Collaborative Partnership on Forests

Indonesia ©FAO/Valerie Wayte

Members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests


One of a network of 16 Future Harvest centres located throughout the developing world and within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the  Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)'s mission is to contribute to the sustained well-being of people in developing countries, particularly in the tropics. It achieves this through collaborative, strategic and applied research and by promoting the transfer and adoption of appropriate new technologies and social systems for national development.

CIFOR has supported several UNFF elements and is the focal agency for:

  • forest-related scientific knowledge;
  • forest health and productivity;
  • criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management;
  • forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems;
  • rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands, and promotion of natural and planted forests.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the global, legally binding agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, opened for signature at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. Biological diversity - or biodiversity - means the variability among living organisms from all sources and includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. 

The CBD has three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity; the sustainable use of its components; and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources. The CBD Secretariat is the CPF focal point on forest biological diversity. Furthermore, the CBD supports several of the UNFF elements, in particular Traditional Forest Related Knowledge (TFRK), an issue for which the CBD Secretariat also serves as a CPF focal agency.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Because the trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation. Today, it has 183 Parties, and accords varying degrees of protection to more than 36,000 species of animals and plants.

CITES joined the Collaborative Partnership on Forests in 2018, reflecting the long-standing collaboration with the CPF membership, and the growing role of CITES in the management of economically valuable forest products such as timbers.

When CITES came into effect in 1975, it regulated international trade in 18 tree species. In recent years, Parties brought over 900 tree species under CITES trade controls, recognizing that CITES can effectively support  legal, sustainable and traceable trade in timber and other forest products. CITES has increasingly been involved in supporting sustainable forest management, and in halting loss of forest biodiversity by ensuring that international trade in wild species is conducted legally and at sustainable levels, and by combatting over-exploitation and illegal trade. CITES thereby contributes to several thematic areas for action of the United Nations strategic plan for forests 2017–2030 (UNSPF).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was founded in 1945 with a mandate to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve agricultural productivity, and to better the condition of rural populations. Today, FAO is one of the largest specialized agencies in the United Nations system and the lead agency for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development. An intergovernmental organization, FAO has 183 member countries plus one member organization, the European Community. 

FAO is the focal agency within CPF for:

  • formulation and implementation of national forest programmes;
  • forest health and productivity;
  • criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management;
  • monitoring, assessment and reporting and concepts, terminology and definitions; rehabilitation and restoration of
  • degraded lands and the promotion of natural and planted forests;
  • international cooperation in capacity-building and access to, and transfer of environmentally sound technologies to
  • support sustainable forest management.

The CPF is chaired by FAO.


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a family of funds dedicated to confronting biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, and strains on land and ocean health. Its grants, blended financing, and policy support helps developing countries address their biggest environmental priorities and adhere to international environmental conventions. Over the past three decades, the GEF has provided more than $22 billion and mobilized $120 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 national and regional projects.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is the world’s largest climate fund, mandated to support developing countries raise and realize their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) ambitions towards low-emissions, climate-resilient pathways. It was established as part of the financing mechanism of the UNFCCC and serves the historic Paris Agreement. Through its forest and land use result area and connected areas such as ecosystems and ecosystem services, GCF is among the world’s largest sources of international public financing for forests. With more than 200 accredited entities and delivery partners around the world, including many members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, it provides a variety of financial instruments including grants, equity, loans, results-based payments and guarantees with a focus on enhancing mitigation and adaptation across developing countries. 

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) is an intergovernmental organization promoting the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests and the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests.


  • Develops internationally agreed policy guidelines and norms to encourage sustainable forest management (SFM) and sustainable tropical timber industries and trade.
  • Assists tropical member countries to adapt such guidelines and norms to local circumstances and to implement them in the field through projects and other activities.
  • Collects, analyzes and disseminates data on the production and trade of tropical timber.
  • Promotes sustainable tropical timber supply chains.
  • Helps develop capacity in tropical forestry.

ITTO is an action and field-oriented organization with more than 30 years of experience. It has funded and assisted in the implementation of more than 1,200 projects and other activities addressing the many aspects of SFM, such as forest restoration; wood-use efficiency; the competitiveness of wood products; market intelligence and transparency in the tropical timber trade and tropical timber supply chains; forest law enforcement and governance; illegal logging; biodiversity conservation; climate-change mitigation and adaptation; the contributions of non-timber forest products and environmental services; and the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. ITTO’s membership represents about 90% of the global tropical timber trade and more than 80% of the world’s tropical forests.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was founded in 1948, brings together States, government agencies and a diverse range of non-governmental organizations in a unique world partnership: over 980 members in all, spread across some 140 countries.  IUCN's mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

Forests are an important ecosystem treated within the mission of the IUCN and it has identified itself as a collaborating agency on issues such as forest conservation and rehabilitation.

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is a non-profit, non-governmental international network of forest scientists, which promotes global cooperation in forest-related research and enhances the understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees. IUFRO is "the" global network for forest science cooperation.

The mission of IUFRO is to advance research excellence and knowledge sharing, and to foster the development of science-based solutions to forest-related challenges for the benefit of forests and people worldwide.

IUFRO’s activities are organized through its 280 specialized units in 9 permanent divisions, covering key forest research fields. IUFRO unites more than 15 000 scientists in about 650 Member Organizations in 125 countries. IUFRO leads and coordinates one joint initiative in the CPF, the Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP).

IUFRO also serves as the focal agency within CPF for forest-related scientific knowledge together with CIFOR and ICRAF.

The objective of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through National Action Programmes, which are long-term policy guidelines in this regard formulated by affected countries.

It entered into force in 1996 and its guiding principles are participation, partnership and decentralization. 

The participatory, bottom-up approach has ensured enduring and effective changes on the ground. By combating desertification, the Convention also aims to tackle poverty in and prevent forced migration from dryland rural areas. Desertification is a global problem that threatens the livelihood of over 1.2 billion people and affects more than 110 countries worldwide.

The preservation of forests is a crucial component of the Convention, as they are critical in preserving soil from wind and water erosion - which are among the primary causes of desertification. Afforestation and reforestation as means to rehabilitate degraded lands are an integral part of the work of the UNCCD. The UNCCD has therefore strengthened collaboration and coordination with UNFF and other CPF members.

UNCCD serves as focal agency, along with FAO and ICRAF, for rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands, and promotion of natural and planted forests.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN's global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. Present on the ground in 166 countries, UNDP works to help local partners develop solutions to global and national development challenges through development of local capacity.

 UNDP helps developing countries attract and use aid effectively. In all its activities, it encourages the protection of human rights and the impowerment of women.  Given important role forests play in poverty reduction and the environment, the UNDP has dedicated itself to the issue of promoting national public participation within the UNFF process, serving as the CPF focal agency on this topic.

UNDP focus has been helping countries build and share solutions to the challenges of:

  • Democratic governance
  • Poverty reduction
  • Crisis prevention and recovery
  • Energy and environment
  • Information and communications technology

The United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of the future generations.

Its present priorities include: environmental information, assessment and research, including environmental emergency response capacity and strengthening of early warning and assessment functions; enhanced coordination of environmental conventions and development of policy instruments; fresh water; technology transfer and industry; and support to Africa.

Within the CPF, UNEP is the focal agency for the issues of combating deforestation and forest degradation; forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems; and rehabilitation and conservation strategies for countries with low forest cover.

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The issue of forests has been a priority on the international policy and political agendas for the past 15 years. At the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development the forest issue was among the most controversial, polarizing developing and developed countries.

After the Rio Summit in 1992, the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF), from 1995-1997, and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) from 1997-2000, both under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, were the main intergovernmental fora for international forest policy development in the eight years.

The United Nations Forum on Forests was established by ECOSOCResolution/2000/35 as part of a new international arrangement on forests, to carry on the work of the IPF and IFF processes. The UNFF1 Report outlines the UNFF Plan of Action and Multi-Year Programme of Work. The UNFF and its member countries rely upon the Collaborative Partnership on Forests for much of the technical background, analysis and implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action.

The UN Forum on Forests Secretariat supports the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and provides secretariat services to the Partnership.


The overarching objective of the Convention and related legal instruments such as the Kyoto Protocol is to achieve:

"The stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner."

Forests play an important role in the climate system. They are a major reservoir of carbon, containing some 80% of all the carbon stored in land vegetation, and about 40% of the carbon residing in soils. Large quantities of carbon are emitted into the atmosphere through land-use change primarily in the tropics. Terrestrial ecosystems, such as temperate and boreal forests, approximately balance the emissions from land-use change in tropics. The Convention and the Kyoto Protocol recognise the role of forests as an option to mitigate climate change.

The World Agroforestry (ICRAF) is one of the 15 centres that are members of the CGIAR Consortium. The Centre focusses on increasing the use of trees on farms and in the landscape to improve food security, nutrition, income and health.

The Centre has developed three strategic goals for its programme of research for development impact.

  • Building livelihoods by generating knowledge, choice and opportunities.
  • Improving landscapes and their sustainability by better managing their complexity.
  • Transforming agroforestry impacts to large-scale through policies, innovation and partnerships.

ICRAF shares its expertise and aims for improved coordination with CPF members within the UNFF themes of: Forest-related scientific knowledge; and rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands, and the promotion of natural and planted forests.

Founded in 1944, the World Bank is one of the world's largest sources of development assistance. In Fiscal Year 2011, it provided US$43 billion in loans, credits and grants to reduce poverty in developing countries.

The World Bank's work in the forest sector is guided by its 2002 Forest Policy and Strategy, endorsed after an exhaustive two-year consultative process with stakeholders around the world. 

The strategy aims to:  

  • Harness the potential of forests to reduce poverty
  • Integrate forests into sustainable economic development
  • Protect vital local and global environmental services and values

Because the drivers of deforestation often lie outside the forest sector, the Bank Group seeks to work across sectors with partners (for example in agriculture, energy, water and mining), to define integrated, “climate-smart” solutions at the scale of entire landscapes.

The Bank also tries to leverage and blend different sources of financing to tip the balance in favor of sustainable practices. Jointly with other multilateral development banks, the World Bank serves as an implementing agency for the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Forest Investment Program (FIP) and the BioCarbon Fund. It also serves as the Trustee and Secretariat of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Through these partnerships,the Bank Group is exploring a wide range of opportunities to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and to conserve, sustainably manage and enhance forest carbon stocks.

The Bank’s reach is further amplified through the knowledge it shares with other stakeholders. The Program on Forests (PROFOR), a multidonor partnership housed at the Bank since 2002, has funded over 100 knowledge activities and published targeted analysis on a broad range of forest topics related to livelihoods, governance, financing and cross-sectoral issues.