Governments Prioritize Forest Exploitation, Many Governments Fail to Comply with CBD Mandate

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Governments Prioritize Forest Exploitation, Many Governments Fail to Comply with CBD Mandate

Bonn, Germany — Global Forest Coalition [1] released a major report, “Forests and the Biodiversity Convention,” [2] at the Convention on Biological Diversity today.  This report contains the summaries and research undertaken in 22 countries [3] by independent country monitors [4] to examine whether or not Parties are implementing the decisions made through the CBD Programme of Work (POW) of Forest Biological Diversity [5]. The civil society groups from the 22 countries who elaborated the reports presented at their findings at a press conference this morning.

The Coordinator of the report and Chairperson of the Global Forest Coalition, Dr. Miguel Lovera said, “Even though isolated actions have been taken by some governments, they fall short of complying with the CBD/POW which mandates that forests be regarded as ecosystems and not as mere resources.”  He continued, “The consequences of this are that forest species are being lost at a rate of more than 100 a day and huge areas of forests are being lost, such as in the Amazon, Congo Basin and throughout the earth.  To make things worse, governments and corporations are obsessed with promoting false solutions to climate change, like relying on agrofuels and genetically engineered trees to replace oil.”

Wolfgang Kuhlmann, Director, ARA (Working group on Rainforests and Biodiversity) from Germany stated, “To implement the Expanded Programme of  Work on Forest Biodiversity of the CBD the German government supports numerous activities abroad (e.g. National Forest Plans in 20 countries).  However, up to now activities in Germany can’t compare to that.”  Kuhlmann adds, “The POW is hardly known by anybody outside those German government agencies that are directly involved in CBD and UN Forum on Forests related activities. Reports on CBD/POWs implementation primarily refer to ongoing activities that have started well before 2002. New activities are either lacking or insufficient. So what are they doing?”

Many countries omitted implementing the CBD/POW for diverse reasons, but one outstanding example is the lack of political will as exemplified by Brazil.

“After the resignation of Marina Silva as Minister of the Environment, any agreement with Brazil on environment and forests becomes a blank check” said Camila Moreno, from Terra de Direitos, the country monitor for Brazil. “It is clear that there isn’t any support from popular movemnts and civil society for the environmental aberrations of (President) Lula’s government to the ethanol crusade. This crusade is already an obsession of international corporations and governments.  This is not admissible,” she adds.

Hubertus Samangun, Director of ICTI, Tanimbar, Indonesia, Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator of the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests explained, “The Indonesian government is cutting down millions of hectares of forests and replacing them with palm oil plantations.” Samangun continued by quoting an Indonesian NGO saying, “The government is on high speed to destroy the biodiverse forests of Indonesia.

Agrofuel expansion and the expansion of large-scale monocultures for both
agrofuels and other agro-industrial purposes, bad forest governance and the lack of a proper definition of forests were identified as some of the main causes of forest loss in the 22 countries monitored. The report concludes that there have been some clear success-stories of forest conservation, especially on indigenous lands and territories, but indigenous peoples are still not able to participate in national and international forest policies.

Contact:

Miguel Lovera, GFC Chairperson +316 15345379 (Mobile) Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Dutch and Italian

Wolfgang Kuhlmann, Director, ARA (Working group on Rainforests and Biodiversity)
+ 49 (0)175 6040772 (Mobile)    German and English

Orin Langelle, GFC Media Coordinator   (0)176 77187583 (Bonn mobile) English

NOTES:

[1] The Global Forest Coalition (GFC) is an international coalition of NGOs and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs) involved in international forest policy.  The GFC was founded in 2000 by 19 NGOs and Indigenous Peoples Organizations from all over the world.  It is a successor to the NGO Forest Working Group, which was originally established in 1995.  It participated in international forest policy meetings and organized joint advocacy campaigns on issues like Indigenous Peoples Rights, the need for socially just forest policy and the need to address the underlying causes of forest loss.

[2] The report can be downloaded http://www.globalforestcoalition.org/paginas/view/28#IM

[3] The countries monitored are Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Georgia, Germany, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Russian Federation, Samoa and Uganda.

[4] Country Monitors are available for interviews.  Please see ENDNOTE as they are listed with different areas of expertise, regional knowledge and languages.

[5] The CBD/POW provides Parties to the CBD guidance on how to achieve the biodiversity conservation goals enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals, which mandate United Nations members to “reverse the loss of environmental resources.” However, deforestation rates are extraordinarily high, in the order of 2% per year (FAO 2005).  Rapid deforestation and degradation of forests is also leading to an estimated extinction of up to 100 species every day (WRI 2001), and the rampant erosion of forest peoples rights, knowledge and habitats.

ENDNOTE: Country Monitors are available for interviews. They are listed with
different areas of expertise, regional knowledge and languages.

Hubertus Samangun, Director of ICTI, Tanimbar, Indonesia, Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator of the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests. Indigenous rights, biodiversity and forest policy, agrofuels, REDD.
Bahasa Indonesia and English

Dr. Andrei Laletin, Friends of the Siberian Forests, Russia
Russian forests: their biodiversity and role in climate change mitigation.
Russian and English

Fiu Mata’ese Elisara-Laulu, O Le Siosiomaga Society, Samoa
Sustainable development that impacts culture, social, environment and economic
issues.
Samoan and English

Lynn Palmer, Canada
Canadian Environmental Network, Forest Caucus Steering Committee
Boreal forest conservation; community forestry including Aboriginal
communities
in Canada
English (some French, a little Spanish)

Melita Whaiapu, New Zealand
Operations Manager Kowhai Consulting Ltd
Maori Community Development
English

Lauren Caulfield, Australia
Forest Campaigner, Friends of the Earth, Melbourne
Forest and logging issues in Australia
English

Daniel Ribeiro, Mozambique
Program officer, JA! justica Ambiental
Biologist, working on water issues (rivers & dams) and forest issues (research
and campaigns to stop the logging)
Portuguese and English

Renaat VAN ROMPAEY, The Netherlands
managing director WIx Wageningen International Experts
Forest biodiversity worldwide, protected area management planning, green
sustainable development, mobilizing international expertise
English, French, German, Dutch

Wolfgang Kuhlmann, Germany
Director, ARA (Working group on Rainforests and Biodiversity)
Forest issues (esp. related to IPF, IFF, UNFF), avoided deforestation
German, English

Mr. Bhola Bhattarai, Nepal
Member Secretary, Community Forest Users of Nepal (FECOFUN)
Community Forestry, Biodiversity Conservation, Good governance and
Policy-level
Advocacy for the Poor and Oppressed
Nepali, English and Hindi

Camila Moreno, Brazil
Researcher at Terra De Direitos
Agrofuels, peasant movements, agribusiness expansion in Brazil, biotechnology
and GMO impacts on peasant and family farm agriculture, Amazon deforestation
dynamics, territorial conflicts in the Amazon region, political
ecology/emerging environmental social movements
Portuguese, Spanish, English

Md. Anwarul Islam, PhD, Bangladesh
Professor Department of Zoology
University of Dhaka and Chief Executive, Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh
Wildlife and Conservation Biology
English and Bangla

Ms. Vanya Ratarova, Bulgaria
Forest Officer, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/ BirdLife
Bulgaria
Forest Habitat Conservation, Biologically Important Forests, Protected Areas
Bulgarian, English, German, a little Russian

Ms. Veronika Ferdinandova, Bulgaria
BirdLife European Forest Task Force Coordinator
European Forest and Nature Protection Policy,  Biologically Important Forests,
Sustainable Forest Management
Bulgarian, English

Frank Muramuzi, Uganda
Executive Director, National Association of Professional Environmentalists
(NAPE)
Dams, alternative energy, forests, IFI engagements, community rights issues,
etc.
English

Mariana Porras, Costa Rica
miembro de COECOCEIBA – Amigos de la Tierra Costa Rica
Ingeniera forestal, especializo en bosques
español e ingles basico

Mina Susana Setra, Dayak Pompakng People, Indonesia
Director of International Advocacy and Foreign Affairs of AMAN (Aliansi
Masyarakat Adat Nusantara – Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago)
Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples, Climate
Change and related Issues, biofuel, forest, i.e. oil palm plantation
development
Bahasa Indonesia, Pompakng and English

Ilia Domashov, Kyrgyzstan
vice-chairman, Ecological movement “BIOM”
Nature conservation, Ecological education, public participation, etc
Russian and English

Nadine Mballa, Cameroon
Jurist for CED (Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement)
Community legal fieldwork
French

Raul Benet, Mexico
Community Forestry
Spanish and English

print