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Working Group Meeting Report

21st Montreal Process Working Group Meeting
Hilo, Hawaii, United States of America
June 1-4, 2010

The Montréal Process Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests held its 21th meeting in Hilo, Hawaii, United States, June 1-4, 2010. 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 50% of the world's forests.

1. Participation.

The meeting included 31 participants, including 25 representatives from 11 Montréal Process countries. The meeting was greatly enhanced by the participation of the research scientists of the United States Forest Service Pacific Islands Institute of Forestry and state foresters from the United States. A list of participants is attached as Annex A (PDF, 88 KB).

2. Meeting Opening.

The opening ceremony started with a welcome chant by a Hawaiian practitioner who welcomed the meeting participants to Hawaii. The Chair of the 20th Montréal Process Working Group, Bom Kwon Chun of Korea, opened the Montréal Process Working Group meeting. He thanked the United States and the officials of the United States Forest Service for hosting the current session. He nominated Dr. Richard Guldin of the United States as the Chair of the 21st Working Group Meeting. This nomination was unanimously approved by the Montreal Process Working Group members.

After introductions of all meeting participants, Dr. Deanna Stouder, Pacific Southwest Station Director described the overall activities of the Pacific Southwest Research Station and its specific activities within Hawaii.

3. Agenda.

The Chair introduced the tentative agenda, which was reviewed and adopted by the Working Group. The agenda is attached as Annex B (PDF, 158 KB).

4. Natural Resource Issues in Hawaii.

Paul Conry, Hawaii State Forester and Wildlife Director presented emerging issues affecting Hawaiian forests and programs and activities encouraging sustainable forest management within the State. Dr. Christian Giardina, Acting Program Manager of the United States Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station's Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry presented an informative talk on the history, research programs, and activities of the Institute in Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, including extensive efforts in invasive species prevention and control.

5. Monitoring and Reporting on Sustainability at the Sub National Level - United States Experience.

Steve Koehn (State Forester of Maryland and current president of the National Association of State Foresters), Bill Crapser (State Forester of Wyoming), and Michael Buck (Sustainability Leader, National Association of State Foresters) presented their experiences in utilizing and refining Criteria and Indicators in State Forest Assessments and planning efforts. Discussions also included the challenges facing forest managers in different areas of the United States, in implementing sustainable forest management across large landscapes with multiple landowners.

6. Sharing Experiences in the Application of Criteria & Indicators and in the Development of 2009 Country Reports.

Countries shared their progress and achievements since the 20th Working Group meeting related to application of criteria and indicators, and in developing their 2009 Country Reports. Shared highlights included development and release of the country reports, incorporation of Montréal Process criteria and indicator information into national policies, and utilization of Montréal Process criteria and indicators at regional and sub regional levels (Annex C (PDF, 103 KB)).

A common challenge discussed among countries was the need for improved communications among diverse stakeholders concerning criteria and indicators. Some countries discussed unique communication and web based approaches for disseminating results from country reports. The group also discussed emerging issues including impacts of climate change, drought, water, competing land uses, and changes in their forest products industry.

The opportunity to share and learn from other countries' experiences was recognized as a major benefit of meeting together and the Working Group members agreed to continue sharing experiences as a standing agenda item for future Working Group meetings.

7. International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Global Study of Uses and Applications of Criteria & Indicators.

On behalf of ITTO, Stephanie Caswell presented an overview of ITTO's work on criteria and Indicators, including a new global study on the use of Criteria and Indicators at different management levels. The study aims to: 1) identify where and how Criteria & Indicators are being applied directly at the field/forest management unit level and where they are providing a framework for policies, plans and other activities that indirectly affect forest management, and 2) assess the effects of such applications on forest practices and Sustainable Forest Management. The study will focus on five criteria and indicators processes: ITTO, African Timber Organization, Tarapoto Process, Montreal Process, and Forest Europe. The main tool for gathering information will be the circulation of questionnaires to 300 500 government agencies, forest operators, industry associations and local communities.

ITTO is currently piloting a survey for national and subnational government agencies. Ms. Caswell circulated the pilot survey and invited Montreal Process Working Group members to: 1) complete the survey in a preliminary and informal way, and provide feedback on its effectiveness; and 2) provide contact information for agencies and private sector entities in their countries, who should receive the final survey.

8. Contribution of Montréal Process Criteria & Indicators to International and National Dialogues.

There was recognition that although the Montréal Process Criteria and Indicators are widely acknowledged, it has potential for broader use. Working Group members discussed opportunities to add value to the Montréal Process to potentially address other applications, such as:

  • Broader considerations for applying Criteria & Indicators at subnational, national, and international scales (e.g., the Forest Resource Assessment and the Maryland State Forests Assessment).
  • Cross sectoral applications for other resources and uses (e.g., grasslands/shrublands for grazing) and for the wider aspects of sustainable development; and
  • Applications of the “participatory process” pioneered by the Montreal Process in other regions, sectors, groups, or issues.

Strategic discussions identified the potential applications of Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators to important issues (e.g. carbon, water, biofuels) for policy development as well as for cross sectoral areas (e.g. grasslands, shrublands, and the urban rural interface). The discussion revealed unique aspects of the Montreal Process (e.g. informal, non binding, voluntary, relies on good will, dealing with multiple values) that offers potential models for other processes. The continued emphasis on incorporating social and economic aspects within the Montreal Process also offers valuable and unique lessons for other process. Member countries who pursue broader applications of Criteria & Indicators within their respective countries are invited to report back to the membership at the 22nd Session.

9. Interaction with Other Criteria & Indicator and Reporting Processes

Montréal Process members expressed the importance and opportunity to share with other Criteria & Indicators and reporting processes about the successful conclusion of the revision of the Criteria & Indicators and the second round of country reporting by members. The members requested:

  1. The Montréal Process Working Group chair to communicate with other forest related C&I processes about the completion of the Criteria & Indicators revision and second round of country reporting and how to access that information on the Montreal Process website. In addition, the Chair will ask the other processes what they plan to do to celebrate the Year of the Forest; and
  2. The Montréal Process Working Group chair communicate with the Food and Agriculture Organization's Forest Resource Assessment leaders on utilizing Montreal Process the Criteria & Indicator data in the their forest reporting process.

10. Forest degradation - Monitoring and Reporting Progress Using Criteria & Indicators

As requested by the Working Group, the Technical Advisory Committee Convenor reported (Annex D (PDF, 316 KB)) on how the issue of forest degradation can be addressed using the Criteria & Indicator framework. The Technical Advisory Committee concluded that:

  • Forest degradation is a very complex issue and at the broadest level all Montréal Process indicators will have some relevance to the discussion by providing context;
  • A number of Montréal Process indicators can form a core subset at the national level that will allow measurement and monitoring of forest degradation by member countries;
  • Scale at which measurement and monitoring will be carried out is important, and local or regional level indicators may not be the same as the subset identified at the national scale; and
  • The broader framework of the Criteria & Indicators forms a good foundation to address specific issues such as forest degradation which can be seen as a component of Sustainable Forest Management.

The Working Group discussed the opportunity to use case studies to further develop and test the applicability of Montréal Process indicators, including the eighteen Montreal Process indicators selected by the Technical Advisory Committee as relating to measurement and monitoring of forest degradation. Japan, New Zealand, Argentina, Russia, Chile, and U.S.A. expressed interest in completing case studies and will report back at the 22nd meeting of the Montréal Process Working Group. After the presentation of the case studies at the 22nd meeting of the Montreal Process Working Group, the Working Group may ask for additional analysis of the case studies.

11. Montréal Process website.

The Technical Advisory Committee Convenor reported to the Working Group on the current Montreal Process website functions, with recommendations for potential improvement. The Liaison Office presented a draft outline for the structure and function for the revised website. The value of the current MP website was acknowledged as were the efforts of the Liaison Office in Japan to maintain and manage the site. Members agreed to significantly enhance the website through a revision to its functionality and content. A key aspect for the enhanced website is an increased capacity to enable member countries to more effectively share information with each other. Canada offered to assist with this aspect.

The United States will coordinate a revised layout of the website, based on the website structure proposed by the Liaison Office at the meeting. A draft will be forwarded to the Working Group members in August / September 2010 for comment. The new website is intended to be available before December 2010 in time to be launched for the International Year of Forests 2011. It is anticipated that members of the Working Group will need to contribute any specific reports, translations, and relevant web links to satisfy completion by December 2010.

12. Communicating Indicator data

The TAC Convenor reported on approaches to communicating indicator data. The TAC concluded that this was an area requiring further attention especially with respect to internet, social networking systems, data visualisation technologies, and means of accelerating the communication with younger people.

The Working Group discussed and agreed to use the revised Montreal Process web site to enhance the ability of member countries to share information on approaches for communication of indicator data.

13. Proposals and Plans for 2011 International Year of Forests.

Ms. Catherine Karr Colque provided an overview of the declaration of the 2011 Year of the Forest and the themes the United Nations chose to focus on during the year. Ms. Cindy McArthur provided an overview of planned United States activities for the International Year of Forests. The Technical Advisory Committee Convenor reported out on ideas they had developed for the 2011 Year of the Forest and ranked their ideas by benefit, audience, impact, and difficulty.

Working Group members discussed the ideas presented and agreed to increase the visibility of the Montreal Process during the 2011 Year of the Forest. In addition to improving the Montreal Process website, the following activities were agreed to:

  1. Pending adequate member country commitment (as determined by the Montreal Process Working Group Chair), hold a side event on the activities of the Montreal Process at the 9th Seession of the United Nations Forum on Forests in January 2011. The United States agreed to acquire a meeting room and schedule the side event. New Zealand offered to help plan the event.
  2. Explore the possibility of a joint meeting with members of other Criteria & Indicator processes. The Chair of the Montreal Process Working Group offered to explore this option.
  3. Create a power point presentation, for use by member countries on the Montreal Process Criteria & Indicators to a wide audience by December 2010. The power point would be accessible on the website. Australia and Canada volunteered to create the power point and share with all the member countries for review by October 2010. Member countries will be requested to provide information for the production of the powerpoint.

14. Review the 2009 2012 Montreal Process Working Group Implementation Schedule.

Member countries amended the 2009 to 2012 implementation schedule, as shown in Annex E (PDF, 18 KB), including new items involving the Montréal Process website, forest degradation, activities during the 2011 International Year of Forests.

15. Procedures for Future Montréal Process Working Group Meetings.

The updated Rules of Procedure were adopted, Annex F (PDF, 27 KB). The working group considers the statement of purpose in the adopted Rules of Procedure a provisional statement until the 22nd Montreal Process Working Group meeting.

The working group also agreed to discuss revised Purpose Statement at the 22nd Working Group meeting. New Zealand will lead a subgroup of the United States, Canada, Japan, Argentina and Australia to prepare a paper that reviews past historical Montreal Process documents and proposes a draft revised Purpose Statement for consideration by member countries at the 22nd session.

16. Terms of Reference for the Technical Advisory Committee.

The updated Terms of Reference for the Technical Advisory Committee were adopted, as shown in Annex H (PDF, 21 KB).

17. Terms of Reference for the Liaison Office.

The updated Terms of Reference for the Liaison Office were adopted, as shown in Annex G (PDF, 29 KB).

18. Liaison Office.

The Working Group acknowledged the fine work of the Liaison Office and Liaison Officer, Mr. Yuichi Sato. Specific tasks for the Liaison Office are specified in the updated 2010-2013 Implementation Schedule, as shown in Annex D (PDF, 316 KB).

19. Technical Advisory Committee Activity

The Working Group agreed that an intersessional meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee was not necessary.

The Working Group accepted the offer of the TAC Convenor to coordinate communications between member countries on the forest degradation case studies.

The Working Group recognized the excellent job of the Technical Advisory Committee and the Technical Advisory Committee Convenor, Dr Tim Payn and expressed thanks to New Zealand for their support of the Technical Advisory Committee Convener.

20. 22nd Working Group Meeting.

The working group did not decide when or where to hold the 22nd working group meeting. After the Chair corresponds with leaders of other processes and determines their interest in a joint meeting in 2011, the Chair will convene an electronic meeting of Working Group members to decide whether the Working Group shall meet jointly with others or by itself in 2011, when, and where. Canada has expressed an interest in hosting, pending the resolution of the Chair's dialog with other processes.

At its 22nd meeting, the Working Group will:

  1. Consider adopting a new Purpose Statement for the Montréal Process Working Group,
  2. Consider case studies and other efforts of member countries to develop and test applicability of the indicator set to the issue of forest degradation and consider future action of the Montreal Process Working Group,
  3. Review the revised Montreal process website,
  4. Discuss the paper prepared by Argentina and Australia on the issue of water in relation to the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators,
  5. Review the 2010 - 2013 Implementation Schedule, and amend as needed,
  6. Share country experiences in the application and utilization of criteria and indicators to promote and implement sustainable forest management, and
  7. Discuss Australia's paper on sustainable forest management.

Expression of Thanks

The meeting expressed its deep appreciation to the Chair of the Working Group Meeting, Dr. Richard Guldin, the people of Hawaii, and the Government of the United States, represented especially by the United States Forest Service and the Pacific Southwest Research Station's Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, for their hospitality in co hosting the 21th meeting of the Montréal Process Working Group. The meeting also expressed appreciation for the financial support made by the United States for the full participation of member countries at the 21st Working Group meeting.