The global politics of forest conservation since the UNCED

Humphreys, David (1996). The global politics of forest conservation since the UNCED. Environmental Politics, 5(2) pp. 231–257.



The mistrust between North and South which was a feature of the forest negotiations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) has since slowly given way to a new co‐operative spirit. Following the failure of the UNCED to produce a Global Forests Convention several new international initiatives on forest conservation have emerged. This study describes these processes and analyses their significance. It is argued that progress has been slow and that there is much about the current international forest politics scene that requires clarification. Contentious issues include the role of timber labelling, the future of the processes working towards criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, and whether a Global Forests Convention is desirable. Two recently‐created fora, the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development, both of which will report to the 1997 session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, may help to clarify the situation. However, it is now clear that many governments from the South intend to extract some measure of economic compensation from the North if they are to agree to significant forest conservation commitments. Much depends on whether a trade‐off can be reached between the environmental concerns of the North and the economic concerns of the South.

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