Reporting on progress towards the implementation of the United Nations strategic plan for forests 2017–2030 – Analysing Voluntary National Report from Japan(May 15, 2020)

The agreement on "United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030" was forged in 2017

The Strategic Plan features a set of Global Forest Goals to be reached by 2030 such as reversing the loss of forest cover worldwide (Goal 1), increasing the protected forests and sustainably managed forests significantly (Goal 3) and mobilizing significantly increased additional financial resources... (Goal 4). How to achieve these goals without legally binding rules?

As one of the means to encourage it to Member States, the UNFF adopted the formatted voluntary national reporting and invited Member States to submit their reports bymid November 2019. The national reports have been published online at United Nations website.

National reports to UNFF15

Japan's report was submitted on December 9, and included in the above webpage.

Progress towards the implementation of the United Nations strategic plan for forests 2017–2030, the United Nations forest instrument and voluntary national contributions、Japan 

Although it is quite a big volume report with 32 pages, but I gave a try because I am very interested in how Japan's forest and forestry policy would contribute to global sustainable forest management movement and how international trends of sustainable forest management would (potentially) contribute to the forest and forestry policies in Japan?

The following is the summary (created by Fujiwara).
The left column lists the Global Forest Goals and associated targets set by the Strategic Plan 2017-2030. And the right side shows the titles of the policy enacted in Japan which are mentioned in the voluntary report from Japan that should correspond each Goal and target. (links to online references also added (not in the original report)).

 Strategic Plan for Forests and Outline of measures implemented in Japan
UN STRATEGIC PLAN FOR FORESTS 2030 Implemented Policies
in Japan from 2015
GLOBAL FOREST GOALS TARGETS y/n Title of the policy
1 Reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide through sustainable forest management, including protection, restoration, afforestation and reforestation, and increase efforts to prevent forest degradation and contribute to the global effort of addressing climate change. 1.1 Forest area is increased by 3 per cent worldwide.
1.2 The world’s forest carbon stocks are maintained or enhanced. Yes Revision of the “Forest and Forestry Basic Plan” (p.4)
The Forest Management Act (JPN only)
The Long-Term Strategy under the Paris Agreement as a Growth Strategy
1.3 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally. Yes ditto
1.4 The resilience and adaptive capacity of all types of forests to natural disasters and the impact of climate change is significantly strengthened worldwide. Yes ditto
2 Enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits, including by improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent people 2.1 Extreme poverty for all forest-dependent people is eradicated. Yes Promoting International Forestry Cooperation Programs
2.2 Increase the access of small-scale forest enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets. Yes ditto
2.3 The contribution of forests and trees to food security is significantly increased.
2.4 The contribution of forest industry, other forest-based enterprises and forest ecosystem services to social, economic and environmental development, among other things, is significantly increased. Yes Promoting International Forestry Cooperation Programs
2.5 The contribution of all types of forests to biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation is enhanced, taking into account the mandates and ongoing work of relevant conventions and instruments. Yes The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Guidelines; Nagoya Protocol
3 Increase significantly the area of protected forests worldwide and other areas of sustainably managed forests, as well as the proportion of forest products from sustainably managed forests. 3.1 The area of forests worldwide designated as protected areas or conserved through other effective area-based conservation measures is significantly increased. Yes Revision of the state owned protected forest system (JPN only)
Voluntary guidelines for the sustainable management of natural tropical forests; ITTO
3.2 The area of forests under long-term forest management plans is significantly increased.
3.3 The proportion of forest products from sustainably managed forests is significantly increased. Yes Enforcement of the Act on Promotion of Use and Distribution of Legally-Harvested Wood and Wood Products (the Clean Wood Act)
4 Mobilize significantly increased, new and additional financial resources from all sources for the implementation of sustainable forest management and strengthen scientific and technical cooperation and partnerships. 4.1 Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation. Yes Enforcement of the Act on Contributions to the Green Climate Fund and the Accompanying Measures
Japan is also the largest donor to the 7th replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Introduction of the Forest Environment Tax and the Forest Environment Donation Tax
The Forestry Cooperation Projects under ODA
Nationwide bi-annual donation campaign for forests in accordance with the Act on the Promotion of Forest Development and Maintenance via the Use of the Green Fund
4.2 Forest-related financing from all sources at all levels, including public (national, bilateral, multilateral and triangular), private and philanthropic financing, is significantly increased. Yes ditto
4.3 North-South, South-South, North-North and triangular cooperation and public-private partnerships on science, technology and innovation in the forest sector are significantly enhanced and increased. Yes ditto
4.4 The number of countries that have developed and implemented forest financing strategies and have access to financing from all sources is significantly increased. No
4.5 The collection, availability and accessibility of forest-related information is improved through, for example, multidisciplinary scientific assessments.
5 Promote governance frameworks to implement sustainable forest management, including through the United Nations forest instrument, and enhance the contribution of forests to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 5.1 The number of countries that have integrated forests into their national sustainable development plans and/or poverty reduction strategies is significantly increased.

5.2 Forest law enforcement and governance are enhanced, including through significantly strengthening national and subnational forest authorities, and illegal logging and associated trade are significantly reduced worldwide. Yes Development of human resources in the forest and forestry sector(JPN only)
Enforcement of the Act on Promotion of Use and Distribution of Legally-Harvested Wood and Wood Products (the Clean Wood Act)
5.3 National and subnational forest-related policies and programmes are coherent, coordinated and complementary across ministries, departments and authorities, consistent with national laws, and engage relevant stakeholders, local communities and indigenous peoples, fully recognizing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Yes - Driftwood disaster measures/ CLT disseminatio/ Promotion of timber use in public buildings: with Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism;
- Revision of structural design standards for wooden school buildings: with Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology;
- Prevention of Global Warming, Biodiversity Conservation: with Ministry of the Environment/ Foreign Affairs;
- Promotion of using woody biomass: w/ Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
- Implementation of SDGs: Cabinet + All Ministries. Headed by the Prime Minister, the SDGs Promotion Headquarters,
5.4 Forest-related issues and the forest sector are fully integrated into decision-making processes concerning land use planning and development. Yes
6 Enhance cooperation, coordination, coherence and synergies on forest-related issues at all levels, including within the United Nations system and across member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, as well as across sectors and relevant stakeholders 6.1 Forest-related programmes within the United Nations system are coherent and complementary and integrate the Global Forest Goals and targets, where appropriate. International Symposium of the Motreal Process WG
6.2 Forest-related programmes across member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests are coherent and complementary and together encompass the multiple contributions of forests and the forest sector to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. ditto
6.3 Cross-sectoral coordination and cooperation to promote sustainable forest management and halt deforestation and forest degradation are significantly enhanced at all levels.
6.4 A greater common understanding of the concept of sustainable forest management is achieved and an associated set of indicators is identified.。 Yes FSC, PEFC, SGEC(Set of Indicators)
the White Paper on Forest and Forestry (Public awareness)
the Statistical Handbook of Forest and Forestry
Government Policy Evaluations Act (Public awareness)
National Forest Monitoring process (Public awareness)
6.5 The input and involvement of major groups and other relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the Strategic Plan and in the work of the Forum, including intersessional work, is strengthened. Yes Members of the Forestry Policy Councilors appointed by various stakeholders, including local governments, academics, members from the forest cooperatives, forestry and timber industries, private companies, consumer groups and citizens.
Administrative Procedure Act
UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 Linked URL are added by me and for reference only. It was not attached in the original report.


(Any Japanese policy which may be referred as a success story)

Japanese Policies and measures listed in the right column of the table can be potentially for reference as success stories.

It is slightly disappointing, however, there are few references explained in English about these Japanese measures when interested people from overseas want to collect further information.

In this Japan Forest Infvormentan Feview, we have introduced Japanese forestry policies that might be useful for readers from overseas, and we will keep working with more efforts in the future.

Please contact us if there is any Japanese forestry and forest policies that you would like to know more about.

(Challenges of the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests)

And then, after creating the table above, I found the United Nations Strategic Plan does not firmly include the concept of "promotion of wood utilization".

In the case of Japan, the Act for Promotion of Use of Wood in Public Building came into effect in 2010 (the first for G7 countries), and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism also explains the background in details why they encourage using timber through a webpage titled "Promotion of Utilization of Wood in Government Buildings Services".

I thought it should be important, for instance, to clearly mention a concept to "increase utilization of sustainable timber as regeneratable material" in the associated target 2.4: “Significantly increase the contribution of forest-related industries, other forest-based companies and forest ecosystem services to social, economic and environmental development”.

It maybe challenges for the future.


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