The blueprints

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, set the framework of guiding principles for sustainable development and sustainable forest management. The 'Forest Principles' and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 enshrine the commitments made by nations in the forestry domain.

The "Forest Principles" underline that 'Sustainable forest management and use should be carried out in accordance with national development policies and priorities and on the basis of environmentally sound national guidelines. In the formulation of such guidelines, account should be taken, as appropriate and if applicable, of relevant internationally agreed methodologies and criteria' (Principle 8 d).

Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 stresses the need of "Assessing and carrying out systematic observations of the quantitative and qualitative situation and changes of forest cover and forest resources endowments"and"linking this activity, as appropriate, with planning as a basis for policy and programme formulation" as well as "formulating scientifically sound criteria and guidelines for the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests." Sections 11.31 (a) and 11.22 (b).

Yet, the UN system organizations and their member countries are not the only actors in the criteria and indicators development process. The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) pioneered important efforts to develop Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests in 1990.

Other key players in development and implementation of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management are  Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) including other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), and initiatives such as the model forests.

last updated:  Thursday, January 9, 2014