United Nations
Commission on Sustainable Development

Programme of Work

                            ADVANCE UNEDITED TEXT

    Programme Element I.b of the Programme of Work of the Intergovernmental
                              Panel on Forests


                           Note from the Secretariat


      The implementation of the IPF proposals for action and the continued
international dialogue on forests in IFF were initiated after the
nineteenth special session of the United Nations General Assembly. These
parallel processes provide unique opportunities for monitoring reviewing
and reporting. This current Note covers these topics and identifies
opportunities to:

      (1)   Identify existing data and information sources relevant to
            management, conservation and sustainable development of all
            types of forest;
      (2)   Develop a framework for assessment in the long-term;
      (3)   Identify some parameters, associated with issues reflecting 
            the IPF/IFF programme of work, to discern progress, preferably
            ones that are measurable and already collected; and 
      (4)   Encourage and support ongoing efforts to create synergies and
            compatibility among a set of fairly fragmented data

      It should be recognised that any data collected by countries for
regional and global purposes will  have to have a tangible value at the
national level.  Consequently, monitoring, assessment and reporting
requirements at the regional or international levels need to be integrated
into national forest programmes and the development of criteria and
indicators for sustainable forest management.


                                                Paragraphs       Page
Executive Summary
      A.    Mandate
      B.    Scope
      A.    United Nations
      B.    Regional Organisations
      C.    Conventions
      D.    Non-Governmental Organisations
      E.    Commercial
      A.    Background
      B.    Possible Parameters
      C.    Possible Models

      A.    Assessment Parameters and Information Sources
      G.    Dissemination and Accessibility through the Internet


      The intergovernmental discussions on forests at United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) , Intergovernmental Panel
on Forests (IPF), and now the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF), as
well as other international discussions attest that forests are no longer
viewed from a purely conservationist, economic or industrial perspective. The
implementation of the agreements and recommendations stemming from these
processes will require concerted action and allocation of resources in the
short, medium and long-term.  The main tools and actors for this
implementation are primarily dealt with under Category I.a - facilitation and
promotion of implementation (E/CN.17/IFF/1998/?), as well as under Category
II.e - forest related work of international and regional organisations
(E/CN.17/IFF/1998/?). Both of these issues will receive substantive discussion
at the second session of the IFF.  With the recognition that forests provide
multiple benefits, have diverse constituencies and that trends and policies
in other sectors have an impact on the state of forests, as well as that
implementation of sustainable forest management requires divers tools and
actors, follows the need to assess progress towards sustainable forest
management and to base policies affecting forests on the best information
available.  It is fundamentally the need to assess progress at the national
level that will then drive and provide the basis for any assessment undertaken
at other levels of aggregation, i.e. regional and/or global.


      A     Mandate

      At its first session, the IFF decided that the work of its forthcoming
sessions should be conducted according to three interlinked categories, which
should receive balanced intergovernmental attention.

      The first of these three categories, entitled "promoting and
facilitating the implementation of the proposals for action of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IFF) and reviewing, monitoring and
reporting on progress in the management, conservation and sustainable
development of all types of forests", contains two elements: I.a and I.b.  The
focus of this Note is programme element I.b. The Secretary General's Report
on programme element I.a (E/CN.17/IFF/1998/?), deals with the facilitation and
promotion of implementation.

      At its first session, the Forum decided that programme element I.b would
receive background discussion at its second session. At its first session the
Forum also decided that the background and substantive discussions on
programme element I.b should be guided by the following mandate:

      Monitor progress in implementation.  Consider the mechanisms, process
      and format for reviewing, monitoring and reporting on progress; and
      assess progress in implementation, inter alia, by countries, United
      Nations agencies, other international organizations and major groups,
      including the private sector, and indigenous people, forest dwellers,
      forest owners and local communities.
      B.    Scope

      The purpose of this Note from the Secretariat is to assist the IFF in
its background discussion on mechanism, process and format for reviewing,
monitoring, reporting and to assess progress in the management, conservation
and sustainable development of all types of forests.   It is assumed that no
new reporting and/or data collection mechanism at the international level
would be initiated during the current IFF process.  Rather, a discussion could
be initiated on the form that such monitoring, reviewing and reporting could
take in the medium- and long-term, at the national, regional and global
levels, while taking advantage of already ongoing discussions within the UN
system on streamlining of reporting. Accordingly, the Note provides a short
review of some information sources for forest related data and information and
then suggests an approach to review how available data sources can be used and
integrated for intergovernmental assessment.


      In order to provide an initial overview of the mechanisms that are
available and could be used to analyse progress achieved in management,
conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, a few
examples and short descriptions of some forest-related information gathering
activities within the UN system and elsewhere are given below.

      A     United Nations

      There are a few organisations that gather forest related data and/or
information and to which countries and others, such as correspondents, report
periodically.  Most notable here is the FAO and the ECE as well as United
Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

            1.     The United Nations  Food and Agricultural Organisations

                   a.    Forest Resource Assessment

      The FAO collects information on different types of forest world-wide
from national focal points.   The scope is global and the data are collected
and published every ten years, with an up-date every five years.  This exercise
is also complemented by a capacity building and technical assistance programme
for national and regional forest assessment and information collection.  This
assessment is unique in that it collects national information for regional and
global aggregation, which is widely used all over the world.  The Forest Resource
Assessment 2000 is much wider in substantive scope than has been the case for
previous assessments.  It  not only includes forest cover but also requests
information on: biological diversity and protection status; wood supply and
carbon sequestration functions; forest condition; forest fires; non-wood goods
and services; and protective and socio-economic functions.

                   b.    Trade Data and Production Data

      Country level data on production, imports and exports of different wood
forest products, both in the form of value and volume, are also collected by
the FAO.  Its scope is global and is collected annually from national focal
points and designated correspondents.  This information is available on the
FAO WebPages though an interactive data base.

                   c.    Pulp and Paper Capacities Survey

      The FAO also collects data on pulp and paper production capacities,
organised by country and product.  The survey is based on information provided
by national focal points, correspondents and secretariat estimates.  This
annual survey is global in scope and includes five year projections.

                   d.    Forest Sector Financing and Investments

      The FAO collects data on ODA and other investment and financing data to
support its forest sector monitoring.  These data are periodically collected
through national focal points and correspondents.  The collection is global
in scope, and includes projections and FAO estimates.

                   e.    Monitoring of National Forest Programmes.

      The FAO is the repository for national forest programmes and monitors
implementation through FAO■s country and regional advisors in the field. 
Collection  and up-dating of this information takes place on a continuos

                   f.    State of the World's Forests

      The FAO started publishing this overarching report on the state of the
world's forest four years ago upon the recommendation of the "High Level
Advisory Group on  Forests" convened in 1994 to give advise on FAO's work on
forests.  This report is aimed at filling a very important gap of easy to
access and  understandable information on issues that affect forests, to be
used by the public, policy makers and others.  So far, two issues of this
report have been published, in 1995 and in 1997.  The next and third issue
will become available in 1999.

      The State of the World's Forests assesses information on forests
available to the FAO both in-house and from other sources.  It includes an
aggregated version of the latest data from the Forest Resource Assessment, as
well as on past and future trends. The latest issue had special sections
giving regional perspectives on the state of forests.  The two issues, to-
date, have included chapters highlighting policy developments relevant to
forest, both in the forest sector itself as well as in other sectors affecting
forest such as agriculture.  The reports have also covered such aspects as
economic and social development in the forest sector, and environmental
aspects such as conservation, and forests■ contribution to environmental
stability. In the foreword of the 1997 issue, FAO specifically states its
intentions to form partnerships with  those doing related work in order to
cast it nets wider and capture more information and data in order to present
a more complete picture of the world's forest.

            2.     United Nations Industrial Development Organisation

      UNIDO collects data on the manufacturing sector, including wood and pulp
and paper industries.  Their Industrial Statistics Yearbook contains information
on wood products, furniture and paper and paper products manufacturing, collected
from national sources as well as UNIDO's own estimates.  UNIDO also has a
Commodity Balance Statistics Database which contain data on different grades of
wood pulp, boards etc, traded as commodities.

            3.     United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

      The Economic Commission for Europe, ECE, in collaboration with FAO,
collects and repots on data for forests in Europe and North America.  These
data includes both forest quantity and quality.  ECE is, for example, the
repository for data on forests affected by pollution.  It also collects trade
and production data.  The ECE's work is used for the Forest Resource
Assessment, coordinated by the FAO.

       4.  United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

                   a.    United Nations Statistical Division

      In the United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD) work is progressing
in compiling environmental indicators from national statistical services based
on a core set of indicators, as approved by the Statistical Commission at its
28th session.  This division within DESA is also preparing a AManual on
Environmental Statistics and Indicators@.  This Manual will contain concepts,
definitions, classifications and descriptions of data sources, tabulations and
data uses for environmental indicators.  The UNSD also collects information
on fuelwood use as part of their energy statistics.

                   b.    National Reports

      The Division of Sustainable Development(DSD) is the repository for the
national reports on progress in implementing Agenda 21, in accordance with the
Commission on Sustainable Development■s (CSD) programme of work.  Countries
are requested to submit national reports each year on a voluntary basis,
focusing on the programme of work of the CSD of any particular year.  It has
requested information on forests, twice, in 1995, when Chapter 11 and the
Forest Principles were on the CSD■s agenda, and in 1997 for the country
profiles presented at the 19th special session of the UN General Assembly. 
It will request information on forests again for the eighth session of the CSD
in the year 2000, when forest will be on the agenda.

                   c.    Work Programme on Indicators of Sustainable
                         Development and the International Work Programme on
                         Changing Consumption and Production Patterns

      The Division for Sustainable Development is responsible for the Work
Programme on Indicators of Sustainable Development.  This ongoing work
programme has developed a working list of indicators of sustainable
development divided into four categories social, economic, environmental and
institutional.  Three types of indicators have then been identified for each
category: driving force indicators, state indicators and response indicators. 
 For Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 on Combatting deforestation, the driving force
indicator is - wood harvesting intensity; the state indicator is - forest area
change; and the response indicator is - managed forest area ratio, and
protected forest area as percent of total forest area.

      Within the DSD and under the work programme of the CSD, there is also
on going work on measuring critical trends in consumption and production
patterns, in the IWPCCPP.  The current challenge of this work programme is to
identify a provisional core set of indicators.   In monitoring the
sustainability of land use this programme has proposed a set of indicators
involving forests.  For example: land use per sector, per capita and/or as
percent of total land area; land use change per sector as percent change over
unit of time; change in land condition; as well as subsidies for agricultural
inputs - as a percentage of their price, among others.

            5.     United Nations Environment Programme

      The United Nations Environment Programme UNEP has collected country
studies on biodiversity which to a large extent should be relevant to forests. 
It also has the Global Resource Information Database (GRID) Meta Directory,
the Infoterra data base and a data base on environment economics, containing
mostly publications.  It has also produced the Global Biodiversity Assessment,
Environmental Data Report, Global Outlook and the World Atlas of

            6.     United Nations Development Programme

      The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organised and convened
an expert meeting on synergies in national implementation of the Rio
agreements, i.e. the Forest Principles, CBD, Convention on Combatting
Desertification (CCD), and FCCC, in March 1997 in Israel.   Among the topics
that were raised at this meeting, was the issues of information, monitoring
and reporting.  The meeting concluded that there were three areas of physical
overlap among the agreements, among them the role of forest.  It was
recommended that a core data set on forest type and extent, serves the need
for forest background information for each of the instruments.  In addition,
modifications to forest inventory methods by including data of interest to
other instruments and the development of common definitions of terms and
indicators could go a long way in creating the necessary synergies and avoid
duplication of data collection.  This meeting also identified a set of forest
-related information needs common to most of the instruments, which included: 
forest area/extent; forest type; species composition; distribution by zone
(altitude, climate); status of naturalness; forest condition and health;
common flora and fauna; forest density; forest age structure; regeneration
type and rate; deforestation (area by type); afforestation (area , by type);
timber use and fate; site location (elevation, slope, aspect); growing
stock/biomass; and canopy information. 

      B.    Regional Organisations

            1.     Southern Africa Development Co-operation - SADC

      The SADC Forestry Sector Technical Coordination Unit, located in
Malawi, collects data on the regions forest resources and utilization.  These
data are made available on the Internet in the form of searchable databases. 
The databases are divided into six categories: Human Resources, Education and
Training; Forest Resources; Basic Data, includes economic indicators, donors
active in forests in the region and non-governmental organisations; Forest
Research; Forest Utilization; and Forest Economics.

            2.     Association of South East Asian Nations - ASEAN

      The ASEAN Institute of Forest Management (AIFM), located in Malaysia,
has a Resource Inventory Section.  This section develops resource inventory
and monitoring techniques of forest resources in the region.  This institute
also provides technical advise and training as well as develops standard
multiple resource inventory methodologies.

      C.    International Conventions and Agreements

            1.     Framework Convention on Climate Change

      The COPs of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, FCCC, report on
both amount of carbon stored in forests and on emissions of carbon resulting
from land use changes, for example  through harvesting and deforestation.

            2.     Convention on Biological Diversity

      Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity have submitted their
first national reports on measures taken for the implementation of the
provisions of the Convention. In accordance with decisions of the Conference
of the Parties, these reports focused on the implementation of Article 6 of
the Convention, concerning the development of national biodiversity strategies
and action plans and the integration of biological diversity conservation and
sustainable use into sectoral and cross-sectoral planning and policy. The
fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (held in Bratislava, Slovakia
in May 1998) considered a synthesis of the information contained in the 107
reports so far received. The Conference of the Parties adopted a further
decision on national reports (decision IV/14), as well as a decision on forest
biological diversity (decision IV/7).

            3.     Convention on Combatting Desertification

      UNEP produced the World Atlas on Desertification, inter-alia, as a
contribution to the Convention on Combatting Desertification. Data on climate,
soil degradation and vegetation were combined and analysed using geographical
information systems.  This Atlas provides a valuable reference point for
future monitoring, assessment and reporting within the Convention. 

            4.     International Tropical Timber Agreement

      The International Tropical Timber Organisation collects data related to
market and trade information  of tropical timbers, such as production, import,
export and log prices.  It also inquires about topics such as tariffs ,
incentives, disincentives that could affect trade.  ITTO also collects data
on species composition and the use of lesser used species in trade, capacities
in forest products industries, as well as general market situation for tropical
timber such as housing starts etc The ITTA also has several projects for
assisting parties in data collection and gathering of market information..

      D.    Non-Governmental Organisations

            1.     World Conservation Monitoring Centre - WCMS

      The WCMC together with Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR)
has recently produced a significant amount of data and analysis on the protection
status of the world's forests.  These include data on forest location, by type,
and the amount of each type protected in each region of the world and can be
easily accessed through WCMC■s WebPages.

            2.     World Resources Institute, WRI

      WRI, in its publication World Resources presents data on forests cover
, deforestation etc, mainly using data from the FAO. In the 1996-97 issue of
this publication WRI estimated, based on FAO deforestation data, CO2 emissions
from other than industrial processes, including those stemming from land-use
change.  WRI provides independent analysis, conclusions and recommendations
on resource use as a whole, including forest lands.

      E.    Commercial

      Several private companies collect and analyse data for a fee.  These
companies focus particularly on the forest and forest products industry.  For
example: AThe 1997 Southern Hemisphere Forest Industry Yearbook@ publishes
data on afforestation, wood flows, pulp and paper, solid wood manufacturing
and panels and boards for Chile, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Brazil,
Uruguay and Argentina.  Some financial and marketing data can also be found
on the Internet. In some case there are links to stock and other exchange
market information on traded forest products and pulp and paper or wood
related firms, options, futures, funds and indices. Many of these are updated
on a daily basis.


      A.    Background 

      The Forum recognised the need to clarify the approaches towards
measuring progress in management, conservation and sustainable development of
all types of forests in a systematic and co-ordinated fashion.  At all levels,
many of  the existing data and information sources are fragmented, both
subject wise as well as in terms of location of the repository.  This might
not necessarily pose a problem as data on specific topics, for example, forest
biodiversity or forest investments ought to be collected, with a comparative
advantage, by an organisation that is directly concerned with the topic and
possesses relevant expertise.

      Many reports are available on issues that have an impact on forests.
However, they are not necessarily produced with forests as a primary focus. 
Much of the data involved do have relevance to forests, but their analysis,
review and reporting might not specifically deal with forests .  There are
relatively few examples of integrated analysis, interpretation and reporting
on forests.  One notable exception is the recently launched report on the -
State of the World's Forests■, published biannually by the United Nations Food
and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

      To design the structure and operationalise a mechanism, process and
format for reviewing, monitoring, reporting and assessing progress takes
several years.  Therefore, for the third session of the Forum quantitative
information is not expected to be available to permit an assessment of
progress in the management, conservation and sustainable development of all
types of forests since the formulation of IPF■s proposals for action, little
over a year ago.  Nor is it envisaged that available information will show
that the IPF■s proposals for action have had any discernible impact on the
actual bio-physical state of the world■s forests.  Very few, if any, of the
IPF■s proposals for action entailed any specific target against which
countries could easily measure progress.  Most of the proposals for action
urge countries, major groups and international organisations to promote the
application of certain guidelines, principles and/or agreed concepts in
formulating and developing strategies for forests and forest related issues. 
It is important to note, however, that a large number of national, regional
and international initiatives have been launched by countries, international
organisations and major groups; these are described  in Secretary-General■s
Report on programme element I.a (E/CN.17/IFF/1998/??).

      B     Possible Parameters

      Regardless of level, i.e. national, regional and/or global , it would
be important to decide at the onset what needs to be measured and assessed,
as well as the level of accuracy needed.  The parameters against which
progress can be assessed should ideally be simple, collected periodically and
allow meaningful and insightful policy analyses and assessments.

            a)     Link Between Indicators and Assessment

      The Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, in its fourth report
(E/CN.17/IFF/1997/12), concluded, inter alia, that forests is a cross-sectoral
issue, and that there is a need for a broad spectrum of quantitative,
qualitative and descriptive indicators covering social, cultural, economic,
ecological, institutional, and legal and policy elements.  While the Panel had
divergent views on the merits of a core set of criteria and indicators for use
at the global level, they recognised that the dialogue should continue in
order to improve consistency in reporting on forest assessment and sustainable
forest management.  For example, the Group of 8 (G8) industrialised countries
at its summit in Birmingham, UK in 1998, also acknowledged that criteria and
indicators provide common framework for describing, monitoring and assessing,
over time, progress towards sustainable forest management.  The link between
the national level and the FAO■s global forest resources assessment is
important in providing consistent, reliable and compatible forest data on a
global basis.

      In due course, a harmonised and compatible core set of criteria and
indicators might become a useful tool available to decision makers at all
levels in the forest sector.  The lack of a core set of criteria and
indicators does not deter from the fact that: there are collections of forest-
related data, that have national, regional or global scope, and that have been
collected over a period of time that could be used to discern progress.  A
positive aspect of the ongoing criteria and indicator processes is that data
and information needs are identified primarily for their value to national

      Over the long-term the criteria and indicator processes will provide not
only invaluable and finely tuned instruments for national and sub-national
level efforts but also for international level assessments.  The IFF, as a
policy forum,  presumably would not need, nor want, to examine the same level
of detail as, for example, a scientist or other professionals involved in
sustainable forest management at the national, sub-national and forest
management unit level.  In contrast to most national level efforts, the IFF
may wish to consider elements of a framework that can be used as a broad and
simple diagnostic tool for assessing progress, preferably by using already
available highly aggregated data and parameters and mechanisms.

            b)     Framework.

      Whatever parameters one chooses to use, it is obvious that the level of
economic development, type and amount of forest in a particular country as
well as social conditions, will determine in what areas, and at what pace,
progress can be achieved and measured at a particular point in time. Progress
in individual parameters used to assess management, conservation and
sustainable development of all types of forests will not be even at all times,
neither globally, nor regionally, nor at the country level.

      It would be preferable to review progress that takes into account both
development level and extent of forests cover of countries. One possibility
would be to review and assess progress within the typology of countries with:
1)  low per-capita income and low per-capita forest cover; 2)  low per-capita
income and high per-capita forest cover; 3)  high per-capita income and low
per-capita forest cover; and 4)  high per-capita income and high per-capita
forest cover.

      This kind of approach could possibly identify: (a) commonalties among
countries facing similar priority areas of concern as well as (b) the
parameters, (c) factors and (d) interventions in forest related policies and
sectors that have been critical in the past and possible lessons that can be

      The Forum may wish to identify a framework and broad areas for
monitoring, reviewing and reporting. This framework could encompass: levels
of economic and social development and environmental protection, and/or
management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forest;
or a mix of both.  Organisation of the data at the national , regional /eco-
regional and global levels would provide additional valuable perspectives. 
Reaching a consensus on how to array the many core issues on the IPF/IFF■s
agendas, either for the purpose of monitoring, reviewing and reporting or to
identify possible elements, is a critical task for the Forum.

      It is proposed that the Forum consider to cluster a set of parameters,
associated with issues that  reflect the IPF/IFF programme of work, into the
following categories: (1) economic development, (2) social development, and
(3) environmental protection /ecological considerations, in addition to a
component of (4) institutions and policy instruments.  This approach is
consistent with the frameworks followed by most criteria and indicator
processes and the conclusions and proposals for action by the IPF.

      In order to assist monitoring at the global level the Forum may also
wish to identify, within this framework, a number of parameters associated
with the following:

1.   Economic Development
-    Supply and demand of wood and non-wood forest products and services
-    Value of international co-operation
-    Value of forest and forest products industry investments
-    Value of international trade in forest products and services 

2.   Social Development
-    State and level of forest-related education and training
-    Forest ownership and user-rights patterns.
-    State and level forest related employment
-    Level of participation by local populations in decision making, resources 
     management, and benefit sharing.

3.   Environmental Protection
-    Forest cover, changes; quantity and quality
-    Level of forest conservation and protection
-    State of forest services: biodiversity, carbon sinks/reservoirs, soil and 

4.   Institutions and Policy Instruments
-    National forest programmes: implementation
-    Criteria and indicators: implementation
-    Forest assessments: implementation
-    Economic instruments and tax policies: implementation

      C.    Possible Models

      Within the overall framework of national forest programmes, a possible
model could be designed with the objective of achieving as integrated and
cross-sectoral assessment of progress in the management, conservation and
sustainable development of all types of forests. The Forum has decided that
such a model should contain monitoring, reviewing, reporting, and assessment
for policy making.  National, regional  and international policy and decision-
makers could then decide on further actions needed.  Even if such a framework
would consist of already existing mechanisms, additional support at the
national, regional and global levels would be necessary.  The examples given
in the following sections are mostly from the global or regional levels but
the components for monitoring and reviewing and reporting, outlined below, 
would also be applicable at the national level.

            1.     Monitoring

                   a): Collection of Data and Information

      Data and information collection is undertaken in many forms, for example:
voluntary, such as national reporting to the Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD); obligatory, such as national reports under the Convention
on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Framework Convention on Climate Change
( FCCC); and global and/or regional, such as the forest assessment collected
by the FAO and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

      Data and information can be obtained through, for example: national
reports to a central body; questionnaires; country visits, for example -
"twinning", as in the OECD; hearings, for example the by World Commission on
Forest Sustainable Development (WCFSD); monitoring networks and/or remote
sensing; and national focal points or independent correspondents, for example
data collected by the FAO for its forest resource assessments and UNIDO for
its industrial statistics data base.

                   b)    Data Organisation

      The value of data lies in the manner it is organised. In the forest
sector, it could be by: the Forest Principles or the IPF/IFF programme
elements; by factors concerning economic, social, environmental/biophysical,
and institutional/policy issues; predetermined priority areas; political or
ecological regions; forest type, and by the state of development.

            3.     Reviewing

                   a)    Analysis and Interpretation

      The review, analysis and interpretation of the data is usually
accomplished by the collecting or monitoring agency, and/or by another
designated agency, and/or by independent experts, international organisations,
non-governmental organisations, academia, etc.  In some cases the review and
analysis are made with a specific mandate stemming from an intergovernmental
body, instrument or governing bodies.  Transparency and accessibility of data
and information is important, so that to as many actors as possible can draw
their own conclusions from the best available information.

            4.     Reporting 

                   a)    Presentation and Dissemination

      All UN organisations report periodically to their governing bodies and
some of these reports are relevant for monitoring forest-related issues. These
bodies often review policies and measures undertaken by governments,
international organisations and major groups.  For example, in FAO, the
Committee on Forestry (COFO), meets every two years;  the governing body of
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) meets every year and may or may
not consider forest-related issues depending on its agenda;  International
Tropical Timber Organisation■s (ITTO) governing body the International
Tropical Timber Council meets every year; and the CSD meets every year and the
practice has been to consider forest issues every three to five years. 

            5.     Assessment for Policy and Decision Making

      Assessments for policy and decision making take place in various
national and international processes.  It can be accomplished through a
parliamentary or intergovernmental body or, for example the Conference of the
Parties (COP) of a regional or international instrument.  Assessments are also
carried out through independent expert panels, such as the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and/or by individual experts, national and
international organisations, major groups, and academia. 

      None of the above examples are necessarily mutually exclusive they could
be a part of any integrated national, regional or global effort.  A more
detailed description of various existing mechanisms for reviewing and
reporting, primarily in the UN system but also within such organisations as
the OECD and the EU, is presented in the Secretary Generals Report on -
Modalities for the Exchange of National Experiences at the Regional Level■,
prepared for the sixth session of the CSD (E/CN.17/1998/9).

            6.     Streamlining of Reporting

      The Commission on Sustainable Development, in its early deliberations,
considered the need for streamlining reporting requirements in the field of
sustainable development. This concern was largely driven by two
considerations: one, the increasing number of international legal agreements
and intergovernmental decisions that were calling for national reporting on
issues of relevance to sustainable development; and, two, the cross-sectoral
nature of sustainable development itself.  Following a decision by the CSD,
the Division for Sustainable Development prepared a four-year calendar which
reflects the periodicity, scheduling and focus of these reporting requirements
across the UN System, as well as the Conventions.

      In a consultative meeting of the Inter-agency Committee on Sustainable
Development the possibility of adopting a common format or even a single
format for requesting information for Governments was discussed.  However, it
was felt that this would not be feasible for the following reasons: 1)
mandated requests for information vary in their timing, periodicity and scope;
2) they are addressed to very different clientele at the national level (e.g.,
most intergovernmental bodies have designated specific national focal points
as their interlocutors); and 3) the kind of information ranges, e.g.,  from
statistical to assessment to experiential.  It was agreed that information
relevant to the issues contained in Agenda 21 should be requested in such a
manner that Governments would not be asked to provide the same information to
more than one UN organization.  This presupposes that organizations review
what is available "in-house" and ensure that they make -value added■ requests;
and, that the information is made fully accessible, preferably via the World
Wide Web.  This is, in fact, one of the major intended purposes of the UN
System-wide Sustainable Development Web Site.


      A.    Assessment and Information 

      Using the framework suggested in Chapter IV Section B, the following
matrix is proposed using some of the descriptions of information sources
above.  This matrix could give an indication of how these information sources
fit into the suggested general framework.

                                   INFORMATION SOURCES

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT      FAO:  Supply and Demand Surveys, Pulp and Paper  
                                Capacity, Trade and Production, Forest Sector
                                Financing and Investments, FRA 2000

                          ITTO: Pricing and trade data of tropical timbers.

                          UNIDO: Forest products manufacturing sector data.

                          WORLD BANK: Valuation, IFC forest products industry 
                                      investment data

                          Various commercial information sources.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT        FAO: FRA 2000; State of the World's Forests; capacity 
                               building data.

                          UNIDO: employment data

ENVIRONMENT/BIOPHYSICAL   FAO: FRA 2000, agricultural land expansion, 
                               deforestation data;

                          WCMC/CIFOR/UNEP: Protected areas; 

                          CBD: National Reports

                          UNEP: Biodiversity country studies, Global Biodiversity 
                                Assessment, Environment Data Report

                          UNECE: polluted forest area data 

                          FCCC & WRI: carbon storage and sink data

INSTITUTIONS AND POLICY INSTRUMENTS    FAO: National forest programme collection; 
                                            Research institutions; Criteria and 
                                            indicator processes; FRA 2000,  
                                            Certification schemes

OVERARCHING REVIEW          FAO: State of the World■s Forests

      B.    Dissemination and Accessibility Through the Internet

      Modern information media such as the worlwideweb provides for many
interesting opportunities in accessibility and dissemination of information. 
One collaborative task for the ITFF member organisation as well as other
partners could be to make their forest related data collections available on
the Internet.  To some degree this is already available, albeit not in a
collective fashion.  A proposal for action related to this issue is presented
in Secretary-General's Report on II.e, "Forest-related work of international
and regional organisations".

      A notable emerging initiative is the consortium formed among
International Union for forest Research Organisations (IUFRO), Centre for
International Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Conservation Monitoring Centre
(WCMC), World Forest Institute (WFI), FAO, Oxford Forest Institute (OFI) and
European Forest Institute (EFI).  These organisations are discussing methods
to increase accessibility of good, timely, and reliable data on forests and
their utilisation. A number of options are being explored including better
synchronised connections on the Internet , more access at each institutions,
new investments in capability in developing countries and regional information


      For its background discussion at the second session, the IFF may wish
to consider the following five points:

      1) Not enough time will have passed to discern concrete progress since
      the formulation of the IPF■s proposals for action.  Several initatives
      have, however, recently been launched in response to the IPF, see
      Secretary-General■s Report for programme element I.a
      (E/CN.17/IFF/1998/??) ;
      2) a process should be designed primarily to benefit and support country
      level efforts and enable regional and/or global level integration;
      3) the design of a framework that would enable monitoring, reviewing and
      reporting on the management, conservation and sustainable development
      of all types of forests in the long term using available and compatible
      data sources;
      4) parameters associated with economic, social, environmental and
      institutional aspects, which would recognise different conditions around
      the world as well as acknowledge that progress for different parameters
      will be uneven globally among countries and locally within countries at
      different points in time; and
      5) the value of monitoring increases with time and integration.  There
      are several organisations that have collected data and information for
      a considerable time, synergies can be achieved through their
      collaboration and integrated analysis.

      The Secretary General's Report for programme element I.b for the third
session of the Forum will take into account the guidance received during the
background discussion at its second session. It will particularly take into
account comments on the critical parameters to assess sustainable forest
management and on already existing efforts towards integration of fragmented


1.  Synergies in National Implementation: The Rio Agreements; UNDP/Sustainable
Energy and Environment Division; 1997.

2. SADC Forestry Sector Technical Coordination Unit; <www.fstcu.org>

3.  ASEAN Institute of Forest Management; <www.jaring.my/aifm>

4.  UNCCD <www.unccd.ch/parti.html>

5.  World Conservation Monitoring Centre; <www.wcmc.org.uk/forest/data>

6.  Trade and Media Services Limited; <www.forestnet.com/journal/year>

7.  Directory of Forest Products, Wood Science, and Marketing Online 

8.  G8 Action Programme on Forests <http://birmingham.g8summit.gov.uk>

9.  <http://www.un.org/esa/agenda21/natlinfo/>


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Date last posted: 5 December 1999 15:45:34
Comments and suggestions: DESA/DSD