UNFF-2: Second Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests
UN Headquarters || 4-15 March 2002
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Day 4: Thursday, 7 March

Thursday, 7 March: UNFF-2 participants spent the day in two working groups. Working Group I started with a discussion on combating deforestation and forest degradation, and then moved into talks on forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems. Working Group II discussed MAR and associated concepts, terminology and definitions, and subsequently initiated debate on criteria for the 2005 review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests.
 
Working Group I:
combating deforestation and forest degradation
< Bai-Mass Taal, UNEP Division of Policy Development and Law, introduced the discussion paper on combating deforestation and forest degradation. Its conclusion states that significant progress has been made in implementation of IPF/IFF Proposal for Action, but deforestation continues, albeit at a slow pace. He said that the dichotomy between implementation and deforestation could be explained by lack of resources, capacity and political will.
Listen to UNEP's introduction
 
Venezuela, for G-77/China, stated that the root of deforestation is in socio-economic injustice. He highlighted the negative impact of lack of access to Northern markets, and stressed the need to unify criteria and indicators to allow for their comparisons between countries and regions.
 
< Senegal highlighted the importance of information dissemination and the decentralization of natural resource management. He noted the problem of overlapping agreements and the stress of participating in many meetings, and called for concerted and coordinated approach to implementation.
Listen to Senegal's statement
 
< Japan supported the report's assessment that forest fires, illegal logging and perverse subsidies are emerging issues, and should be addressed cross-sectorally.
 
< USA said that UNFF is about promoting and facilitating implementation of existing proposals for action and not should not create new proposals. She noted the relationship between agriculture and deforestation, and highlighted several priority areas that required additional emphasis: land tenure issues, resource rights clarification, domestic policy on infrastructure and subsidies, destructive illegal and logging, and corruption..
Listen to USA's statement
 
G-77/China invited the donor community and the Collaborative Partnership on Forest to develop capacity development programmes. He said that the UNFF should add a study on market access distortions to its agenda.
 
< View from the back of the ECOSOC Chamber, location of Working Group I's afternoon session.
 
 
< Hossein Moeni Meybodi (Iran), Chair of Working Group I.
 
< Brazil disagreed with the report's conclusion that in most cases, the causes of forest loss are political in nature. She said that the true causes were insufficient international cooperation and socio-economic and trade inequities.
Listen to Brazil's statement
 
< Malaysia stated that forestry is a complex issue and called for further refinement of the framework on underlying causes. He described enforcement efforts in his country, including details on increased penalties and the technology used.
Listen to Malaysia's presentation
 
The Global Forests Coalition requested that the ministerial statement address the Underlying Causes of Deforestation Initiative, and said that country-driven approach in capacity building is of the utmost importance.
 
The Global Forest Policy Project expressed dismay at the lack of discussion on degradation, and noted that it was just as serious a problem as deforestation. He said that plantations are neither intrinsically good, nor bad, and that their value depends on, inter alia, their location and their biological diversity. He stated that competition among certification schemes often leads to their improved quality.
 
IN THE CORRIDORS: Four days into UNFF-2, delegates remained unclear as to what outcomes UNFF-2 is supposed to produce. Most assume that, in addition to establishing three expert groups and forging a ministerial message for WSSD, UNFF-2 will generate some form of text that delegates can adopt. Certain delegates have suggested that some sort of document, beyond a Chair's Summary, would lend credibility to the UNFF. Others feel that the UNFF should not be judged by its paper output, but should instead be assessed according to its longer-term "on the ground" effects: the extent to which it triggers new thinking, offers a space for sharing both positive and negative experiences, and facilitates implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action. Some delegates perceive that UNFF-2's struggle to figure out the nature and format of its outcomes is impeding progress on its primary task: to review progress in implementation of the proposals for action. Above and below: key players meeting informally after the close of Working Group II's afternoon session, discussing the format of group's outcome.
 
Working Group II
< Ositadinma Anaedu, (Nigeria), Chair of Working Group II.
 
Above: overhead view taken from the public gallery of
Working Group II in session in the General Assembly Hall.
 

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