US Failing to Comply With International Panel on Forests Agreement

wafcdc at americanlands.org wafcdc at americanlands.org
Thu Nov 19 15:40:50 EST 1998


From: "wafcdc at americanlands.org" <wafcdc at americanlands.org>
Subject: US Failing to Comply With International Panel on Forests  Agreement

TO:            All Activists
FROM:          Steve Holmer
DATE:          November 19, 1998

SUBJECT:  US Failing to Comply With International
                  Panel on Forests Agreement


     The United States is among a number of  nations that agreed to a
series of  Proposals for Action as part of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Forests (IPF).  This May, the US will be reporting to the other IPF nations
on our progress in implementing the agreement.  Thus far, the US is
failing to take adequate steps to reform forestry at a federal, state or
private level to meet the terms of the agreement.

     Many of the proposals for action could have significant impact if
enacted.  For example action 17(a) reads:    

     Encourage countries, in accordance with their national sovereignty,
     specific country conditions and national legislation, to develop,
     implement, monitor and evaluate national forest programs, which
     include a wide range of approaches for sustainable forest
     management, taking into consideration the following: consistency
     with national, subnational or local policies and strategies, and - as
     appropriate - international agreements; partnership and participatory
     mechanisms to involve interested parties; recognition and respect
     for customary and traditional rights of, inter alia, indigenous people
     and local communities; secure land tenure arrangements; holistic,
     inter-sectoral and iterative approaches; ecosystem approaches that
     integrate the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable
     use of biological resources; and adequate provision and valuation of
     forest goods and services.

     A quick look shows the US is failing to meet many of these
requirements.  The US relies on the forest planning process to address
many of these issues at the federal level.  Many recent Forest Plans are
under citizen appeal due to inadequacies while many others have been
declared illegal by the courts.  

     The Forest Service continues to ignore the concerns and rights of
indigenous peoples by logging sacred sites.  The goal of conserving
biodiversity is also not being met as new species continue to be listed
under the Endangered Species Act.  On private lands, Habitat Conservation
Plans are latest management strategy, but they fail to stand up to scientific
scrutiny.  And finally, forests remain undervalued, many services they
provide uncounted, and government subsidies are continuing for destructive
extractive industries.

     A meeting held yesterday in Washington, DC to allow stakeholder
consultation of US implementation of the IPF proposals indicated that no
action has been taken to date to implement the agreement.  The State
Department and the Forest Service who are the lead federal agencies in this
process were represented along with a range of trade, industry and
environmental interests.  

     Both agencies offered a glowing assessment of the US progress in
implementing the agreement without offering any specifics.  When
conservationists suggested there were many areas in need of improvement,
neither agency seemed interested in hearing our comments or discussing
how the US was going to implement the agreement.  But, they did promise
a future meeting to discuss our concerns.

     The US should be a leader in protecting our global forest
heritage and we should live up to our commitments.  If you are
interested in obtaining more information or a copy of the IPF
Proposals for Action, please contact me at wafcdc at americanlands.org
or 202/547-9105.



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Steve Holmer
Campaign Coordinator

American Lands 
726 7th Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
202/547-9105
202/547-9213 fax
wafcdc at americanlands.org




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