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Deforestation An Overview of Global Programs and Agreements SUMMARY In recent years global environmental concerns have figured prominently on the American political agenda In particular tropical deforestation and its implications for global climate change and biological diversity loss have prompted public outcry Concerns have since grown to include other forest types as well The Congress has considered a variety of legislation to stem the tide of increasing deforestation and the United States has supported a number of bilateral and multilateral initiatives to assist other countries in managing their forest resources In addition the issue of deforestation has garnered increasing attention in international arenas which has translated into a bewildering array of programs principles and policies regarding forests This paper provides some background on four of the main multilateral avenues for addressing deforestation and clarifies their roles and interrelationships The organizations processes and negotiations covered here include the Tropical Forestry Action Programme TFAP the International Tropical Timber Organization ITTO the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development UNCED and the World Bank Considered as a whole these efforts represent attempts by the international community to address deforestation -- in the tropics as well as in temperate and boreal forests This review provides the history and structure of these programs together with the critiques and arguments concerning their success or weakness in order to provide the context for continuing congressional oversight of global forest issues and the consideration of legislation on appropriations for these programs The TFAP has created a framework for bringing the nations of the North and South together It has helped many countries to analyze their forest resources more rigorously and has generated high-level attention on forest issues The ITTO has become a vehicle for conservation concerns and established targets and standards for sustainable tropical timber management UNCED focused unprecedented attention on forest-related issues The final documents relating to forests articulate the concept of sustainable development And the World Banks new forest policy requires
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