The IMFN Global Forum 2011 followed the International Symposium on Ecosystem and Landscape-level Approaches to Sustainability and associated field trip. The two-day business meeting was organized by the IMFN Secretariat in collaboration with CESEFOR in Castilla y Leon, Spain and the IMFNS International Networking Committee. The meeting had three main objectives:
- For regional and Secretariat representatives to update IMFN members on key activities and developments since the last Global Forum, held in Canada in 2008
- To agree on network strategic initiatives for the period 2011 – 2013
- To discuss and consider for approval terms of reference for an “IMFN Members’ Charter” that describes the criteria for membership, including the rules, rights, and responsibilities for membership in the IMFN
The proposed agenda for the two-day meeting was very demanding.
Members of Model Forests from around the world met at the Burgos Convention Centre for this meeting, which is held every three years. The latest edition of the Global Forum welcomed new Model Forests that have joined this international network. The Ifrane Model Forest in Morocco and the Yalova Model Forest in Turkey are the latest members to join the Mediterranean network.
The objectives set for this latest edition by the International Model Forests Network (IMFN) were threefold:
- To provide all members with an insight into the work carried out by other model forests since the previous edition of the Global Forum, held in Costa Rica in 2008.
- To secure stronger, more consolidated institutional development.
- To ensure that discussions on strategic initiatives contribute to improving the network and produce results in the coming years.
According to Peter Besseau, the IMFN’s Executive Director, the Global Forum successfully achieved all three objectives. One of the principal areas of discussion was the creation of a Members’ Charter for the IMFN, which would lay the foundations for the more solid institutional development set out in the Forum’s objectives.
Another key issue at the Global Forum was the debate surrounding strategic initiatives and the way the International Model Forests Network tackles common tasks through the various Model Forests and regions. Divided into four working groups, this session laid out the ground rules for this work over the next three years, which will focus on the following areas:
- climate change: initiatives aimed at acknowledging the contribution of forests to curbing climate change and helping them to adapt to changing conditions.
- environmental services: a number of pilot and test schemes for mechanisms that provide fair reward and credit for those that provide services that are hard to assess, such as water production or carbon fixing.
- community development: boosting the capacity of Model Forests to support the commercialisation and sale of products made in their landscapes, as well as experimenting with joint commercialisation methods and ventures will form the focus of work in this area between 2011 and 2014.
- and lastly, combining all the previous objectives and the individual work of each Model Forest and regional network, the International Model Forest Network will continue to boost its own capacity to generate, share and use know-how, providing support for the convergence of this know-how with other skills and competences in the quest for sustainable development.