Outcomes of the Sixth Mediterranean Forest Week
The Sixth Mediterranean Forest Week was held from 1 to 5 April 2019 in Broummana, Lebanon, focusing on the use of forest-based solutions to assist Mediterranean countries in implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.
Around 250 people attended this conference who originated from 31 different countries. Among these, decision-makers, national, and local governments, technical and scientific organizations, forestry experts and managers, forest owners, environmental organizations, NGOs, investors and key donors, young professionals, media, scientists, stakeholders from non-forestry sectors, climate negotiators and authorities responsible for the NDCs.
The Week was divided into five sessions, each of which was organized around a specific topic.
Session 1, entitled Where we stand, focused on the role of Mediterranean forests within the context of global commitments. The take-home messages of this session were:
- Although threatened by drivers of degradation, forests are a natural capital for the Mediterranean region;
- The Paris Agreement has been ratified in 88% of Med countries and 76% of the NDC include the land use (LU) sector. However, the contribution of the forest sector to the NDC targets should be further clarified and enhanced.
- Eleven Mediterranean countries have already engaged in the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Target Setting Process; six have set their LDN targets and five engaged in the Drought Initiative of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Achieving LDN and increasing drought preparedness will contribute to increase resilience to climate change in the Mediterranean.
Session 2, entitled Forest-based solutions to adapt the economic sector and people to climate change at landscape level, focused on showing the ways in which forests may be an asset when facing the challenges of today and tomorrow. The main messages of this session were:
- There is a strong need to increase the recognition of the role of Mediterranean forests for water security (quality and quantity);
- 70% of population will live in cities in the next decades. It is important to reconsider the role forests may have in mitigating climate change – in urban and per-urban areas.
- The concept of landscape management is key to implement and adequately improve local development;
- The integrated forest management has to include all goods and services provided by Mediterranean forest ecosystems and is essential to adapt the economic sector and people to climate change.
Session 3 entitled Creating value for nature and people with NWFP. Participatory approaches, focused on exchanging views of successful approaches to participatory approaches, social innovation and entrepreneurship in relation to Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs). The most important messages of this session were:
- Successful approaches to participatory approaches, social innovation and entrepreneurship in relation to NWFPs are already existent and related achievements include enhanced regulatory frameworks, strategies for management and valorization, partnerships, financial mechanisms for supporting SME, and technical cooperation. Challenges still exist and consist of the need to strengthen the regulatory framework, consolidate sustainable management, fill in the knowledge gap, and make NWFP contribute to the population wellbeing;
- When the participatory approach is supported by an appropriate legal framework, the collaboration of local communities may boost the socio-economic conditions for the youth, preserve traditional knowledge, and even restore forest ecosystems;
- In the NWFP sector different countries share the same problems. We must gather together to share the knowledge of those countries that have found a solution and help them to improve their conditions.
Session 4 entitled Enabling condition – monitoring, focused on showing that different monitoring systems are vital to implement results-based mechanisms and to promote integration while avoiding duplication. The take-home messages of this session were:
- Monitoring systems are essential to prioritize forest based solutions;
- Forest monitoring systems can provide tools to report to the three UN conventions, while defining national priorities, and influencing management decisions;
- Current existing tools allow to reduce effort for reporting to different international frameworks (LDN, FRA, SDG…), but further synergies at different levels of reporting are highly encouraged.
Session 5 entitled Scaling-up programs, climate financing and current opportunities, focused on sharing successful experiences in attracting funds for climate change and forest-based developed and implemented National Adaptation Plans. The main messages of this session were:
- Climate finance can stimulate a change in the financial systems that will result in benefits to local economic opportunities;
- Climate finance should be more consistent with the Paris agreement and provide support to low carbon and resilient development pathways;
- Maximization of the climate impact and its leverage can be enhanced by international finance institutions who are more committed on fighting climate change;
- Transforming financial systems for climate program, Reliable Data, is a must.
Regarding investments, the costs of the latter, and the deriving benefits, we have understood that very few projects have an estimation of costs and benefits.
Valentina Garavaglia - FAO