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Pretoria declaration

Seventy experts from 45 countries from all regions met at the Workshop on Financial Mechanisms and Sources of Finance for Sustainable Forestrv, held from 4 to 7 June 1996 in Pretoria. South Africa. The workshop was cosponsored by the Governments of Denmark and South Africa and by the United Nations Development Programme, and was organized in support of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests.

The experts recognized that forests, including wooded lands, simultaneously provide a wide range of economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits at the local, national, regional and global levels, and that maintaining all types of the world's forests in a healthy state is in the collective interest of the present and future generations.

The experts, however, commented on the lack of follow-up and implementation of the UNCED agreements in order to combat deforestation and to promote sustainable forest management, expressing deep concern about:

· the feet that forests worldwide are not being managed sustainably and that extensive unplanned deforestation and forest degradation is taking place at an unprecedented rate:

· the ability of forests to meet the multiple needs of societies if the current trends and investment practices continue:

· the resource gap for meeting the needs of sustainable forest management.

In order to address these concerns and to reach the goal of economically efficient, socially balanced and ecologically sound sustainable forest management, the experts called on the governments, private sector and investment community, multilateral international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the voluntary sector to recognize their shared responsibility and to take urgent action as follows:

· National governments should undertake policy reform that includes securing the market value of the natural resources capital stock, land-use planning and security of land tenure as well as the use of domestic resources.

· National governments should create and promote a favourable environment for investment in sustainable forest management, including macroeconomic stability, and should develop and maintain strong institutional and human capacities.

· National governments should provide incentives and promote the use of appropriate technologies to support sustainable forest management, particularly to small enterprises, local communities and forest owners, while ensuring that incentives to other sectors are supportive of sustainable forest management.

· National governments should formulate and implement, through an open and participatory process, a national forest programme that includes clear action plans and provisions for in-country coordinating mechanisms and the monitoring of progress, and that insures consistency in development planning at the national, macro and relevant sectoral levels.

· Donors and the voluntary sector should focus their activities on meeting subsistence needs, building up capacity and creating potential industrial opportunities in developing countries, particularly those with a low forest cover.

· The share of domestic financial resources as well as the share of official development assistance (ODA) allocated to sustainable forest management activities should be increased in real terms, especially in recognition of the latter's critical role in financing sustainable forest management in many developing countries.

· Additional domestic and external financial resources should be mobilized to fund the necessary measures for promoting sustainable forest management.

· New financial mechanisms to provide mutual leverage to private investment and ODA funds need to be developed.

· There needs to be a more efficient use of funds from all sources.

· Donors should respond to the priorities of the developing countries and improve their efficiency and effectiveness through the allocation of higher proportions of total funds to local implementation, coordination and periodic joint evaluations.

· The private sector should be encouraged to adopt codes of conduct to promote sustainable forest management.

· The UN system should agree to mandatory coordination; the roles of UN agencies need to be clearly defined and based on their comparative strength to implement a shared vision of sustainable forest management.

· [There should be increased] support for research to promote sustainable forest management.

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