Major Groups-led Initiative
in support of United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF)
Park Village Hotel, Kathmandu, Nepal
2-6 March, 2015
Major Groups* play a critical role within the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), both in contributing to policy formulation and in the implementation of UNFF decisions at regional, national and local levels. Engaging Major Groups effectively is therefore key to the success of the work of UNFF, and the achievement of the 4 Global Objectives on Forests (GOF’s) stated in the Non-legally Binding Instrument on all Types of Forests (NLBI) adopted by UNFF-7.
Major Groups are uniquely positioned to educate and engage individual citizens and stakeholders, work with diverse constituencies, and contribute effectively toward the implementation of sustainable forest management. Building partnerships and collaboration among stakeholders is important in achieving global objectives and national policy measures as expressed in the NLBI.
Therefore, in their efforts to enhance their contribution to UNFF Global policy formulation and implementation, Major Groups have founded an international body called Major Groups Partnership on Forests (MGPoF), registered in Canada with offices in Ottawa to coordinate their activities.
Through generous financial contribution from the Government of Germany, with the support of ITTO, UNFF Secretariat and the Government of Nepal serving as the host country, MGPoF is organizing a Global Workshop for inputs into UNFF11 scheduled to take place in the Park Village Hotel, Kathmandu, Nepal, from 2-6 March of 2015.
Greater efforts at coordination at the global level will help develop partnerships and cooperation and foster greater collaboration in implementation at the local level where the activities are needed. The programme will generate momentum towards implementation of the Forest Instrument.
*The UN has defined Major Groups as: Women, Children and Youth, Indigenous People, Non-Governmental Organizations, Local Authorities, Workers and Trade Unions, Business and Industry, Scientific and Technological Communities, and Farmers and Small Forest Landowners. Represented at the MGI workshop were: Women, Children and Youth, Indigenous People, Non-Governmental Organizations, Workers and Trade Unions, Scientific and Technological Communities, and Farmers and Small Forest Landowners.
Since the establishment of the United Nations Forum on Forests, Major Groups have played pivotal roles in the global policy debates as well as working directly at the grassroots level in the areas of conservation and sustainable forest management.
The engagement of some Major Groups at the global policy level has provided a unique opportunity for them to create awareness of policy decisions and their implications, as well as support the drive for implementation among peers at the grassroots level.
During UNFF 8 governments re-emphasised the importance of Major Groups involvement in the UNFF process and called for their active support in enhancing their involvement. In line with this priority, UNFF Major Groups on two occasions jointly organized Global Workshops in support of UNFF to develop policy recommendations for UNFF9 and UNFF10 in 2010 and 2013. These workshops were hosted by the governments of Ghana and Brazil respectively.
The Workshop being organized in Nepal will be the third in the series to contribute to the UNFF process. This is made possible through the generous financial contribution from the Government of Germany with support from ITTO and the UNFF Secretariat.
Building partnerships and collaboration among stakeholders is key to achieving global objectives and achieving national policy measures as expressed in the UNFF non-legally binding instrument of all types of forests (NLBI). However, Major Groups’ participation in UNFF has been declining over the years making the possibilities of active engagement in implementing policy decisions at the national level even more remote. Thus, collaboration among Major Groups towards implementation of these decisions has also become elusive.
The limited involvement of Major Groups can in part be attributed to the lack of suitable fora/mechanisms allowing Major Groups to coordinate themselves, learn from each other, and develop joint inputs, supported by science, regarding policy formulation and implementation by UNFF and CPF.
In a situation where urgent solutions are being sought to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty of forest dependent peoples and achieve sustainable forest management goals, the absence of support and institutional mechanism for the active engagement of Major Groups in an area where they have comparative advantage is a missed opportunity.
Over the years, forest industry has supported the economic growth of nations. As demonstrated in the logo of International Year of Forests, forests have played and continue to play a significant role in the lives of people. This has led to significant pressure on forests; hence the drive towards sustainable forest management practices that can ensure that forests can continue to play significant economic roles in the lives of people without destroying this potential.
Major Groups continue to seek collaborations with governments to ensure that forests continue to play their roles in economic development while at the same time ensuring their sustainability. By the involvement of Major Groups in global policy development in this area, they will be able to contribute their expertise and experiences.
The establishment of UNFF in 2000 as successor to IPF/IFF is to create an institutional framework for the development and implementation of global policies for sustainable forest management. The effectiveness of the outcomes therefore has a direct relationship with the nature of the institution that has been put in place to achieve this goal.
As the performance of UNFF is being assessed at the end of its mandate, and UNFF11 being devoted to create an effective successor institution, the involvement of all stakeholders is crucial in deciding the nature of such an institution.
Therefore the organization of a global workshop by Major Groups to develop recommendations for UNFF11 is timely.
Goal and Objectives
Goal: The overarching goal of the workshop is to enhance the implementation of UNFF decisions toward sustainable forest management within the framework of establishing a successor institution with the means for future policy development and implementation.
Objective: Develop concrete recommendations for UNFF 11.
The theme of the global workshop will be “Sustainable Forest Management: Designing the Vehicles for Securing the Means of Implementation”.
The meeting will bring together approximately 90 key stakeholders from all UNFF Major Groups as identified in Agenda 21, member state governments, and intergovernmental organizations actively involved in the UNFF process.
The meeting will be participant-driven and designed to ensure high levels of participation and engagement among delegates. The structure will combine the following elements:
- Presentations by invited speakers;
- Participatory, round-table discussions;
- Interactive presentations of commissioned case studies;
- Plenary convocations;
- Strategy building workshops;
- Field visits to interact with Major Groups representatives in Nepal.
Working Groups will be formed around each of the following topics:
- Institutional framework of an ECOSOC institution: The case of UNFF
- The institutional framework of an independent UN institution: The case of ITTO
- The institutional arrangement between an NGO focal organization and a UN body: The case of the Climate Action Network and UNFCCC.
- Targeting international funding mechanisms towards funding sustainable forest management
- Strengthening the mechanisms of Major GroupsÔÇÖ engagement with UN Bodies towards sustainable forest management.
The detailed agenda and schedule will be elaborated by the steering committee.
Major Groups Partnership on Forests is the organising institution. An international steering committee comprising representatives of Major Groups, Germany, ITTO, UNFF Secretariat and the Government of Nepal will have oversight in the organisation of the event as indicated in the terms below.
- Terms of Reference
Specific responsibilities of the steering committee include:
- Determine main issues to frame meetings (themes and sub-themes)
- Approve agendas and detail schedules
- Approve process for selection of participants, panelists, speakers, etc.
- Provide financial oversight
- Committee Members
The members of the global steering committee are listed below:
Major Groups Focal points