The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) is helping countries to address the problem of disappearing forests. A partnership of 14 international organizations, CPF members work together to improve forest management and conservation and the production and trade of forest products. The CPF was established in April 2001, following a recommendation of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).
The CPF supports the work of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), a subsidiary body of ECOSOC with the objectives to promote “the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end.” In so doing, the Partnership strives to enhance and support international cooperation and coordination on forest issues. CPF is chaired by FAO and supported by the UNFF secretariat.
The CPF is an informal and voluntary arrangement, characteristics that have greatly contributed to its success. Each member agency serves as a focal point for a particular forest-related issue and contributes expertise and resources to fostering joint action around that issue. Some subjects of concern to the CPF include combating deforestation and forest degradation, forest landscape restoration, social and cultural aspects of forests, the livelihoods of forest-dependent people, international trade, and traditional knowledge.
The Partnership can point to many accomplishments in its 10-year history. A task force of CPF members helps countries to comply with the sometimes onerous task of reporting to treaties and international agreements on forests. Joint statements and policy papers have helped to inform the work of the UNFCCC, as well as the scientific bodies responsible for supporting international conventions on biological diversity, climate change and desertification. The Global Forest Information Service provides public access to information on events, data, publications, and expertise related to forests and trees. An initiative on science and technology provides technical reports on issues of the concern for the UNFF and other intergovernmental bodies.
Sustainable forest management has long been accepted as the goal of national and international efforts around forest protection. The concept describes the balance between society’s demands on forests and the conservation of forest health and diversity. Enabling sustainable forest management is overwhelmingly the basis for decisions to fund forestry initiatives in developing countries, yet a lack of information on funding sources and opportunities has hindered progress in this area. CPF’s Sourcebook on Funding for Sustainable Forest Management helps users to locate funding for sustainable forest management projects. The Sourcebook contains a database of over 650 funding sources as well as information on developing project proposals and the efficient use of resources.
An important objective of the CPF is to increase collaboration among members and its contributions towards this end are significant. One important joint activity has been to raise awareness and inform political processes concerned with forest governance and law enforcement. In 2005, FAO and ITTO published Best Practices for Improving Law Compliance in the Forest Sector, an analysis of current knowledge for decision makers. Now, those organizations, along with IUCN and the World Bank, are holding a series of regional workshops to share experiences among countries and to develop strategies for improving compliance with forest laws. FAO, along with the CBD, UNEP and ITTO, are helping countries in Asia and the Pacific to develop harmonized forest-related monitoring and reporting systems that link directly to national policy and planning. The same partners coordinated their response to the 2004 India Ocean tsunami, sharing information on impact and needs assessment. They are also working together to develop a new world mangrove conservation atlas.
CIFOR and ICRAF have launched a joint research program in Asia, the Pacific and Oceania focused on integrating livelihoods and conservation in tropical forests. The UNFF Secretariat and CIFOR have embarked on a study of the relationship between forests, conflicts and peace-building.
As the need grows apace to take decisive and definitive action to save the world’s forests, the importance of innovative global mechanisms such as CPF can only increase. By bringing together important forest-related institutions to share information, coordinate responses and work collaboratively, the Partnership has already produced important outcomes, such as reduced duplication and stronger partnerships. Continued support for the work of the CPF – and that of its partners – can only benefit the global effort to safeguard the world’s forests for the benefit of humanity.
Members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
CIFOR is an international forestry research organization established by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). It works through research partnerships as a ‘center without walls’, taking a holistic, inter-disciplinary approach to solving general or widespread forest-related problems with the aim of contributing to the sustained well-being of people in developing countries, particularly in the tropics.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
FAO helps developing countries, and countries in transition, to modernize and improve their agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The FAO Forestry Department champions a broad vision of sustainable forest management through policy advice, forest assessments and technical support to governments while fostering partnerships with civil society and industry in the implementation of national forest programs.
International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)
ITTO promotes the conservation and sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources. It develops internationally agreed policies and assists tropical member countries to adapt such policies to local circumstances and to implement them in the field through projects.
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
IUCN is a conservation network of states, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, scientists and experts. The goal of IUCN’s Forest Conservation Program is to enhance and optimize the contribution of forests and trees to rural poverty reduction, the long-term and equitable conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable supply of forest-related goods and services.
International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO)
IUFRO is a not-for-profit, nongovernmental international network of forest scientists. It promotes global cooperation in forest-related research and enhances the understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees. It disseminates scientific knowledge to stakeholders and decision makers and contributes to forest policy and on-the-ground forest management.
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
The CBD Secretariat supports the implementation of the Convention, which has three goals: conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components, and sharing the benefits from the use of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way. The CBD addresses forest issues directly through its expanded program of work on forest biological diversity, with the ecosystem approach as the primary framework for action, and through its other thematic programmes of work on cross-cutting issues, including on traditional knowledge and protected areas.
Secretariat of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)
The GEF provides grants to developing countries for projects and programs that benefit the global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods in local communities. As a financial mechanism for the three environmental conventions dealing with forests (UNFCCC, CBD and UNCCD), the GEF has been funding activities in the field of sustainable forest management since its inception in 1991. Of the GEF’s six focal areas, biodiversity, climate change and land degradation are particularly relevant to forests.
Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
The Secretariat works with member countries to implement the UNCCD. This convention is the only international, legally binding framework set up to address desertification and is based on the principles of participation, partnership and decentralization. The UNCCD focuses on improving land productivity, rehabilitating land, and the conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources.
United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat (UNFF)
The UNFF Secretariat provides support to the international policy dialogue on sustainable forest management. The UNFF is an intergovernmental body on global forest policy, which promotes management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. The Secretariat works with a wide range of international organizations and stakeholders to facilitate cooperation and coordination on global forest issues. It serves as the focal point on all forest-related issues for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and also serves as the Secretariat for the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.
Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The UNFCCC provides the basis for concerted international action to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts. The UNFCCC Secretariat supports all institutions involved in the climate change process, particularly the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. Among other things, the Secretariat is responsible for the publication, compilation and technical review of annual greenhouse gas inventories by Kyoto Protocol Annex I parties, including in the land-use, land-use change and forestry sectors, and the consideration of policy approaches and positive incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation in developing countries.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
UNDP is the UN’s global development network, an organization advocating for change, and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. It operates on the ground in 166 countries. UNDP is an implementing agency for the Global Environment Facility.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
UNEP is the voice for the environment in the UN system. UNEP’s mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and people to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP is an implementing agency for the Global Environment Facility.
World Agroforestry Centre
The World Agroforestry Centre, based in Nairobi, Kenya, is the world’s leading research institution on the diverse roles that trees play in agricultural landscapes and rural livelihoods. As part of the centre’s work to bring tree-based solutions to bear on poverty and environmental problems, its researchers, working in close collaboration with national partners, have developed new technologies, tools and policy recommendations for increased food security and ecosystem health.
The World Bank’s mission is to reduce global poverty and improve living standards. Its forest strategy is built on three equally important and interlinked pillars: harnessing the potential of forests to reduce poverty, integrating forests into sustainable economic development and protecting global forest values. The World Bank is an implementing agency for the Global Environment Facility.