Tuesday, 23 September 2003

As reported by International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

In the morning, the Plenary Session focused on improving people's living conditions. Morning and afternoon Theme Sessions addressed a variety of issues related to "Forests for People" and "Forests for the Planet," including: the acquisition and sharing of knowledge; efficient use and processing of resources; underlying causes of forest degradation and deforestation; climate change; management of forest resources and ecosystems; and urban forestry. Side events also convened in the morning, afternoon and evening.



David Kaimowitz, Center for International Forest Research, observed that forests are not prioritized on the global political agenda, due to, inter alia, declining media attention, a sense of failure concerning conservation efforts, and a lack of understanding of how forests help to address other priority issues, such as poverty eradication, health and war. Stressing the importance of forests for the poor, he called for incorporating forest issues in national poverty reduction strategies, and for markets that work better for forest-dependent communities. Kaimowitz noted progress in community-based management and recommended adopting realistic cross-sectoral approaches to conservation, underscoring that people should be compensated for their conservation efforts. He recommended adapting the landscape approach to conservation, and expressed determination to lobby to put forests back on the international agenda.


Liz Alden Wily, independent land tenure and natural resources management specialist, discussed community forestry as an
instrument of good governance. She identified the importance of achieving harmony between forest conservation and people's needs. She recommended moving from a paternalistic to an empowering approach. Wily explained that, as a result of legal reforms, more local communities manage a wider class of forests on longer-term contracts. She underlined the importance of legal recognition of community forest ownership. Wily noted that in many states, customary land rights are now recognized and legally enforceable. She called for a focus on immense unreserved estates, a rigorous evaluation of approaches, and the consideration of communities as shareholders and not stakeholders.

Henson Moore, International Council of Forest and Paper Associations, stressed the industry's commitment to sustainable forest management (SFM). Acknowledging the growing role of public-private partnerships, he highlighted the role of governments in creating framework conditions for sustainable forestry. Underscoring that economic concerns should not overshadow concerns about forests, Moore recommended that sustainable forest-related commercial activities become an important part of the solution to forest problems, and urged the global community to create transparent communication on progress toward SFM. He called for promoting the mutual recognition of certification schemes, improving technical measures, ensuring accountability of forestry companies, and removing trade barriers.



ACQUISITION AND SHARING OF KNOWLEDGE:Noting that many stakeholders - not just foresters - could benefit from a greater understanding of forest issues, J.K. Rawat, Indian Forest Service, stressed the importance of knowledge distribution. Emile Mokoko Wongolo, Secretary General of the African Timber Organization, indicated that research, information dissemination and financing are key to improving future forestry work. Alice Kaudia, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, outlined critical trends and needs for forest research in development, including the need for skilled, robust human resource capital and poverty reduction. Kaudia also noted the adverse effects of HIV/AIDS and acute poverty levels on human and financial resources. To improve knowledge sharing in Africa, Kaudia made a number of suggestions, including: generating statistics on the number of scientists, their fields of expertise, and relevance of the expertise to current and future needs; attracting funding for research from diverse sources; improving skills for transnational knowledge sharing and collaborative learning; determining the impact and sustainability of training programmes; and encouraging market-driven production. Henri Boukoulou, Manieu Ngonabi University, noted that previously excluded groups are now recognized as stakeholders and said participatory management in rural areas can promote accountability and improve SFM in the future. Ernst Zürcher, Swiss School of Engineering for the Wood Industry, discussed a recent project in Madagascar, which produced a bridge for a local rural community. Zürcher noted that the project had low costs and used an exchange of knowledge and know-how between a local community and a foreign organization. Jorge Antonio Téllez, Desarrollo Forestal Communitario, described how electronic training was used to improve knowledge of community forest management in rural areas in Bolivia. Marilyn Hoskins, Indiana University, indicated that institutional analyses can help to identify incentives for planning, managing and implementing community forestry programmes. She noted that withholding information and using incompatible goals to develop community forest programmes could hamper their success.

EFFICIENT USE AND PROCESSING OF RESOURCES: Emile Mokoko Wongolo, African Timber Organization, noted that sustainable forest products have become more competitive in the world market. Ian de la Roche, Forintek Canada Corporation, emphasized the need for sustainable consumption of wood products and said wood is the only renewable mainstream building material. He indicated that the public's perception is ¿build with wood¿ or ¿save the forest,¿ but noted that the two goals could be compatible. De la Roche noted that wood-based construction systems are changing to meet the demands of consumers. Paul Vantomme, FAO, emphasized the need for improved reporting on non-wood forest products (NWFP) at a global and national level in order to include NWFP in policy planning. He noted that the primary users of NWFP, developing countries such as India, China and Indonesia, have definitions, product classifications and statistics for NWFP, but the majority of countries do not. Vantomme also recommended that countries work with customs officials to incorporate NWFP into national product classification schemes and, at the international level, cooperate with the World Customs Organization on NWFP. Luc Duchesne, Natural Resources Canada, explained that non-timber forest products (NTFP) can be used to reduce poverty, and for ecosystem, species and cultural conservation because they require low start-up costs and create employment for both genders, thus reducing gender inequities.He recommended that the timber industry in developed countries take into account social concerns. He also emphasized that energy consumption is the most critical issue facing the forest industry. Asghedom Ghebremichael, Natural Resources Canada, said that enhanced productivity in the timber-harvest industry can help ensure sustainable forest supply and SFM. Reynolds Okai, Forestry Research Institute, noted that the demand for timber is increasing, and discussed the challenge of promoting the value of using logging residues to increase forest production.


CLIMATE CHANGE: Christian Barthod, Ministry for Ecology and Sustainable Development in France, opened the session on the role of forests with respect to climate change. Michael Apps, Natural Resources Canada, explained that forest management could be part of the problem or part of the solution, noting that forest management can increase the forests¿ capacity to balance human perturbations in the global carbon cycle. He described some possible actions, such as reducing pressures for deforestation, increasing the use of wood products and wood as biofuel, and promoting agroforestry. Anne Prieur, University of Bordeaux, presented a lifecycle approach to account for the energetic aspects and the carbon stock function of wood products, emphasizing that the effect on climate change will depend on the maximum storage and the optimal transformation, transportation and use of wood products.

Haripriya Gundimeda, London School of Economics and Political Science, addressed the implications land-use change and forestry projects (LUCF) under the clean development mechanism (CDM) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) could have on sustainable livelihood strategies in India. She encouraged further research on on the long term effects of LUCF projects on sustainable livelihood strategies on climate change. Werner Kurz, Natural Resources Canada, outlined Canada¿s national forest sector carbon accounting system, a tool that supports scientific analysis, monitoring and policymaking in forest management for climate change. Bruno Locatelli, Center for Agricultural Research in Developing Countries, addressed controversies over forest plantations in tropical countries under the CDM. He said social impacts need to be included in the evaluation of CDM projects and called for a new approach that balances negative and positive impacts.

Participants discussed the need to develop better tools to account for carbon storage in wood products. They also discussed the use of wood instead of fossil fuels, stressing the need to address this issue at future negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol. Kurz explained that this is unlikely to occur during the first commitment period as there is considerable controversy, and a differentiated perspective on energy and forestry issues must be developed first. Barthod stated that forestry can be one of the solutions to the climate change problem, but much remains to be done on accounting and assessment. He encouraged all participants to prepare for the next round of negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol in order to include storage and energy aspects of wood production.

URBAN FORESTRY, TREES OUTSIDE FORESTS: Robert Lindeckert, Pro Silva Méditerranée, presented the history of Park Fontainbleau, a forest reserve near Paris, outlining its historical importance as a hunting area, artistic reserve, landscape conservation site and UNESCO biosphere reserve. He said a worldwide network of such parks would ¿re-enchant¿ the world and serve as an opportunity for people to experience and share knowledge about forests and nature.

last updated:  Thursday, November 27, 2003