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The Expert Consultation on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management (ECCI-2004) was organized by the Forest Management Bureau of the Philippines, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Tropical Timber Organization and convened in Cebu City, Philippines, from 2 to 4 March 2004. The Forest Management Bureau of the Philippines hosted the meeting.

The Expert Consultation brought together 45 technical and policy experts representing 27 countries and seven international organizations involved in the ongoing processes on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. It aimed to make recommendations for consideration by countries, C&I processes, UNFF and other international bodies and organizations involved in the work on C&I on the following issues, which served as objectives of the meeting: (1) developing a communication network among processes, countries and other relevant partners to provide a mechanism for exchange of information, building on existing networks; (2) improving common understanding of concepts, terms and definitions related to criteria and indicators; (3) identifying common approaches, methods and protocols for collecting, storing and sharing data; (4) strengthening criteria and indicator processes and inter-process cooperation and sharing of information and know-how; and (5) analyzing the merits of forming an ad hoc international technical advisory group to address technical issues related to the development and implementation of criteria and indicators.

Three themes were identified and discussed to address the objectives of the consultation. These were:

The observations and recommendations formulated by the experts in this consultation addressed to the fourth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-4), countries, experts, processes, organizations and others would further enhance the implementation of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management on the ground.

Based on the results of discussions of the three themes, the participants adopted 42 observations and 48 recommendations for national and international action. These are detailed in Section IV of the report.

Participants requested the Government of the Philippines to present the report of the Expert Consultation to UNFF-4 and to other relevant organizations and processes dealing with C&I for sustainable forest management.

Report of the FAO/ITTO Expert Consultation on Criteria and Indicators for
Sustainable Forest Management

Cebu City, Philippines, 2 - 4 March 2004

The expert consultation on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management (ECCI-2004) was held in Cebu City, Philippines, from 2 to 4 March 2004 to make recommendations to UNFF and others involved in C&I processes on the following issues, which served as objectives of the meeting:

Three themes were identified and discussed to address the objectives of the consultation. These were: Theme 1 - Communication and information management for enhancing the implementation of C&I for sustainable forest management; Theme 2 - Terms and definitions related to C&I for sustainable forest management; and Theme 3 - Strengthening the C&I processes for better implementation. The observations and recommendations formulated by the experts in this Consultation addressed to UNFF-4, countries, experts, processes, organizations and others focused on the issues and concerns of these themes.

The consultation was organized jointly by the Forest Management Bureau of the Philippines, FAO and ITTO. It was hosted by the Government of the Philippines through the Forest Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The consultation brought together 45 technical and policy experts representing 27 countries and seven international organizations involved in the ongoing C&I processes (see Annex 3 for a list of participants).

The meeting was conducted based on one of the major recommendations of CICI-2003 held in Guatemala City from 3 to 7 February 2003, which was that FAO and ITTO convene an international expert consultation to provide inputs to the work of UNFF considering existing networks, mechanisms and the need to enhance coordination among countries and processes. CICI-2003 was held in direct response to the recommendations of the FAO/ITTO/UNEP/CIFOR/IUFRO expert meeting on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, which took place at FAO Headquarters, Rome, from 15 to 17 November 2000 and supported the work programme of UNFF.

In retrospect, the holding of ECCI-2004 in Cebu City was precipitated by other global initiatives dating back to UNCED 1992 in Rio, including the non-legally binding authoritative statement of principles for a global consensus on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and the subsequent IPF/IFF proposals for action covering 270 proposals on sustainable forest management (SFM). At present there are nine international C&I initiatives and processes at varying levels of implementation. About 150 countries are members of one or more of these, confirming the significance of C&I as a policy instrument and tool for sustainable forest management. The intergovernmental seminar on criteria and indicators (ISCI), held in Helsinki, Finland, in 1996, also recognized the usefulness of C&I as tools for assessing the state of a country’s forests and assisting informed policy and decision-making.

IPF, IFF and UNFF expressed the need to harmonize concepts, terms and definitions and to streamline reporting. The UN expert group in 2003 recommended the use of C&I as a reference for monitoring and assessing progress towards SFM. CPF members assumed the leadership role at the global level in harmonizing terms and definitions for international use.

FAO has been collaborating with the nine ongoing C&I processes, which have several common thematic areas or indicators of sustainable forest management. The convergence of FRA 2005 with other national reporting requirements such as the C& I-based ITTO producer country reports, “Progress on meeting objective 2000”, is of direct relevance to ongoing processes on C&I for sustainable forest management and can make them cost-effective. FRA 2005 will be a broad and holistic assessment of forest resources and will synergize with the framework of C&I processes that are common to the nine ongoing C&I processes.

The C&I processes should also be increasingly utilized in the related activities of other international conventions and protocols, such as CSD, CBD, CCD and MDG. Countries should boost application of C&I for the formulation and implementation of their national forest programmes and in assessments of their forest resource base. The efforts of CPF to streamline reporting should consider the results of ECCI-2004 to further promote the use of C&I and to recommend ways to reduce national reporting, including through the development of a common information framework on forests.

The expert consultation is expected to provide more detailed and concrete recommendations to UNFF-4 in May 2004 that will specifically address definitions, C&I and the broader issues of monitoring, assessment and reporting.

Initiatives and actions arising from the expert consultation should mobilize national interest and commitment in the development and implementation of C&I by developing countries by: (1) enhancing the contribution of C&I to better forest management and improved livelihoods, food security and forest benefits on the ground; (2) reconfirming the country focus of C&I and its role in national policy processes; (3) using C&I to support implementation of national forest policies and SFM, in a cost-effective and systematic way; (4) confirming FRA links and how these can strengthen C&I processes; and (5) proposing to lead agencies (national and international) how to facilitate networking/communication/information management for C&I.

The Honorable Mr Renato de Rueda, Undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines, opened the expert consultation. He warmly welcomed all the participants and thanked FAO and ITTO for organizing the meeting with the Forest Management Bureau of DENR. He recognized the various efforts of organizations and countries to adhere to sustainable forest management dating back to the Rio Summit of 1992 and the subsequent formation of task forces and institutions to implement the action plan for SFM. He emphasized the global use of C&I as the most reliable tool for assessing the sustainability of forest management, with about 150 countries utilizing the system for planning and decision-making. He also highlighted that hosting this meeting was very timely for the Philippines. The country had just completed its own set of criteria and indicators based on the ITTO framework and was now pilot-testing their implementation and conducting further stakeholder consultations. The results of the expert consultation could provide valuable inputs to the C&I processes the country has started, he said.

FAO and ITTO, as co-organizers of the expert consultation, also gave welcome statements. Dr Eva Müller, on behalf of ITTO, reiterated that the Organization was one of the pioneers in the development of C&I and briefly referred to some recent initiatives and activities that were pertinent to the themes of the meeting. She emphasized that FAO and ITTO had developed a strong partnership in efforts to promote the development and implementation of C&I; this was reflected in a series of joint activities, the latest of which was the international conference on criteria and indicators (CICI 2003) in Guatemala that gave rise to this meeting. Dr Peter Holmgren, on behalf of FAO, explained the background of the events and processes that led to this expert consultation. He highlighted the important contributions that this meeting could make to forthcoming undertakings, especially in providing inputs to UNFF-4, FRA 2005 and national efforts on forest assessments and country forestry programmes. He discussed available opportunities for mobilizing national interest and commitment in the development and implementation of C&I processes by developing countries. Both Dr Müller and Dr Holmgren expressed their sincere gratitude to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for hosting the meeting, with special thanks to Mr Romeo Acosta, Director of the Forest Management Bureau, who kindly agreed to act as chair.

The consultation was conducted in a highly interactive participatory manner. The programme was designed to ensure the optimal participation of all participants and included the presentation of three thematic papers, plenary sessions and four sets of working group discussions (see Annex 1). The Chair, Mr Acosta, presided at all the plenary discussions and guided the participants on the daily programme activities.

Three thematic discussion papers were presented by renowned experts on C&I processes, addressing the objectives of the meeting (see Annex 2). These papers set the tone of the consultation and provided general information and recommendations on the three themes for discussion and finalization by the participating experts.

Two parallel working groups were formed to discuss each of the themes, providing observations and recommendations specific to the coverage of the topic. The results of these discussions were summarized by the respective group rapporteurs and presented by the chairpersons in plenary session for comments, elaboration and integration. The chairpersons and rapporteurs for these parallel working groups were as follows:

Theme 1

Working Group 1
Chairperson: Parfait Mimbimi Esono, Cameroon
Rapporteur: Steve Johnson, ITTO

Working Group 2
Chairperson: Ingwald Gschwandtl, Austria
Rapporteur: Tiina Vähänen, FAO

Theme 2

Working Group 1
Chairperson: Leonel Iglesias, Mexico
Rapporteur: Eva Müller, ITTO

Working Group 2
Chairperson: Susan Braatz, UNFF
Rapporteur: Peter Holmgren, FAO

Theme 3

Working Group 1
Chairperson: Thang Hooi Chiew, Malaysia
Rapporteur: Froylán Castañeda, FAO

Working Group 2
Chairperson: Duncan Poore, UK
Rapporteur: Robert Hendricks, FAO

Three working groups were further created on the final day to summarize and finalize the conclusions and recommendations of the first parallel working groups for each theme. The working-group rapporteurs summarized the results under each theme and the respective chairpersons presented these in plenary for final comments and adoption by participants. The three working groups were steered by the following experts:

Theme 1
Chairperson: Alexandros Christodoulou, Cyprus
Rapporteur: Froylán Castañeda, FAO

Theme 2
Chairperson: Alexander Buck, IUFRO
Rapporteur: Tiina Vähänen, FAO

Theme 3
Chairperson: Roman Michalak, MCPFE, Warsaw
Rapporteur: Steve Johnson, ITTO



1. For the purpose of this report, communication: (a) includes a two-way information flow, (b) implies interaction among people, (c) is strategically planned and systematic, (d) has a long-term orientation, (e) is based on sound information, and (f) aims at decisions and actions.

2. For the purpose of this report, information management includes: (a) collecting, processing and disseminating data and (b) providing information structures/platforms/systems to enable communication.

3. C&I are a tool to facilitate and improve communication related to efforts towards sustainable forest management.

4. C&I are important for articulating the role of forests in sustainable development.

5. The rationale for C&I need to be further developed and communicated.

6. The seven identified common thematic areas of SFM, based on criteria of regional/international C&I processes, are important for facilitating international communication on forest-related issues.

7. Indicators differ at the regional, national and local levels. The harmonization of indicators may therefore be difficult. However, where possible, harmonization facilitates communication and reporting at all levels, for example, the global datasets provided by FRA and other assessment processes.

8. The country constitutes the basic level for gathering and using information related to C&I. There is a need to ensure and strengthen national capacities for communication and information management.

9. The greatest needs for improving communication occur at the national/sub-national levels, including how to involve the private sector, NGOs, and local and indigenous people.

10. A legally binding framework could enhance the implementation of C&I; however, a wide consensus on this approach would be needed.

11. For the successful implementation of C&I, transparency and the sharing of (e.g.) data, assessments, interpretation and of the use of C&I, are essential.

12. The quality and acceptance of C&I process implementation rely on the active involvement of all stakeholders, at all levels.

13. Thresholds for indicators and verifiers can be useful to facilitate communication; however, the relevance of thresholds needs further investigation.

14. Sharing data from diverse sources requires harmonization.

15. Sharing data/information between institutions at all levels should be encouraged; however, costs, benefits and other consequences need to be considered.

16. There are difficulties with data availability and fitting available data to criteria/indicators across all countries – varying only by degree. Approaches and methods that can be adapted to the country and regional levels are required.

17. Stakeholders play an important role in communicating on C&I. Their efforts should be supported.

18. National and international expert groups related to C&I, such as technical advisory groups and focal points, could play a key role in enhancing communication, information management and networking.

19. Local stakeholder-driven initiatives, such as model forests, can be useful tools to develop local/sub-national indicators and to promote exchanges between countries.

20. There is a need to clearly communicate the linkages and differences between the C&I tools and processes, and certification.

21. Regular reporting on C&I will strengthen political commitment and policy guidance related to forests.

22. Communication with decision-makers, non-expert audiences, and other forest-related sectors on issues related to C&I needs to be in a simple format and be clear and concise, credible, and targeted to the specific audiences.

23. There is a need to improve and increase professionalism in communication and networking related to C&I.

24. Several appropriate information systems exist, such as the Global Forest Information Service that could help information flows related to C&I.

25. A clearinghouse mechanism for information related to C&I could be useful for communication, e.g. linked to the CPF work on streamlining forest-related reporting, including the CPF portal.

26. There is a deficit in cross-sectoral networking.


1. Countries at the fourth session of UNFF should, for harmonizing purposes, adopt the seven common thematic areas as ’criteria’ of SFM, as well as consider developing supporting rationales.

2. The CPF and its members, C&I processes and countries should establish mechanisms for exchange of information, ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of developments, reducing ambiguities. In doing so, use should be made of existing organizations and mechanisms to the extent possible.

3. C&I processes and countries should make better use of existing information technology and use and engage communication experts and communicators’ networks.

4. CPF and its members should develop a framework for sharing information on C&I, including interactive and search functions.

5. Country experts and C&I processes should (where appropriate) communicate to politicians and other decision-makers on how C&I can be used to evaluate programmes and policy development against overall development goals.

6. National forest programmes (NFPs) foster the implementation of C&I; countries should use C&I to help structure and follow-up their NFPs.

7. Countries should designate focal points on C&I, noting that existing focal points, such as FRA national correspondents, focal points for NFPs, ITTO focal points, or others, can also take on this role for C&I.

8. Organizations, C&I processes and countries should clarify the roles of their focal points.

9. C&I processes should be made aware of FRA focal points and vice-versa.

10. Country focal points and other experts should identify and contact actors relevant to C&I and discuss collaboration with the aim of establishing national networks for enhancing communication and better implementation of C&I.

11. Countries (and C&I processes) should establish offices/secretariats to facilitate C&I implementation and communication, including to provide training materials to schools at all levels on SFM and C&I and newsletters targeted for the local/ground level.

12. Experts need to offer well-written briefs to relevant authorities, including policy-makers, to ensure that they are aware of the benefits of C&I.

13. International processes and conventions, especially the CBD in its expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity, should make better use of C&I. The CBD could, for example, explore the potential of using C&I to help monitor and implement the relevant elements of this work programme.

14. Countries and C&I processes should facilitate training on the concept of C&I for scientists (natural, social and economic sciences).

15. Countries and C&I processes should ensure broad representation of experts, including sociologists and economists and other experts, in C&I activities (e.g. meetings).



1. Countries should be aware of the long-term nature of the use of C&I for sustainable forest management as the lead concept, and thus the related terms.

2. The harmonization of terms and definitions related to C&I is needed at all levels. Agreement on definitions can support the implementation of C&I in countries.

3. Although harmonization of terms at the global level is recognized as being useful, countries may adapt these terms to their own circumstances.

4. Some sets of definitions are candidates for universal harmonization – core FRA definitions, for example.


1. Countries at UNFF-4 should, for harmonizing purposes, adopt the seven common thematic areas as criteria of SFM and consider developing supporting rationales for achieving a more comprehensive understanding of sustainable forest management.

2. Countries with limited resources should consider concentrating on implementation and adapting definitions proposed by processes and international fora.

3. International organizations, processes and donor countries should increase their assistance to countries with limited resources for data collection systems and procedures, including the clarification of terms, definitions and classifications, for example through the FRA rapid assessment project.

4. Further efforts should be made to harmonize terms of common interest between C&I processes and FRA. The processes should make best use of existing, internationally accepted concepts, terms and definitions.

5. Initiatives such as the FAO/IPCC/CIFOR/IUFRO/UNEP process and FRA deal with harmonization of definitions. The concepts, terms and harmonization needs identified for example by C&I processes should be taken into account in these initiatives. Further efforts on clarification of definitions and harmonization should address terms such as: forest management unit; forest degradation; rehabilitation; restoration; secondary forest; fragmentation; sub-national; landscape level; verifiers; standard of performance; threshold; and benchmark.

6. Countries should ensure that their data are adaptable to internationally accepted terms and definitions for international reporting.

7. C&I processes and countries should involve stakeholders in the development of terms and definitions in their C&I, including guidelines on measurement and reporting, and share their experiences with other processes and international organizations.

8. C&I processes are encouraged to hold collaborative meetings to address technical issues related to terms and definitions. Initiatives should be taken by active processes.

9. C&I processes and countries that have developed terms and definitions should make these available on their websites.

10. C&I experts familiar with the specific situations of countries should be involved in harmonization work. Also, experiences gained with terms and definitions at the local level should feed into national-level processes.

11. Country experts on C&I should ensure that people working at different levels within countries are aware of initiatives now under way to harmonize terms and definitions and how they can be used in their work.

12. The scientific community is called upon to remain engaged in identifying and defining new and emerging terms related to C&I. Best use should be made of existing mechanism and activities. The scientific community, especially IUFRO, has worked for many years with forest terminology. IUFRO is a clearinghouse for multilingual forest terminology, including the SilvaVoc initiative (available online).

13. Members of the CPF should continue their leadership role at the global level in the harmonization of terms and definitions for international use.



1. Despite the rapid progress in some C&I processes and the many related international meetings in recent years, a lack of political commitment to SFM and C&I still impedes progress in some countries. Awareness-raising for all stakeholders remains necessary to improve this situation.

2. Several countries still remain outside any C&I process. It is important to include such countries (some of whom are implementing C&I-related work) in C&I processes to increase the global scope of C&I and SFM.

3. Key features of countries and processes that have made significant progress in implementing C&I are:

4. There has not been a thorough investigation of the reasons for country failures to implement C&I. Reasons given by the experts for a lack of progress in implementing C&I and factors most limiting to initial action include:

5. Increased international assistance (technical and financial) will be necessary to promote increased adoption/implementation of C&I. Such assistance should be targeted to those countries demonstrating commitment to making progress.

6. Linkages between established C&I processes and processes at an earlier stage of development are already bearing fruit (e.g. Montreal Process/Lepaterique; ITTO/ATO). There is scope to expand such linkages.

7. The incorporation of a C&I framework into the reporting tables for the FRA 2005 provides an opportunity for synergies and the promotion of C&I.

8. The establishment of an International Advisory Group (IAG) on C&I would strengthen the linkages between C&I processes and contribute to enhancing the linkages between C&I and international agreements and processes, national forest programmes, national forest assessments, certification, and outreach and communication. An IAG could also provide technical advisory services, disseminate information on C&I and help countries to report at national and international levels. The composition, secretariat (possibly hosted by FAO and/or ITTO), terms of reference, priorities and means of operation of an IAG would be determined through international consultation.

9. A network for communication between the IAG, processes and country focal points/experts would allow the exchange of information on the development, implementation and importance of C&I, thereby fostering improved implementation.

10. Despite the recommendation from CICI 2003 for countries to begin implementing C&I and reporting on progress using indicators for which data were currently available, only three processes have commenced reporting (MCPFE, Montreal Process and ITTO).

11. The work of the CPF Task Force on Streamlining Forest Related Reporting has progressed substantially since it was recognized in the report of CICI 2003 as a contributor to increasing awareness of C&I. The CPF Task Force’s proposed Information Framework (based on the common thematic areas endorsed by CICI 2003) would be a valuable tool for C&I processes and others to coordinate and synthesize reports.

12. It is difficult for many countries to collect data on several indicators (especially ecological, biodiversity and socio-economic indicators). More research is required into appropriate indicators in these categories and methods of capturing reliable data to measure them.


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