Conference on the Contribution of Criteria and Indicators
for Sustainable Forest Management: The Way Forward
Guatemala City, Guatemala
3 - 7 February 2003
Objective 1: Strengthening elaboration and application of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management
Chairperson: Ms Christina Amoako-Nuama, Ghana
Rapporteur: Dr Eva Mόller, ITTO
The discussions held and the conclusions and recommendations produced by this Working Group are based on (1) the background discussion paper introduced in plenary by Rob Hendricks (USA) entitled "Strengthening the elaboration and application of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management", and (2) the following three case studies presented in this working group session3:
1. "Implementation of the Montreal Process: An Oregon State Case Study". Mr. James E. Brown, State Forester, Oregon Department of Forestry, USA.
2. "Malaysia's experience in applying criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, including forest management certification". Mr. Thang Hooi Chiew, Deputy Director-General of Forestry (International and Special Projects), Peninsular Malaysia.
3. "The practical use of the criteria and indicators to evaluate sustainable forest management in the pine forest of Honduras, at the Management Unit level". Mr Miguel Αngel Ramνrez, Coordinador del Componente de Recursos Naturales del Proyecto de Administraciσn de Αreas Rurales (PAAR), Honduras.
B. Conclusions and recommendations4
Considerable progress in developing and putting in practice criteria and indicators in different parts of the world.
Implementation is lagging behind.
A set of non-binding goals that provide a common frame of reference at all levels for the development and implementation of criteria and indicators should be developed (global set of criteria?).
Need for harmonization of terms and definitions related to criteria and indicators by international and regional processes.
Collaborative mechanism between regional processes should be established to allow the regular sharing of experiences and to develop common approaches to criteria and indicators; should allow for networking between parties involved and promote South-South collaboration.
National level work and applications
Criteria assist in setting goals for sustainable forest management.
Criteria and indicators assist strategic planning; provide monitoring mechanism, tool for communicating on progress made to policy-makers and public.
Importance of stakeholder participation in criteria and indicators development (bottom-up approach).
Cost factor influences approach to criteria and indicators implementation.
Private sector adoption of criteria and indicators facilitated by legislation/incentives, (e.g. tax policy, certification).
Criteria and indicators help to reconcile production and protection functions and close the gap between stakeholders.
Many countries found that regionally/internationally defined indicators required adaptation to their specific country conditions.
Criteria and indicators provide a useful monitoring mechanism for the implementation of national forest programmes.
All countries should be encouraged to develop national criteria and indicators within appropriate regional/international frameworks
Incentives could be provided for instance through access to funding to promote application of criteria and indicators at forest management unit level.
Criteria and indicators should be included in educational curricula of forestry schools.
Start with simple and easily understandable core set of indicators and expand gradually to cover all relevant elements.
National and sub-national bodies should be identified/established to promote and assess implementation of criteria and indicators.
Relationship between national and sub-national/management unit level criteria and indicators
Management objectives determine scope of measurements required at sub-national level; national level status may be determined through aggregation of sub-national/forest management unit level measurements.
Not all national level indicators are relevant at lower levels of application; priorities attached to them may vary.
Local/forest management unit level indicators should be encouraged to address the needs of communities/small landowners/forest managers.
Many current certification schemes are using criteria and indicators as a basis for their standards.
Several developing countries identified certification as an important reason for developing criteria and indicators.
Certification standards help stakeholders to understand sustainable forest management and the relevance of criteria and indicators.
Link with monitoring, assessment and reporting on sustainable forest management
Criteria and indicators provide a useful tool for monitoring, assessment and reporting.
Need for streamlining of reporting requirements to international processes/fora to reduce reporting burden.
There is also a need to streamline reporting requirements at national/sub-national level in many countries.
Criteria and indicators development should be a continuous process at regional and national levels based on accumulated knowledge and experience.
A reduced set of key indicators could be used to inform decision-makers and the public on the status of and important changes in forests.
Foresters should strive for widely accepted indicators such as those used in economic and social indices (e.g. human development index, cost of living index).
Data collection and national forest inventories
National forest inventories are probably the most important single source of data for compiling national-level criteria and indicators data.
Countries should develop data collection strategies to collect necessary information for criteria and indicators in a cost-efficient way.
National forest inventories should incorporate relevant elements of criteria and indicators, which should be maintained over the long term and be comparable over time.
Interagency collaboration should be encouraged to help in extending the capture of data for criteria and indicators and improve compatibility of information from different sources.
3 Please refer to Vol. 2 for the full text of the background discussion papers and summaries of the case studies.
4 The conclusions and recommendations of this and the following three annexes are the results of the corresponding Working Groups sessions.