The intergovernmental regional organizations representing the world’s three largest tropical forest regions agreed to work more closely to enhance south-south cooperation in conserving and sustainably managing their tropical forests and biodiversity. The three regions - primarily Amazon, Congo and Borneo - collectively contain more than 80% of the world’s tropical forests, and more than half of all terrestrial species.

Representatives from the secretariats of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), and the Central Africa Forests Commission (COMIFAC) discussed this matter in Montreal, Canada on 8-10 July 2009. They shared knowledge, strategies and experiences in order to promote mutual learning on forest and biodiversity conservation policy and programs, and to improve the coordination and impact of their organizations. About 25 policy makers and experts from the regional organizations, secretariats of related international conventions, development partners, and resource persons attended the meeting.


Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, welcomed this collaborative effort. He noted that “this pioneering initiative gives meaning and provides a platform for undertaking south-south collaboration on sustainable tropical forests management which has long been called for at various international fora. By working together, the three organizations can ensure maximum benefits from tropical forests for the welfare and economy of their people, while contributing to the global cause of conserving forest biodiversity and addressing climate change”.

The representatives exchanged information on their respective programs and activities and acknowledged the need to learn from each other and interact more closely in view of similar issues and challenges faced in managing tropical forests and biodiversity. The representatives agreed to implement immediate and short-term activities to nurture this relationship which included participation in each other’s major events, exchange of experts, technical and managerial know-how, coordinated development and implementation of programs and projects, and sharing and learning from successful initiatives.

The representatives also recognized the importance of engaging various partners, including the secretariats of related international conventions and development agencies, in pursuing coordinated program development and implementation across the three regions.

The meeting was hosted and facilitated by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) in the context of the implementation of the Bonn mandate on South-South cooperation. The results of the meeting will be considered by the G-77 Parties when developing, in collaboration with the CBD Secretariat, a multi-year plan of South-South Cooperation on biodiversity for development for the consideration of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, from 18-29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.

“The Secretariat is looking forward to further supporting this process, and we are pleased that the results of the meeting are a concrete example of South-South Cooperation on a specific issue, which is of high importance and urgency: the conservation and sustainable use of the world's forest biodiversity”, said Mr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the CBD.

The German Development Cooperation (GTZ), with generous support from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supported the organization of the meeting. Germany is providing technical and financial support to on-going forest-related projects at the three Secretariats.

“Sustainable forest management is a key objective of all three regional organizations - building on different sets of experiences and approaches. To enhance exchange on lessons learnt and best practices the three GTZ projects – conjointly with headquarters - will continue to support the co-operation amongst the secretariats”, said Mr. Dietmar Schorlemer, director of the GTZ advisory project to COMIFAC.

Please click here to read the original article on the website of ASEAN Bulletin.

Click here to read the communiqué of the meeting 'South-south-exchange meeting on the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity' and click here for the report of the meeting.

The Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force on 29 December 1993. It has 3 main objectives: To conserve biological diversity; the use of biological diversity in a sustainable fashion; to share the benefits of biological diversity fairly and equitably.

The principal functions of the Secretariat are to prepare for, and service, meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) and other subsidiary bodies of the Convention, and to coordinate with other relevant international bodies.{jcomments off}