Research Handbooks in Climate Law series
Edited by Christina Voigt
Chapter 11: Seeing the forest for the trees: getting post-Earth Summit forest protection back on track
According to the FAO, the world’s forests cover over 4 billion hectares, which is approximately 31 per cent of the world’s total land mass. Of this total coverage, 36 per cent is ‘primary forest’ with no clear indications of human interference. Despite the significance of forests, only 13 per cent of total forest is within legally protected areas. Multiple treaties, soft law instruments, guiding principles and international processes have been established at multilateral, regional and bilateral levels to promote sustainable forest management and address forest loss, but these have proven incapable of meeting their lofty goals. This chapter considers the efforts at forest preservation that emerged from the 1992 UNCED and makes five recommendations for improving their synergies at a practical level. These outcomes include the three ‘Rio Conventions’, which comprise the CBD, the UNFCCC, and the UNCCD. The UNFF, the evolution of the Non-Legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests (‘Forest Principles’) and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 are all considered.
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