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Public Papers - 1993

Remarks on the Forests for the Future Initiative

1993-01-15

Welcome to the White House, and thank you all for coming. I'm delighted to see so many people here who care so deeply about the forests. And first I want to greet and welcome the representatives from Belize and Brazil, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, and Russia. And I congratulate you on the progress that your countries are making on forest management. We're delighted to be able to work with you on this important effort.

It's good to see the cochairs of the effort, Bill Reilly, our EPA Administrator, and then Boyden Gray, my General Counsel here, and the officials from all the U.S. Agencies who have worked to make Forests for the Future a reality. And welcome also to the representatives of the NGO, the nongovernmental groups, working alongside: Kathryn Fuller of World Wildlife, Dan Dudek of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Today I'm announcing a significant step forward in the effort to conserve and sustainably manage the Earth's forests. Last June on the way to the Earth summit in Rio, I announced our Forests for the Future initiative. And I said then it was about achieving results through cooperative partnerships. If we work together in mutual cooperation instead of trying to force painful concessions, we can make progress. And that's what FFI is about.

Today we're celebrating the beginning of eight initial partnership activities that will make this effort a reality. These new partnerships will mean economic incentives for forest conservation, better information for communities to practice sustainable management, better cooperation among government researchers and conservation groups.

I also promised last June to ask the Congress for 150 million in additional forest conservation assistance next year. And that is what we recommended in our budget statement of January 6th. And I hope the Congress will come through. I believe there's good support in the Congress for this approach.

These partnership approaches show that with effort and insight, we can truly conserve healthy, productive, and successful forests for our future. I will obviously be recommending to my successor that he continue this approach.

I just wish all of you the best. And now I'm going to turn the meeting over to Boyden and Bill Reilly. And thank you all very much for coming.

Note: The President spoke at 10:34 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

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