The turning point in forest protection was the Earth Summit in Rio de
The provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) grant the
contracting parties scope in the implementation with introductory formulations
such as "in accordance with its particular conditions and capabilities"
(e.g. Art. 6 CBD) and "as far as possible and appropriate" (e.g.
Art. 7 CBD). Since than, more than 170 states signed the CBD.
Romania, Virgin forest in the Capatiinii mountains
The Pan-European Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Europe's
Forests was held in 1993, in Helsinki. This was the follow up convention
of the CBD and the Forest Principle Agreement from Rio.
Since then, various documents were adopted at international, pan-European
and EU levels containing
Virgin Forest in Romania
Regulations referring to
forest biological diversity:
- "Program of Work on
Forest Biological Diversity", adopted by the fourth meeting of
the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
in Bratislava on 4-15 May 98.
- Ministerial Conferences
on the Protection of Forests in Europe (Conference of Forestry Ministers),
inter alia, with the following resolutions:
-- Strasbourg 1990:
S2 "Conservation of Forest Genetic Resources",
---Helsinki 1993: H1 "General guidelines for the sustainable management
of forests in Europe and H2 "General Guidelines for the Conservation
of the Biological Diversity of European Forests" as well as
---Lisbon 1998 L2: "Pan-European Criteria, Indicators and Operational
Level Guidelines for Sustainable Forest Management".
- "Work Programme on
the Conservation and Enhancement of Biological and Landscape Diversity
in Forest Ecosystems 1997 - 2000", adopted in Lisbon in 1998 in
cooperation with the Ministerial Conferences "Environment for Europe"
(Conferences of Environment Ministers).
- "European Community
Biodiversity Strategy"3, designed to implement the Convention on
Biological Diversity in the EU.
- "European Union Forestry
Strategy", containing inter alia measures for the conservation
and promotion of biological diversity.
However, these legal framework seems to be insufficient. International
free-trade agreement strengthened transnational timber-companies. The
result is increased power in the hand soft corporate leaders and weakened
national governments. Practically, there is no efficient international
control on the timber industry, so they end up using illegal, unethical
and wasteful means of harvesting timber.
According to the Environmental Investigation Agency, strict new global
regulations are needed to stop the disregard for national laws and forestry
regulations. The EIA is advocating this position at the meetings of
the United Nations Intergovernmental Forum on Forests.
In the opinion of the EIA,
there are 10 things a New Global Forest Convention could do for you:
"A new Global Forest Convention will create a unique international framework
to promote sustainable forest management for all types of forests by, inter
- Orchestrating a coordinated
assault on deforestation and forest degradation at the global, regional,
national and local levels;
- Raising the political and public
profile of forests at both international and national levels and giving
higher priority to forest conservation and sustainable management;
- Creating a synergy between existing
instruments and international agencies dealing with forest-related issues
and in so doing create an efficiency of effort and resources;
- Providing a holistic and comprehensive
framework to address the whole range of cross-sectoral issues relating to
forests in an integrated manner;
- Addressing the underlying causes
of forest loss and degradation - particularly those relating to transboundary
causes such as global consumption patterns;
- Providing a forum to promote
a mutually supportive relationship between trade and environment, particularly
in the context of international trade;
financial resources towards forests by promoting a higher profile for forests
and maximizing the use of existing financial resources and mechanisms;
- Facilitating technology transfer,
exchange of information and providing a strategic framework for global forest
- Encouraging coherent and holistic
policy-making at the national level, involving all actors, so as to achieve
forest conservation and sustainable forest management;
- Reviewing the progress on the
development and implementation of national forest plans and foster further
international cooperation in order to achieve national objectives. "
(From the Strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of biological
diversity in German forests, published by the Bundesministerium fur Verbraucherschutz,
Ernaehrung und Landwirtschaft)