Forests

The first meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Global Forests (IWGGF), jointly organized and sponsored by the Governments of Canada and Malaysia, from 18 to 21 April 1993 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This meeting was attended by approximately 100 representatives from 15 governments, as well as several IGOs and NGOs. The objective of this session was to begin a series of meetings of experts and officials from key forest countries to facilitate dialogue and consolidation of approaches to the management, conservation and sustainable development of the world's forests.

A two-day Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests was held in June 1993 in Helsinki, Finland. While the 38 participating governments approved four resolutions covering sustainable management, biodiversity conservation, cooperation with Eastern Europe and the impact of climate change on forests, these documents did not add to the pledges already made at the UNCED.

In May 1993, Global 2000, a Carter Center organization, co-sponsored the symposium, "Forests and the Environment: A U.S. Response to the Rio Earth Summit". In 1994 they intend to host a small international consultation on community forestry, focusing on women. Recommendations will be communicated to policy makers and the public, with a view to influencing the dialogue on sustainable development. The Global 2000 environmental program seeks to prevent environmental degradation, foster sustainable development through education and capacity building, promote global cooperation and partnership, and support sound environmental policies.

More than 250 people attended the First Ministerial Conference of the Forestry Forum for Developing Countries (FFDC) at New Delhi, India, in September 1993. New Delhi was also the stage for an international conference on forestry in October 1993 that was attended by ministers from at least 70 developing nations.

The Founding Assembly of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was held in Toronto from October 1-3, 1993, with 130 participants from 25 countries. The purpose was to review progress on the consultations which had been organized by the FSC Interim Board over the last 18 months in 10 countries, and make a decision on whether the FSC should be established. The role of the FSC is to promote good forest management by accrediting forest management certification organizations. The FSC will be a non-profit, non-governmental organisation.

The Native Forest Network (NFN) hosted the largest gathering of temperate forest activists in North American history at the First North American Temperate Forest Conference held November 11-14, 1993 in Burlington, Vermont. Over 300 forest activists attended, including representatives of First Nations, which included the Lil'Wat, Coalition for Nitasinnan, Protectors of Mother Earth, Mohawk, Alogonquins, Great Whale Cree, and Abenaki.

Many countries are vowing to promote the sustainable management of their forests. Indonesia, home to some of the world's largest tropical forests, will in 1995 make its first trial with sustainable forest logging. The Philippines declared a moratorium on commercial logging in the forests of Palawan, the only province in the Philippines with more than 50% forest cover and a substantial percentage of the country's remaining mangrove forests at the end of October 1992. Mexico, which has lost more than 80 percent of its forests in the last 30 years, announced last year a plan to plant 100 million trees and recover 50 million more. The United States government said that it would manage all of its forests sustainably by the year 2000, a target already agreed by tropical timber producing countries under the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA). Australia also pledged to achieve sustainable management of all of its forests, tropical and temperate, by 2000.

The Fuelwood Crisis Consortium, in conjunction with FAO, held a conference in Harare on Indigenous Woodland Management in Zimbabwe from 23-25 February 1994. The three main objectives of the conference were to bring together the results of research on local forestry management, to develop sustainable woodland management strategies for communities surrounding Mozambican refugee camps, and to assess the needs of local communities for training in forestry-related activities.