This section places the guidelines in an international context and describes links with national and subnational stakeholders.
Nothing in these voluntary guidelines prejudices the rights, jurisdiction and duties of governments under international agreements or their sovereign rights over their forest resources.
International, legally binding instruments that directly impact planted forest investments and management, in chronological order:
• International Plant Protection Convention (FAO, 1951, revised 1997) outlines actions to prevent the introduction and spread of pests and diseases of plants and plant products across national borders and promotes measures for their control.
• World Trade Organization Principles (WTO, 1955) promote free trade through non-discrimination, reciprocity and transparency, with special treatment of trade from developing countries.
• Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (RAMSAR, 1971) is an intergovernmental treaty providing a framework for national action and international cooperation in the conservation and use of wetlands and their resources.
• Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, 1975) is an agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
• Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (International Labour Organization – ILO, 1989) contains international standards to protect the rights of indigenous and tribal populations in independent countries.
• Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1992) details the principles governing the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
• United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, 1992) aims to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, and the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC (1997) provides for mechanisms allowing countries to offset greenhouse gas emissions through afforestation, reforestation and forest management activities.
• United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD, 1994) recognizes the delicate balancing needed to achieve sustainable livelihoods and sustainable natural resource management in fragile arid and semi-arid ecosystems through integrated land-use approaches concorded with major stakeholders.
• International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTO, 1994) provides a framework for sustainable tropical forest management, market transparency, non-discriminatory world timber trade and associated social and environmental considerations.
• Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and FAO, 1998) promotes shared responsibility and cooperation in order to discipline international trade in hazardous chemicals and pesticides.
• Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CBD, 2000) promotes biosafety through practical rules and procedures for the safe transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms, with a specific focus on regulating their movement between countries.
• International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2006) provides standards for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their use for sustainable agriculture and food security, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity.
International, non-binding agreements that directly impact planted forest investments and management, in chronological order:
• International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides (FAO, 1985, revised 2002) is a voluntary global framework that provides guidance on all aspects of pesticide management.
• Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, including Chapter II, Agenda 21 and Annex I, details principles to guide states in balancing environmental and developmental considerations in policies and actions; Annex III details the non-binding statement of ‘The Forest Principles’ for a global consensus on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, both natural and planted (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Agenda 21, 1992).
The role of planted forests and permanent agricultural crops as sustainable and environmentally sound sources of renewable energy and industrial raw material should be recognized, enhanced and promoted. Their contribution to the maintenance of ecological processes, to offsetting pressure on primary/old-growth forest and to providing regional employment and development with the adequate involvement of local inhabitants should be recognized and enhanced.
– United Nations, 1992
• Code of Conduct for Germplasm Collecting and Transfer (FAO, 1993) is a voluntary global framework that provides for the rational collection and sustainable use of genetic resources.
• Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF, 1995–1997) and Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF, 1997–2000) propose actions for sustainable forest management.
• Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources (FAO, 1996) is a voluntary global framework that provides for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.
• Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (ILO, 1998) details the commitment by governments and by employers' and workers' organizations to uphold basic human values vital to our social and economic lives.
• Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals (United Nations, 2000) uphold human dignity, equity, poverty eradication, protection of the common environment, human rights, democracy, gender equality, good governance and the formation of a global partnership for development.
• United Nations Forum on Forests strengthens long-term political commitment to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests (UNFF, 2000–present).
Many governments have already commited to these international agreements and conventions. More details on international commitments, processes, milestones and recommended readings are listed in Annex 4.
Incorporation of these voluntary guidelines into national and subnational policies, laws and regulations and into strategic and management plans will help improve enabling conditions. It will also enhance the capacity and capability of policy-makers and planners in national and local governments and of decision-makers, investors and managers in planted forest management.
Although the principles and guidelines are voluntary and non-binding, stakeholders will be encouraged to adopt and abide by them in order to improve the contribution of planted forests to sustainable development, integrated landscape approaches and the engagement of local communities in planning and management where appropriate. The guidelines may also be used to revise existing national or subnational guides, codes of practice and other forest systems that apply to planted forests.