The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has been in existence since 1992, i.e. for nearly ten years. For the world’s forests, the CBD is potentially a very important instrument, since the majority of the world’s biodiversity lies in forests.
To date, forests have not received the attention in the CBD that they deserve, despite the fact that the groundwork for successful action to protect forest biological diversity has been laid in several key decisions and processes within the CBD. Among these are the definition of the ecosystem approach for sustainable forest management, a research-oriented three-year rolling programme on forest biodiversity (1998-2001), the establishment of an ad hoc technical expert group on forests, and the review of the impact of climate change on forest biological diversity. As yet, however, these have all failed to deliver significant results for the Earth’s forests.
Ten years after the UNCED meeting in Rio, forest biological diversity and the adoption of an eight-year, action-oriented work programme on forests are priority items on the agenda of the sixth meeting of the CBD Conference of Parties (COP) in April 2002 in The Hague. Given this, the Global Forest Coalition felt it was important to take stock of the current situation and research the implementation of commitments under the CBD that are most relevant to forests.
This report presents the results of research co-ordinated by Fern on the implementation, in 21 countries, of those CBD commitments. Of the 21 countries studied, fourteen are in the South, two are countries with economies in transition and five are in the North. Together, the forests in these countries comprise over half of the Earth’s forest area.