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Historical Perspective
Table of Contents:

Timeline of the Dialogue on Sustainable Development
Significant milestones over the last thirty years have established a foundation for international consensus and multilateral dialogue on the sustainable management of natural resources. The formulation of sustainable development as an international environmental goal is presented in a timeline prepared by the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Multilateral Dialogue Multilateral Dialogue
  Historical Perspective Historical Perspective
  Legally Binding Agreements Legally Binding Agreements
  Non-Binding Agreements & Processes Non-Binding Agreements & Processes
Topics & Tools Topics & Tools
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Calender of Events Calender of Events
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Key milestones are provided below:

1968 - International Conference for Rational Use and Conservation of the Biosphere
Provided an early forum for discussion of the ecologically sustainable use of the biosphere.
1972 - Stockholm Conference
Addressed economic and ecological sustainability issues leading to establishment of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). UNEP Mandate: To influence the attitudes and actions of all members of society so as to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
1983 - Brundtland Commission
In support of the UN's World Commission on Environment and Development, Prime Minister of Norway (Gro Harlem Brundtland) is asked by the UN Secretary General to lead a special commission to address how the world community could 1) develop long-term environmental strategy for achieving sustainable development by the year 2000 and beyond and 2) define a shared perception of long-term environmental issues and appropriate efforts to deal with them effectively. This resulted in a widely refered to book, "Our Common Future" published in 1987. In addition, Brundtland Commission publication defined and popularized use of the term sustainable development.
1984 - International Conference on Environment and Economics (OICD)
The conference concluded that economics and the environment should be mutually reinforcing and helped to shape the widely-referred to book "Our Common Future" published in 1987.
1992 - United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, or Rio Earth Summit)
Established sustainable development as a common goal of human development for the 178 countries attending the meeting and produced a plan for international action known as Agenda 21.
1993 - Commission on Sustainable Development
Created to ensure follow-up and monitoring of countries' efforts to implement Agenda 21.
2002 - World Summit on Sustainable Development
A 10-year review and renewal of world commitment to sustainable development. However, the focus has shifted more to rural communities, water and energy.


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Timeline of the Dialogue on Sustainable Forest Management
As a result of the evolving discussion regarding sustainable development, the international forestry community initiated in a series of multilateral negotiations to reach agreement on common aspects of sustainable forest management. The history of multilateral forestry dialogue is captured in a summary prepared by the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Key highlights are provided below:

Late 1980s International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)
Adopted the Year 2000 Objective to manage tropical forests sustainably and begin work on guidelines for as a reference standard for sustainable management of natural forests.
1992 - United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, or Rio Earth Summit)
Produced the Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests, the so-called Forest Principles, and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 Combating Deforestation.
1993 -

Commission on Sustainable Development
Included forests in its multi-year program of work

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) hosts International Seminar of Experts on Sustainable Development of Boreal and Temperate Forests
Launched the broad international dialogue on scientifically based criteria and indicators to assess progress towards sustainable development of temperate and boreal forests. The Pan-European and the Montreal Criteria and Indicators Processes have their origins in this meeting.

1994 -

Montreal Process
Launched an ongoing ad hoc dialogue among ten temperate and boreal forest nations (including the United States) to further the common understanding of sustainable forestry as well as seek consensus and develop a means to report on national progress toward that goal.

1995 - Santiago Declaration
Endorsed by ten nations (later 12 nations) as a commitment to use a comprehensive set of seven criteria and 67 related indicators to report on national progress toward forest conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests (results of Montreal Process).
1995 - 1997 UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF)
Adopted 149 Proposals for Action to help countries implement sustainable forest management.
1997 - Foreign Ministers of G8 Countries
Eight of the world's largest industrialized nations to implement sustainable forest management.
1997-2000 UN's Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF)
Produced additional Proposals for Action, in addition to the IPF Proposals, on topics such as trade and environment, traditional forest related knowledge, financing mechanisms, and research and debated the pros and cons of an international forest convention.
2000- UN Forum on Forests (UNFF)
Established as a permanent arrangement to facilitate the implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action, provide forum for policy dialogue, enhance coordination of work of international organizations, foster international cooperation, monitor and assess progress, and enhance political commitment to sustainable forest management.
2003- International Conference on Criteria and Indicators (CICI)
Conference of 55 nations that reviewed and reaffirmed political commitment to use of Criteria and Indicators to promote Sustainable Forest Management.


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