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Working Group Meeting Report

12th Meeting of the Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests
Montréal Process

Beijing, People's Republic of China
November 7-12, 2000


  1. The Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests (Montréal Process) held its 12th meeting in Beijing in the People's Republic of China, 7-12 November 2000. The Montréal Process includes Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Russian Federation, United States of America and Uruguay, which together represent 60% of the world's forests.
  2. The meeting was opened by Mr. Li Yucai, Vice-Administrator of the Chinese State Forestry Administration (SFA) and was chaired by Mr. Qu Guilin, Director General of the International Co-operation Department, SFA, Mr. Zhang Shougong, Vice President, Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF), and Mr. Jiang Youxu, Academician, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
  3. The meeting included 49 participants, including the 12 countries of the Montréal Process; observers from the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE/Pan-European Forest Process), International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), African Timber Organization (ATO), Global Forest Policy Project, World Wide Fund for Nature China, Wetlands International; and representatives from Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing Forestry University, The Center of Economic Research and Development of SFA, Lin'an Forestry Bureau of Zhejiang Province, and Fujian Forestry College of Fujian Province. Annex A includes a list of meeting participants.
  4. The meeting welcomed presentations by Chinese forestry experts, including Professor Jiang Youxu, on "Sustainable Management - A Challenge and Opportunity to Forest Construction in China", Dr. Wenfa Xiao, CAF, on "Development of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in China", and Mr. Lu Wenmin, CAF, on "Forestry Certification in China". These presentations provided to meeting participants an excellent overview of current developments in China.
  5. The meeting also welcomed presentations from other international criteria and indicators processes, updating the group on their progress in developing, implementing, and improving agreed sets of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. Other processes heard from included the MCPFE, ITTO, and the ATO. In addition, the Liaison Office passed on information provided by the FAO and the secretariat of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF)/United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), updating their activities.
  6. Progress Report since the 11th Meeting. Kathryn Buchanan of the Liaison Office provided a comprehensive report on progress made since the 11th Working Group meeting (Charleston, SC, USA, November 1999), including the following items:
    1. "Forests for the Future", a brochure for the public and policy makers on the Montréal Process, published in English, Spanish, and French, December 1999;
    2. "The Montréal Process: Progress and Innovation in Implementing Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests", a joint report on improvements in country capacity to report on the Montréal Process criteria and indicators was published in English, Spanish, and French versions and made available at the Eighth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 2000;
    3. 2nd edition of the Santiago Declaration, published in English, Spanish, French versions, December 1999;
    4. Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests - Montréal Process - Technical Notes Criteria 1-6, March 30, 2000 accepted by the Working Group in December 1999 and subsequently posted on the Montréal Process Web Site ( in English, Spanish, and French;
    5. Development of working list of Montréal Process Scientific Experts to be posted on the Montréal Process Web Site.
  7. The Liaison Officer also introduced the concept of a possible Montréal Process Working Group Communications Plan. Since this item was not on the agenda of the 12th meeting, the Working Group agreed to take up the subject at its 13th meeting.
  8. The meeting welcomed the report from the Liaison Officer on the status of work on Technical Notes - Criterion 7 and Technical Notes - Glossary. The Working Group agreed on these documents, as amended, and requested the Liaison Office to post them on the Montréal Process Web Site.
  9. The meeting welcomed the report of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on "Examples of mechanisms for the development, identification and implementation of sub-national indicators for sustainable forest management, which can be linked to national level indicators", and agreed to post it, as amended, on the Montréal Process Web site. The meeting also welcomed the offer by Canada to explore the possibility of publishing this and other TAC technical aids as a Canadian Forest Service "Information Report". In this context, the Working Group made clear that TAC reports are internal papers and not official documents of the Montréal Process. It was agreed that all TAC papers, both in hard copy and on the Web, would include a covering explanatory note, as follows:
    1. The following paper has been prepared by the Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests (Montréal Process) Technical Advisory Committee to assist member countries and promote the sharing of experiences on criteria and indicators. It is considered a working technical aid and not an official document of the Montréal Process Working Group. The paper is made available so that other countries may also benefit from its content.
  10. The meeting received with interest and appreciation presentations by Australia and China on their experiences in developing sub-national indicators for sustainable forest management based on the Montréal Process national level criteria and indicators.
  11. The meeting welcomed the report of the TAC on "Country guidelines for the presentation of information on criteria and indicators in the First Montréal Process Forest Report" to be published in 2003. The Working Group agreed to the guidelines, outline and format for the report, as contained in Annex B. In this context, the Working Group requested the TAC to undertake several activities as specified in the terms of reference presented in Annex C. The Working Group reaffirmed that initial drafts of national reports are due to the Liaison Office in April 2002.
  12. The meeting welcomed the report of the TAC on "technical exchange and collaboration needs of the Montréal Process countries". After a lively exchange of views, the Working Group agreed on the development of a two-stage strategy for addressing capacity building. In the short term, efforts will focus on assisting countries to meet their priority needs for preparation of their national reports. These priorities include the following:
    1. Data collection and aggregation from multiple owners or jurisdictions with different inventory systems or authorities
    2. Domestic strategies to mobilise resources for criteria and indicators implementation
    3. Aggregation of existing data from dissimilar sources, scales and forest types
    4. Broadly accepted analytical methods and measures for specific indicators
    5. Methods to assess and determine values for forest environmental services.

    The Working Group requested the TAC to consider the feasibility of organising workshops to support national report development. The Working Group urged member countries to undertake action on a bilateral or other co-operative basis as soon as possible.

  13. Chile, Argentina and Uruguay (Southern Cone countries) informed the meeting that they will hold a workshop in Chile in 2001, with the objective of improving their implementation of the Montréal Process criteria and indicators. The workshop will focus on the following topics:
    1. Bilateral co-operation among Southern Cone countries
    2. Identification of common elements for the development of umbrella projects
    3. Exchange of experience and methodologies on implementation issues
    4. Identification of sources of financing to support Southern Cone country efforts, individually and/or jointly, to implement criteria and indicators
  14. On a longer-term basis, the Working Group agreed to explore innovative ways to identify sources for financing to support country efforts to implement criteria and indicators. The Working Group did not reach consensus on the establishment of a resource advisory committee.
  15. The meeting welcomed the proposal of the TAC on "Montréal Process Technical Advisory Committee Operational Procedures" as a means to facilitate the work of the TAC. The Working Group agreed that the proposed procedures, as amended, should be incorporated into the current TAC terms of reference (agreed in Seoul, Korea, 1997), as reflected in Annex D.
  16. The meeting welcomed the presentation from the Liaison Officer on Montréal Process Working Group preparations for participation in the upcoming "FAO Expert Consultation on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management", organised in collaboration with UNEP, ITTO, CIFOR, and IUFRO, scheduled for 15-17 November 2000, in Rome. The Working Group agreed with the proposed presentation. It also agreed that an international conference on criteria and indicators would be useful in light of the progress made by individual processes and countries and the establishment of the UNFF. The Working Group considered that the following topics should be addressed by the conference:
    1. Capacity building
    2. Co-operation among criteria and indicators processes, including sharing information and experiences in research and development and other areas
    3. Development of common definitions, terms and technical concepts
    4. Co-ordination with other international organisations, such as CBD, OECD, FAO and UNFF
    5. Sub-national indicators including at the forest management unit level
    6. Relationship between criteria and indicators and certification
    7. Utilisation of criteria and indicators experiences in other areas.

    The Working Group also agreed that any additional planning meetings should include representatives from non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

  17. The Montréal Process countries reaffirmed the procedure for countries to join the Montréal Process is a diplomatic one. An interested country should, by diplomatic channels, inform the Government of Chile that its government endorses the Santiago Declaration. Chile will inform Canada as the Liaison Unit, which will inform other Montréal Process countries.
  18. The meeting welcomed the offer by Argentina to host the 13th Meeting of the Montréal Process Working Group. The Working Group agreed that the theme of the 13th meeting should be "assessment and reporting". It also agreed to consider the following agenda items: content of the "First Montréal Process Forest Report - Overview"; periodicity of future Montréal Process Forest Reports; preparations for or follow-up to the proposed international conference on criteria and indicators; capacity building; the need for a Montréal Process communications plan; and consideration of the possible need for review at an appropriate future time of the Montréal Process indicators and related issues in light of experience gained in preparing the First Montréal Process Report.
  19. The Montréal Process countries recognised with appreciation the excellent support provided by Canada to the Working Group and welcomed the continued willingness of Canada to serve as the Liaison Unit for the Montréal Process.
  20. The meeting expressed its deep appreciation to the Government and people of the People's Republic of China for their hospitality in hosting the 12th Meeting of the Montréal Process Working Group.

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Annex A

12th Meeting of the Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests
(Montréal Process)

Beijing, People's Republic of China
November 7-12, 2000


Please see Who is Involved: Montréal Process Contacts

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Annex B

First Montréal Process Forest Report (2003)

Format for Overview Report (10-16 pages)

  1. Executive Summary-2 pages
  2. Introduction-1 page
  3. Background-2 pages
  4. Highlights on trends-7-10 pages [content to be determined]
  5. Conclusions and next steps-less than one page
  6. Annex-Reference to national reports and where one can find them.

Guidelines and Format for National Reports Total length approximately 50-65 pages

  1. Executive Summary-2 pages
  2. Introduction-2-3 pages


Document the international agreements leading to the desire to report on national progress toward sustainable forest management (SFM) and the use of internationally agreed to C&I. Begin with UNCED agreements to the goal of sustainable development from the Rio Summit in 1992.

State that the report is an expression of national commitment to sustainable development (SD). Explain that the breadth of the criteria and their corresponding indicators demonstrates how the care and welfare of the environment, economy, and society are fundamental to the concept of SD.

Emphasise the domestic purpose and use of this report.

State the report is to provide the best quality data on C&I for assessing progress toward the sustainable management of forests.

Inform the reader that the report is intended for the use of policy-makers, forest officials, interest groups, and stakeholders such as industry, scientists, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations, academia, and others.

What are criteria and indicators?

  • Criteria are essential components of sustainable forest management
  • Indicators are ways to measure criteria
  • No single criterion or indicator is alone an indication of sustainability.
  • Individual indicators should be considered in the context of the other criteria and indicators.

Scope of the report

The completeness of the report should be discussed. Since all of the indicators may not be reported on, an explanation should be provided. Explain that the Montréal Process criteria and indicators were derived from a multi-stakeholder process and reflect contemporary notions of sustainability that go beyond the data traditionally collected and available at the time the report was prepared.

Explain the planned periodicity of the report.

Include a short description of the primary institutions responsible for or that have contributed to the report. This is a good place to demonstrate the collaborative stakeholder effort that may have produced the report. It will also demonstrate the government and stakeholder commitment to sustainable forest management.

3. Background - 2-3 pages

General description of [the country's] forests

  • What is considered forest?
    National distribution of forest - A national map of forest distribution by major forest type would be useful
  • Historic use of the country's forests
  • Overview of [country's] forest ownership and management structure
  • Historic use and ownership, and primary national, sub-national governmental or private programs important to forests
  • Any national forest strategy

4. Trends in National Indicators of SFM-35-50 pages

The following demonstrates how each of the indicators might be presented. A number of options have been provided to accommodate the data that may be available. The number of different kinds of graphic displays should be kept to a minimum, while using the display most appropriate for the data. The indicators should be numbered and presented in the order of the published MP framework (i.e., 1.1.a, 1.1.b, 1.2.a, 6.1.c, 6.3.c, 6.5.a, etc.)

Example - Criterion 1

Indicator 1.1.a is presented to illustrate might be presented for many of the indicators of Criteria 1-7.

Introduction to Criterion 1

A short introduction should describe what biodiversity is and the reason for monitoring it. The Technical Notes provide much of what is needed. Countries may want to add additional rationale to reflect national circumstances.

Indicator 1.1.a - Extent of area by forest type relative to total forest area

Display the Montréal Process indicator and describe or define how and over what period it was measured, or explain why it is not being reported on at this time. Use the longest data set available for the development of trends. If any complementary indicators are displayed also describe or define how they were measured.

Countries may want to show national trends and regional trends to increase the usefulness of the report to a larger audience.

Example of an ideal indicator presentation where data is available for a number of reporting periods nationally and regionally - both graphs should be presented

Finnish Forest Cover Trends by Region

If only one period of data is available, a pie chart might be substituted. A pie chart will allow for the easy display of data divisions and their values. In addition, national information that is made up of highly variable regional data can be made clearly visible.


Some data do not consist of distinct units that can be tallied by region. Such data may consist of a gradation of condition across the landscape and have little meaning presented as national or regional averages. In this case, the following data display will prove very useful to national and regional managers and the public.

Wet deposition of Nitrate Nitrogen in 1985 through 1996

Some data do not consist of distinct units that can be tallied by region. Such data may consist of a gradation of condition across the landscape and have little meaning presented as national or regional averages. In this case, the following data display will prove very useful to national and regional managers and the public.

National Trend chart and map

Qualitative data, however, may perhaps be the only data available. Qualitative data presents a special but not unusual problem. The challenge is to convey a sense of whether conditions are improving, decreasing, being maintained. Qualitative data is often subject to different interpretations. In instances where there are differing interpretations of the data and its implications, a balanced discussion should be provided in the following Interpretation section. Qualitative illustrations should be amplified with descriptive examples (i.e., text).

Qualitative Data Example
Item 1988 1992 2003 Later
Enforce laws, regulations and guidelines
Upward Trend
Upward Trend
No Observed Trend
No agreement on a trend
Qualitative Data Legend
Symbol Interpretation
Upward trend
Downward trend
Downward trend
No Observed Trend
No observed trend
No agreement on a trend
No agreement on a trend

An alternative presentation for qualitative data might be the following.

Qualitative Data Example
Indicator 1989 1991 1996 1999 2001
Qualitative Data Legend
Symbol Interpretation
To be implemented in the future
In progress, the outcome is yet to be determined
A positive trend
Current situation showing little change

Where no other data are available, information such as case studies, peer reviewed professional opinion, etc. would be appropriate.

Interpretation of indicator 1.1.a - a short discussion of the meaning and significance of the observed trend or lack of data. A balanced interpretation (multiple points of view) of the meaning and significance of the trend or data would be very informative. For quantitative data, the level of confidence in the data may be expressed as high, medium or low and should be part of the interpretation.

Description of data sources or references - Owner of the data - agency, NGO, etc.; hot link to original data sets where appropriate.

This format should be repeated for all other indicators.

6. Conclusions and next steps-2-3 pages

The following discussion is suggested:

  • Significant observations drawn from the criterion summaries.
  • High light any priority issues.
  • Discussion of future national work toward sustainable forest management


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Annex C

Terms of Reference for Future Work by the Technical Advisory Committee Identified by the 12th Session of the Montréal Process Working Group

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is requested to:

  1. Transmit accepted copies, as amended, of the TAC technical papers presented at the 11th Meeting of the Montréal Process Working Group to the Liaison Office for publication on the Montréal Process website (See Note 1 below).

  2. Work with Working Group member countries to develop a list of indicators on which all countries expect to be able to report in their 2003 Country Reports, with a view to possible inclusion as highlights in the "First Montréal Process Forest Report - Overview".

  3. Continue development of the outline of "First Montréal Process Forest Report - Overview" by suggesting possible content for part 4: "Highlights on trends".

  4. Develop a sample Country Report (with a selection of indicators) following the agreed-to guidelines (Annex B), using real data wherever possible to fully illustrate all parts of a Country Report. There is an urgent need for this product by May 2001. For that reason, the Working Group does not have to formally approve of this product before it is distributed.

  5. Consider the utility of and if appropriate arrange and hold a workshop or series of workshops to address the short term technical assistance and co-operation needs identified at the 12th meeting of the Montréal Process Working Group with a focus on the 2003 Report.

Note 1: Individual member countries will be responsible for co-ordinating translation of accepted TAC documents and posting translated versions on national websites.

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Annex D

Approved at the 12th Meeting of the Working Group
in Beijing, China November 12, 2000


Technical Advisory Committee of the
Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the
Conservation and Sustainable Management of
Temperate and Boreal Forests

(Montréal Process)


At the eighth meeting of the Montréal Process, an ad hoc and informal technical advisory committee (TAC) was created. The TAC was designed to be task-oriented and work to reach agreement on definitions of terms and approaches to data collection. At the ninth meeting of the Montréal Process, held in July 1997 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, it was decided that the TAC should be maintained in an on-going role in support of the Montréal Process.

Role of the TAC

The TAC will remain an informal ad hoc group that provides products for the Working Group. It is task-oriented, informal, and technical in nature. The Montréal Process Working Group may assign tasks to the TAC at meetings, and the TAC will, in turn, work inter-sessionally to address technical issues of common interest to Montréal Process members. The TAC reports to the Montréal Process Working Group.

The technical functions of the TAC include:

  • Definition of terms and rationales for indicators;
  • Address data collection, measurement and technical reporting issues;
  • Address technical implementation issues relating to criteria and indicators;
  • Acting in a technical liaison function with other criteria and indicators processes, with the Interagency Task Force on Forests and with other relevant organisations or processes as necessary;
  • Assisting the Liaison Office in maintaining the integrity over time of the published reference material relating to the Montréal Process: and
  • Providing technical support in capacity building in member countries as needed.

Role of the TAC Convenor

  • Arrange for TAC meetings as required to meet Working Group terms of reference.
  • Determine how the TAC will carry out its terms of reference.
  • Arrange for the allocation of tasks to TAC members.
  • Promote input of all the members to develop consensus.
  • Organise presentation of TAC materials to the Working Group.
  • Co-ordinate with the Montréal Process Liaison Office.
  • Keep the Working Group informed of TAC needs.
  • Request comments on and arrange for preparation of final draft of material for Working Group review and approval.
  • Present, when needed, to the Working Group suggestions for further work by the TAC.
  • The convenor will change significant agreed to text produced by the TAC unilaterally only with TAC members' consent.
  • The Working Group will appoint the TAC convenor to serve for a specified period.

Role of TAC members

  • Attend TAC meetings when possible. Be prepared to share with other TAC members progress and issues in implementation of criteria and indicators within own countries.
  • Respond to requests for comment (positive or negative) on TAC draft material.
  • Reflect country views in TAC deliberations to the extent possible.
  • Keep Liaison Office and the TAC convenor informed of contact information.
  • Inform their country's Working Group member of any change in their role on the TAC.
  • Bring TAC members up to speed on Montréal Process issues and the past work of the TAC.
  • Inform Working Group members of the results of the TAC meeting and any issues associated with the results.
  • Country representatives should inform the convenor of any change in their representative on the TAC.
  • Occasionally host a TAC meeting.

TAC member review and comment process

  • The TAC should establish a timeframe to accomplish each of its assigned tasks. Because the TAC operates via "consensus," TAC member comments or requests submitted after the agreed timeframe may be difficult to consult the other TAC members on. The convenor, however, is expected to make all reasonable efforts to accommodate TAC member submissions submitted after the time established by the TAC recognising that this may not be possible in all instances because of time constraints.

    Where the convenor is unable to process a late comment or request, the convenor will notify the TAC and the Working Group of the late material. The notification will also advise the Working Group of whether, on the basis of the technical content, they should examine the material. A country that wishes to comment after the process has closed may bring up the issue at the Working Group meeting as a comment on the TAC product.

  • TAC members are requested to comment on material sent to them for comment. If a TAC member has no comments to submit, then a statement to that effect should be sent to the convenor.


The membership of the TAC will be open to one representative from each member country, a representative from IUFRO, and up to two representatives from non-government organisations.

Time Line

The TAC will have an on-going role within the Montréal Process, but specific tasks and deadlines will be established at each meeting of the full Montréal Process Working Group.


Participation on the TAC and organisational costs will be borne by participants and member countries. The Montréal Process Working Group members will ensure sufficient resources are made available to the TAC for it to complete tasks in the timeframe assigned.

Working Methods

To the extent possible, the TAC will use electronic means of communication and minimise the need for meetings.


Reports of the TAC will be distributed to member countries and other interested parties for comment through the Liaison Office and will be submitted to the Montréal Process Working Group for review and approval.

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