Legal Concepts and Policy Trends
Chapter 4: The sustainable governance of forest resources
There are no legally binding obligations to ensure that forests are managed sustainably. Negotiations at the international level concerning forest regulation have proven to be politically charged. The competing values associated with forest areas – ecological, economic, and social – have prevented parties from reaching agreement on international standards concerning forest use and management. The United Nations Forum on Forestry (the key public international body charged with regulating forest use and management) has been unable to deal effectively with the political issues surrounding forest regulation. Lack of progress by the United Nations Forum on Forestry has led to the development of a number of alternative international regulatory approaches to forests. Currently, global forest governance is patched together, with different international bodies regulating individual forest values. By way of example, the international climate change regime regulates forest carbon, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity regulates ecological forest values, and the international tropical timber institution regulates the productive or economic value of forests. This means that current global forest governance arrangements result in duplication, overlap, and confusion as to the applicable international standards, rules, or objectives of international forest regulation.
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