Development of criteria and indicators in the Near East and North Africa region

Expert Consultation Meeting, 7-9 June 2015, Cairo, Egypt

Forestry and rangelands in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region play a crucial role in the societal development through their contribution to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects. The demand for forest and rangelands goods and services is increasing, while the resources are continuously diminishing and rapidly degrading. Forests and rangelands resources in the region are confronted with numerous challenges that threaten their abilities to provide the goods and services which are detriment to the livelihoods of the people. Reports suggest that human induced degradation in the region amounts to 30% of the total land area in North Africa and 38% in the Arabian Peninsula and that the number of endangered herbaceous and tree species are also growing as reflected in the IUCN Red List for endangered plant species.  Among the challenges that are linked with the degradation of the forest and rangelands resources are; population increase, urbanization, water scarcity, land use changes, climate change and above all the lack of sustainable management systems.

In response to these challenges FAO, through its Regional Office for the Near East and its Forestry Department in Rome, organized, in collaboration with IUCN Regional Office for West Asia and ICARDA, an expert consultation workshop on the development of C&Is for sustainable management of forests and rangelands in the NENA region. The overall goal of the meeting was to propose and elaborate a set of sustainability indicators for forests, rangelands and forest-like ecosystems for the NENA Region consistent with the current concerns of sustainable land management and land degradation neutrality, in line with the SDG 15 (Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss).

Objectives

The objective of the meeting was to discuss and reach consensus on the following issues:

  • Potential added value and concrete uses of a set of sustainability indicators for forests, rangelands and forest-like ecosystems for the Near-East and North Africa Region at local/communal, sub-national, national and regional levels (aid to decision-making tool, policy setting, conflict management, communication), and ways to disseminate and promote their use;
  • Clarify feasibility, possible objectives, principles and approaches for developing a common set of sustainability indicators for forests, rangelands and forest-like ecosystems for the Near-East and North Africa Region (based on a background note prepared prior to the meeting);
  • Agree on initial set of harmonized sustainability indicators for forests, rangelands and forest-like ecosystems (including oasis, mangroves, hima and other dry-land ecosystems) for the Near-East and North Africa Region at local/communal, sub-national, national and regional levels and discuss their potential added value and concrete uses;
  • Propose a work plan for the further development, presentation (e.g. FAO Regional Forest and Rangeland Commission, different other events and fora), adoption, promotion and dissemination;

Expected outputs

A joint statement on the potential added value and possible concrete uses, objectives, principles and approaches for developing a common set of sustainability indicators for forests, rangelands and forest-like ecosystems for the Near-East and North Africa Region

  • A draft set of sustainability indicators adapted to the Near East and North Africa Region and in line with the major challenges of sustainable forest and rangelands management (SFRM) and sustainable land management (SLM) in the region.
  • Proposed roadmap and recommendations for next steps for further development and strengthening of the use of sustainability indicators for forests and rangelands in the Near-East and North Africa Region

Participants

Participants of the meeting included 19 experts in the forestry, rangelands and land management from national development, research and educational institutions from NENA region and from regional and international organization active in forestry and rangelands development in the region.

Participants were invited to review the basic principles/guidelines/tools for sustainable forest/ rangelands/land management which were developed in the past by relevant organizations at global and regional levels and to reflect on their uses at national levels or indicate the reasons for why they were not adopted and used by their respective countries.

last updated:  Friday, February 3, 2017