Geography - United Nations response
United Nations response
The UNCED recognised the broader role that forests play in the
maintenance of global ecosystems.
In the context of the Climate Change Convention forests have become a
factor in joint implementation agreements because of their important role
in regulating Earth's temperature
Scientists believe that moist tropical forests, which are experiencing
the fastest rate of loss, are a significant repository of carbon, which can
affect global climate change
In February 2000 there was a determination to reach an agreement on a new
international system for managing and protecting the world's remaining
forests. The United Nation's Commission on Sustainable Development is
holding its fourth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests at UN
Headquarters in New York.
The UN Commission on Sustainable Development's Intergovernmental Panel on
Forests was established in 1995 to pursue coordinated proposals for action
to support the management, conservation and sustainable development of all
types of forests.
One of the aims was to establish a treaty to regulate forest management at
the global level. Any agreement reached during the Forest Forum would have
to be ratified at the eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development, held in April.
Governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and private-sector
forest companies have launched several independent initiatives; to
influence markets for sustainably produced forest goods and services.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES), which became effective in 1975 and has 128 member
countries, is a binding international treaty regulating trade in wildlife
and plants to help protect species threatened with extinction. Commercially
important timber species were not listed in CITES until 1992, when
international trade in Brazilian rosewood was banned. Trade in more than a
dozen other timber species is either banned or strictly controlled. In
1994, a contentious battle erupted between the signatory countries over the
proposed listing of mahogany. The proposal was defeated and further
resulted in the delisting of several African timber species.
The International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA) of 1983 is a binding
agreement governing the trade of tropical timbers and, by extension,
tropical forests. When the ITTA was renegotiated in 1994 it was criticised
for focusing too much on individual projects rather than on issues relevant
to trade and environment. Some argued that it should incorporate Target
2000. Up to 1997, the new agreement had not been ratified by a sufficient
number of member countries. Major unresolved issues include the agreement's
continuing "double standard" problem, since it has not expanded its scope
to all forests.
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