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Development Account Projects

Strengthening national reporting in support of the implementation of the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests

Background:

Forests cover one third of the world's land area, constituting the largest terrestrial ecosystems. They provide a wide range of economic, social, cultural and environmental services. More than 1.6 billion people depend to varying degrees on forests for their livelihood, and use forest resources for fuel, timber, food, medicine and income. Finding ways to ensure that forests benefit present and future generations is the very essence of sustainable forest management.

In 2007, the adoption of the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests by the General Assembly1 reinforced the global commitment to sustainable forest management as the overarching principle for forest policy at both the national and international levels, and outlined future priorities in the form of the four Global Objectives on Forests. This Instrument is the culmination of 15 years of negotiation initiated at the Rio Conference in 1992 and is the first global agreement on sustainable forest management.

Monitoring and assessing progress towards implementation of the Instrument and achieving the four Global Objectives is a critical component of the work of the United Nations Forum on Forests. Countries have been requested to submit voluntary national progress reports as part of their regular reporting to the Forum. The multiyear programme of work of the United Nations Forum on Forests for 2007 to 2015 specifically states that each session will have as a main task the discussion on the achievement of the Global Objectives on Forests and the implementation of the Non- Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests. The successful implementation of the Instrument requires improved national reporting by countries to help to identify progress, achievements and needs, and to promote a more effective sharing of experiences and best practices.

An analysis of national reports provided to the Forum from 2002 to 2005 found these reports to be of limited utility in assessing progress in sustainable forest management. In general, a proportionately greater number of reports were submitted by developed countries as compared to those provided by developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Moreover, at various sessions of the Forum, developing countries have repeatedly expressed the need for financial and technical support to assist them in the preparation of country reports.

Objective:

To strengthen and support the capacity of countries, particularly developing countries and countries with economies in transition, in the preparation of national reports for the ninth and tenth sessions of the United Nations Forum on Forests in 2011 and 2013.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Increased awareness and understanding of the requirements related to the architecture and format for national reports for the United Nations Forum on Forests
  • Improved regional coordination in preparation of national reports and better sharing of experiences in best practices towards the achievement of sustainable forest management and the Global Objectives on Forests

Implementation status:

Highlights of the activities under this project commenced during the period 1 January 2011 – 31 December 2011 included:

  1. Completed consultancy service to prepare a background analytical paper on strengthening national reporting in support of the implementation of the forest instrument in July 2011.
  2. On 4 November 2011, completed background paper on strengthening national reporting in support of the implementation of the forest instrument with the purpose of providing an analysis of reporting trends to the United Nations Forum on Forests, taking into account challenges, obstacles, gaps identified and lessons learned, and from this analysis to identify elements for a draft reporting format for the tenth and eleventh sessions of the Forum.
  3. Conducted two (2) regional capacity building workshops for the Asia-Pacific Region in Bangkok, Thailand in October 2011 and for the African Region in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2011. The workshops were attended by 47 UNFF and The Global Forest Resources Assessment of FAO (FRA) focal points (including 9 female focal points). See Table 1 for workshops details.
  4. Started and made progress in developing a streamlined reporting format/template and guidelines for reporting to UNFF10 and UNFF11 based on contributions from participants on the proposed monitoring architecture for national reports.