I. Executive Summary
At the G8 Birmingham Summit in 1998, Heads of State or Government of eight major industrialized democracies and the President of the European Commission announced that in the year 2000 they would assess progress on implementation of the newly launched G8 Action Programme on Forests, which focuses on five areas of particular importance: (1) monitoring and assessment; (2) national forest programmes; (3) protected areas; (4) private sector; and (5) illegal logging. The Action Programme 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.
This report, which will be considered at the Kyushu Okinawa Summit in July 2000, provides information on efforts made to date by G8 members domestically, internationally and collaboratively towards sustainable forest management. G8 activities since 1998 are diverse, reflecting the variety of their forest ecosystems, land ownership arrangements, administrative and governance structures, and international cooperation programmes, as well as G8 members' individual and collective leadership and endeavours with respect to forests. They also illustrate where the G8 members have capitalised on their strengths and worked cooperatively on a number of issues as opportunities arose, including in support of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF). This report highlights some significant activities, while a more detailed overview is provided in the individual progress reports attached as Annex A.
In the area of monitoring and assessment, the G8 members took a wide range of actions from launching a new national forest inventory system to establishing a public-private stakeholder process on implementation of criteria and indicators, adopting national guidelines to assess forest resources, developing a national climate change strategy that includes forest sector issues, as well as improving the comparability of national inventories in Europe. The G8 members hosted international meetings on criteria and indicators under the Montreal and Pan-European processes and established new cooperative forest fire management programmes with partner countries in Southeast Asia, the Amazon, the Mediterranean basin and Central America. The G8 members are also in the early stages of initiating a collaborative effort to assess the enhanced use of remote sensing as a tool to inventory, assess, monitor and manage forests.
With regard to national forest programmes, G8 members' actions taken include adopting strategic documents on forest conservation and use, establishing a new national forest programme, enacting new legislation either nationally or to reduce debt in return for tropical forest conservation, and producing major policy documents on promoting sustainable forest management. Bilateral and international cooperation were strengthened to support national forest programmes in Africa, Asia, Central and Latin America and the Near East. The G8 members also sponsored international initiatives and experts meetings related to national forest programmes to support the work of the IFF.
With respect to protected areas, the G8 members took actions such as designating a new national protected forest system to preserve wildlife and other values, announcing plans to close extensive areas of national forests to harvesting and road building, expanding in a significant fashion protected areas, and establishing a border park to protect significant boreal forests and a European network of protected areas. Cooperative work on forest protection in the Near East was expanded, and an international experts meeting on protected forest areas was co-sponsored to support the work of the IFF.
A number of G8 members' actions involved the private sector. These range from forming a national government-NGO coalition on new technology for forest industries to launching a public-private pilot project on sustainable forest management in Central Africa, creating a joint venture to restore Central American forests devastated by Hurricane Mitch, and announcing plans for a new fund to support private sector activities in East Asia. Further development was also seen domestically in voluntary certification schemes by the private sector, including NGOs, in voluntary codes of conduct by industry, in some cases with support from governments, through grants, studies and projects, as well as in assistance in aboriginal business development and local decision making.
In the area of illegal logging, the G8 members highlight a major review of the nature and extent of illegally harvested timber, new funding commitments to tackle this problem in partner countries particularly in Southeast Asia, as well as plans to host a regional conference on illegal logging and cross border trade. Funds were also provided through international organisations to improve statistics and economic information systems in tropical timber producing countries and increase market transparency.
The Action Programme on Forests launched two years ago represents the first consolidated experience for the G8 members in working together on the world's forests. It builds on individual G8 member's experiences and complements the extensive range of actions currently being taken by the international community in various regional and international processes. While the actions taken to date are important contributions towards sustainable forest management and in turn sustainable development, the G8 members recognise that further efforts are needed by all members to meet these ends.
Source: The Government of Japan
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