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International Conference on the Contribution of Criteria and Indicators
for Sustainable Forest Management: The Way Forward
Guatemala City, Guatemala
3 - 7 February 2003


Objective 4: Contribution of criteria and indicators to the work of UNFF and to international initiatives on indicators related to sustainable development

Chairperson: Dr Ingwald Gschwandtl

Director of Forest Policy and Information

Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Austria

Rapporteur: Ms Tiina Vahanen, FAO

A. Introduction

The discussions held and the conclusions and recommendations produced by this Working Group are based on (1) the background discussion paper introduced in plenary by Dr Ewald Rametsteiner (Austria) and Mr Don Wijewardana (New Zealand) entitled "Key issues in the future development of international initiatives on forest related criteria and indicators for sustainable development".

B. Conclusions

1. There is a need to strengthen collaboration and coordination among the criteria and indicator processes, and between the forest and other sectors and international initiatives dealing with indicators.

2. Participants welcomed the establishment of the Task Force of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) on Streamlining Forest-related Reporting and its work towards harmonizing and reducing reporting, including facilitating easy access to national forest-related information through a web-based portal.

3. Participants noted that criteria and indicators have been acknowledged in the development of the Global Forest Resources Assessment (GFRA) coordinated by FAO. Information generated by the GFRA will facilitate the use of criteria and indicators in other national and international fora, including UNFF and multi-lateral environmental agreements.

4. National forest assessments, including national forest inventories, constitute a basic source of information on indicators for use at the national level. There is a potential to further develop national forest assessments to better respond to the needs expressed by national criteria and indicator processes.

5. Participants discussed the potential benefits of a common set of criteria, as outlined in the background documentation and which are based on existing sets of criteria elaborated by regional and international criteria and indicator processes, to facilitate the sharing of information on sustainable forest management.

6. Participants acknowledged the following thematic areas of sustainable forest management common to all regional and international criteria and indicator processes:

C. Recommendations

1. Countries should support the use of common thematic areas based on existing sets of criteria elaborated by regional and international criteria and indicator processes in the overall reporting framework of GFRA, ensuring that specific national or regional aspects are incorporated in the assessment process.

2. Countries, with the support of, e.g., FAO, should continue to develop cost-effective and policy relevant national forest assessments, based on criteria and indicators.

3. The CPF Task Force should take into account existing work on criteria and indicators in its streamlining efforts, make specific recommendations to governing bodies of respective CPF members, and invite representatives of criteria and indicator processes to participate in the work of the Task Force. In this context, the Task Force should also promote the use of forest criteria and indicators in other processes dealing with indicators.

4. Countries and processes should make use of existing mechanisms and fora, such as Regional Forestry Commissions, the CPF Task Force, existing expert groups, and others, to enhance collaboration and coordination among the criteria and indicator processes, including to fostering capacity building.

5. FAO and ITTO should convene an international expert consultation, including representatives of the criteria and indicator processes, member countries and international organizations and processes, to consider and make recommendations, including to UNFF, regarding:

5 MCPFE, Montreal Process and ATO include carbon cycle in this criterion.

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