Guidelines for Forestry Monitoring to Support Achievement of Global Goals
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) data, only 45 countries worldwide were able to assess changes in forest area and characteristics through consecutive systematic national forest inventories in 2010. The ‘Voluntary Guidelines on Forest Monitoring,' published by FAO, help address this issue and underpin the tracking of national forestry management commitments under diverse global agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Complementary regional initiatives have elaborated priority areas and monitoring guidelines for forest and biodiversity protection.
The Voluntary Guidelines on Forest Monitoring cover technical and scientific approaches to optimizing inventory, statistical modelling and estimation, and remote sensing, and also include guidance on strategic planning and communication and dissemination of results. The Guidelines are expected to contribute to stronger National Forest Monitoring Systems and enhance synergies with existing initiatives including the Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), FAO's Global, and National Forest Resources Assessment Programmes, and the UN-REDD Programme.
In a series of regional consultations that took place in June and July 2017, forestry experts in Latin America, West and Central Africa and Southeast Asia contributed to the development of another set of guidelines focused on the sustainable management of public production forests in tropical countries through forest concessions. The consultations finalized guidelines for the four regions and were organized under the auspices of the FAO-led Forest Concessions Initiative. The Initiative has been implemented since 2015 in partnership with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the CGIAR Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research (CIRAD), the Programme on Forests (PROFOR) and the Brazilian Forest Service.
The Forest Concessions Initiative supports countries to explore perspectives of tropical forest concessions as instruments to mainstream best practices of sustainable forest management and enlarged forest contribution to socioeconomic development, biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration; and assess and promote alternative models to (traditional) concession systems that effectively respond to the needs of local peoples, while ensuring the economic and financial feasibility of sustainable forest management.
Meanwhile, the 11th meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Working Group on Social Forestry formally endorsed a proposal to develop agroforestry guidelines for the region. The Working Group, which consists of high-level representatives from forestry ministries in the member States, met on 15 June 2017, in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Led by the World Agroforestry Centre, the drafting process aims to combine scientific, local and policy knowledge to ensure that diverse perspectives are included in the final document. The Working Group developed a preliminary list of topics to be covered by the guidelines that includes: international, regional and national policy frameworks that have bearing on the development of agroforestry across Southeast Asia; a set of principles for the design and implementation of agroforestry programmes to ensure safeguards for vulnerable populations, including monitoring and certification options; models of agroforestry practices suitable for diverse biophysical and socioeconomic conditions of the region, with examples of competitive business cases; possible mechanisms for financing and sharing of benefits from agroforestry schemes; and mechanisms for adaptive learning, communications and knowledge exchange, including the role of research and analysis.
The report finds that the ASEAN region is poised to lose 70-90% of habitats and 13-42% of species by 2100.
In other developments, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity has published the second edition of the ASEAN Biodiversity Outlook (ABO), which tracks progress towards the achievement of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. The inaugural ABO was published in 2010 as a contribution to the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD in Nagoya, Japan. ABO 2 employs a "Threats, Response and Way Forward" framework to discuss: the state of major terrestrial and aquatic habitats in the region; how these habitats are affected by drivers of biodiversity loss; and how member States have addressed these issues and articulated ways forward to meet the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The report finds that the region is poised to lose 70-90% of habitats and 13-42% of species by 2100 and calls for concerted efforts to manage threats to biodiversity linked to, inter alia: habitat fragmentation; clearing for agriculture, infrastructure and housing development; and illegal wildlife trade.
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