Model Forest Representatives from Around the World Convene in Canada for a Successful IMFN Global Forum 2008

More than 150 delegates from 31 countries attended the International Model Forest Network (IMFN) Global Forum in Hinton, Canada, from June 16-20. The event was co-hosted by the Foothills Research Institute, the Canadian Model Forest Network (CMFN) and the IMFN Secretariat. Additional support was gratefully received from the Alberta Forest Research Institute.

The Global Forum takes place approximately every three years and is an opportunity for IMFN members to identify ways to support and enhance the contributions model forests are making to the sustainable management of natural resources and forested landscapes from local to international levels. And as participants saw, model forests have been registering significant impacts in areas ranging from forest certification to fire management to poverty alleviation, policy influence and education. The 2008 IMFN Global Forum provided an opportunity not only to network and learn from each other, but more importantly to demonstrate tangible results, or planned achievements, on-the-ground. Significant outcomes from the event include:

  • The identification of four key IMFN strategic initiatives including community sustainability, adaptation to climate change, knowledge sharing and environmental services
  • Significant progress in documenting and understanding of the contributions and impacts model forests are having locally, nationally and internationally
  • Greater understanding of the IMFN contribution to global efforts to sustainability and the niche role model forests can fulfil relative to other like-minded initiatives
  • The development of new international collaboration agreements between sites
  • Agreement to move ahead on the Circumboreal Initiative by participating countries including Canada, Sweden, Russia, China, the U.S and Finland
  • The official launch of the Mediterranean Model Forest Network

“Feedback from participants over the week was uniformly positive in terms of the event providing a learning environment that is relevant to members’ interests, and in terms of there having been very important opportunities for members to provide their views on the strategic directions that the Network should be taking,” said IMFN Director Peter Besseau.  “I think we come out of this meeting with a great deal of confidence and a very strong sense of ourselves as being fully capable to continue to make contributions to important sustainability issues as a global community of practice.”

The next IMFN Global Forum will be hosted by the Urbión Model Forest, Spain, in 2011. For more information, please contact the IMFN Secretariat.

IMFN Networking Committee Makes its Debut at IMFN Global Forum 2008
Participants at the June 2008 IMFN Global Forum in Hinton, Canada, were formally introduced to the International Model Forest Networking Committee (INC). The creation of the group was a direct response to outcomes from the 2005 IMFN Global Forum in Costa Rica where participants requested the formation of a Network-level strategic body that would address issues common to all model forests. 

The INC is an important new body that has taken form over the past two years, beginning with a founding meeting in Spain, in March 2007, during the launch of the Urbión Model Forest. It is comprised of representatives from each region in the IMFN and operates under the auspices of the IMFN Secretariat.

What does the INC do?

With rapid expansion of the IMFN in recent years, and with clear potential for further growth, the Network needed to review and update the idea of “networking” in terms of its purpose, structure, form and function. The INC acts as a strategic group attached to the IMFN Secretariat; as a body that identifies trends, issues, and opportunities of global or regional importance, drawn from Network member experience, and as a facilitator and focal point for information, expertise and experience flow between regions.

The INC is not a political or governing body, it is not bureaucratic or hierarchical and it does not see itself as the only place for strategic analysis, scientific synthesis, resource mobilization or other functions in the Network. Rather, the group represents an important opportunity for Network members to have greater voice in the evolution of this global community of practice and for new ideas to be brought forward and realized.

Who represents the regions?

  • Peter Besseau  IMFN Secretariat
  • Jiang Chunqian, Regional Model Forest Network for Asia
  • Chimere Diaw, African Model Forest Initiative
  • Mark Johnston, Canadian Model Forest Network
  • Ronne de Camino, Ibero-American Model Forest Network
  • Przemyslaw Majewski, Russian National Model Forest Network
  • Miguel Segur, Mediterranean Model Forest Network
  • Johan Svensson, Baltic Sea Initiative

The INC met June 15, the day prior to the opening of the Global Forum, to discuss the Circumboreal Initiative, knowledge sharing in the IMFN, positioning the IMFN in the international landscape of sustainability initiatives and the Global Forum, among other things. The INC will meet again in Spain in October 2008. It was agreed at the Global Forum that the Secretariat would report back to IMFN members on the activities and performance of the INC at the next Global Forum in 2011 and share documents and information on developments as they are available. For more information, please contact IMFNS Senior Program Officer Brian Bonnell. Information about past INC meetings is available on the IMFN website at http://www.imfn.net/en/2007Archives.html#IMFN.  

Investigating a Partnership Between Canadian and African Model Forests
Sharing common objectives in the use of non-traditional forest resources, the Lac-Saint-Jean Model Forest (LSJMF) and the African Model Forest Initiative (IFMA) are investigating a partnership project to identify resources with commercial potential and use them to generate local wealth.

To follow-up on the visit of Mireille Zoa of the IFMA in Mashteuiatsh in March, the two organizations met again in June at the International Model Forest Network Global Forum 2008 in Hinton, Alberta. The main focus of the partnership will be to improve both organizations' abilities to conduct multi-resource inventories to identify all resources present in the forest environment. These inventories will be used for the commercialization of non-timber forest products for the profit of local communities, among other things.

"We want model forests to become genuine sustainable businesses for the communities," states Dr Chimère Diaw, IFMA coordinator, who supports the Dja and Mpomo, Campo-Ma’an and Cameroon Model Forests.

For her part, the LSJMF president, Colette Robertson, feels that "cultural expertise and traditional activities related to natural resources developed in Cameroon could help us develop and expand our cultural heritage."

In cooperation with the Canadian Model Forest Network and the International Model Forest Network Secretariat, the two groups will work on developing a fruitful partnership.

FSC Certified Maple Syrup Available in Canada
Good news for eastern Ontario consumers: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified maple syrup hit the shelves earlier this year—the first non-timber forest product to meet FSC standards in the country.

Coordinated by the Eastern Ontario Model Forest (EOMF), more than 26,000 hectares of forest land is now FSC certified in eastern Ontario. Some of that territory is home to small maple syrup producers who can now market their products as coming from responsibly managed woodlots.

The FSC is a voluntary international certification and labeling system under which forests are certified against a set of strict environmental and social standards, and products from certified forests are tracked all the way to the consumer through the chain of custody system.

Scott Davis, Forest Certification Coordinator for EOMF says the product, “is the same as any other – we are recognizing the responsible management that went into the woodlot that created the sap and syrup”. For more information please contact EOMF.

Three IAMFN Colleagues Tour Canadian Model Forests in Knowledge Sharing Expedition
Following the IMFN Global Forum in Hinton, Canada, three representatives from the Ibero-American Model Forest Network (IAMFN) toured Canadian sites to gain a better understanding about how model forests function in that country and what lessons they could take home.

From June 23-28 Fernando Carrera, General Manager for the IAMFN, and Miguel Segur and Maria de Pilar Valbuena, both from Urbión Model Forest in Spain, toured the Prince Albert and Eastern Ontario Model Forests of Canada. The also had the opportunity to meet with Dave Winston, General Manager of the Canadian Model Forest Network.

Highlights from the exchange included:

  • Learning about model forests as coordinators vs. implementers of projects (some undertaking the former, some the latter, some a mix of the two)
  • Seeing the high value Canadian model forests place on indigenous participation and governance
  • Observing the support offered by provincial forest agencies
  • The importance of a strong, strategic and collaboratively developed vision for the future of the IAMFN based on the sustainable management of forested landscapes
  • The fundamental value of model forest exchanges as one of the most effective ways to transfer knowledge and lessons learned
  • Participating in the Prince Albert Model Forest’s Aboriginal Caucus in an environmental assessment training workshop

Elizabeth Holmes from the Eastern Ontario Model Forest said that the two-way exchange of knowledge that results from these types of visits “helps in formulating solutions to challenges are not unique to individual model forests, but rather commonly shared across varied geographies and cultures.”

For more information, please contact Fernando Carrera or Miguel Segur.

Indigenous Health Care, Governance, NTFPs: Areas of Future Collaboration between Chilean and Canadian Model Forests?
From June 22 to July 11 Washington Alvarado, General Manager for Araucarias del Alto Malleco Model Forest in Chile, visited Prince Albert Model Forest in Canada to learn about the site in-depth and identify possible areas of collaboration between their two model forests.

During his 3-week stay Mr. Alvarado met with indigenous groups, women’s groups, youth groups, park managers and other model forest stakeholders.  He also attended a PAMF Board of Directors meeting to discuss joint projects. The visit resulted in a draft letter of intent between Alto Malleco and Prince Albert Model Forests that includes the following areas of future collaboration:

  • An information exchange between the indigenous peoples of Alto Malleco and Prince Albert to compare traditional healing methodologies and the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous healers
  • Knowledge transfer, particularly in the area of traditional indigenous knowledge as it applies to sustainable land management
  • Possible research projects looking at aspects of governance as it applies to environmental management
  • Strategic planning, including monitoring and evaluation
  • Sustainable community development, with particular emphasis on non-timber forest products (NTFPs)
  • Examination of agroforestry and silvipasture issues

In meetings with the Canadian and International Model Forest Network Secretariats discussion focussed on the possibility of scaling-up one or several of these initiatives to national levels.

Before leaving the country, Mr. Alvarado travelled to Ottawa where he met with representatives from the IMFN Secretariat, the Eastern Ontario Model Forest, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).

New Model Forests
The Ibero-American and International Model Forest Networks welcomed three new sites during the IAMFN Board meeting in Hinton, Alberta, following the Global Forum, in June:  Cachapoal (Chile), Lachuá (Guatemala) and Sabanas de Manacas (Cuba). The sites were evaluated by both the IAMFN and the IMFN Secretariat based on the new model forest principles and attributes framework in place to ensure greater consistency and transparency in the application of the model forest approach to sustainability. The Ibero-American region now hosts 21 model forests.

During the IMFN Global Forum in June of this year, the Canadian Model Forest Network (CMFN) officially welcomed four new members, thereby expanding the Network to 14 sites. The CMFN is pleased to announce that the four new members are:

  • Lac Saint Jean Model Forest located in the eastern region of the province of Québec
  • Le Bourdon located in the northwestern region of the province of Quebec
  • Northeast Superior Forest Community located in the north-central region of the province of Ontario
  • Clayoquot Sound Forest Community located on the Vancouver Island region of the province of British Columbia

The CMFN has members stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and has representation in most of the major forest regions of Canada. The new sites bring a strong sense of energy and enthusiasm to the model forest community and are quickly developing new programs and partnerships both within Canada and internationally.

Costa Rica—Canada Eco-cultural Tourism Project Obtains Funding
An eco-cultural tourism project between Reventazón Model Forest (RMF) in Costa Rica and Manitoba Model Forest (MbMF) in Canada will receive $100,000 CAD in funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The purpose of this project is to strengthen indigenous Cabecar communities from the Nairí-Awarí Reserve in Costa Rica in their on-going ethno-cultural and ecological initiatives. A representative of the Nairí-Awarí Cabecar community, Urbano Chaves, visited Manitoba in June to share his community’s experiences and culture with the indigenous Ojibway Brokenhead Nation and other members of the MbMF. He also attended the IMFN Global Forum in Hinton, Alberta. For more information, please contact Brian Kotek, Manitoba Model Forest, at miette@granite.mb.ca

Comings and Goings
Welcome to Nicolas Duval-Mace who has begun work with the IMFN Secretariat on the developing Mediterranean Model Forest Network. Nicolas is a policy analyst for the International Affairs Division of Natural Resources Canada—Canadian Forest Service in Ottawa. His areas of responsibility include bilateral cooperation programs with Russia and Mexico, Canadian representation at the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and strategic planning for CFS international activities. Nicolas holds a Masters’ degree in International Affairs from Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School in Canada.

Ronnie de Camino was elected Chair of the Ibero-American Model Forest Network (IAMFN) during its June board meeting, replacing José Joaquín Campos. Dr. de Camino also holds the positions of Deputy Director of CATIE and Director, Latin American Chair on Forest Landscape Management. During the same meeting, Fernando Carrera was officially appointed General Manager of the IAMFN, a position he has been acting in since August 2007 with the support of CUSO. Congratulations to both!

Forests Sourcebook: Practical Guidance for Sustaining Forests in Development Cooperation
by World Bank
Available in English

The Forests Source Book provides practical operations-oriented guidance for forest sector engagement toward the goals of poverty reduction, conservation and economic development. Intended to guide World Bank lending activities and projects, the Forests Source Book offers information useful to a broad audience of practitioners, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The Source Book was developed in partnership with members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, including the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The Source Book provides background on key issues, lessons learned, and recommendations for practitioners on a number of topics including private sector engagement, forest governance, sustainable plantation and commercial harvesting, and forest information management systems.

Giving insight into the complex interplay between different realms of development work that effect or are affected by forests, the Forests Sourcebook is a valuable tool for any stakeholder involved in development or business projects that could have impact on forests.

To obtain a copy of the Forests Sourcebook, please go to: http://publications.worldbank.org/ecommerce/catalog/product?item_id=6735676

Learning for Sustainability  
The Learning for Sustainability website has been substantially revised and updated as a guide to on-line resources for researchers and practitioners interested in supporting social learning and collective action. The site highlights the people-centered realities of sustainable development, and puts collaboration, integration and information sharing at the center of development activities.

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