NON-LEGALLY BINDING AUTHORITATIVE STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES FOR A GLOBAL CONSENSUS
ON THE MANAGEMENT, CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF ALL TYPES OF
(a) The subject of forests is related to the entire range of environmental
and development issues and opportunities, including the right to socio-economic
development on a sustainable basis.
(b) The guiding objective of these principles is to contribute to the management,
conservation and sustainable development of forests and to provide for their
multiple and complementary functions and uses.
(c) Forestry issues and opportunities should be examined in a holistic and
balanced manner within the overall context of environment and development, taking
into consideration the multiple functions and uses of forests, including traditional
uses, and the likely economic and social stress when these uses are constrained
or restricted, as well as the potential for development that sustainable forest
management can offer.
(d) These principles reflect a first global consensus on forests. In committing
themselves to the prompt implementation of these principles, countries also
decide to keep them under assessment for their adequacy with regard to further
international cooperation on forest issues.
(e) These principles should apply to all types of forests, both natural and
planted, in all geographical regions and climatic zones, including austral,
boreal, subtemperate, temperate, subtropical and tropical.
(f) All types of forests embody complex and unique ecological processes which
are the basis for their present and potential capacity to provide resources
to satisfy human needs as well as environmental values, and as such their sound
management and conservation is of concern to the Governments of the countries
to which they belong and are of value to local communities and to the environment
as a whole.
(g) Forests are essential to economic development and the maintenance of all
forms of life.
(h) Recognizing that the responsibility for forest management, conservation
and sustainable development is in many States allocated among federal/national,
state/provincial and local levels of government, each State, in accordance with
its constitution and/or national legislation, should pursue these principles
at the appropriate level of government.
1. (a) States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and
the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own
resources pursuant to their own environmental policies and have the responsibility
to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause
damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national
(b) The agreed full incremental cost of achieving benefits associated with
forest conservation and sustainable development requires increased international
cooperation and should be equitably shared by the international community.
2. (a) States have the sovereign and inalienable right to utilize, manage and
develop their forests in accordance with their development needs and level of
socio-economic development and on the basis of national policies consistent
with sustainable development and legislation, including the conversion of such
areas for other uses within the overall socio-economic development plan and
based on rational land-use policies.
(b) Forest resources and forest lands should be sustainably managed to meet
the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and
future generations. These needs are for forest products and services, such as
wood and wood products, water, food, fodder, medicine, fuel, shelter, employment,
recreation, habitats for wildlife, landscape diversity, carbon sinks and reservoirs,
and for other forest products. Appropriate measures should be taken to protect
forests against harmful effects of pollution, including air-borne pollution,
fires, pests and diseases, in order to maintain their full multiple value.
(c) The provision of timely, reliable and accurate information on forests
and forest ecosystems is essential for public understanding and informed decision-making
and should be ensured.
(d) Governments should promote and provide opportunities for the participation
of interested parties, including local communities and indigenous people, industries,
labour, non-governmental organizations and individuals, forest dwellers and
women, in the development, implementation and planning of national forest policies.
3. (a) National policies and strategies should provide a framework for increased
efforts, including the development and strengthening of institutions and programmes
for the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests and
(b) International institutional arrangements, building on those organizations
and mechanisms already in existence, as appropriate, should facilitate international
cooperation in the field of forests.
(c) All aspects of environmental protection and social and economic development
as they relate to forests and forest lands should be integrated and comprehensive.
4. The vital role of all types of forests in maintaining the ecological processes
and balance at the local, national, regional and global levels through, inter
alia, their role in protecting fragile ecosystems, watersheds and freshwater
resources and as rich storehouses of biodiversity and biological resources and
sources of genetic material for biotechnology products, as well as photosynthesis,
should be recognized.
5. (a) National forest policies should recognize and duly support the identity,
culture and the rights of indigenous people, their communities and other communities
and forest dwellers. Appropriate conditions should be promoted for these groups
to enable them to have an economic stake in forest use, perform economic activities,
and achieve and maintain cultural identity and social organization, as well
as adequate levels of livelihood and well-being, through, inter alia, those
land tenure arrangements which serve as incentives for the sustainable management
(b) The full participation of women in all aspects of the management, conservation
and sustainable development of forests should be actively promoted.
6. (a) All types of forests play an important role in meeting energy requirements
through the provision of a renewable source of bio-energy, particularly in developing
countries, and the demands for fuelwood for household and industrial needs should
be met through sustainable forest management, afforestation and reforestation.
To this end, the potential contribution of plantations of both indigenous and
introduced species for the provision of both fuel and industrial wood should
(b) National policies and programmes should take into account the relationship,
where it exists, between the conservation, management and sustainable development
of forests and all aspects related to the production, consumption, recycling
and/or final disposal of forest products.
(c) Decisions taken on the management, conservation and sustainable development
of forest resources should benefit, to the extent practicable, from a comprehensive
assessment of economic and non-economic values of forest goods and services
and of the environmental costs and benefits. The development and improvement
of methodologies for such evaluations should be promoted.
(d) The role of planted forests and permanent agricultural crops as sustainable
and environmentally sound sources of renewable energy and industrial raw material
should be recognized, enhanced and promoted. Their contribution to the maintenance
of ecological processes, to offsetting pressure on primary/old-growth forest
and to providing regional employment and development with the adequate involvement
of local inhabitants should be recognized and enhanced.
(e) Natural forests also constitute a source of goods and services, and their
conservation, sustainable management and use should be promoted.
7. (a) Efforts should be made to promote a supportive international economic
climate conducive to sustained and environmentally sound development of forests
in all countries, which include, inter alia, the promotion of sustainable patterns
of production and consumption, the eradication of poverty and the promotion
of food security.
(b) Specific financial resources should be provided to developing countries
with significant forest areas which establish programmes for the conservation
of forests including protected natural forest areas. These resources should
be directed notably to economic sectors which would stimulate economic and social
8. (a) Efforts should be undertaken towards the greening of the world. All
countries, notably developed countries, should take positive and transparent
action towards reforestation, afforestation and forest conservation, as appropriate.
(b) Efforts to maintain and increase forest cover and forest productivity
should be undertaken in ecologically, economically and socially sound ways through
the rehabilitation, reforestation and re-establishment of trees and forests
on unproductive, degraded and deforested lands, as well as through the management
of existing forest resources.
(c) The implementation of national policies and programmes aimed at forest
management, conservation and sustainable development, particularly in developing
countries, should be supported by international financial and technical cooperation,
including through the private sector, where appropriate.
(d) Sustainable forest management and use should be carried out in accordance
with national development policies and priorities and on the basis of environmentally
sound national guidelines. In the formulation of such guidelines, account should
be taken, as appropriate and if applicable, of relevant internationally agreed
methodologies and criteria.
(e) Forest management should be integrated with management of adjacent areas
so as to maintain ecological balance and sustainable productivity.
(f) National policies and/or legislation aimed at management, conservation
and sustainable development of forests should include the protection of ecologically
viable representative or unique examples of forests, including primary/old-growth
forests, cultural, spiritual, historical, religious and other unique and valued
forests of national importance.
(g) Access to biological resources, including genetic material, shall be with
due regard to the sovereign rights of the countries where the forests are located
and to the sharing on mutually agreed terms of technology and profits from biotechnology
products that are derived from these resources.
(h) National policies should ensure that environmental impact assessments
should be carried out where actions are likely to have significant adverse impacts
on important forest resources, and where such actions are subject to a decision
of a competent national authority.
9. (a) The efforts of developing countries to strengthen the management, conservation
and sustainable development of their forest resources should be supported by
the international community, taking into account the importance of redressing
external indebtedness, particularly where aggravated by the net transfer of
resources to developed countries, as well as the problem of achieving at least
the replacement value of forests through improved market access for forest products,
especially processed products. In this respect, special attention should also
be given to the countries undergoing the process of transition to market economies.
(b) The problems that hinder efforts to attain the conservation and sustainable
use of forest resources and that stem from the lack of alternative options available
to local communities, in particular the urban poor and poor rural populations
who are economically and socially dependent on forests and forest resources,
should be addressed by Governments and the international community.
(c) National policy formulation with respect to all types of forests should
take account of the pressures and demands imposed on forest ecosystems and resources
from influencing factors outside the forest sector, and intersectoral means
of dealing with these pressures and demands should be sought.
10. New and additional financial resources should be provided to developing
countries to enable them to sustainably manage, conserve and develop their forest
resources, including through afforestation, reforestation and combating deforestation
and forest and land degradation.
11. In order to enable, in particular, developing countries to enhance their
endogenous capacity and to better manage, conserve and develop their forest
resources, the access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies
and corresponding know-how on favourable terms, including on concessional and
preferential terms, as mutually agreed, in accordance with the relevant provisions
of Agenda 21, should be promoted, facilitated and financed, as appropriate.
12. (a) Scientific research, forest inventories and assessments carried out
by national institutions which take into account, where relevant, biological,
physical, social and economic variables, as well as technological development
and its application in the field of sustainable forest management, conservation
and development, should be strengthened through effective modalities, including
international cooperation. In this context, attention should also be given to
research and development of sustainably harvested non-wood products.
(b) National and, where appropriate, regional and international institutional
capabilities in education, training, science, technology, economics, anthropology
and social aspects of forests and forest management are essential to the conservation
and sustainable development of forests and should be strengthened.
(c) International exchange of information on the results of forest and forest
management research and development should be enhanced and broadened, as appropriate,
making full use of education and training institutions, including those in the
(d) Appropriate indigenous capacity and local knowledge regarding the conservation
and sustainable development of forests should, through institutional and financial
support and in collaboration with the people in the local communities concerned,
be recognized, respected, recorded, developed and, as appropriate, introduced
in the implementation of programmes. Benefits arising from the utilization of
indigenous knowledge should therefore be equitably shared with such people.
13. (a) Trade in forest products should be based on non-discriminatory and
multilaterally agreed rules and procedures consistent with international trade
law and practices. In this context, open and free international trade in forest
products should be facilitated.
(b) Reduction or removal of tariff barriers and impediments to the provision
of better market access and better prices for higher value-added forest products
and their local processing should be encouraged to enable producer countries
to better conserve and manage their renewable forest resources.
(c) Incorporation of environmental costs and benefits into market forces and
mechanisms, in order to achieve forest conservation and sustainable development,
should be encouraged both domestically and internationally.
(d) Forest conservation and sustainable development policies should be integrated
with economic, trade and other relevant policies.
(e) Fiscal, trade, industrial, transportation and other policies and practices
that may lead to forest degradation should be avoided. Adequate policies, aimed
at management, conservation and sustainable development of forests, including,
where appropriate, incentives, should be encouraged.
14. Unilateral measures, incompatible with international obligations or agreements,
to restrict and/or ban international trade in timber or other forest products
should be removed or avoided, in order to attain long-term sustainable forest
15. Pollutants, particularly air-borne pollutants, including those responsible
for acidic deposition, that are harmful to the health of forest ecosystems at
the local, national, regional and global levels should be controlled.
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