About International Forest Policy
In the years following the 1992 Earth Summit (UNCED), the role of forests in providing ecosystem services, contributing to food security, sustaining livelihoods, and reducing poverty has increasingly been recognized at international fora. The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are the two principal policy arenas dealing with forests, though key aspects are being dealt with under other forest-related agreements including United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA).
Though all post-UNCED fora have repeatedly emphasized the need to move from dialogue to action on the ground, this still largely remains an unfulfilled challenge. However, some important progress has been made, for example, more than 100 countries have developed national forest programmes and there has been an increase in forest protected areas. Furthermore, innovative public-private partnerships and increasing collaboration among international organisations such as IUCN and other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests - an interagency group of 14 key international organisations and bodies, are making significant contributions to efforts to convert policy into practice.
One of the unique strengths of the IUCN Forest Conservation Programme in this regard is our ability to draw directly on the experiences and lessons learnt from the field-based activities of our various regional and country offices, and members, while making international and regional forest policy interventions. Likewise, this also enables us to effectively convey the "big-issues" being debated in international and regional fora to local and national-level stakeholders.