Vol. 134 No. 3
MYPOW CLI HIGHLIGHTS:
On Thursday, the Country-Led Initiative (CLI) in support of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW) convened for its third day of discussions. In the morning, participants met for final working group sessions on Themes of UNFF Biennial Meetings and Modalities. The working group on Regional and Sub-regional Dimensions, having completed their work early, released a draft summary report. In the late morning, participants met in plenary to hear summaries of the outcomes of each working group. In the afternoon, participants attended a field trip to a mangrove demonstration forest and a sacred Balinese temple.
Working Group 1: WG1 was presented with four options for thematic clusters for future sessions of UNFF: Option A, forests for development, forests for livelihoods and forests for growth; Option B, forests for people and livelihoods, forests for people and development, forests for growth; Option C, forest economics, forest and the environment, forests and management; and Option D, achieving sustainable forest management (SFM), forests and internationally agreed development goals, and forests and MEAs. Co-chair Tony Bartlett, Australia, pointed out the clusters in Option A were repeated in Option B. Several participants favored defining means of implementation as a separate theme or an overarching theme for all sessions. The rapporteur presented the programme of activities for UNFF sessions, to demonstrate the context in which the themes will be discussed.
INDIA supported a modified Option D and emphasized the importance of linking forests with the Millennium Development Goals and creating mechanisms to share the benefits from traditional forest related knowledge. SWITZERLAND urged the use of terminology that will be easily understandable outside the forest community, and allocating more time for linking with other global processes. COSTA RICA said that themes would be discussed as part of a larger agenda so they should not be too numerous. FINLAND, ARGENTINA and FIJI supported Option D, but favored reducing the number of themes to provide adequate discussion time and stressed that climate change should be discussed in the 2009 session. Several participants called for edits to the options but Co-chair Bartlett explained that the options would not be changed due to time constraints, instead views expressed by participants would be recorded in the summary. Johan Goldammer, Global Fire Monitoring Center, urged participants to keep in mind climate change, desertification, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction and poverty reduction and how UNFF and the Non Legally-Binding Instrument (NLBI) can contribute. Option E was added and primarily focused on means of implementation. The UK said that the compiled list of themes resembled an agenda as opposed to a programme of work. BRAZIL proposed separating thematic clusters that should be discussed at all sessions, and those to be discussed at single sessions. The US highlighted that expected outcomes from the themes require consideration. Participants also discussed the framework under which themes would be discussed at UNFF sessions and various options for frameworks were considered.
Working Group 2: Co-chair Ingwald Gschwandtl, Austria, introduced the draft report of Working Group 2 (WG2) on Modalities. He outlined that participants of WG2 would review the draft report and then discuss the content. Rapporteur Fredrick Matwang’a explained that the draft report attempted to capture the substance of WG2's discussion and to reflect the views articulated. In the ensuing discussion participants focused on the structure of the draft report and then addressed specific paragraphs.
On structure of the report, FINLAND stressed the importance of the relationship of the MYPOW to the NLBI and proposed moving this to the beginning of the report as a chapeau. NEW ZEALAND, supported by BRAZIL, highlighted the role of WG2 was to discuss modalities and the structure of the report should reflect this, and suggested that discussions on other issues could be annexed. The PHILIPPINES underscored that governments are the ultimate consumers of the WG2 report and as such, the report should be clear, coherent and assist governments in their negotiations at UNFF. ARGENTINA stressed that the report is not a consensus document and that it should reflect the contrasting views articulated during discussions.
On specific content of paragraphs, CANADA, supported by NEW ZEALAND and GUATEMALA, pointed out confusing terminology within the report and requested it be revised and made consistent. In reference to linking regional to international processes, NEW ZEALAND requested inclusion of reference to intergovermental preparatory meetings (IPMs) as a modality for this. On reference to high-level segments several delegates requested the inclusion of reference to the numerous models for Ministerial participation. On reference to IPMs, CLI and ad hoc expert meetings, participants favored clearly distinguishing the IPM as a process, with some suggesting that CLIs and ad hoc expert meetings should be issue-specific and that IPMs should distill all the issues and set the agenda for UNFF sessions.
The Major Group representative for WOMEN urged UNFF to give greater recognition to the discussion papers that Major Groups prepare in consultation with their larger constituency for consideration at each UNFF session, and encouraged governments to play a role in bringing emerging issues to the Forum. She noted the need for increased funding and for ensuring that the MYPOW is action-oriented.
The PHILIPPINES recalled that there are already rules of procedure that guide stakeholder involvement in UNFF. AUSTRALIA suggested being specific regarding how obstacles to stakeholder participation can be overcome. NEW ZEALAND stressed that no new reporting mechanisms should be introduced. The US encouraged increasing the role of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), and inviting individual members to contribute on the basis of the theme being discussed and the mandate of each particular institution. BRAZIL pointed out that either the seven thematic elements of SFM or the Global Objectives could be used to frame reporting requirements.
Rapporteur Matwang’a summarized the content of the morning’s discussion. Co-chair Gschwandtl stated the Co-chairs and the rapporteur would finalize the WG report based on the morningï¿½s discussion and Co-chair Mokhtar Mat Isa, Malaysia, thanked participants for their contributions and adjourned the working group.
The Co-chairs presented outcomes of the three working groups to participants and Co-chair Salman Al-Farisi, Indonesia, invited comments from participants.
On WG1, BRAZIL specified that the list of proposed themes for discussion at the UNFF should be discussed from a forestry-related angle within the UNFF mandate to focus the debate and avoid duplication in other fora. BRAZIL reiterated its wish to refer to forest services and not eco-services.
Reflecting on the relationship between UNFF and CPF as a way of implementing UNFF guidance, CUBA said the CPF was tasked to implement decisions taken by UNFF. He noted that the UNFF should review the way in which CPF is responding to its mandate and assess whether further guidance was needed.
The Co-chairs of each working group responded to interventions from participants. WG1 Co-chair Paul Lolo, Nigeria, said that the outcomes of the themes proposed should be considered to keep the debate relevant and that this meeting had made an important contribution to UNFF-7 and the finalization of the MYPOW. He said that rather than starting afresh in New York, there was now a reference document and that at UNFF-7, delegates could further refine the ideas that had emerged in the CLI, resolving contentious issues through negotiations.
In response to NEW ZEALANDï¿½s request that there should be no new reporting commitments, WG2 Co-chair Gschwandtl said that efforts to streamline work should be clearly reflected as reporting was a complex issue. Co-chair Gschwandtl stated the report would reflect the list of proposed functions for the IPMs. On INDIAï¿½s intervention as to the most effective way to receive input from Regional Forestry Commissions on SFM, WG3 Co-chair Peter Mayer said that the report would reflect the regional issue.
Co-chair Al-Farisi, Indonesia, explained to the plenary that the draft of the WG Co-chairs summary report would be made available prior to plenary Friday morning.
In the afternoon, participants took part in a field trip, first to the Bali Mangrove Information Centre near Denpasar to see mangrove restoration work in action, and then to Tanah Lot, one of the most sacred temples of Bali, perched on a seaside rocky outcrop.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Delegates departed for their afternoon field trip with the assurance that the Co-chairs of the working groups were working hard on their summary reports. Hopes are high that this will provide a sound basis for CLI outcomes to inform UNFF-7 negotiations in April. With the mood remaining constructive throughout the week, many delegates said that the working groups had been successful in promoting a frank exchange of ideas and avoiding reiteration of entrenched positions.
One of the most promising developments has been the discussion of regional bodies and linking them to the global forestry agenda. The fact that the working group covering this topic finished early bodes well for future consideration of the matter. One delegate pointed out a remaining issue was to elaborate a mutually beneficial relationship between the UNFF and regional bodies to add value to the forestry issues. Clearly there are aspects of the MYPOW that are most effectively addressed at the regional level. For example, one participant suggested technology transfer, capacity building and information sharing may best be dealt with at the regional level as needs may vary significantly.
Another progressive sign was a proposal to invite scientific input from CPF members to ensure that the UNFF agenda is shaped by the best available knowledge and empirical data. However, one delegate noted that this may be a ï¿½chicken and eggï¿½ situation whereby the CPF was awaiting the MYPOW outcome. Another participant noted the relationship between UNFF and the CPF has evolved over time, and is indicative of how this process fits within the larger global institutional framework.
One participant used the term ï¿½gentle shepherdingï¿½ to describe the leadership shown during the CLI, adding that this may set the stage for more fruitful negotiations at UNFF-7. However another delegate cautioned that despite the constructive and optimistic mood at this CLI, care will be needed to effectively pitch the outcomes to UNFF-7 delegates. Success of this meeting may ultimately be contingent on the extent to which the Co-chairï¿½s summary report can clearly articulate the significant new ideas that have crystallized at this meeting, as well as capturing the differing views on issues.
A summary of the
Country-Led Initiative in Support of the Multi-Year Programme of Work of
the UNFF will be available online on Monday, 19 February 2007 at: