The International Model Forest Network (IMFN) is a voluntary global community of practice whose members and supporters work toward the sustainable management of forest‐based landscapes and natural resources through the Model Forest approach.
A Model Forest can be described as a large-scale landscape encompassing many different land uses; a specific partnership-based approach to sustainable forest management; and a long-term process that adheres to a broad set of principles to promote sustainability. The partnership is voluntary and made up of stakeholders – such as local community associations, indigenous peoples, governments, academia, and industry – representing the environmental, social and economic forces at play within the landscape. The partnership works to define a shared, locally relevant operational vision of natural resource management and then collaborate to achieve it in concrete terms for the benefit of all stakeholders Model Forests bring joint solutions and innovative strategies to shared challenges such as climate change, governance, land degradation, food security, wildfires, markets and livelihoods, health and well-being, and land-use conflicts.
Through the network structure and a commitment to knowledge sharing and capacity building, best practices and lessons learned in one Model Forest can be shared with others to accelerate learning and collectively make lasting progress to realize sustainable development, both locally and globally.
That natural resources around the world are sustainably managed through a participatory, landscape-level approach that reflects environmental and socio-economic issues from the perspectives of local needs and global concerns.
To establish a global network that represents most of the major forest ecosystems of the world. The IMFN strives to ensure that all partners, regardless of political or economic status, can contribute to and share in the benefits of the Network.
- To foster international exchange of ideas and solutions for the sustainable management of natural resources in forested landscapes.
- To support cooperation on critical issues that underlie innovative solutions to sustainable landscape and natural resource management.
- To support ongoing international policy discussions on the criteria and principles of sustainable development.
The IMFN is organized into six Regional Networks, which bring together all Model Forests within a larger geographical area to support and share common interests, challenges and findings among its members. Some Regional Networks are formalized with a Board of Directors who lead decision-making for the region in partnership with the IMFN Secretariat, while others are informal collectives of Model Forest members working in a given region. They are:
- The Canadian Model Forest Network (CMFN)
- The Ibero-American Model Forest Network (IAMFN)
- The African Model Forest Network (AMFN)
- The Mediterranean Model Forest Network (MMFN)
- Northern Europe and Russia
- The Regional Model Forest Network for Asia (RMFN-Asia)
The IMFN Secretariat, established and hosted by the Government of Canada at Natural Resources Canada, provides leadership and day-to-day coordination for the Network.
IMFN Secretariat activities include:
- Technical and logistical support to establish and maintain Model Forests
- Support for regional and global meetings, training and specialized workshops
- Resource mobilization
- Partnership growth and collaboration
- International advocacy and communications
- Knowledge sharing and capacity development
- Documentation, monitoring and evaluation
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The Network is formalized through the IMFN Charter, which highlights the IMFN’s key objectives, defines roles and responsibilities of membership, sets out procedures, and reinforces the Framework of Model Forest Principles and Attributes.