NOTE: This text is reblogged from a blog coauthored by Vincent Gitz (FTA) and Alexander Buck (IUFRO) about the Rainfall Recycling as a Landscape Function: Connecting SDGs 6, 13 and 15 discussion forum at GLF2017: http://foreststreesagroforestry.org/fta-and-iufro-highlight-cooperation-at-global-landscapes-forum/
The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) are strengthening their collaboration to increase understanding and promote the role and value of forests and trees in landscapes.
At the recent Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Germany, FTA, IUFRO and the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) organized a Discussion Forum titled Rainfall Recycling as a Landscape Function: Connecting SDGs 6, 13 and 15. Read more…
Rapid Response to Illegal Timber Trade – Global Assessment Under Way
The theme of this year’s World Environment Day (WED), celebrated on 5 June 2016, is: “The Illegal Trade in Wildlife”. As timber and timber products fall into this very category, this is bringing a hot topic of forestry into the limelight: illegal timber logging. While there is plenty of scientific literature on this subject, a systematic assessment and synthesis has so far been lacking. Now the Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP), an initiative in the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) under the coordination of IUFRO, is tackling this task in a Rapid Response Assessment on Illegal Timber Trade.
Forests: Food for thought – and nourishment
A report that analyses the complicated, intertwined and often oppositional philosophies, land uses and governance regimes that comprise the forest-food nexus, will help inform deliberations as the United Nations Forum on Forests develops a 15-year roadmap for international forest policy.
At the heart of the new report is the understanding that forests and trees cannot, by themselves, replace the role of agriculture, but they are critically important to food security and nutrition.
By John Parrotta (Deputy Coordinator, IUFRO Division 8) and Lawal Marafa (Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee)
Dealing with uncertainties
REDD+ (reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries) is an evolving mechanism for climate change mitigation under continued debate within and outside of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While it has the potential to realize its primary climate change mitigation objective, there is considerable uncertainty regarding its actual or potential impacts on biodiversity, forests and the livelihoods of people in the tropical and sub-tropical forested landscapes where REDD+ implementation is envisaged.
Forests play a major role in achieving Millennium Development Goal 1 to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and in striving for food security. Globally, millions of people depend on forests for their food security and nutrition, directly through the consumption or sale of foods produced in forests, indirectly through forest-related employment and income, forest ecosystem services, and forest biodiversity.
Current approaches to increasing food security tend to concentrate on agricultural solutions, ranging from intensification of agricultural production outside of forests to promoting agroforestry systems. Policy recommendations to establish a framework for promoting food security from forests, however, have so far been rather general and no framework addresses the relationship between forests and food security directly.
The “International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition”, held at FAO Headquarters in Rome in May 2013, inter alia conveyed the key message that forests, trees and agroforestry systems demand greater attention in strategies for food security and nutrition and in the fight against hunger. It also called for improved data collection at national and international levels.
Understanding Relationships between Biodiversity, Carbon, Forests and People: The Key to Achieving REDD+ Objectives
Forests harbour a major proportion of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and provide a wide range of vitally important ecosystem services – including carbon sequestration and storage. Deforestation and forest degradation continue to erode biodiversity and the capacity of forest ecosystems to help mitigate climate change and provide the goods and services that sustain livelihoods and human well-being locally, and globally. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) is a proposed mechanism which has the potential to realise its primary objective – climate change mitigation – with variable impacts, positive and negative, on biodiversity, forests and people. REDD+ is complex, its proposed activities and implementation mechanisms not yet clearly defined, and therefore surrounded by uncertainty. Because of its high relevance to climate change mitigation, the conservation and sustainable use of forests and their biological diversity, the Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+ was established by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests in December 2011 to carry out this assessment.
The Expert Panel included 24 scientists and other experts from a variety of biophysical and social science disciplines relevant to the topics covered in this assessment report. An additional 18 contributing authors added their expertise to the assessment. Each chapter was prepared by a team of Lead Authors and Contributing Authors led by one or more Coordinating Lead Authors. A full draft of the report and its individual chapters was peer-reviewed prior to its completion. The results of this voluntary collaboration between January and October 2012 are presented in the six inter-related chapters comprising this book.
This assessment report evaluates the implications of forest and land management interventions envisaged under REDD+ in a multidimensional and integrated fashion. It summarises the most current scientific literature that sheds light on the relationships between forest biodiversity and carbon (and other ecosystem services), how these complex relationships may be affected by management activities implemented to achieve REDD+ objectives, the potential synergies and tradeoffs between and among environmental and socio-economic objectives, and their relationship to governance issues. Based on the main findings of the assessment (summarised in Chapter 6), a policy brief entitled ‘REDD+, Biodiversity and People: Opportunities and Risks’ has been prepared especially for policy- and decision-makers.
The full report is formally presented at Forest Day 6 on 2 December during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Doha, Qatar (26 November-7 December, 2012).
The report, the policy brief and a press release – New Study Suggests Global Pacts Like REDD Ignore Primary Causes of Destruction of Forests – are available for download.
Report and Policy Brief: http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/biodiv-forman-redd-panel/report/
For more information about the Expert Panel on Biodiversity, Forest Management and REDD+, please visit:
PDF document for download
The current set of international forest governance arrangements is best seen as a complex hybrid mix of international law, soft law, and non-governmental performance-based measures such as international certification schemes and industry codes of conduct. A diverse array of organizations and interest groups, all with different mandates, create the institutional environment for forest policy and governance. All of these actors are dedicated to supporting the different functions of forests, developing and implementing measures designed to protect the forest benefits, and interacting – often in a competitive manner – with each other for political and financial support at different levels. There are an increasing number of governance challenges, such as the demand for bioenergy and legally harvested and produced timber (e.g. EU Timber Regulation on banning illegal timber products from the EU market, to be applied in early 2013). There is clear evidence from research that complex forest problems require synergistic approaches involving a wide range of policy instruments.
There are two concepts that could guide efforts towards a more effective international forest governance: problem focused policy learning is enabled by including from the start a broad group of stakeholders and institutions inside and outside of the forest sector and by gathering practical advice, practitioners’ knowledge, insights and the best available research. In addition, impacts between various policies and policy levels need to be better understood. Improved institutional intersection, in which different interventions perform specific functions, might lead to adaptive capacities in ways a single institution could not. In order to improve the understanding and practical application of these two concepts, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is currently establishing a new Task Force on International Forest Governance to address institutional intersection and policy learning.
A Contribution to Forest Europe
Policy learning and institutional intersection may support and guide the implementation of commitments declared in the ‘Oslo Ministerial Decision: European Forests 2020′, such as the European Ministers’ decision: (i) to develop and update policies and tools for sustainable forest management, including by facilitating open and flexible policy dialogue; (ii) to monitor, assess and facilitate implementation of commitments on sustainable forest management in all European countries and in the region; and (iii) to facilitate sharing of experiences across countries, sectors and stakeholders on all aspects of sustainable forest management and other forest related issues (see articles 21a-c).
The state of play of European forest governance and challenges
- European regional agreements with regard to governance include the Oslo Ministerial Mandate for Negotiating a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe, and the EU FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Action Plan, setting the goal of combating illegal harvesting and illegal timber trade in environment, trade and development cooperation policies.
- With these developments, domestic challenges arise. There is fragmentation of institutions and authority in addressing key goals. For example, good forest governance was originally seen as a development issue, but has become a trade issue also. The EU and Member States are facing the challenge to link the development agencies with the trade agencies and to find synergistic ways how to work together, that do not violate the legal responsibilities of either.
- As Europe with FLEGT is commending good governance elsewhere in such a coherent and concerned way, the EU and Member States are facing the challenge to also demonstrate good forest governance within the region in order to not lose legitimacy and credibility at international level.
What research can do
- Defining and implementing interaction between trade, development and natural resource policies is not as simple as it might seem. Researchers can uncover the pathways through which synergies could be facilitated by new institutional arrangements and new policy approaches. For example, incentives and signals from FLEGT could encourage supply chain tracking, often through the use of certification bodies, which then help to reinforce good forest governance in developing countries.
- Researchers have an ability to identify: what are the most synergistic pathways for interactions between the different actors and entities? And what does this mean for developing strategic directions and decisions in order to guide actors with often conflicting mandates and diverse institutional cultures? What are the obstacles for the formulation and implementation of policies and institutions fostering ‘good’ governance principles?
- Policy learning is the attempt to adjust the goals or techniques of policy in response to past experience and new information. In the complex context of European forest policy, policy learning can only begin when stakeholders, practitioners, government agencies, civil society organizations, and scientists create, through deliberation, a joint understanding of the context and nature of forest problems from a wide variety of perspectives. The success of this learning process depends upon having the best available information about policy options as informed by research, practice, and the experience of civil society.
- Policy learning that occurs in a deliberative process will expose legitimate differences over goals and objectives that divide stakeholders but, by creating a common understanding of ‘how things work’, policy learning also can reveal win-win solutions. For example, at the same time that participants learn about the viability of one or more efforts – such as FLEGT, certification and management plans etc. – they learn about the challenges confronting other stakeholders.
- The most important level of learning about potential solutions to public problems is at the level of intersection of institutions. It simply is no longer the case that a single intervention sits alone by itself and has no impact anywhere else. In fact any international negotiation or deliberation only has an impact when it actually interacts with something else, e.g. with domestic legislation or certification or national forest programmes.
- There is a role for research simultaneously involving practitioners and civil society to analyse the different interactions among government and market mechanisms across global, national and local scales that might produce innovative, effective and enduring results.
- For example, the supply chain tracking in the framework of the FLEGT process involves public and private actors at different levels – sub-nationally, nationally and internationally – and therefore could lead to broad global coalition for good forest governance in a way a single intervention, such as private certification schemes can not achieve.
- The institutional intersection approach is now gaining growing acceptance as illustrated by the UN Rio 2012 summit’s focus on the two themes: ‘green economy’ and ‘institutional framework for sustainable development’.
What can Forest Europe do?
- Forest Europe can play a key role in promoting policy learning and institutional intersection by sharing a learning platform involving multiple stakeholders, informed by the best available information about policy options.
- It can facilitate stakeholder and civil society participation at domestic level by creating forums for deliberation with scientists, policy makers, and forest managers at local, sub-national and national levels. For example, the national forest programme process could be a national-level learning forum.
- It can support engagement of policy makers in scientific meetings focused on governance and policy, such as the IUFRO All-Division 9 ‘Forest Policy and Economics’ Conference in Sarajevo in May 2012.
- It can support policy-research networks, like the FOPER network in Southeast Europe, that are actively researching public problems identified through stakeholder processes with the purpose of contributing to policy makers, practitioners and civil society as well as to the research community.
- And it can actively promote the role of Forest Europe in the global discussion on forest governance by assuming a leadership role in creating the institutional capacity for policy learning and collaborative research necessary to provide adaptive governance capacity for the future.
Embracing complexity: Meeting the challenges of international forest governance. A global assessment report. This report was prepared in the frame of the Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP), an initiative established within the framework of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). The report was led and coordinated by IUFRO. Visit: http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/
The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is the only world-wide organization devoted to forest research and related sciences. Its members are research institutions, universities, and individual scientists as well as decision-making authorities and other stakeholders with a focus on forests and trees. Visit: http://www.iufro.org/
PDF document for download
IUFRO World Series Vol. 28, Edited by: Jeremy Rayner, Alexander Buck, Pia Katila
A new study assessing inter-national efforts to improve forest governance was issued together with a policy brief on 24 January 2011 by the Global Forest Expert Panel on International Forest Regime. It suggests among other things that global efforts have too often ignored local needs and failed to address the fact that deforestation is usually caused by economic pressures from outside the forests. The detailed results of the work of the expert panel, which was constituted under the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and coordinated by IUFRO, was presented to the Ninth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) on 31 January 2011 as part of the launch of the International Year of Forests.
The report, the policy brief and a press release – New Study Suggests Global Pacts Like REDD Ignore Primary Causes of Destruction of Forests – are available for download.
Report and Policy Brief (English/French/Spanish): http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/forest-regime-panel/report/
Press Release: http://www.iufro.org/science/gfep/media-information/gfep-ifr-assessment-press-release/
For more information about the Expert Panel on International Forest regime, please visit:
Big step towards completing the most comprehensive assessment to date of the international forest regime
The assessment report is prepared by an Expert Panel on “international forest regime“, which consists of internationally recognized scientific experts in their field and is overall coordinated by the IUFRO-led initiative “Global Forest Expert Panels” (GFEP) of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).
As part of the assessment process, the second meeting of the Expert Panel on the International Forest Regime was held on 7-8 July 2010 at the Headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. 30 renowned experts in political science and international law gathered at this meeting to discuss the draft manuscripts of the assessment report and identify the conclusions emerging from the assessment.
Prior to the Nairobi meeting, all draft manuscripts of the report had been reviewed and commented in detail by 25 invited reviewers as well as this GFEP assessment was already initiated in October 2009 on the issue of the “international forest regime“.
The experts who gathered in Nairobi agreed on the idea of “embracing complexity” as the main storyline of the report and highlighted the potential for positive interactions between key elements of the international forest regime on issues such as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, access and benefit sharing, and forest law enforcement, governance and trade.
The assessment will be completed in autumn 2010. It will provide concrete proposals for better coordination and better outcomes of the international forest regime and is expected to make a major contribution to the International Year of Forests 2011. Listen to the podcast: Interview with Alexander Buck (GFEP Coordinator) for more information:
[gigya width=”400″ height=”85″ src=”http://iufro.podomatic.com/swf/joeplayer_v3.swf” quality=”high” flashvars=”jsonLocation=http://iufro.podomatic.com/entry/embed_params/2010-07-14T05_36_57-07_00?autoPlay=0″ wmode=”transparent” menu=”false” allowfullscreen=”true” ]