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Working Group Meeting Report

2nd Meeting of the Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests
Montréal Process

Delhi, India 
July 28, 1994


Opening Remarks and Overview

The meeting of the Working Group, hosted and chaired by Jag Maini (Canada), was held in Delhi on July 28, 1994. The draft agenda, list of participants and working documents are attached as appendices.

On behalf of Christian Barthod (France) and Bernardo Zentelli (UNCSD), the Chairman extended apologies for their inability to attend. It was also noted that China, the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) were not able to join the session.

Jag Maini informed the group that Mr. Takashi Fujiwara of Japan has accepted a new assignment and, regrettably, would no longer be participating in the criteria and indicators exercise. He welcomed Mr. Fujiwara's replacement, Mr. Susumu Kawakita, along with other members who were present for the first time.

The Chairman recalled the informal meeting in Kuala Lumpur that led to the establishment of the working group which first met in Geneva June 21-22. At that time, the participants agreed to hold a second session in Delhi, following the Indo-UK workshop, in order to maintain contact and momentum. It was also agreed that the Working Group would review working definitions of a few terms commonly used in international discussions on criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management. With regard to the draft agenda, participants felt that it reflected the items they suggested in Geneva.

Some discussion ensued on the tight timeframe for completing a preliminary set of criteria and indicators in the context of the April 1995 meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and the necessity to work toward harmonization between the various initiatives, while taking into account national positions. Also, views were sought on how the documents, tabled by Japan (appendices III, IV and V) and the United States (appendix VI), would be used to move the process forward.

Some participants noted that, while the Helsinki Process was supported politically and conducted under the auspices of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, no similar intergovernmental mechanism was sponsoring this Working Group's activities. Rather, this process was the result of like-minded countries simply agreeing to work together. The Chairman then asked for a round table exchange of information on the political support and commitment in countries and organizations with regard to national and international efforts on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.

The round table exchange revealed that in all participating countries, there was strong political commitment to develop criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. Further, all intergovernmental organizations present expressed the importance of the need to formulate scientifically based criteria and indicators to assist their programs and activities.

Following the discussion, the Chairman noted that there was general agreement with the Japanese proposal and summarized the key points: develop a consolidated view, i.e., a framework of criteria and indicators based on discussions to date and decide on a workplan over the next few months. Next, the United States was invited to present the draft core set of criteria and indicators.

As a result of deliberations, the participants generally agreed on the following:

  1. The US paper, with some modifications, was adopted as the group's working draft. Based on the comments received at the meeting, the revised version will form the basis of discussions at the US-sponsored session in Olympia in September '94. Additional comments should be submitted to Stephanie Caswell as soon as possible, by facsimile, at (202) 736-7351. Alternatively, her address is: Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Room 4325, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520.
  2. The introduction of the document tabled by the US was well received and the participants made additional suggestions, including:
    1. public participation and awareness, as key components, should be emphasized in the introduction and highlighted as indicators in relevant criteria;
    2. emphasis should also be made in the first part of the paper to reflect that the criteria and indicators are intended to apply to forests at the national level;
    3. a statement should be incorporated on the need for and the use of criteria and indicators;
    4. the scope of the criteria should be further defined through the elaboration of appropriate indicators; and
    5. the document should be written in terms that are easily understood by the political and policy communities as well as the public.
  3. There was general agreement on the following seven criteria:
    1. conservation of biological diversity
    2. maintenance of productive capacity of forests
    3. maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality
    4. soil and water conservation
    5. maintenance of forest contribution to global carbon cycles
    6. long-term output of multiple socio-economic benefits
    7. legal, policy and institutional framework
  4. A few more definitions of terms will be added to the proposed list tabled by Canada, once the group has reviewed what Russia and Canada have done in this area. The terms will be treated as working definitions only, not to be negotiated.
  5. The revised version of the Working Group's draft document will be discussed at the US-sponsored meeting in Olympia, Washington, scheduled for September 7-10, 1994. The decision to arrange a follow-up meeting in Hull, Canada, in conjunction with the Malaysia-Canada sponsored Intergovernmental Working Group on Global Forests (IWGGF) to be held October 10-14, 1994, will be made after the outcomes of the Olympia meeting are assessed.
  6. The Working Group agreed in principle to organize a meeting in Yokohama, Japan in conjunction with the ITTO Council session, planned for November 17 & 18. Accordingly, ITTO will be requested that their invitations also include reference to a meeting of the Working Group on criteria and indicators that will follow the Council's meeting so that due consideration can be given to sending the appropriate delegates to the ITTO and Working Group,s meetings.
  7. While the question of monitoring was clearly seen as an important extension of the criteria and indicators exercise, for the moment, members agreed to exchange information on their individual country or organization initiatives and requested Japan to serve as the focal point on this item and to lead future development of ideas and approaches.
  8. Chile graciously offered to host a meeting if one is required, perhaps in January 1995.

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Thursday 28 July 1994

0900 - 1630

Mumtaz Mahal Conference Room
Taj Palace Intercontinental
2 Sardar Patel Marg
Diplomatic Enclave
New Delhi
(Tel: 91-11-301-0404)

Time Event
0915 Discussion of working definitions for criteria and indicators of sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests.
1030 Refreshments
1050 Continued disucssion of definitions.
1230 Lunch
1330 Discussion of future plans for work in the context of various initiatives related to forests, including CSD '95.
1500 Refreshments
1520 Continued discussion and determination of next meeting of the WG.
1630  Adjournment

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