Previous PageTable Of Contents


ANNEX 4 - VOLUNTARY INFORMATION PAPER

FAO/ITTO

Expert Consultation on Criteria and Indicators for

Sustainable Forest Management

Voluntary Information Paper

A possible synergy between international criteria and indicator processes and the CBD expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity

(A note from the Secretariat, Convention on Biological Diversity)21

By

Gijs van Tol
Senior Programme Officer
Scientific, Technical and Technological Matters
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
393 Saint-Jacques Street, Suite 300
Montréal, Québec, Canadá H2Y 1N9
Tel.: (514) 287 8707; Fax: (514) 288 6588
E-mail: gijs.vantol@biodiv.org

Organized by the

Forest Management Bureau
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Philippines
and co-sponsored by FAO and ITTO
02-04 March 2004; Cebu City, Philippines

 

By Gijs van Tol2

Introduction

In the past decade criteria and indicators (C&I) for sustainable forest management have been developed by nine different regional initiatives and processes; and 149 countries, representing 85% of the world’s forest area, are represented in one or more of these nine processes. A comparable set of principles, criteria and indicators has been developed by the Forest Stewardship Council as a basis for its certification scheme.

In the C&I processes countries collect relevant data to measure progress towards SFM, and several processes report to a regional level. The international conference on the contribution of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management22 recognized that this reporting from countries to regional processes is an important tool at national level for communication with a wide range of relevant stakeholders. The national reporting, and the aggregation of information to regional level, is also relevant for international organizations, e.g. for reporting on the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action. The C&I for SFM have also been recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity at the sixth Conference of the Parties (decision VI/22 paragraph 34), but the possible benefits of the C&I for reporting on the implementation of the CBD expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity have not yet been elaborated. This paper provides a first attempt at such an elaboration.

CBD and the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity has three broad objectives:

The Convention provides a legal framework for these objectives

Most forest-related activities under CBD are described in the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity, which was developed by an ad hoc technical expert group, and was adopted in 2002 by the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties. The work programme has three main programme elements that are elaborated in more specific goals:

Each of the goals is further elaborated into a number of objectives, and each objective is again elaborated into activities (see Annex 1 or website www.biodiv.org/handbook/cbd-hb-10-06-en.pdf, starting at page 152).

When adopting the work programme COP requested the Executive Secretary to initiate actions towards implementation. At national level, individual countries (the parties to the Convention) are responsible for the implementation of the work programme, and progress is reported in “National Reports” and/or in “thematic reports” submitted by the countries. At an international level the Executive Secretary is invited to collaborate with the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and other international organizations to address issues of relevance to forest biological diversity.

Analyses of possible relevant information from C&I processes for the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity

Reporting of the regional processes on C&I can be relevant for several of the goals and objectives in the CBD expanded work programme on forest biological diversity (see annex 1).

The information provided by indicators under the criterion on “biological diversity” will most likely be relevant for programme element 1 of the expanded work programme, and probably also information from indicators under the criteria on “extent of forest resources”, and “forest health and vitality”. Information from indicators under the criteria on “legal and institutional framework” and “socio-economic benefits and needs” is likely to be relevant for programme element 2.

Further systematic analyses of the information gathered in the different C&I processes (such as the parameters used, the reporting frequency) and the information needed to report on progress towards the implementation of the work programme could contribute to a more harmonized data collection and a reduction of the reporting burden of countries.

A preliminary list of goals and objectives that could benefit from reporting by C&I processes is elaborated below. The list is by no means exhaustive, and only intends to point at a number of goals and objectives where synergy seems easy to achieve. Goals and objectives that are not mentioned could also benefit from information from C&I processes, but there other sources of information might be more relevant.

Programme element 1. Conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing

This part of the work programme covers mainly factual and technical information on important aspects of conservation of forest biological diversity and sustainable use of forest resources. It seems to have many close and direct links to the C&I processes, but a further analyses of the reported results would be useful.

Goal 1.2 To reduce the threats and mitigate the impact of threatening processes on forest biological diversity

For at least five of the six objectives useful information might become available from the reporting on C&I. These include information on the role and observed impacts of:

Goal 1.3 To protect, recover and restore forest biological diversity

For all three of the objectives useful information might become available from the reporting on C&I:

Goal 1.4 To promote the sustainable use of forest biological diversity

This is a fairly broad field, covered by four objectives grouping a rather diverse array of activities:

For the first two objectives information is most likely available in C&I reporting. Regarding the specific genetic information needs, there might be some discrepancy between the information needs for the forestry sector and for conservation interests.

Programme element 2. Institutional and socio-economic enabling environment

The goals and objectives under this programme element are closely linked to the criteria on “socio-economic benefits and needs” and “policy and institutional framework”, but the variation in the nature and content of the information suggests that the relationship is much more complicated than for the items mentioned under programme element 1. Some examples are cited hereafter, but it seems that further study of the possible interactions between the C&I processes, the national work on national forest programmes and national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs), and the reporting requirements from CBD and UNFF, would be useful.

Goal 2.1 Enhance the institutional enabling environment

Three of the four objectives will probably be covered to some extent by information from the C&I processes:

Goal 2.2 Address socio-economic failures and distortions that lead to decisions that result in loss of forest biological diversity

The only objective under this goal might be covered to some extent by information from C&I processes:

Programme element 3. Knowledge assessment and monitoring

This part of the work programme is specifically directed to develop common strategies, from a global to a regional scale, to characterize, define and analyze the forest biological diversity, and to improve and make effective use of the existing information. It seems a field where collaboration between regional C&I processes and CPF could contribute to the development of efficient indicators and parameters to measure the status of and trends in forest biological diversity.

Research results and reporting on practical experience, for instance on the relations between SFM, forest biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, would be another source of relevant information for some of the goals mentioned under programme element 3, and it seems useful to further promote these activities.

Goal 3.1 Improve the assessment of status and trends of forest biological diversity

The relevant objective that is most likely to be covered in C&I processes is:

Goal 3.2 Improve knowledge on and methods for the assessment of the status and trends of forest biological diversity

The only objective under this goal is directly related to C&I:

Terms and definitions, indicators and parameters

One of the main problems in both the formulation of work programmes and reporting on progress towards SFM or conservation of forest biological diversity is the appropriate use of many terms and definitions. The expert meeting on harmonized forest-related definitions, organized by FAO23, has demonstrated that the terms and definitions used tend to vary in their interpretation. It is therefore important to ensure that common terms are indeed used in the same sense and with the same meaning.

Indicators and parameters used for reporting also need some consideration. All C&I processes have a component of (criterion on) forest biological diversity, and include indicators and parameters to describe the actual state and the changes. A question to consider is whether the available parameters and terms and definitions are adequate for reporting on the status of forest biological diversity, and to what extend these parameters are widely accepted.

Some specific technical issues include the threshold value to separate forest from other vegetation types? Is that 10% canopy cover, a forest type based threshold, or a threshold of 30% canopy cover? Another technical issue relevant for reporting on forest biological diversity is the characterization of different levels of “naturalness” or “ecological values” within forest types. Further collaboration between C&I processes and CPF members could help to further improve indicators for forest biological diversity.

All C&I processes also have a component of social and cultural forest values. Several organizations and processes, such as the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the process of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE), have contributed to the development of a set of effective, meaningful and cost effective indicators and parameters for measuring the range of social and cultural forest values. However, there is room for improvement in the actual information on the impact of forest management on these forest values, and the impact on the livelihood of local and indigenous communities.

Reporting, to whom and by whom

Reporting on progress made in the sustainable management of national forest areas will usually be carried out or coordinated by the national authority responsible for forests. However, the different components of sustainable forest management also relate directly to authorities responsible for land use, water management, conservation of biological diversity and economic development, and, when international reporting is required, authorities on foreign affairs. The variety of responsible organizations can generate a series of problems, due to gaps in information exchange between the organizations, different goals and interests, and different terminology used.

When considering the links between the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity and C&I processes, it would be important to bridge the gap between the authorities and organizations responsible for the Convention on biological diversity (often the Ministry of Environment or the Ministry of Foreign affairs) and the authorities and organizations responsible for forest management (often the Ministry of Natural Resources or the Ministry of Agriculture). Bridging these gaps could be an important step forward to a cross-sectoral approach of the challenges in sustainable forest management and maintenance of forest biological diversity.

Conclusion

From the foregoing preliminary analyses it seems that the regional C&I processes could provide useful information on progress in implementation of the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity. They seem to provide a useful integration level between the much more detailed and specific information at country level and the more general aggregated information at international level.

The reporting of the different C&I processes could therefore, in theory, contribute to harmonized data collection and help to fulfill the international reporting obligations. But the difference between the information needs (process information on implementation of agreements, or practical information on forest characteristics), the timing of the information supply and, last but not least, the common understanding of the terms and definitions used are often an important barrier to use the available information to the maximum extent possible.

The efforts of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) to increase harmonization in forest-related reporting contribute to reducing these barriers.

Annex: Expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity

(According to the Handbook of the Convention on Biological Diversity)

In undertaking this expanded programme of work, parties, governments, international and regional organizations and processes, civil society organizations and other relevant bodies and all relevant implementers are invited to take into account the following considerations:

Programme element 1: Conservation, sustainable use and benefit-sharing

Goal 1.1: To apply the ecosystem approach to the management of all types of forests

Objective 1.1.1: Develop practical methods, guidelines, indicators and strategies to apply the ecosystem approach adapted to regional differences to forests both inside and outside protected forest areas as well in as both managed and unmanaged forests

Activities:

Goal 1.2: To reduce the threats and mitigate the impacts of threatening processes on forest biological diversity

Objective 1.2: Prevent the introduction of invasive alien species that threaten ecosystems, and mitigate their negative impacts on forest biological diversity in accordance with international law

Activities:

Objective 1.2.2: Mitigate the impact of pollution such as acidification and eutrophication on forest biodiversity

Activities

Objective 1.2.3: Mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on forest biodiversity

Activities

Taking into account the work of the ad hoc technical expert group on climate change and biodiversity:

Objective 1.2: To prevent and mitigate the adverse effects of forest fires and fire suppression

Activities

Objective 1.2.5: To mitigate effects of the loss of natural disturbances necessary to maintain biodiversity in regions where these no longer occur

Activities

Objective 1.2.6: To prevent and mitigate losses due to fragmentation and conversion to other land uses

Activities

Goal 1.3: To protect, recover and restore forest biological diversity

Objective 1.3.1: Restore forest biological diversity in degraded secondary forests and in forests established on former forestlands and other landscapes, including in plantations.

Activities

Objective 1.3.2 Promote forest management practices that further the conservation of endemic and threatened species

Activities

Objective 1.2.3: Ensure adequate and effective protected forest area networks

Activities

Goal 1.4: To promote the sustainable use of forest biological diversity

Objective 1.4.1: Promote sustainable use of forest resources to enhance the conservation of forest biological diversity

Activities

Objective 1.4.2: Prevent losses caused by unsustainable harvesting of timber and non-timber forest resources

Activities

Objective 1.4.3: Enable indigenous and local communities to develop and implement adaptive community-management systems to conserve and sustainably use forest biological diversity

Activities

Objective 1.4.4: Develop effective and equitable information systems and strategies and promote implementation of those strategies for in situ and ex situ conservation and sustainable use of forest genetic diversity, and support countries in their implementation and monitoring

Activities

Goal 1.5: Access and benefit-sharing of forest genetic resources

Objective 1.5.1: Promote the fair and equitable sharing of benefits resulting from the utilization of forest genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge

Activities

Based on the Bonn guidelines on access to genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their utilization, as adopted by the Conference of the Parties at its sixth meeting:

Programme element 2: Institutional and socio-economic enabling environment

Goal 2.1: Enhance the institutional enabling environment

Objective 2.1.1: Improve the understanding of the various causes of forest biological diversity losses

Activities

Objective 2.1.2: Parties, governments and organizations to integrate biological diversity conservation and sustainable use into forest and other sector policies and programmes

Activities:

Objective 2.1.3: Parties and governments to develop good governance practices, review and revise and implement forest and forest-related laws, tenure and planning systems, to provide a sound basis for conservation and sustainable use of forest biological diversity

Activities

Objective 2.1.4: Promote forest law enforcement and address related trade

Activities

Goal 2.2: Address socio-economic failures and distortions that lead to decisions that result in loss of forest biological diversity

Objective 2.2.1: Mitigate the economic failures and distortions that lead to decisions that result in loss of forest biological diversity

Activities

Goal 2.3: Increase public education, participation, and awareness

Objective 2.3.1: Increase public support and understanding of the value of forest biological diversity and its goods and services at all levels

Activities

Programme element 3: Knowledge, assessment and monitoring

Goal 3.1: To characterize and to analyze from forest ecosystem to global scale and develop general classification of forests on various scales in order to improve the assessment of status and trends of forest biological diversity

Objective 3.1.1: Review and adopt a harmonized global to regional forest classification system, based on harmonized and accepted forest definitions and addressing key forest biological diversity elements

Activities

Objective 3.1.2: Develop national forest classification systems and maps (using agreed international standards and protocols to enable regional and global synthesis)

Activities

Objective 3.1.3: To develop, where appropriate, specific forest ecosystems surveys in priority areas for conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity

Activities

Goal 3.2: Improve knowledge on and methods for the assessment of the status and trends of forest biological diversity, based on available information

Objective 3.2.1: Advance the development and implementation of international, regional and national criteria and indicators based on key regional, subregional and national measures within the framework of sustainable forest management

Activities

Goal 3.3: Improve understanding of the role of forest biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

Objective 3.3.1: Conduct key research programmes on the role of forest biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

Activities

Goal 3.4: Improve the infrastructure for data and information management for accurate assessment and monitoring of global forest biological diversity

Objective 3.4.1: Enhance and improve technical capacity at national level to monitor forest biological diversity, benefiting from the opportunities offered through the clearing-house mechanism, and develop associated databases as required on a global scale

Activities


21 Voluntary paper made available to participants of the Expert Consultation On criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management (Cebu City, Philippines; March 2004). It was handed out for information only and was not presented nor discussed during the event.

22 International Conference on the Contribution on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management – The Way Forward, Guatemala City, 3-7 February 2003, hosted by the National Forest Service of Guatemala, supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the governments of Finland and the United States of America.

23 Proceedings second expert meeting on harmonizing forest-related definitions for use by various stakeholders, FAO, Rome, 2002.

Previous PageTop Of Page