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Forests Policy & Practice
Resumed Third Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe (INC-Forests3)

3-5 April 2013 | Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
Summary Highlights for the Meeting
Highlights for Wednesday, 3 April 2013
Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
 

On Wednesday, 3 April, the Resumed Third Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) on Forests in Europe (INC-Forests3) opened in Saint Petersburg, the Russian Federation, with welcome statements by Alexander Panfilov, Head of Delegation, Russian Federation, and Viktor Lozhechko, Chairman of the Committee on Ecology and Natural Resources Management of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg.

The INC adopted its agenda and organization of work, agreeing to create a legal expert group, facilitated by Stephen Lowe, UK, which would meet in parallel with plenary to begin examining the LBA's final clauses and an annex on arbitration drafted by the INC-Forests secretariat.

Morning plenary began with partial agreements on text in the Objective and Principles sections. Discussions in the General Provisions section focused on trying to remove brackets in paragraphs on, inter alia: reporting; enhancing the capacity of forests and forest products to act as carbon sinks and reservoirs, substitution of non-renewable materials and energy, and contribute to a low carbon emission economy; forest fragmentation; cooperating to prevent and combat forest pests, diseases and fires; and measures to strengthen the role of forests in combating desertification.

In the afternoon, the INC agreed ad referendum on General Provision paragraphs on forest biodiversity and on facilitating communication between policy makers and all stakeholders. Some progress was made on clearing brackets and cleaning text in a General Provision paragraph on forest ecosystem services, while substantial differences remain on paragraphs on protected areas and on protection of groundwater and surface water.

The afternoon plenary also held an initial exchange of views on financial resources for LBA-related activities, discussed in detail the mechanics of bringing the LBA under the UN umbrella, and heard an EU proposal on reformatting the LBA text.

In the evening, the Russian Federal Forestry Agency hosted a reception for delegates and a contact group on compliance met, facilitated by Ingwald Gschwandtl, Austria, and Otrakçier Tamer, Turkey.

The Resumed Third Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally-Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe)
St. Peter and Paul's Cathedral across the street from the venue
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From L-R: Natalia Orlova, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Natural Resources of the Leningrad Region; Sergey Lyahovenko, Committee on Landscape Management, Saint Petersburg City Administration; Viktor Lozhechko, Chairman of the Committee on Ecology and Natural Resources Management of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg; INC-Forests Chair Jan Heino, Finland; Alexander Panfilov, Deputy Head of the Federal Forestry Agency, Russian Federation; and Malgorzata Buszko-Briggs, INC-Forests Secretary
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Jan Heino, INC-Forests Chair, Finland
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Manuela Cuvi, INC-Forests Secretariat
Viktor Lozhechko, Chairman of the Committee on Ecology and Natural Resources Management of the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg
Alexander Panfilov, Deputy Head of the Federal Forestry Agency, Russian Federation
Mevlut Düzgün, Council of European Foresters (CEF)
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Paola Deda, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
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Noel Holleran, Ireland, speaking for the EU
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Knut Øistad, Norway
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Kenan Kiliç, Turkey
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Andrei Bui, Belarus
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Christoph Dürr, Switzerland
Highlights for Thursday, 4 April 2013

On Thursday, 4 April, the Resumed Third Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) on Forests in Europe (INC-Forests3) opened with a report by Facilitator Ingwald Gschwandtl, Austria, on the compliance contact group's suggested changes in the draft negotiating text. The group proposed adding a provision on the secretariat compiling reports submitted by parties, but deleting provisions on analyzing reviews, assisting parties in LBA implementation, scientific and technical assessment of parties' reports, and considering written submissions from stakeholders. The text was not finalized pending the outcome of the discussions on bringing the LBA under the UN umbrella.

On terms and definitions, the Committee discussed the section paragraph-by-paragraph, agreeing on definitions for: criteria for SFM; illegal harvesting; national forest programme; SFM; and regional economic integration organization. They deleted the term “afforestation.” A contact group was formed, to be facilitated by Liubov Poliakova, Ukraine, to meet in the evening to try to finalize the section.

On finance, the Committee agreed to request the Bureau to prepare a paper outlining major cost elements, possible funding sources and options for draft text.

On bringing the LBA under the UN umbrella, the Committee decided to to do so thereby excluding non-UN options. It further explored the implications of selecting one or more UN bodies to host and service the agreement, and held an initial exchange of views about which organizations delegates preferred.

The Committee restructured and streamlined the draft negotiating text of the LBA largely along the lines of an EU proposal.

The Committee briefly discussed the revised negotiations roadmap, focusing on both what tasks need to be done before INC4 in June 2013 in Warsaw, Poland, and what must occur between INC4 and the diplomatic conference tentatively slated for November 2013.

The Resumed Third Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally-Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe)
The venue entrance
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Jan Heino, INC-Forests Chair, Finland
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Alexandra Orekhovich, Russian Federation
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Sibylle Vermont, Switzerland
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Ingwald Gschwandtl, Austria
Eugene Hendrick, Ireland, speaking for the EU
Liubov Poliakova, Ukraine
Knut Øistad, Norway
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Merab Matchavariani, Georgia
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Ivonne Higuero, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Highlights for Friday, 5 April 2013

On Friday, 5 April, the Resumed Third Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement (LBA) on Forests in Europe (INC-Forests3) opened with a short presentation by Poland on its plans for hosting INC-Forests4 from 10-14 June 2013 in Warsaw.

A non-paper summarizing in chart form the responses from FAO, UNECE and UNEP regarding the various issues and options involving bringing the LBA under the UN umbrella was distributed to the Commitee.

Facilitator Liubov Poliakova, Ukraine, reported on the results of the contact group on terms and definitions. The Committee discussed the section's text paragraph-by-paragraph, making significant progress. Outstanding issues remain, including on the definitions of "forest," "goods," "forest fragmentation" and "forest degradation."

Facilitator Stephen Lowe, UK, reported on the results of the legal expert group's review of the final clauses and the draft annex on arbitration. Lowe noted that the group had removed brackets from the final clauses except where the question went beyond the group's mandate and required a decision by the full Committee. As for the draft annex, the group recommended some minor textual changes but left it up to the Committee to make the political decision of whether it wanted such an annex. The INC then reviewed the group's suggested textual changes.

The Committee also discussed provisions relating to the Conference of the Parties, the right to vote and the secretariat, clarifying options and adding new text. These articles remain partially bracketed.

In the afternoon plenary, the Committee removed brackets from the preamble and finished agreeing ad referendum all its paragraphs. The INC Secretariat presented an oral report on the status of the Trust Fund for INC-Forests, and Hungary and Sweden announced new pledges for the Fund of 10,000 Euros and US$10,000, respectively. The Committee then amended and approved a provisional agenda for INC-Forests4, and the draft report of INC3.

During the closing plenary, the EU, Switzerland and Chair Heino all noted the cooperative spirit that had resulted in progress being made at INC-Forests3, but cautioned that many key tasks still faced the final round of negotiations at INC-Forests4.

The Resumed Third Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally-Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe)
Room view during the plenary
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Jan Heino, INC-Forests Chair, Finland
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Marta Gaworska, Poland
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Mia Crawford, Sweden
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Peter Csóka, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Eugene Hendrick, Ireland, speaking for the EU
Liubov Poliakova, Ukraine
Knut Øistad, Norway
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Stephen Lowe, UK
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Christoph Dürr, Switzerland
Mona Ali Khalil, UN Office of Legal Affairs
Beate Berglund Ekeberg, Norway
Noel Holleran, Ireland, speaking for the EU
Related Links
Meeting resources

*Meeting website and documents

*Annotated provisional agenda

*Draft negotiating text for a legally binding agreement on forests in Europe as of the end of INC3 Plenary session on the afternoon of 1 February 2013

*Draft Annex on arbitration and other annexes to the draft negotiating text

*Updated Roadmap for the negotiation process

*Oslo Mandate

*INC-Forests1 website

*INC-Forests2 website

*INC-Forests3 website


Other relevant resources

*FOREST EUROPE

*UN Forum on Forests (UNFF)

*UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Forestry Department


IISD RS resources

*IISD RS coverage of INC-Forests3, 28 January - 1 February 2013, Antalya, Turkey

*IISD RS coverage of the Twelfth Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change, 5 November 2012, Washington, DC, United States of America

*IISD RS summary report of INC-Forests2, 3-7 September 2012, Bonn, Germany (HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS coverage of the FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference Oslo 2011, 29 14-16 June 2011, Oslo, Norway

*IISD RS coverage of the Ninth Session of the UNFF (UNFF9), 24 January - 4 February 2011, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America

*Forests-L - A news and announcement list on forest policy issues

*Forests Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Adressing Forests Policy

*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
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