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Kyushu-Okinawa Summit 2000

Report on The Implementation of The G8 Action Programme on Forests

Okinawa, July 21, 2000

Progress Report
United States of America

Table of Contents
I. Introduction
II. Monitoring and Assessment
III. National Programs
IV. Protected Areas
V. Private Sector
VI. Illegal Logging/Trade
VII. Next Steps

I. Introduction

Heads of State or Government of eight major industrialized democracies (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States) and the President of the European Commission meet annually to discuss global political, economic and environmental issues. Recognizing the importance of forests in meeting the needs of people around the world and maintaining the planet's biodiversity and climatic health, G-8 Leaders at the Denver Summit in 1997 called for the development of a practical Action Program on Forests focusing on five areas: (1) monitoring and assessing the state of forests; (2) national programs for sustainable forest management; (3) protected areas; (4) role of the private sector and (5) illegal logging and illegal trade.

In May 1998 at the Birmingham Summit, the "G-8 Action Program on Forests" was launched by Foreign Ministers and endorsed by Leaders who asked for a progress report on implementation in 2000. The Action Program (see Annex) identifies activities the G-8 partners consider priorities for promoting forest conservation and sustainable management domestically and worldwide.

This report represents an initial response on US efforts to carry forward the actions outlined in the Action Program at home and abroad. It does not include all domestic and international programs and activities undertaken by government and non-government entities that are relevant to the five areas of the G-8 Action Program. The US report, together with other G-8 reports, will be included as an annex to a joint G-8 report submitted to Leaders at the Okinawa Summit in July 2000.

US Context. The United States is the fourth most forested country, with 8% or 300 million hectares (ha) of the world's forests. The US has a highly decentralized system of government and a mix of private and public forest land ownership. About 60% of US forests are privately owned by 11 million owners. The 50 states are individually responsible for guiding and regulating management of these private forests, as well as state-owned forests, which represent about 5% of US forests. The remaining 35% of forest land is publicly owned and managed by several agencies of the federal government, including the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Defense. Given decentralized forest regulation and extensive private ownership, the actions of state and local governments and many non-government parties (small non-industrial forest owners, industry, local communities, etc.) are the principal factors in how US forests are managed and in domestic progress towards forest conservation and sustainable management.

The United States has major forests interests at the international level. The US is the world's largest producer, consumer and trader in wood products, accounting for 15% of the international trade in forests products. Total domestic production, exports and imports are valued at about $150 billion annually. The US also provides substantial forest-related assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other federal agencies, as well as through contributions to international organizations and financial institutions, such as the World Bank, and innovative debt reduction initiatives. Several of the largest multinational forest and paper companies are US-owned, and many US-based environmental organizations and academic institutions undertake forest field activities and projects abroad.

The US Government is committed to the goal of forest conservation and sustainable management at home and abroad. The G-8 Forest Action Program, together with the Montreal Process on Criteria and Indicators (C&I) and the Proposals for Action of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF), as well as a number of national initiatives, provide an action-oriented policy and political framework for meeting this goal.

II. Monitoring and Assessment

A. Domestic Implementation of Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators

The US Forest Service - At the State level --

B. International Cooperation on Forest Assessments and Criteria and Indicators

C. International Cooperation on Fire and Remote Sensing

III. National Forest Programmes

Many of the domestic and international activities identified elsewhere in this report are relevant to improving "national programs for sustainable forest management" in the US and other countries. In addition:

IV. Protected Areas

V. Private Sector

Public-private partnerships are essential tools for sustainable forest management in the US and many other countries. The term "private sector" includes the range of NGO interests: environmental, business, labor, academic, philanthropic, forest owners. Many activities noted elsewhere in this report have involved NGOs. In addition:

-- AF&PA has opened participation in its SFI to non-members and is issuing licenses to, among others, local government and NGO forest owners (e.g. St Louis County, MN, The Conservation Fund) that agree to abide by SFI performance measures and reporting requirements, and has expanded the SFI to include a Voluntary Verification Process by which member companies/licensees may apply an internationally consistent verification approach to document and communicate their conformance with the SFI standard.

-- The International Wood Products Association (IWPA), which represents a number of importing and exporting companies, has established membership-approved voluntary Codes of Conduct similar to SFI for trade in wood products and forest management.

-- As a result of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)'s work with domestic industry and private landowners to develop regional standards and criteria for forest management, today about 179 companies throughout the US carry FSC chain-of-custody certification and 52 US forest management companies are FSC-certified.

-- The National Woodland Owners Association, representing thousands of small private forest owners, has developed and is implementing a "Green Tag Forestry Program" that certifies forest management of individual ownerships.

VI. Illegal Logging

VII. Next steps

The above actions reflect initial US efforts to carry forward the G-8 Action Program on Forests. Further work is needed in all five priority areas, particularly protected forest areas and illegal logging/trade. The role and contribution of the range of private sector interests, which are critical to improved forest management at home and abroad, also warrant greater attention.

The outcome of the Okinawa Summit in July 2000 will determine how the G-8 Action Program on Forests, which has only been in existence for less than two years, is continued as a G-8 initiative. The US strongly supports continuation of the Action Program, including a future review by Leaders on implementation. There is also value in considering a greater emphasis within the Action Program on collaborative efforts through which the G-8 can bring added value to existing endeavors to promote sustainable forest management.

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Source: The Government of Japan

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