UNFF-2: Second Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests
UN Headquarters || 4-15 March 2002
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Day 7: Tuesday, 12 March

Delegates continued working in informal consultations, one discussing the ministerial statement and another negotiating the draft terms of reference of the Ad Hoc expert groups. For the first time at UNFF-2, negotiations continued into the night. Above: members of the G-77/China (including representatives from China, Venezuela, Brazil and India) confer during the afternoon's discussion on the expert groups.

Draft terms of reference of the Ad Hoc expert groups
< For the second time in two days, work on criteria for evaluation of the effectiveness of the UNFF was postponed in favour of further work on the draft terms of reference of the expert groups. Stefan Leiner (Germany), Chair of the informals on criteria for evaluation, is seen here expressing his resignation to Jag Maini, Head of the UNFF Secretariat (right) and Patricia Chaves (in yellow sweater), Chair of the informal consultation on experts groups.
 
Above and below: in the evening, informal consultation on the expert
groups reconvened on the twenty-third floor of the
DC-2 building, across the street from UN headquarters.
 
< Chair Chaves having a quick word with Juan Mayr, Colombian Minster of the Environment. Mayr will chair the high-level dialogue between ministers and CPF members which will take place tomorrow.
 
At the invitation of Chair Chaves, delegations repositioned
themselves in the room in order to facilitate direct exchanges.
Here we see the US, which abandoned its usual seat at the back
of the room in favour of one directly beside the Canadian delegation.
 
China, Venezuela and Brazil discussing an American proposal on the expert working groups.
 
Above: members of the G-77/China, including representatives from China, Venezuela,
Brazil, India and Argentina, sat together during the afternoon's discussion on the expert groups.

 

Ministerial declaration
Above and below: delegates engaged in direct informal consul-
tations before the start of the day's official work, hoping to
garner support for their textual proposition.
 
Above and below: scenes from the informal consultation on the ministerial message. Below, from left to right: Chair Anaedu, members of the EU, and members of the G-77/China.

Side event: Briefing on the GEF Forest Roundtable

On Monday, 11 March, the Global Environment Fund sponsored a high-level roundtable on forests to explore key contemporary and emerging issues that could improve conservation efforts and the sustainable use of forests. Specific topics included timber certification, threats from invasive species, ecosystem services and the role of forests as carbon sinks.

Andy White, Director of Policy and Market Research at Forest Trends, began the side-event summarizing the roundtable's main discussion paper, "To Johannesburg and Beyond: Strategic Options to Advance the Conservation of Natural Forests" (document available on this GEF web page). On lessons learned since Rio, the paper noted the limited effect of global agreements on the conservation of forests, and said there was widespread disenfranchisement and weariness of global processes. He stated that conservation has not been a priority, in either the North, or the South. On the difficulty to increase commitment, he said that: in many cases governments' authority exceeds its capacity, both in terms of resources and regulatory reach; that sustainable forestry is more expensive than the alternatives; and that financing for public goods has not materialized. On what has changed since Rio, White highlighted the spread of invasive species and climate change as emerging issues requiring a multi-sectoral approach. He noted increased community control of forests, and that the local level is now a major player that needs to be engaged. He said that plantations could ease pressure on natural forests, but can also decrease their value. He noted the emergence of globalization, increased demand for environmental services, governance and certification as emerging issues in today's global forest policy debate. Looking towards the future, the discussion paper highlighted government policy and the private sector as being far more important players than ODA and philanthropy could ever be, and discussed the need for ODA to focus on leveraging private capital flows and transforming it into an agent for conservation. White went on to discuss various ways in which ODA might achieve this, for example by addressing governance issues, reforming policies to provide incentives for SFM, promote community enterprise and joint ventures, and establish international payment mechanisms for environmental services. In conclusion, he said that strategies must become more integrated as the social, environmental and economic agendas converge.

Listen to White's summation of the discussion paper
To better follow the above RealAudio presentation, you are encouraged to download White's
PowerPoint presentation
, or view it as a webpage (use of Internet Explorer recommended).

Jeff Sayer, Senior Associate at WWF and Chair of the roundtable, noted the 18 panelists and over 25 representatives from NGOs and delegations who took part in the all-day discussions. He presented the Chair's summary of the discussion.
He noted, inter alia:
- increased awareness of the demand for social services, how to pay for these and synergies of problems, and the decrease in emphasis on the importance of shifting agriculture and industrial logging.
- governance's major implications for forest and the risks of devolution of authority to communities.
- the digital divide with regards to access to information
- increased understanding of how to manage forests in an integrated development setting, and the underlying causes of deforestation
- the futility of too much integration of environmental topics at the international level, and the need for more such integration at the national and sub-national levels.
- an increase in interest in macro-level, multi-functional integrated approaches to resource management
- the pessimistic consensus on the outlook for the next 10 years of forest conservation, due to the feeling that underlying causes had not been addressed
- the prevailing opinion that balanced economic development in the South was required to make the required condition for forest conservation possible.
He proceeded to outline several reasons for optimism, such as new institutional arrangements and approaches, knowledge generation and innovative funding mechanismsEnsuing discussion focused on: the need to reconsider the eligibility requirements for GEF funding, the mechanisms by which plantations can and cannot decrease the value of natural forests, how ODA can leverage private funding, how to integrate concerns of human rights and empowerment with the increased involvement of the private sector, the failure of self-regulation in the forestry industry, and the importance of developing market mechanisms for payments for global services.

Listen to the Chair's summary of the roundtable discussion

For more informtaion:
http://www.forest-trends.org/
http://www.gefweb.org/Documents/Forest_Roundtable/forest_roundtable.html
 


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