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.