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Cablegate: International Conference Highlights Importance of Community

VZCZCXRO3533
RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHBR #1425/01 2071808
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261808Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9589
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0116
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0119
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0279
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001425

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES KARR-COLQUE
DEPT PASS USAID TO LAC/RSD, LAC/SAM, G/ENV, PPC/ENV

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAGR EAID TBIO ECON SOCI XR BR
SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY
FOREST MANAGEMENT


BRASILIA 00001425 001.2 OF 002


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SUMMARY
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1. Rio Branco, Acre State, Brazil was the site of a weeklong
conference of 250 community forest entrepreneurs and policy makers
from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, July 15-23, 2007.
Participants debated the challenges confronted by inhabitants of
tropical forests on three continents: lack of legal access to land
and financial support, excessive red tape, high taxes, and markets
that are out of reach because of distance and bureaucratic barriers.
These challenges were also reflected in y a study issued during the
conference by Forest Trends. This new study suggests that forest
communities are responsible for the management of around 370 million
hectares of natural forest, representing an investment in forests of
US$2.5 billion. In so doing, they provide environmental services
important in combating climate change and protecting water sources,
biodiversity and the natural landscapes prized by the international
community. The event concluded with a call from the forest
communities for more access to forest lands and to world markets.
END SUMMARY

--------------------------------------------- --------
EVENT LAUNCHES REPORT ON COMMUNITY FOREST ENTERPRISES
--------------------------------------------- --------
2. The event was an opportunity to launch a new study, which
reports that community forest enterprises (CFEs) represent an annual
investment of US$2.5 billion in management and conservation in some
of the planet's richest forest habitats. This is more than
governments in tropical regions spend directly on forest
conservation each year. Produced for ITTO by Forest Trends and its
partners in a global coalition, the Rights and Resources Initiative,
the report bases its conclusions on a review of current research and
on 20 case-studies of successful enterprises in Africa, Latin
America, Asia and the Pacific Islands.
3. Some 110 million people around the world are involved in forest
enterprises harvesting wood, bamboo, rattan, fibers, nuts, resins,
medicinal herbs, honey and other natural products, and, according to
the study, granting land rights to these small communities working
in sustainable forest industries is especially urgent.

4. The study contends that a top-down approach on the part of
national governments and international NGOs and donor countries has
prevented forestry enterprises from thriving. It argues that local
communities need to be part of the equation and not just bystanders.
In those countries where efforts have been made to reduce barriers
and guarantee ownership of forested land, as is the case in Mexico
and Guatemala, the study reported that community-based enterprises
took off and became profitable. In addition the study found that
besides improving income and social cohesion in the communities,
these organizations become important biodiversity conservation
agents.

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CONCLUSIONS
-----------

BRASILIA 00001425 002.2 OF 002

5. Leaders of community forest enterprises in Africa, Asia and the
Americas concluded the event calling for their governments to extend
to traditional communities the same rights and financial support
provided to the world's largest timber companies. "Only with
support and access to land and markets can forest communities
continue to conserve the world's remaining tropical forests while
helping to fulfill the world's commitment to bring an end to
poverty," said Alberto Chinchilla, representative of the Global
Alliance of Forest Communities.

6. Participants at this first global meeting of community forest
enterprise representatives made a series of recommendations that
included a commitment to: a) work together to ensure that legal
access to land and natural resources be included in the laws and/or
constitutions of individual nations; b)lobby governments to provide
lines of credit dedicated exclusively to community enterprises; c)
adopt measures to combat poverty and encourage social justice and
policies of inclusion within communities; d) call for the immediate
suspension of high taxes imposed by governments on forest community
enterprises; e) seek economic and administrative help to reach the
consumer markets for sustainable products; and f) create, through
ITTO, a special fund for financing community organizations.

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COMMENT
-------

7. Community Forest Enterprises can be an important component of
efforts to reduce deforestation and promote sustainable forest
management. These enterprises can make a significant contribution
to forest conservation because their efforts work towards valuing
the intact forest worth more than a felled forest.

SOBEL

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