Working Group Meeting Report
22nd Montreal Process Working Group Meeting
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
October 16-17 and 21, 2011
The Montreal Process Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests held its 22nd meeting in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, October 16-17, and 21, 2011. The Montreal 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.
- Annex A (PDF, 13 KB) (List of participants)
- Annex B (PDF, 106 KB) (Agenda)
- Annex C (PDF, 109 KB) (Countries' progress and achievements)
- Annex D (PDF, 113 KB) (TAC Convener's report)
- Annex E (PDF, 1.6 MB) (Proceedings of the Joint Workshop to Streamline Global Forest Reporting and Strengthen Collaboration among International Criteria and Indicator Processes, Held on October 18-20, 2011)
- French (PDF, 1.3 MB)
- Annex F - English (PDF,696 KB) (Joint statement of The Montréal Process, International Tropical Timber Organization, FOREST EUROPE, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Global Forest Resources Assessment, January 5, 2012)
- Annex G (PDF, 22 KB) (2011-2014 Implementation schedule)
The meeting included 30 participants from 10 Montreal Process member countries. The meeting was greatly enhanced by the participation and contribution of the research scientists and foresters of the Canadian Forest Service. A list of participants is attached as Annex A (PDF, 13 KB).
2. Meeting Opening.
At its organizational meeting, the Chair of the 21st Montreal Process Working Group, Dr. Richard Guldin welcomed the members and thanked Canada and the officials of the Canadian Forest Service for hosting the current session. He nominated Joanne Frappier, Director, Forest Knowledge and Information Management Division of Natural Resources Canada as the Chair of the 22nd Working Group Meeting. The nomination was unanimously endorsed by the Montreal Process Working Group members present. Representatives from member countries volunteered to serve on the Aide Memoire Drafting Committee (USA, AUS, CAN, NZ, JPN) and the Implementation Schedule Committee (USA, CAN, JPN).
At the formal opening, the Chair welcomed the members to Canada. She challenged the Montreal Process Working Group to identify and implement relevant applications of the criteria and indicator data in regard to forest policy and sustainable forest management activities on the ground.
The Chair introduced the tentative agenda, which was reviewed and adopted by the Working Group. The agenda is attached as Annex B (PDF, 106 KB).
4. Sharing Experiences in the Application of Criteria & Indicators and implementing Sustainable Forest Management.
Countries shared their progress and achievements since the 21st Working Group meeting related to application of criteria and indicators. Highlights included release of country reports, unique communication and web-based approaches for disseminating results from those reports, streamlined reporting, and utilization of Montreal Process criteria and indicators at regional and sub-regional levels (Annex C (PDF, 109 KB)).
Themes discussed among countries were decreasing budgets resulting from the global economic downturn, increasing impacts on forests from drought, competing land uses, changes in their forest products industry, and new policies and political direction. There was also an increasing interest in the use of indicators, especially for other sectors such as mining, energy development, and agriculture within the wider context of sustainable development.
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.
5. Reports from the Liaison Office and the Technical Advisory Committee.
The Liaison Office reviewed accomplishments of the Office assigned to it within the 2010-11 Implementation Schedule. Major activities were presentations developed and made on behalf of the Montreal Process Working Group in international fora, activities during the International Year of Forests, and the maintenance and refinements to the Montreal Process website.
The Technical Advisory Committee was not tasked with any work at the 21st Montreal Process Working Group meeting. The Technical Advisory Committee Convener reported on the previous year's activity and also some future issues. The Technical Advisory Committee Convener identified strengths (stable long serving members, networks, great products) as well as challenges including uncertainty in the work program and resourcing (Annex D (PDF, 113 KB)).
6. Case Studies and Efforts to Test Applicability of Indicators to Forest Degradation Issues.
The Working Group welcomed the case studies by New Zealand, Japan, Chile, and Russia to test the applicability of Montreal Process indicators to forest degradation.
The case studies demonstrated that MPC&I can provide a solid foundation for measuring and monitoring forest degradation. Since forest degradation is both a process and a state, it is important that stakeholders have an agreed upon definition and baseline for forest degradation. For some, forest degradation is a historical descriptor while for others it is used to drive forward-looking policy. Montreal Process members recognize that other international organizations have developed good working definitions of forest degradation, while retaining the flexibility to address differing forest types and conditions is critical (e.g. forest plantations versus natural forest). An institutional framework is also needed -- especially an agreement on expected benefits and structure of affected forest types - before a suite of appropriate and relevant indicators can be chosen and analyzed.
The Montreal Process Working Group encouraged willing members to consider adding emphasis on forest degradation in their future national reports.
7. Montreal Process Meeting Frequency.
MPWG discussed the frequency and nature of agendas for meetings of MP. All members agreed that there is no mandatory requirement to have annual meetings and that the frequency of meetings should be determined by a robust work plan that necessitates holding face-to-face meetings. Members also discussed the need to maintain momentum and will continue to hold ad-hoc meetings on the margins of other international fora and teleconferences when appropriate.
8. Concept and Use of the Montreal Process to Demonstrate Sustainable Forest Management.
The Working Group welcomed Australia's presentation and discussed the relevance of the internationally agreed definitions of Sustainable Forest Management and how the Montreal Process can demonstrate the concept of Sustainable Forest Management based on their current criteria and indicators.
The Working Group affirms the following definition of sustainable forest management from the United Nations Forum on Forests: "a dynamic and evolving concept, intended to maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental value of all types of forests, for the benefit of present and future generations".
The Montreal Process Working Group, in recognizing the seven thematic elements put forth by the United National Forum on Forests, works to advance the development and implementation of internationally agreed Criteria and Indicators frameworks to monitor, assess, report, and demonstrate the key elements of Sustainable Forest Management.
9. Applying Criteria & Indicators to Forest-related Policy Development.
The Working Group welcomed New Zealand's presentation in how Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators could play a role in informing, updating, reporting and measuring the performance of forestry-related policies. New Zealand discussed three potential applications of Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators - reporting, target setting, forest policy development- and demonstrated how they are using a suite of indicators to evaluate potential woody biomass scenarios. Canada gave examples of how criteria and indicators reporting has been used to inform forest policy at the national and sub-national level.
The Working Group encouraged members to continue to explore applications where criteria and indicators substantially contribute to forest related policy and write success stories for the Montreal Process website.
10. Water in Relation to the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators.
The Working Group welcomed contributions from Australia and Argentina on issues associated with water management and forestry within their countries, such as extreme drought, restrictions and new policies. There was considerable discussion on the relevance of the current set of indicators for addressing the issues associated with water and forests for both the Montreal Process as well as other international processes.
The Working Group asked the Technical Advisory Committee to identify appropriate indicators and mechanisms that provide a stronger foundation for describing how sustainably managed forests conserve soil and water resources and related services and functions. The MPWG asked the TAC to present a report 90 days before the 23rd MPWG meeting.
11. New Purpose Statement for the Montreal Process Working Group Meetings.
The Working Group welcomed New Zealand's paper on a final MPWG statement of purpose in the Rules of Procedure. The updated statement of purpose was adopted as follows:
The purpose of the Working Group (MPWG) is to advance the development and refinement of internationally agreed criteria and indicators (C&I) for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests. The MPWG fosters consensus among its members on a common understanding, language and definition of what constitutes conservation and sustainable management of those forests with the intention of wider application of the MPWG C&I framework and of working with other C&I processes and global forestry forums, and including through:
- the participation of, and national reporting by, the MPWG members who represent countries with temperate and boreal forests;
- considering approaches for membership of the MPWG from prospective member countries
- voluntary and inclusive membership of such countries, including prospective new members;
- directing the work of and considering the recommendations of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC);
- establishing, as needed, sub-groups of the MPWG to undertake MPWG-assigned tasks during MPWG inter-sessional periods;
- liaison with other regional C&I processes and international forestry forums, and
- promoting the Groups views through the MP website and other information managed by the Liaison Office (LO).
12. New Applications for the Montreal Process.
The Working Group members were challenged to describe specific examples of applications that enhance the value of criteria and indicators to their individual countries and stakeholders.
Strategic discussions identified the potential applications of Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators to important issues (e.g. water, bioenergy, biodiversity, climate change) for policy development as well as for other sectors (e.g. agriculture) that have expressed interest in tracking and reporting on resource conditions. Members discussed the need for decision makers in their countries to understand the value of criteria and indicators. Other members discussed specific examples where indicator data helps provide a framework and platform to address priority forest management issues within their countries. One common theme throughout the discussion was the support and benefit all members receive in sharing experiences and bringing new knowledge and application back to their countries.
New Zealand volunteered to lead a small sub-group to explore improved communications around the application of criteria and indicators. The Working Group gratefully accepted New Zealand's proposal and look forward to receiving a report at the 23rd Working Group meeting.
13. Joint Workshop with the Montreal Process, International Tropical Timber Organization, Forest Europe, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Forestry Department.
The Working Group participated in the October 18-20 meeting of representatives of the Montreal Process, International Tropical Timber Organization, Forest Europe, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Forestry Department for a joint workshop of international criteria and indicators processes. Together, these international criteria and indicators processes represent countries that hold virtually all of the world's forests. The purpose of this workshop was to review the evolution, output and directions of the major criteria and indicators processes, to examine how criteria and indicators can help countries deal with emerging forest issues, to explore possibilities for future collaboration, and to streamline global forest reporting.
A summary and proceedings of the joint workshop is attached as Annex E (PDF, 1.6 MB).
The Working Group approved a draft joint statement to be considered by the International Tropical Timber Organization, Forest Europe, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Forestry Department (to be included as Annex F (PDF, 696 KB) once endorsed).
The joint workshop proposed draft action plans for the 2015 Global Forest Resource Assessment and Common Reporting, Communication, and Working Together. The Working Group agreed in principle to the actions plans subject to future discussions with the cooperating partners (International Tropical Timber Organization, Forest Europe, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Forestry Department) and resourcing constraints.
In response to the action items from the joint workshop dealing with the 2015 Global Forest Resource Assessment, the United States agreed to lead a sub-committee with Argentina, Canada, Chile, China and Russia to:
- Identify similarities and differences among the three indicator processes to use as a core set of indicators for the 2015 Global Forest Resource Assessment; and
- Work through the FRA national correspondents of Montreal Process member countries to develop joint data collection schedules and consistent methodologies between FAO and the three criteria and indicator processes.
Canada agreed to lead further work with respect to the Working Together action item and New Zealand (Paragraph 12) agreed to lead further work on the Improving Communications action item (Annex E (PDF, 38 KB)).
14. Montreal Process Website Revision.
The United States presented a revised layout of the website. The Working Group welcomed and endorsed the creation of a virtual website sub-committee (US, NZ, CAN, AUS, LO) to create the content necessary to update the website.
Steps approved are as follows:
- the LO will immediately review and update where needed, existing content and links on the current website;
- the LO will work with the United States to transfer all website content to servers hosted by the United States no later than November 30, 2011;
- the virtual website sub-committee will propose a revised website structure and content for consideration by the Working Group no later than February 2012 with the intention that the new website would go live no later than May 30, 2012.
- the Liaison Office will handle content maintenance; and
- the USA will handle the posting to the website.
Chile (Spanish), Russia (Russian) and Canada (French) offered translation support.
The Working Group recognizes that improving and updating the Montreal Process website will be an on-going continuous improvement process.
15. Review of Collaborative Site Pilot Project.
The Working Group thanks Canada for their efforts and will incorporate lessons learned in the improved website. Canada will continue to explore other approaches for effective collaborative work.
16. Approval of Revised 2011-14 Montreal Process Implementation Schedule.
Member countries amended the 2011 - 2014 Implementation Schedule, as shown in Annex G (PDF, 22 KB), including new items derived from the outcomes of the joint workshop.
17. Liaison Office.
The Working Group thanked Japan and 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 2011 -2014 Implementation Schedule, as shown in Annex G (PDF, 22 KB).
18. Technical Advisory Committee Activity.
The Working Group tasked the Technical Advisory Committee to:
- (10) Identify appropriate indicators and mechanisms that provide a stronger foundation for describing how sustainably managed forests conserve soil and water resources and related services and functions, and report back to the Working Group at the 23rd Meeting; and
- (13) Provide support where requested and approved by the Working Group out of session to the Working Group/FRA correspondents subcommittee defining the core set of indicators for FRA2015.
The Working Group recognized the excellent job of the TAC Convenor, Dr Tim Payn and expressed thanks to New Zealand for their support of the TAC Convener. The Working Group welcomed the proposal by the TAC Convenor to hold the next TAC meeting in Russia in 2012 (exact timing to be determined) and thanked Russia for the offer to host the meeting.
19. 23rd Montreal Process Working Group Meeting.
The Working Group welcomed the offer by Australia to investigate options to host the 23rd Montreal Process Working Group meeting in late 2013. At this meeting, the Working Group will:
- Review and advance progress made as a result of actions proposed from the Joint Workshop with the International Tropical Timber Organization, Forest Europe, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Forestry Department;
- Establish the 2015-2025 strategic plan for the Montreal Process Working Group further expanding on the results of the Joint Workshop with the International Tropical Timber Organization, Forest Europe, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Forestry Department;
- Decide on the next steps to advance the indicator work related to water;
- Decisions and mobilization of activities around upcoming meetings/events;
- Assessing progress in improved communication;
- Review the 2012 - 2015 Implementation Schedule, and amend as needed; and
- Share country experiences in the application and utilization of criteria and indicators to promote and implement sustainable forest management.
The Working Group proposes to place a call for additional agenda items through the Liaison Office 6 months prior to the meeting.
The Working Group recognizes the value of intersessional ad hoc meetings at other forest-related meetings since the 21st Working Group meeting and encourages additional ad hoc meetings before the 23rd Working Group meeting as opportunities may arise.
Expression of Thanks
The meeting expressed its deep appreciation to the Chair of the Working Group Meeting, Joanne Frappier, and her colleagues from Canada, the people of Victoria and the Government of Canada, represented especially by the Canadian Forest Service and the Pacific Forestry Centre, for their hospitality in co-hosting the 22nd meeting of the Montreal Process Working Group. The meeting also expressed appreciation for the financial support made by the United States for the participation of member countries at the 22nd Working Group meeting.