26 May 2005

Statement by
H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Hojjati
Minister of Agriculture of the Islamic Republic of Iran
at the High Level Segment of the
Fifth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests

New York- 26 May 2005

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed my pleasure to participate in this august body and share with you the view points of my Government concerning new international arrangement on forests. I have come here to reaffirm the political commitment of my Government for realization of the global objectives on sustainable management of forests.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to emphasize the importance of the states’ political commitments and the need to respect the “common but differentiated responsibilities” and the “national sovereignty of states over their natural resources” as key principles in our approach to forests. My Government believes that setting limited measurable and achievable goals, in line with the content of the Millennium Declaration, will help us make progress faster and assess the achievements with more accuracy. Formulation and adoption of an international legally binding instrument could contribute to regulating the interactions and promote international cooperation on forests. To this end, the states should make utmost efforts to reach an understanding on drafting and adopting appropriate legal instruments on forests at international level.

Mr. Chairman,

Sustainable management of forests is an important task which requires our careful and proper attention. This cannot be realized without taking into consideration its social, economic, and environmental dimensions. For this purpose, integration of forest related programs into the national sustainable development plans are imperative. In this line and in order to pursue the objectives of the Millennium Declaration, the Islamic Republic of Iran has included a comprehensive program for SFM in its National Development Plan, which has so far had significant achievements.

Means of implementation, including: adequate financial resources, capacity building, and transfer of environmentally sound technologies for developing countries, based on their needs and priorities, remain critical to ensure the implementation of forest related policies at both national and international levels. Enhancement of national capacities for monitoring and reporting of forest related activities can significantly contribute to the true assessment of the trends and progresses. We believe that any international effort towards SFM should be encouraging, supportive, and complementary to national efforts. It should also address the root causes of forest degradation such as poverty.

Mr. Chairman,

Setting appropriate arrangements at national, regional and international levels are necessary to realize the SFM. Bearing that in mind, in 1999, the Iranian Government launched a country-led initiative, called Tehran Process, with the support of considerable numbers of developed and developing countries as well as international organizations, particularly UNEP and FAO. The objective of this Process, namely the rehabilitation and conservation of forests in low forest cover countries, encouraged approximately 70 countries falling in this category, to take concerted actions on SFM. I am confident that the ongoing efforts of the LFCCs, with special ecological conditions and fragile ecosystems, will enjoy adequate support from the international community and an appropriate place in new international arrangements on forests.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman

I take this opportunity and briefly throw some light on the plans and achievements in my country in sustainable management of forests.
In order to materialize environmental sustainability, as one of the Millennium Development Goals, and in line with IPF/IFF proposals for action, the Iranian government has approved a Comprehensive Forest Conservation Program which was integrated into the National Development Plan. The main elements in the program are as follows:
1. Conserve, reclaim, develop, and utilize forests in an sustainable manner;
2. Standardize forest terms and definitions and adopt criteria and indicators for sustainable forest managements;
3. Direct the role of government to planning, setting overall policies, and monitoring the implementation;
4. launching multi-stakeholder partnership with participation of civil society, local communities and private sector in planning, implementation, assessment and monitoring of forestry programs;
5. Conduct a comprehensive land survey;
6. Providing training and educational services;
7. Involvement of the private sector in plantation and sustainable utilization.

I am glad to inform you that we have had considerable achievements in materializing the program including: significant reduction in illegal logging, aforestation and reforestation in 900,000 hectares, and more participation of local communities in conservation activities.

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