HTML _ 92-764 - Deforestation: An Overview of Global Programs and Agreements
21-Oct-1992; Julie Lyke, Susan Fletcher; 80 p.

Abstract: In recent years, global environmental concerns have figured prominently on the American political agenda. In particular, tropical deforestation and its implications for global climate change and biological diversity loss have prompted public outcry. Concerns have since grown to include other forest types as well. The Congress has considered a variety of legislation to stem the tide of increasing deforestation and the United States has supported a number of bilateral and multilateral initiatives to assist other countries in managing their forest resources. In addition, the issue of deforestation has garnered increasing attention in international arenas which has translated into a bewildering array of programs, principles, and policies regarding forests. This paper provides some background on four of the main multilateral avenues for addressing deforestation and clarifies their roles and interrelationships. The organizations, processes, and negotiations covered here include: the Tropical Forestry Action Programme (TFAP), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and the World Bank. Considered as a whole, these efforts represent attempts by the international community to address deforestation -- in the tropics, as well as in temperate and boreal forests. This review provides the history and structure of these programs, together with the critiques and arguments concerning their success or weakness, in order to provide the context for continuing congressional oversight of global forest issues and the consideration of legislation on appropriations for these programs. The TFAP has created a framework for bringing the nations of the North and South together. It has helped many countries to analyze their forest resources more rigorously and has generated high-level attention on forest issues. The ITTO has become a vehicle for conservation concerns and established targets and standards for sustainable tropical timber management. UNCED focused unprecedented attention on forest-related issues. The final documents relating to forests articulate the concept of sustainable development. And the World Bank's new forest policy requires environmental assessments and prohibits the financing of commercial logging in moist tropical forests under any circumstances. These are notable achievements, but deforestation continues. Critics point to the need for refinements or improvements (and in some case major restructuring) in all of these international programs and policies. A closer look at the progress and pitfalls of these efforts indicates that international mechanisms for addressing deforestation require lengthy and often laborious negotiation, while the sense of urgency concerning continuing very rapid deforestation grows. [read report]

Topics: Forests

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