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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999


International Workshop on Deforestation

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The Global Workshop on Addressing the Underlying Causes of Deforestation and Forest Degradation was held Jan. 18-22, 1999, in San Jose, Costa Rica. The 130 participants from 40 countries to consider proposals from the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) to act on the underlying causes of deforestation. Working groups considered (1) the effects of trade and consumption; (2) stakeholder participation and land tenure; (3) investment policies, international aid, and financial flows; and (4) forest valuation. The major proposals that came out of the working groups were:

  • Increase awareness about the impacts on forests wrought by production, consumption, and trade.
  • Develop integrated national policies that promote sustainable production and discourage unsustainable lifestyles and consumption.
  • improve data collection and dissemination on production, consumption, and trade in forest products.
  • Develop better certification processes for forest products.
  • Change the fundamental philosophy and framework of international trade agreements so they promote environmental objectives, increase the enforceability of human rights and environmental agreements, and balance vested interests with those of other parts of civil society.
  • Ensure the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in national and international negotiations.
  • Collect and systematize traditional knowledge on sustainable natural-resource management and establish technical- assistance centers for indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • Ensure consideration of social, cultural, and environmental impacts prior to the approval of all economic activities in forests.
  • Guarantee stakeholders equitable participation in decision-making.
  • Link implementation with monitoring and adaptation.
  • Require social and environmental impact assessments for investments impacting forests.
  • Develop a U.N. forest-keeping mechanism.
  • Develop corporate-accountability mechanisms.
  • Adopt bank policies that forbid investment in or subsidization of corporations that exploit natural and indigenous forests.
  • Secure space for civil society in World Trade Organisation negotiations.
  • Establish independent review panels to monitor national, regional, and international legal instruments.
  • Support transparency and accountability.
  • Increase access to decision-makers.
  • Strengthen forest-related law enforcement.
  • Improve the transparency of International Monetary Fund (IMF) operations and promote the long-term sustainability of IMF interventions.
  • Give environmental and social goals equal status with economic goals.
  • Encourage the major industrialized countries (the G-8) to pressure multilateral development banks, particularly the Asian Development Bank and its donor governments, to ensure sustainable forest management.
  • Explore the role of debt service in contributing to deforestation.
  • Encourage the U.N. Development Programme to broaden its support of community-based microenterprises.
  • Strengthen cross-sectoral coherence in policies and initiatives that affect forests.
  • Change the Food and Agriculture Organisation definitions on forests to eliminate discrimination between developed and developing countries and to incorporate the ecosystem approach and measurements of forest quality.
  • Establish an international research program to assess all forest goods, services and values.
  • Create a separate research programme on traditional forest-related knowledge.
  • Develop criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management that include ecological, economic, social, and cultural criteria useful for decision making.
  • Develop national forest plans that include reserves, community forestry projects, forest restoration, and sustainable forest management criteria and indicators to guide development and implementation, along with legal and economic instruments to protect biodiversity.
  • Conduct comparative studies on national legislation that affects forest biodiversity to improve legislation.
  • Perform social and environmental impact assessments prior to launching projects.

The Report of the Global Workshop, consisting of a compilation of the objectives, actions, and actors identified by the working groups, was submitted to the Intergovernmental Task Force on Forests and the United Nations Environment Programme for presentation to the U.N. Secretary-General and to other parties that have an interest in the deforestation process, such as the World Bank.

This workshop will be followed by regional consultations and a final meeting in Canada in the year 2000. A comprehensive summary of this meeting is available at

  • Guide to Publishers
  • Index of Abbreviations

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