Fourteenth Conference – 1993, Malaysia

Excerpt from: The Commonwealth Forestry Review, Vol. 72 (4), 1993, pp. 338-339
Kuala Lumpur, 13-18 September, 1993


This conference, the 14th since 1920, is the first to be held since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 at which the Statement of Forest Principles was agreed. All Commonwealth countries adopted these Principles. The Conference’s Recommendations, therefore, accept them as a starting point.

The Conference, with its theme of ‘People, The Environment and Forestry – Conflict or Harmony?’ marks a significant step towards integration of the community with the forest, by its emphasis on:

  • the intimate role of people in forest management
  • the dynamic nature of forests and their capacity to provide a multiplicity of goods and services
  • the need for forest managers to take a more active role in the implementation and promotion of sustainable forest development.


This Conference,

  • Recognizing the commitments made by Commonwealth countries at UNCED;
  • Recognizing the concern about the sustainable development of forests in Commonwealth countries;
  • Recognizing that sustainable forest development and the need for sustainability criteria are matters applicable to all types of forest;
  • Recognizing the need to balance the economic use of forest resources and the protection of the environment to benefit present and future generations; and
  • Recognizing the need for continuous human resource development and information



1. that Commonwealth countries review their forest legislation, policies and strategies that have an impact on forests on a regular basis to ensure that they meet current and future needs at local, national and international level.

2. that governments recognize the potential of forests to provide a multiplicity of goods and services, the rapid increase in demand for such goods as pharmaceutical compounds and services such as nature-based tourism, and the need to establish mechanisms that ensure that the use of forests for these purposes generates revenue and other benefits.

3. that governments and financial institutions should be made aware that appropriate investment in new areas and in the management of existing forests can contribute significantly to the amelioration of the world’s environmental problems.

4. that governments devote more attention to the relationship between forestry and climate change, particularly:

  • by increasing the levels of research and public awareness of the interaction between forests and climate.
  • by encouraging the use of forests, both natural and man-made, for carbon sequestration.
  • by exploring the potential to develop energy systems based on renewable forest resources.
  • by encouraging the more efficient use of wood-based products in preference to products requiring high- energy inputs.

5. that there is a need for more effective community participation in forestry decision-making processes.

6. that in the development of forestry policies, management and initiatives, gender-specific issues be addressed where relevant; and that organizations identify and remove barriers to the participation of women in forestry initiatives and the profession of forestry.


7. that forest managers should recognize the need to take account of the political dimension and to be pro-active in providing sound information and advice to the community and decision makers.

8 . that, in the implementation of forest management systems, specific attention be given to the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity.

9. that, in order to ensure political and budgetary support, sustainable forest development practices must be in keeping with overall national development objectives and international obligations. This may require the formulation of appropriate guidelines or codes of practice for forest management operations.

10. that exemplary model forests or demonstration forest sites can be used to demonstrate the value and principles of sustainable management, and encourage country initiatives in this area.


11. that forest research and development be intensified, particularly for better understanding of forest biodiversity, and that new developments in fields such as biotechnology, geographical information technology, community participation, and valuation of non-market benefits be encouraged.

12. that, for maximum benefit to countries with common problems, research should continue to be the subject of international collaboration, exchange of information and experience, and technology transfer. In this regard, research institutions with specific expertise should undertake twinning arrangements with other institutions to enhance such collaboration.


13. that the Committee membership be restructured to give the Heads of Commonwealth Forest Services a stronger voice, particularly on the Executive Committee.

14. that meetings of the Executive Committee be arranged to coincide with other international forestry conferences and that meetings need not always be held in London.

15. that, between conferences, the Standing Committee be more active in promoting events such as workshops and training initiatives to broaden the perspectives of forest managers, in conjunction with Commonwealth agencies and training institutions.

16. that the Committee act as facilitator to encourage the wider exchange of views and advice between Commonwealth Forest Services on operational policy issues.

17. that, in acknowledgement of the multiple benefits provided to society by forests, relevant interest groups be invited to attend future conferences.

18. that the role of the CFA be considered particularly with reference to Commonwealth leadership in forestry initiatives.


Recognizing that international attention is now focused on the role of the world’s forests in global climate, environmental amelioration, biodiversity and the livelihoods of rural people and;

following the 1992 UNCED meeting in Rio de Janeiro and the international initiatives such as the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) which are now in place; and

being cognizant of the long history of Commonwealth forestry and the unique position of the Commonwealth Forestry Conference in bringing together foresters from all ecological zones, government and non-government institutions, and representatives from production, processing and the timber trade;

the fourteenth Commonwealth Forestry Conference recommends:

– that Commonwealth Ministers responsible for forestry should meet in the first half of 1994 to give the necessary leadership in Commonwealth countries’ preparation for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development’s 1995 review of progress on forestry.

– that countries should continue to give full support to Commonwealth organizations and agencies involved in forestry, and field initiatives.