the need for implementation of strategies in terms of investment, mobilisation of domestic and international resources and in the case of developing countries, with special attention to least developed countries and developing countries with low forest cover appropriate financial mechanisms and/or measures including support through official development assistance (ODA).

IFF-2 recognised that IPF implementation by developing countries with low forest cover merited special attention. It called on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as the lead agency for this programme element; to expedite the development of a definition of low forest cover as contained in IPF's proposals for action. It invited the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as well as the relevant environmental conventions, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa, and international financing institutions to look into and reflect on the special needs of developing countries with low forest cover, and called upon the informal, high-levelInter-Agency Task Force on Forests to co-ordinate its work in supporting these countries.

IFF-2 agreed that the following are particularly important for the implementation of IPF's proposals for action:

among others,

Promotion, where appropriate, of an integrated approach by countries through their national forest programmes as defined by IPF, and in collaboration with international organizations, to the implementation of the IPF proposals for action and forest-related work as set out under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;

Creation and/or strengthening, by countries and international organizations, of initiatives, approaches and partnerships, which could include partnership agreements, to encourage long-term political commitment; relevant, effective, sustained and reliable donor support; and participation by the private sector and major groups; as well as recognition of the special role of official development assistance (ODA) in meeting the needs of developing countries, in particular least developed countries and countries with low forest cover;

The Co-Chairman of IFF-2 in its summary discussed under item Monitoring progress in implementation (programme element I.b):

In order to make optimal use of existing reporting mechanisms; efforts must be made to streamline reporting structures so as to avoid duplication of efforts. There is considerable scope for cooperation and co-ordination among FAO, ITTO, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa, UNEP and the Commission on Sustainable Development for the sharing of forest-related information and avoiding duplication in data collection. In particular, the efforts to harmonise methodologies, definitions and measure standards must be intensified. Furthermore, best use should be made of the activities of the Inter-secretariat Working Group on Forest Statistics.

In moving towards the preparations for substantive discussion at the third session of the Forum, the participants of IFF-2 considered the situation of developing low forest cover countries, in particular those that are least developed countries, and stressed that special attention should be given to the need for international support for their afforestation for land rehabilitation, reforestation and restoration of degraded forests and for sustainable management of existing, often unique, forests programmes, which usually encounter difficulties in attracting international funding;

Assessing, Monitoring and Rehabilitation of Forest cover in Environmentally Critical Areas which are understood to include dry zones, mountain areas, coastal areas, freshwater swamps and land degraded through unsustainable agriculture, discussed by IFF-2, provided as WORKING DRAFT INFORMATION NOTE (New York, June 1998).

And the note finally makes proposals concerning a process of preparation for substantive discussion at IFF as Identification of ecologically fragile areas:

The following areas under specific conditions of terrain, slope, rainfall, geographical location, composition and structure are generally identified as fragile areas considering in particular the ecological aspects. They are: - Mountain forests - Catchments and watersheds, both forested and non forested - Dry zones, especially those covered by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD). - Coastal areas, notably mangroves - Lands degraded by agriculture, mining, etc. - Forests of high biological diversity, especially of limited extent and on threatened sites

IFF-2 included review of progress on implementation of IPF proposals; substantive discussions on trade and environment, transfer of technology and forest-related work of international and regional organizations and that being carried out under existing instruments; and background discussions on the programme elements scheduled for substantive discussion at IFF's third session (May 1999). In addition, special attention was paid to the needs of developing countries with low forest cover.

A report of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the needs and requirements of LFCCs and on unique types of forests, supported by the group G77 and China, was issued as an official document of IFF II (document E/CN.17IFF/1998/13).

IFF-3

In the opening session of IFF-3, the Co-Chair said that IFF must develop a clear understanding of its work areas and indicate linkages with other fora such as the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The Convention on Biological Diversity noted its commitment to the IPF proposals and highlighted the programme on forest biodiversity adopted at COP-4.

Working Group 2 conducted its first round of substantive discussion on the need for financial resources (E/CN.17/IFF/1999/4) on Tuesday, 4 May, and proposed for action as:

collecting information on financial flows; a preparatory study of the feasibility of an investment promotion entity; and special consideration to least developed countries and low forest cover countries (LFCCs).

Working Group 2 had on its agenda an update of the discussion on trade and environment.

Among other conclusions included in the final report, the special problems facing developing LFCCs and SIDS were addressed.

In addition, other proposals for action included:

Minimising negative effects of the recent financial crisis;

Imports of forest products to LFCCs, countries with fragile ecosystems, and SIDS.

The importance of use and linkages to the CBD and other international arrangementswere underscored.

Other amendments to the conclusions highlight the needs of LFCCs and countries with fragile ecosystems, as well as the importance of facilitating transfer and application of environmentally sound technologies for the use of wood and non-wood waste and by-products, giving special attention to wood waste materials as an energy source.

Many critical issues, however, remained unresolved, including:

The modalities of financial cooperation, transfer of technology, the mutually supportive role of trade and environment in the context of sustainable forest management and addressing the underlying causes of deforestation;

Mechanisms for mobilising the best available information and strengthening research to develop innovative and effective approaches to managing forests as ecological systems;

The adequacy of present institutions and mechanisms for meeting the complex challenges related to forests.