Issue #2

Newsletter Index page

WHAT'S IN THIS FIRST ISSUE:
Dear friends,

Dear readers and friends,

Thank you for taking the time to read this second edition of the Regional Voices newsletter.

Regional cooperation is a priority for many reasons. By working together as regions, as one voice, it makes it easier to generate political attention and support to the challenges that forest regions are facing. Only together, acting as one, can we make a difference and promote sustainable forest management around the world.

Regional Voices provides a platform for regions to share their experiences and lessons learned, and exchange case studies and success stories amongst one another, and with the United Nations Forum on Forests and policy makers.

In this edition, you will read about many encouraging developments. In Santiago, Chile, UNFF and FAO concluded their fifth and final capacity building workshop on strengthening national reporting in support of the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (forest instrument). The meetings gathered together 136 participants from 78 countries and five international organizations.

National and international stakeholders got together in Trinidad and Tobago to discuss how to improve forest financing in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The UNFF Secretariat organized the workshop in collaboration with the UNCCD Secretariat, UNEP and ECLAC.

You will also learn about the dialogue between stakeholders in Cameroon in building broader consensus for the recognition of the rights and improvement of the living conditions for local communities.

We will hear from the Amazonian Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), who have a project developing and implementing inclusive monitoring systems of the Amazonian forest cover, as well as strengthening the existing regional coordination framework of forest management.

You will have the opportunity to read about the joint session of the FAO European Forestry Commission and the ECE Timber Committee of discussions on forests in a green economy.

Finally, you will hear about the Second Mediterranean Forest Week, which addressed the role of forests for the sustainable development of Mediterranean territories and the impact of climate change on wildfire prevention strategies and key resources.

Dear readers and friends, as you can see we have a lot of encouraging developments in the regional/sub-regional forest arena. If you have comments, suggestions, stories or ideas please contact Mr. Mikko Kurppa at kurppa@un.org and include Ms. Miriam Danar, at danar@un.org in your emails. We look forward to hearing from you; your feedback is much appreciated.

With my warmest regards,
Jan McAlpine
Director, United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat




1 Unofficial translation: Network of Members of Parliaments for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa.

Capacity building meetings on strengthening national reporting in support of the implementation of the forest instrument brought together experts from 78 countries


The United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFFS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations organized five capacity building workshops on strengthening national reporting in support of the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (forest instrument). The workshops were aimed at developing countries and countries with economies in transition. One hundred and thirty six experts from 78 countries and five international organizations participated in the workshops which took in Bangkok, Thailand (October 2011), Nairobi, Kenya (December 2011), Accra, Ghana (February 2012), Beirut, Lebanon (April 2012), and Santiago, Chile (April 2012).

In 2007, all 192 member countries of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) succeeded in negotiating a forest instrument demonstrating global consensus to boost the implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM). Monitoring, assessing and reporting (MAR) on progress towards implementation of the forest instrument and its four Global Objectives on Forests are critical components of the UNFF.

The main objectives of the meetings were to enhance the participants’ understanding of the forest instrument and the importance of its implementation at the country level, to strengthen and support their capacity to conduct MAR required for the preparation of national reports, and contribute to the development of a new streamlined and simplified reporting facilitating voluntary national reporting to the UNFF10.
 
The discussions revealed that despite the adoption of the forest instrument in 2007 few developing countries stakeholders are aware of the instrument. Many countries are already implementing some of the policy measures adopted in the instrument, but without deliberately linking their activities to implementation of the forest instrument due to lack of sufficient knowledge of it.

The participants found the meetings helpful in demonstrating the importance of the forest instrument and the benefits it could create for their countries. The meetings were also helpful in clarifying for them the steps and actions that are needed to operationalize the instrument. The experiences of the pilot countries Ghana, Liberia, Nicaragua and the Philippines proved to be very valuable on how to implement the forest instrument.

See: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/forest-instrument-workshop.html
For information:
Ms. Njeri Kariuki
Programme Officer
United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat
Tel: 1 212 963 3080
Email: kariuki@un.org

SIDS Exchange on Forest Financing Experiences

From 23 to 27 April 2012, The UNFF Secretariat organized the first workshop on financing sustainable forest management in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, in collaboration with the UNCCD Secretariat, UNEP and ECLAC. The workshop brought together national and international stakeholders from 16 different countries on how to improve forest financing in SIDS – a group of countries which have suffered a particularly sharp decline in forest financing in the past two decades. What made it unique, however, was that it gave the opportunity for representatives of SIDS to meet from across the world, as participants flew in from as near as Cuba and Antigua and Barbuda, and as far as the Comoros, Nauru and Mauritius.

During the first day which consisted of a field trip, participants were given the opportunity to visit several examples of forest financing in Trinidad and Tobago, including a private forestry estate where sustainable logging and agroforestry practices were being implemented for the benefit of both forests and people; and the Nariva Wetlands Restoration Project – a prime example of the need for a landscape approach recognizing the connectivity between forests and surrounding ecosystems. During the remaining four days of the workshop, participants exchanged numerous experiences on forest financing, realizing that despite considerable geographical distances, they faced similar issues.

The case of turtle conservation is especially illustrative of the added value of the inter-regional character of this workshop. The island of Trinidad is home to the renowned Nature Seekers Turtle Conservation Programme, initiated over two decades ago, and which has not only reversed the dwindling number of turtles visiting Matura beach to lay their eggs, but has also substantially benefited local communities. First an ecotourism initiative, then a reforestation project in collaboration with the Forestry Division, it contributed to more sustainable management of both turtles and forests whilst providing villagers with income. This highly successful programme is now famous across the world, its founder Susan Lakhan-Baptiste, present at the workshop, having won a Global 500 award from UNEP and being nominated as a CNN hero in 2009.

While this provided a clear illustration of linkages between forests and other ecosystems (notably marine) and sectors (such as tourism), this story was particularly telling for the representatives of the Comoros. This small archipelago is also faced with the prospect of losing its population of green turtles from the island of Mohéli, and despite the long distance and cultural differences, Comorian participants were highly inspired by this example, determined to apply lessons learned in Trinidad to Mohéli.

The workshop ended on the high note of a reception held by the Honourable Mr Roodal Moonilal, Minister of Housing and Environment of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Participants went home with a set of concrete recommendations which will also feed into both UNFF and UNCCD processes, and in particular discussions to be held at UNFF10 in Istanbul in 2013.

See: http://www.un.org/esa/forests/facilitative-process.html
For information:
Mr. Benjamin Singer
Forest Affairs Officer
United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat
Tel: +1 917 367 5807
Email: singerb@un.org

The Dialogue Parliament-Government on the Problems of the Native Peoples in Cameroon

On the initiative of the “Réseau des parlementaires pour la gestion durable des écosystèmes forestiers d’Afrique Centrale” - REPAR1 -Cameroon, the First Dialogue of Parliament-Government on the problems of the Native Peoples in Cameroon was held on 1 and 2 September 2011. This dialogue, that gathered about one hundred participants representing the Members of Parliament, the Public Administrations, the Decentralized Territorial Communities, civil society, development partners, business, media and native populations of Cameroon, as well as important delegations coming from other countries and continents, was a unique opportunity to find widened consensus for the recognition of the rights and improvement of the living conditions of these populations. 

With the Dialogue taking place in a crucial moment, marked by the engagement of legislative reforms and the imminent implementation of considerable structural projects, the participants seized the occasion offered by this large forum to work out recommendations, with a view to support the legal recognition of the Native Peoples and the promotion of their specific rights. Among the strong actions considered is the ratification, as soon as possible, of ILO Convention 169 on the rights of the indigenous and tribal peoples and the development of a national policy on Native Peoples, as well as, above all, the adoption of legislation promoting and protecting their rights. Such a step will make it possible for Cameroon to be definitively aligned on the logic of the international and regional instruments governing these problems.

To ensure that those goals are effectively achieved, a follow-up multi-stakeholder committee, to be placed under the purview of the President of the National Assembly, is about to be established. Its mandate will be to follow up on the implementation of the recommendations. In this regard, it will most probably result in the creation of a national working group to facilitate the organization of the second edition of the Forum, which the Native Populations hope will be tripartite.


3 Unofficial translation: Network of Members of Parliaments for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa.
ACTO and the Amazonian forest

One of the strategic objectives of the Amazonian Cooperation Treaty Organization - ACTO - is the facilitation of exchange and cooperation among its Member States: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. With a view to achieve this, its Permanent Secretariat (PS) coordinates and executes programs and projects that foment actions for the conservation and sustainable use of the Amazonian forest. Thus, the project, "Monitoring of the Deforestation, Forest Use and Changes in the Use of Soil in the Pan-Amazonian Forest" aims at developing and implementing inclusive monitoring systems of the Amazonian forest cover, as well as strengthening the existing regional coordination framework of forest management.

The project has its origins in a joint regional effort of ACTO Member States formally started in 2005, to validate the "Tarapoto Criteria and Indicators for the Sustainability of the Amazonian Forest". As a result of this initial process, forest cover was identified as an essential element to address the following indicators: (a) extension of areas by type of forest; (b) rate of conversion of the forest; (c) proportion of areas of environmental protection in comparison with areas of permanent production, and (d) contribution to the conservation of the biological diversity. For this purpose, the Amazonian area of around 7.7 million square kilometres is taken as a geographic reference.

Moreover, the "Monitoring" project supports the Amazonian countries in the periodic analysis of information obtained through reliable regional deforestation and forest degradation estimates and historical series. With this purpose, the technological platform developed by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) based on free software (remote sensing with the use of satellites) will be used.

The project, with a two-year initial phase and cost of approximately six million three hundred thousand dollars, relies on, besides INPE, the support of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) of the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations and the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment. As far as financing goes, in addition to input from Member States and ACTO itself, there are also contributions from the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the German agency for development cooperation (BMZ/GIZ), and The Netherlands Development Cooperation (DGIS) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Brasilia, 2011

ECE /FAO Forestry and Timber Section actions during the International Year of Forests 2011

Joint Session of the FAO European Forestry Commission and the ECE Timber Committee (Antalya, Turkey, 10-14 October 2011)

The joint session of the FAO European Forestry Commission (EFC) and the ECE Timber Committee (TC), also called “Orman” 2011 (“Forest”, in Turkish) was held in Antalya, Turkey on 10-14 October 2011. Forest sector issues were discussed, notably, forests in a green economy.

Increasing expectations put unprecedented pressure on forests in the ECE region. Balancing climate change while protecting forest biodiversity, yet satisfying growing requirements for renewable energy and raw materials, is a challenge. The ECE/FAO Forest Communicators Network developed "take home messages" on "Forests in a Green Economy" and three priorities were identified:

  • Highlight forest benefits
  • Recognize low-carbon footprint of forest products
  • Develop green economy policies benefitting from forest-based measures

See: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=16262
For information:
Eve Charles
UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section
Phone: +41 (0)22 917 3922
Email: eve.charles@unece.org
Website: www.unece.org/forests
Forest policymakers at crossroads: ECE/FAO identifies scenarios for the future of European forests

The European Forest Sector Outlook Study II (EFSOS II), a very important and thought-provoking publication providing pictures of the consequences of today's policy choices for tomorrow’s forests, was released during Orman. The 27 Member States of the European Union, as well as Eastern and South-Eastern European nations were covered in the study.

Europeans expect much of their forests to meet increasing and sometimes conflicting demands. Policy-makers must balance biodiversity, the need to sequester carbon, a changing climate and opportunities for recreation, while also supplying wood for energy and raw materials.
See: http://live.unece.org/forests/outlook/welcome.html
For information:
David Ellul
UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section
Email: david.ellul@unece.org
Website: http://www.unece.org/forests
2011 ECE/FAO PhD Thesis Award winner

To further mark the celebration of the International Year of Forests 2011, the ECE and the FAO also held a PhD Thesis Award on Sustainable Forest Management in the UNECE region, sponsored by Pictet, one of Switzerland’s largest private banks, to promote scientific research for sustainable forest management.

Over thirty PhD theses were evaluated by a Panel led by Professor Paschalis from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland.

On 10 October 2011, the first winner, Ms. Hongyu Ding from University of Padova, was awarded USD10,000, which she is donating to Somalia, with her “Economic Assessment of Climate Change Impacts of Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Human Well-Being: An Application to European Forest Ecosystems”.

For information:

Elisa Asmelash
UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section
Phone: +41 (0)22 917 3296
Email: elisa.asmelash@unece.org

Second Mediterranean Forest Week addresses sustainable development and climate change

The Second Mediterranean Forest Week (II MFW), organized by the Mediterranean Regional Office of the European Forest Institute (EFIMED) and the Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions-Silva Mediterranea (FAO), with several other key partners was held 5–8 April 2011 in Avignon, France with the support of the Ministry for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Rural Policy and Local Development of France, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region and the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain. The event was included in the agenda of the International Year of Forests 2011, and participants comprised actors involved in the management of woodland ecosystems in the Mediterranean.

The Plenary and several parallel sessions addressed the role of forests for the sustainable development of Mediterranean territories and the impact of climate change on wildfire prevention strategies and key resources, such as water. During these sessions, a “Position Paper on Wildfire Prevention” in the Mediterranean was adopted by the main stakeholders involved in Forest Fires Management. This position paper was presented at the Fifth International Conference on Wildfires, held in South Africa in May 2011. Partners also approved a precise timetable for the extension of the European System of Information on Forest Fires (EFFIS) to Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia.

Among the sessions and meetings convened, we also have to highlight events on the following topics: Forest governance in the Mediterranean region, Water and forests interactions, and a scientific seminar entitled, “Biodiversity of Mediterranean forest ecosystems: changing the paradigm of conservation”.

Of course, during this II MFW, the Secretariat of the Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions-Silva Mediterranea also organized several statutory meetings and thematic sessions. The annual meeting of the Enlarged Executive Committee of Silva Mediterranea was co-chaired by the Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department, Mr. Eduardo Rojas-Briales and the current President of Silva Mediterranea, Mr. Spas Todorov, from Bulgaria. Three sessions on “Forests, societies and territories” promoted the exchange of cross-sectoral experiences of forest governance, and provided the following key recommendations:

    1. Improving the knowledge base on the territorial context, forest resources, services provided by woodland ecosystems, and the risks and opportunities, by including the «climate change» factor (impact, mitigation potential, adaptation options).
    2. Promoting inter-sectoral approaches and the inclusion of forest management within local projects for the long term.
    3. Bringing relevant local stakeholders into projects from the outset, particularly local decision-makers (political backing) and administration (consistency with existing activities and budgets, financial support).
    4. Defining the project area in compliance with the social, politico-administrative, geographical and ecological context.
    5. Devoting the necessary time and human and financial resources to the learning processes offered by territorial development operations, particularly in terms of running activities and communicating.
    6. Assessing the benefits rendered by woodland ecosystems and associated management costs. Identifying beneficiaries. Developing sustainable funding mechanisms.
    7. Developing, improving and adapting tools for collective approaches (including the use of prospective approaches), in order to facilitate the emergence of joint visions, strategies and programmes of action.
    8. Testing, assessing and developing instruments and measures (legal and economic) for the implementation of collectively adopted programmes of action.
    9. Developing and running networks for the effective sharing of experience between Mediterranean areas.
    10. Clarifying and enhancing the links between consultation and decision-making processes.

Mediterranean Forest Week, which was held for the first time in Antalya, Turkey in 2010, is a unique platform to improve dialogue among the Mediterranean forest research community, policy-makers and relevant stakeholders, and to communicate to the international community and society at large the relevance and challenges related to Mediterranean forests.

The Third Mediterranean Forest Week (III MFW) will be hosted by Algeria in 2013.
For further information on this event, see Newsletters of Silva Mediterranea on: http://www.fao.org/forestry/silvamed/en/ and www.efimed.efi.int/portal/events/mfw2011.