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G8 Foreign Ministers Meetings

G8 Action Programme on Forests
9 May 1998

I. Introduction

1. Recognising the continuing pressure on the world's forests and the positive contribution that sustainable forest management can make to sustainable development, the G8 members at Denver reiterated their commitment to implement the proposals for action contained in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and agreed to support a practical action programme. The following elaborates such a Programme which reflects a political commitment and aims to complement the extensive range of actions currently being taken by the international community and various regional and international processes and to strengthen some activities G8 members have identified as issues of particular importance. The Programme focuses on domestic actions in the G8 member countries and areas where they can make unique contributions through their bilateral assistance programmes and through their support for intergovernmental processes. G8 members intend to follow up this action programme individually and/or co- operatively and to review and report on progress as appropriate to G8 summits.

II. Monitoring and Assessment

2. The G8 members participate in international processes within which national level criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management have been developed. These criteria and indicators are tools for monitoring and assessing national trends across land ownerships in forest conditions and forest management. As such, they provide a common framework for describing, monitoring and assessing, over time, progress towards sustainable forest management. The link between national level criteria and indicators and the Food and Agriculture Organisation's ongoing global forest resources assessment programme is also important in providing consistent, reliable and compatible forest data on a global basis.

3. The G8 members will:

III. National Forest Programmes

4. Countries have sovereignty over their own resources as set out in para 1 (a) of the Forest Principles adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1) and are responsible for achieving sustainable forest management. National forest programmes and other actions to promote sustainable forest management will contribute to national strategies for sustainable development, which the United Nations General Assembly Special Session called on all countries to formulate by 2002. They encompass a wide range of approaches to achieve sustainable forest management which reflect national circumstances including land ownership patterns and the fact that in many countries the responsibility for forest management is allocated among federal/national, state/provincial and local levels of government, as well as indigenous people. These programmes assess the environmental, social and economic values of forest resources, establish national priorities and identify specific steps to manage forests sustainably in a participatory and transparent manner.

5. The G-8 members will:

IV. Protected Areas

6. Forests contain 70% of the earth's terrestrial biodiversity and as such are among the world's richest and most diverse ecosystems. They also provide a wide range of ecological services and other values. There are, however, forests with important biodiversity or ecological values in danger of being lost or degraded which warrant special recognition through the establishment of protected forest areas intended to maintain such values. Given that protection is an important element of sustainable forest management, geographic networks of protected areas of representative forest ecosystems at a national, transnational and global level can contribute to protection and recognition of these forests. In this context, a better understanding of protected area management classification systems is needed.

7. The G-8 members will:

V. Private Sector

8. Sustainable forest management requires a range of partnerships to be successful and is not possible without the positive involvement and commitment of the private sector, which includes forest owners, forest industries, civil society, non-governmental and community-based organisations and indigenous people. In some countries the private sector is playing an increasing part in the management of forests. It is therefore vital that the private sector should make a greater contribution to securing sustainable forest management. It is the responsibility of each government to involve all private sector stakeholders in achieving sustainable forest management and encourage responsible private sector initiatives.

9. The G-8 members will:

VI. Illegal Logging

10. Illegal logging robs national and subnational governments, forest owners and local communities of significant revenues and benefits, damages forest ecosystems, distorts timber markets and forest resource assessments and acts as a disincentive to sustainable forest management. International trade in illegally harvested timber including transfer pricing, under invoicing and other illegal practices, exacerbates the problem of illegal logging. Better information on the extent of the problem is a prerequisite to developing practical and effective counter measures.

11. The G-8 members will:

1. Non-legally binding authoritative statement of principles for a global consensus on the management, conservation, and sustainable development of all types of forests. United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 1992. Back to text.

Source: Released at the Foreign Ministers Meeting, London, England, May 9, 1998

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