Dr Jagmohan Maini, former Coordinator and Head of the UNFF Secretariat, presented the keynote address: "Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management: strengthening policy and political action". In his presentation, Dr Maini outlined the mandate of UNFF on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management emphasizing the usefulness of this tool for sustainable forest management. Furthermore, Dr Maini noted that, during the past decade, enviable advances had been made in formulating criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in various eco-regions around the world. These initiatives have lead to demystification of sustainable forest management as well as to a common understanding of the various elements that constitute sustainable forest management. However, progress was uneven in their implementation as well as in their monitoring and reporting. He emphasized that there was an urgent need to: (a) strengthen the exchange of experience between various regional initiatives and (b) support developing countries towards building their technical and institutional capacity. Dr Maini recommended that in order to derive the full benefit from the criteria and indicator initiatives, it was critical to mainstream these initiatives by fully integrating them in the national forest programmes (nfps) that also require public accountability through periodic monitoring, assessment and reporting.
Dr Maini concluded by indicating that the information collected on a very large number of biophysical, social, economic and institutional indicators, employed by various criteria and indicator processes, was complex and perhaps not easily understood by policy advisers and decision-makers accustomed to seeking the "bottom line". Engaging decision-makers was a challenging task. In this respect he outlined a number of steps that should be considered in order to attract and strengthen political commitment towards criteria and indicators and NFPs , including: (a) recognition of criteria for sustainable forest management common to all regional processes, (b) identification of a few critical, scientifically-based, easily understandable indicators, and (c) communication of messages targeted specifically to meet the needs of politicians, policy-makers, professionals and the general public.