This Chapter deals with laws, policies, processes, guidelines and initiatives that can not be described as trade related instruments, but which nevertheless have some impact on the development of such measures. These policy initiatives, while not legal instruments, form part of and help to shape the environment within which the trade in NWFP takes place. Consumer boycotts or campaigns, for instance, are not trade-related instruments but if successful can lead to the development of such instruments. It serves to highlight differences between law and policy but also the clear process links between the two and the impact, for instance, that international policy can have on national legislation or regional agreements.
The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development Chapter 1 on combating deforestation and other relevant Chapters of Agenda 21, and the Non-legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Development of All Types of Forests (the Forest Principles) provide a holistic framework for addressing issues relating to the world’s forests including the relationship between trade and sustainable forest management.
Guidance on the issue of trade as provided by the framework of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development includes the following:
• Trade policy measures for environmental purposes should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade (Rio Declaration, Principle 12)
• Trade in forest products should be based on non-discriminatory and multilaterally agreed rules and procedures consistent with international trade law and practices. In this context open and free trade in forest products should be facilitated (Forest Principles 13(a).
• Reduction or removal of tariff barriers and impediments to the provision of better market access and better prices for higher value added forest products and their local processing should be encouraged (Forest Principles 13(b).
• Unilateral measures, incompatible with international obligations or agreements, to restrict and/or ban international trade in timber or other forest products should be removed or avoided, in order to attain long-term sustainable forest management (Forest Principles 14).
Source: Anon,. (2002)
Poverty eradication and the reversal of environmental degradation are two of the greatest global challenges. These challenges are inextricably linked and are reflected in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted at the Millennium Summit in September 2000 (Anon., 2002). United Nations bodies, international organizations and civil society are therefore committed to assisting country strategies in achieving these goals. The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg in 2002, reaffirmed the MDGs and clearly established the link between poverty and ecosystem management. As a result, national, regional and international development policies are increasingly becoming aligned towards ensuring that efforts and assistance target both these goals (Anon. 2002).
MDGs relevant to the trade in NWFP are:
• Goal 1 To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
Target for 2015: Halve the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and those who suffer from hunger.
• Goal 7 To ensure environmental sustainability.
Targets: integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources
• Goal 8 To develop a global partnership for development.
Targets: develop further an open trading and financial system that includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction, nationally and internationally; address the least developed countries’ special needs and the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in 2002, conducted a ten-year review of UNCED commitments to sustainable development. The two main outcomes of the summit were the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
The Plan of Implementation emphasizes that sustainable development depends on the eradication of poverty, changes to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and the protection and management of natural resources. It notes that sound national policies, democratic institutions, good governance, ethics and international cooperation are critical factors in the integration of economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. In addition, the plan specifically calls for action to foster development in Africa and highlights the challenges that globalization poses to sustainable development. A number of global targets were agreed,
WSSD and forests
The Plan of Implementation recognizes sustainable forest management as essential to achieving sustainable development and as a critical means for eradicating poverty, reducing deforestation, halting the loss of forest biological diversity, improving food security and increasing access to safe drinking-water and affordable energy. It calls for action to:
• support UNFF, with the assistance of CPF;
• accelerate implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action;
• improve domestic forest law enforcement and efforts to combat illegal international trade in forest products;
• address the needs of the poorest regions, which suffer the highest rates of deforestation;
• support capacity building for sustainable forest management;
• support indigenous and community-based forest management systems;
• implement the CBD expanded Programme of Work on Forest Biological Diversity.
(Source: Anon., 2003d)
Criteria and indicators were developed in response to countries' demands for practical ways of assessing and monitoring sustainable forest management at the national level and as benchmarks to measure and report progress towards sustainability. They were developed as tools for assessing national trends in forest conditions and forest management. The criteria define the essential elements or principles against which sustainability is judged, and the indicators help policy-makers and forest managers monitor the effects of forest management over time (Anon., 2001b). Together they provide a common framework for describing, monitoring and evaluating progress towards sustainable forest management (Anon., 1999b).
Intergovernmental organizations and agencies as well as numerous international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are supporting the nine major international criteria and indicators processes, which involve nearly 150 countries and 85 per cent of the world's forests (Anon., 2003d). The initiatives include ITTO's criteria for sustainable management of tropical forests; the Pan-European Process on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management (the "Helsinki Process"); the Montreal Process on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests Outside of Europe; the Tarapoto Proposal for Criteria and Indicators for Sustainability of the Amazon Forest; the Dry-Zone Africa Process; the Near East Process; the Lepaterique Process of Central America; the Regional Initiative for Dry Forests in Asia; and ATO's identification and testing of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in its member countries. Criteria of all the international, regional and national processes and initiatives centre around seven globally agreed elements of criteria for sustainable forest management. There is, therefore, the potential for convergence or mutual recognition, so that over time a common global approach may be used to assess sustainable forest management (Anon., 2001b).
Stakeholders at the international, regional, national and sub-national levels increasingly acknowledge the importance of applying criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management as tools to monitor the effects of intervention and to assess progress over time.
While criteria and indicators can not be described as trade-related measures, related criteria and indicators can be used to support the development of trade- related instruments that contribute to sustainable use and rural upliftment.
A number of Asian countries have imposed total or partial logging bans or similar restrictions on timber harvesting in response to the rapid decline of natural forests. FAO implemented a study of ‘the Efficacy of Removing Natural Forests from Timber Production as a Strategy for Conserving Forests’ based on a request from the Seventeenth Session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission. The study, based on a number of country case studies reveals a complex and variable mix of symptomatic reasons of imposing logging bans and restrictions on harvesting in natural forests. Among the other concerns noted in the case studies are the loss of biodiversity, critical habitats and representative forest systems; conflicts with rights and cultural traditions of indigenous peoples and communities and conflicts with management of important non-timber forest products, including medicinal plants and forest genetic resources.
The study notes that bans on timber harvesting provide only a possible first step in ameliorating the present symptoms of forest management failures. Timber harvest restrictions and harvest bans alone seldom correct underlying problems of misuse and unsustainable natural forest management and conventional harvesting. Without an adequate framework of supporting conservation and protection policy and appropriate management capacity, the closing of forests that have been open for both traditional community use and commercial harvesting imposes inequities and hardships. A number of principles, potentially of use in securing the successful use of logging bans as a strategy for forest conservation, emerge from the study. Of relevance to the trade in NWFP, they are:
• That safety nets should be provided for individuals, communities and institutions that are disadvantaged by policy changes, accompanied by strategies for creating new self-sustaining opportunities for the future; and
• Recognition and understanding of local dependency on natural forests for both wood and NWFP is needed and local people must be actively involved in forest management decision-making (Anon, 2000b).
The effectiveness of log export ban and prohibitive export tax is also greatly reduced in contexts where unsustainable forestry is mainly driven by the domestic market and the national economic and policy environment. An FAO report (Brown et al. 2002) concluded that while the bans have in some cases resulted in domestic conservation and tree planting benefits, these countries have greatly increased their legal and illegal timber imports from neighbouring countries. Therefore, the host country benefits need to be balanced against the environmental (including NWFP) and governance impacts in neighbouring countries. Country-specific studies could help with better understanding the associated economic and environmental trade-offs in different contexts.
Subsidies, are common in the forest sector to promote timber production, reforestation and investments in natural and planted forest management where returns are too low to attract private financing (Schmidt, 2003). They are also used for strategic reasons, for example to build sufficient wood supply to encourage processing ventures. In terms of trade policy, financial subsidies to promote production particularly influence the competitiveness of individual producers, although such incentives often result in excessive harvesting and are a concern to governments and some segments of society (ITTO, 2003). Excessive harvesting of timber may, in certain cases, have a negative impact on NWFP use and trade.
Since the early 1990’s, an increasing number of governments at the provincial, regional and local levels, in at least 60 developing countries, have been taking on the role of managing national forests previously controlled by national departments. Thus far, results have been mixed with forests benefiting in certain cases, but in other cases not (Anon., 2004a).
Several countries, such as the UK, Germany, France and Denmark are in the process of developing government procurement rules with reference to legal and sustainable suppliers of wood. Government procurement policy could be used to give preference to legally produced timber, which would require adhering to a standard that offers chain-of-custody certification. These rules would increase the demand for certified wood, because the public sector provides an important market for tropical timber in many countries. Government procurement is dealt with under the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), which is based on the principle of non-discrimination between like products from foreign and domestic suppliers. Article XXIII allows an exception to this on the grounds of protection of human, animal and plant life (Katila, M. and Simula, M., 2004).
NWFP are not purchased in sufficiently large quantities by governments and are accordingly unlikely to be impacted by or fall within the ambit of public procurement policies. There may though be indirect benefits through public procurement policies aimed at ensuring sustainable forest management.
Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) are used almost exclusively to assess the impact of infrastructural development and land-use change on the environment rather than the environmental or socio-economic impact of harvesting and extraction for international trade purposes. There are examples where EIAs have been required of traders wishing to import NWFP, for instance the import of Ball pythons from Ghana into South Africa for the pet trade, in order to assess their potential impact on indigenous flora and flora.
The European Commission's Employment and Social Affairs Committee defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis (Anon., 2005d). There is a large consensus on its main features:
• CSR is behaviour by businesses over and above their legal requirements, voluntarily adopted because businesses deem it to be in their long-term interest.
• CSR is intrinsically linked to the concept of sustainable development - businesses need to integrate the economic, social and environmental impact in their operations.
• CSR is not an optional 'add-on' to business core activities - but about the way in which businesses are managed.
There are very few examples of NWFP that have been specific targets of campaigns or boycotts. Initiatives set up by private companies such as The Body Shop are a reflection of corporate social responsibility. This particular example is a well known one, whereby the company buys products, frequently NWFP, directly from rural communities according to a set of social and environmental principles and standards, and in this manner attempts to ensure both environmental sustainability and community upliftment.
A NWFP-related campaign ongoing in 2005 is aimed at encouraging the wine industry to continue using cork rather than screw-caps for sealing wine bottles. The campaign aims to save the cork oak forests from degradation and disappearance and also highlights the fact that many people generate an income through the harvesting of cork.