Establishing criteria for monitoring forest resources

Assessing sustainability of forest management
Following the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) international agreement was reached to formulate guidelines or criteria to ensure sustainable forest management. The goal is to provide a common understanding of sustainable forest management through the use of criteria and indicators.
The need to have a common understanding of the concept of sustainable forest management and how to assess the sustainability of forest management that is relevant globaly, regionally and nationally. This remains one of the key issues surrounding the discussion of forest issues.

This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends establishing a conceptual framework and formulating acceptable criteria, norms and definitions for systematic observation and assessment of forest resources.

The Montreal Process Working Group includes 12 countries which encompass over 90 per cent of the world's temperate and boreal forests. Member countries are Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, the United States of America and Uruguay.

Criteria for sustainable forest management are endorsed through the legally binding [International Tropical Timber Agreement], renegotiated in 1994. Also by the adoption of the [Regional Convention for the Conservation of Forest Natural Ecosystems and the Development of Forestry Plantations] during the 1993 Summit of Central American Presidents. In 1995, the [Tarapoto Proposal] of the Amazon Treaty Organization identified criteria and indicators to measure Amazon forest sustainability.

The member countries of The Montreal Process Working Group have endorsed a statement of political commitment known as the [Santiago Declaration] which includes a comprehensive framework of seven criteria and 67 indicators for the worlds temperate and boreal forests. The seven criteria address the key forest values that the broader community seeks to maintain. These are the maintenance of: (1) biological diversity; (2) productive capacity; (3) ecosystem health and vitality; (4) soil and water resources; (5) global carbon cycles; (6) socio-economic benefits; and (7) an effective legal and institutional framework. The framework of criteria and indicators are used at the national level for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests. Indicators are developed to be relevant at the regional level, and are able to be reported against, for example, indicators related to wood production, employment, research and development, and the legal, institutional and economic frameworks. However several indicators, such as the soil and water indicators although relevant, will require research and/or development to enable them to be implemented or operationalised. It is anticipated that some current indicators may not be relevant at the regional level and could require development of surrogates or "new indicators".

Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal