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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Online consultation on the development of a Global Core Set (GCS) of forest-related indicators

Christopher Prins
Christopher PrinsFAO Forestry Department consultantSwitzerland

Dear Mr. Van Opzeeland and colleagues,

Thank you for your wide ranging, realistic and detailed comments.  I will do my best to cover all the questions you raise, in a summarised way.

  • It is indeed important to have indicators which are focused and clear as to their meaning (not too “diluted”).  In practice this is quite difficult, and our present set could certainly be improved.  I think the Global Core Set should be expressed in such a way that its meaning is evident, even to non-specialists (after all, policy makers are the primary audience!).  It will need explanatory notes, for those who have to work closely with it, notably data providers, but the indicators should be able to stand alone.  We have not yet started drafting a “narrative” (although it is implicit in many of the remarks in this online forum), but my personal view is that it should be simple and focused on why the indicators are needed, not on how they should be defined and collected.  The latter questions are, of course, essential, but should not conceal the broad intentions of the set.
  • I like your concept of setting in motion a process to bring up indicators which are not yet ready for the Global Core Set, so that they can “graduate” at some future time.  The Global Core Set will certainly have weak points (you mention some of them), but we should not accept this situation for ever.  Perhaps a short list of “candidate” indicators could be attached to the final set.  However the existence of such a candidate list should not be an excuse for avoiding important topics which must be in the Global Core Set itself.  Improving coverage of socio-economic indicators, biodiversity and payment for ecosystem services would figure prominently on that list.  We would certainly use the experience of the Montréal Process, and of the other regional sets in this process.

Reactions to some of your detailed comments:

#4  Another contributor suggested “Forest area designated and/or managed for protection of soil and water”.  I think that would address the issue you raise?

#6, 7 and 8  The notes should indeed make clear what types of policies and institutions are meant here, as well as the importance of “process”.  In fact experience with FRA 2015 on these topics seems to be quite positive.

#13 and 10.  I see traceability and certification as two sides of a coin, both the fight against illegal logging and increasing the share of products from sustainably managed forests – and being able to demonstrate that they do in fact come from sustainably managed forests.

#14 It is now clear that “health and vitality” should not be part of the indicator itself, and just confuses the topic.  It is already difficult enough to define and measure “disturbance”!

#18 Opinions appear divided on whether or not wood energy is inside the scope of SFM.  I am not sure myself which way to go.

#19 Agree that PES is not “ripe” yet.  Perhaps to include it in the list of “candidates”?

#21 Clearly data on carbon/GHG stocks and flows should be collected through UNFCCC which has well tested guidelines.  However is climate change mitigation through forests really outside the scope of a Global Core Set of forest related indicators?

Thank you for raising the question of finalising the Global Core Set.  I am not a part of the decision making bodies but, as I understand it, the idea is to have an open and participatory process of drawing up the Global Core Set, including the OLI and the online consultation, which will finish at the Expert Consultation in Joensuu, but not to have a formal negotiating process.  The final decision on the Global Core Set will be taken by the CPF, on the basis of the consultation process.  I do not think any decision has been made inside the CPF on how this will be done.  However, the CPF has been formally asked by UNFF12 to present the Global Core Set to UNFF13 next year, so countries will have a chance to comment then.

Thanks again

Kit Prins

Facilitator