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Kyushu-Okinawa Summit 2000

Report on The Implementation of The G8 Action Programme on Forests

Okinawa, July 21, 2000

Annex B

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:
  • monitor and assess the state of their own forests using agreed national level criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management and make the results, including areas where additional information is needed, available to interested parties;
  • drawing on national level assessments, provide information and data to the Food and Agriculture Organisation's global forest resource assessments and particularly Forest Resource Assessment 2000;
  • work with partner countries to build national capacity to:
    • participate in regional criteria and indicator processes
    • develop and apply agreed criteria and indicators to monitor and assess the state of their own forests
    • develop national forest inventory and monitoring systems which take account of these criteria and indicators
    • improve scientific underpinning of the economic, social and environmental indicators of sustainable forest management;
  • improve access to remote sensing data and geographic information processing technologies, including geographical information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS), to groups and organisations with an interest;
  • exchange information and experience with partner countries on monitoring and responding to large scale disasters affecting forest ecosystems, such as forest fires.

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 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:
  • share their experience in developing and implementing their national programmes to promote sustainable forest management and encourage partner countries to develop their own national forest programmes;
  • focus technical and financial assistance on those partner countries which give priority to sustainable forest management in the programming of their overseas development assistance (ODA);
  • support partner countries in the elaboration and implementation of their national forest programmes, including by supporting new approaches, initiatives and partnerships that promote sustainable forest management;
  • work to improve a global understanding and recognition of the role of boreal and temperate forests as important carbon sinks, biodiversity reservoirs and sources of other goods and services, in support of national forest programmes and the sustainable management of these forests;
  • identify and support international initiatives which contribute to sustainable forest management, such as the pioneering work of the International Tropical Timber Organisation in respect of tropical forests to achieve the Year 2000 Objective;
  • further co-ordinate their in-country support to partner countries, within the framework of respective national forest programmes in support of the International Forum on Forests proposals for action, and urge international institutions, particularly the international financial institutions, to do likewise.

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:
  • work in domestic, regional and international fora, such as the Convention on Biodiversity and International Forum on Forests, to achieve a broad consensus on categories of protected areas, their management and the biodiversity and other ecological values and benefits they bring to key stakeholders, drawing on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature 'Protected Area Management Categories' and related Food and Agriculture Organisation and other classification systems;
  • on this basis, analyse and categorise their existing protected forest areas and identify their key forest types not sufficiently represented in the different categories of protection;
  • also, on this basis, encourage the achievement of a global assessment of the effectiveness of protected forest areas in maintaining forest biodiversity and ecological values in co-operation with relevant organisations;
  • work with partner countries to maintain and, where necessary, establish protected forest areas and associated networks, including border parks and other transnational and international initiatives, aimed at protecting important forest biodiversity and other ecological values, through for example innovative financial mechanisms, such as Joint Implementation, debt-for-nature swaps and public/private partnerships.

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:
  • encourage the private sector, particularly forest-related industries, to develop and apply voluntary codes of conduct that support sustainable forest management, both domestically and internationally;
  • further examine ways of promoting private investment and partnerships in sustainable forest management and the identification of innovative financing mechanisms to attract private sector finance;
  • encourage private voluntary market-based mechanisms that would support improved management practices in the forest sector;
  • share experiences with partner countries on ways in which they encourage the private sector to increase efficiencies and reduce waste in forest product processing and recycling;
  • assist partner countries to develop a regulatory institutional and economic framework which encourages responsible domestic and foreign private sector investment and practices.

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:
  • encourage the sharing of information and assessments on the nature and extent of international trade in illegally harvested timber as a basis for developing practical and effective counter measures;
  • identify and assist in implementing measures to improve economic information and market transparency regarding the international timber trade, including through International Forum on Forests and International Tropical Timber Organisation;
  • identify and assess the effectiveness of their internal measures to control illegal logging and international trade in illegally harvested timber and identify areas needing improvement;
  • take measures to implement their obligations under international agreements aimed at combating bribery and corruption in international business transactions as they pertain to trade in timber;
  • work with interested partner countries and through international organisations including the International Tropical Timber Organisation to develop their own capacity to assess the nature and extent of illegal logging and trade in illegally harvested timber and their capacity to develop and implement counter measures.

Excerpt from G8 Denver Summit Communique

June 1997
19. Forests continue to be destroyed and degraded at alarming rates in many parts of the world. To reverse this trend, we call upon all countries to make a long-term political commitment to achieve sustainable forest management practices worldwide and to join us in the immediate implementation of proposals put forward by UNCSD Intergovernmental Panel on Forests. We have discussed in Denver and have agreed to support a practical Action Programme that includes implementing national programs and building capacity for sustainable forest management; establishing networks of protected areas; assessing the state of each nation's forests using agreed criteria and indicators; promoting private sector management of forests; and eliminating illegal logging. We ask that our officials meet early next year to assess progress in implementing this Action Program and call for a report at our next meeting.
20. At the Special Session of the United Nations, we will work with the active involvement of the environmental groups to build consensus on an international agreement with appropriately high international standards to achieve these goals. We welcome the progress made in implementing the Brazil Pilot Program initiated in Houston, and see it as an example of practical cooperation.

Excerpt from G8 Foreign Ministers Conclusions

May 1998
3. We have published today and commit ourselves to the implementation of an Action Programme on Forests. This sets out specific measures at the domestic and international levels to promote sustainable forest management, complementing the work of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests and other international initiatives. We underline the importance of participation and transparency in the development and implementation of practical approaches to sustainable forest management that reflect environmental, ecological, social and economic values. We look forward to working together and with other partners, including those outside government, in implementing the Action Programme and reporting back on progress in the year 2000. Recent large scale forest fires lend urgency to this task.

Excerpt from G8 Birmingham Summit Communique

May 1998
12. The recent devastating forest fires in south-east Asia and the Amazon, threatening not only our environment but even economic growth and political stability, illustrate the crucial importance of global cooperation, and of better and more effective frameworks and practical efforts designed to sustainably manage and conserve forests. In the year 2000 we will assess our progress on implementation of the G8 Action Programme published last week. We strongly support the ongoing work on forests under the auspices of the United Nations, and we look forward to continuing these efforts.

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