Fifth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests
United Nations Headquarters, New York | 16-27 May 2005 
     
Earth Negotiations Bulletin - ENB
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Tension High on Eve of UNFF-5 Ministerial Segment


On Tuesday, delegates met in two working groups, a contact group, and an informal session. In the morning session, Working Group I met to discuss preambular text in the Chair's draft decision on the future international arrangement on forests, and Working Group II met briefly to discuss the draft ministerial declaration.

In the afternoon, delegates made final interventions on the content of the Chair's text and statements on minimum required elements of a future IAF in an informal session which lasted into the early evening. Delegates also convened in morning and afternoon contact groups to debate language on finance.

Above, Roger Cross, Richard Modley and Galuh Sekar Arum of the Youth and Children try to appear calm while working feverishly in the corridors on their major group statement for the high-level ministerial segment.


Tuesday, 24 May
Working Group I

Paul Yaw Essel of Ghana, speaking for the Africa Group, called for a balanced text reflecting the concerns of developing countries, and referencing sustained economic growth.

Mohammad Naeemi of Afghanistan supported proposals recognizing the resource constraints of the least developed countries, including low forest cover countries.

Osita Anaedu of Nigeria said that financial issues are a central issue to the future IAF, and opposed deleting any paragraphs having to do with finance.

Joseph Claude Abena of Cameroon distinguished between illegal logging and illegal trade of forest products.

Ana Cristina Rodriguez of Guatemala favored making reference to both illegal logging and "illegal trade."

Carlos Noton Ramirez of Chile proposed making reference to illegal logging in the Chair's draft decision.

Frederick Kugan of Malaysia supported proposals to reference lack of "adequate" resources.

Cinthia Soto of Costa Rica opposed deleting a preambular paragraph on finance.

Andrea Albán Durán of Colombia supported including text on sovereign rights and common but differentiated responsibilities.
Working Group II

Co-Chair Denys Gauer of France led Working Group II in discussion of the draft ministerial declaration.

Sem Bilal Werzeg of Mauritania stressed the dangers facing forests, including groowth of population and agriculture.

Prayono Atiyanto of Indonesia emphasized national sovereignty and local conditions.

Morocco, for the Africa Group, said the ministerial declaration should reflect consensus among all kinds of countries.

Ralph Roberts of Canada called for the ministerial declaration to make reference to the debate over legally binding instruments (LBIs).

Raquel Breda dos Santos of Brazil stressed reference to prior agreements and principles.
Contact Groups

Delegates met in morning and afternoon contact groups to debate portions of the Chair's draft decision dealing with finance, including issues of official development assistance, partnerships, payment for forest environmental services, and the possibility of creating a global trust fund specifically for forests.

Afternoon Informal Session

Co-Chairs Denys Gauer of France and Rezlan Ishar Jenie of Indonesia.

Mike Fullerton of Canada proposed a voluntary code and review process at the national level, and stressed that means cannot be separated from commitments.

Everton Vieira Vargas of Brazil opposed any discussion of an LBI, stressed the importance of UNFF, and expressed willingness to report on national programs in support of global objectives.

Jane Coombs of New Zealand called for a strengthened IAF and Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

Knut Øistad stated that Norway would accept either an LBI or non-LBI, and requested a global forum with a focused agenda, noting that UNFF's comprehensive agenda was overly broad.

Se-Kyung Chong of Republic of Korea supported calls for global quantifiable targets and stronger means of implementation.

Alok Sinha of India stressed means of implementation, capacity building and a regional component.

Apiwat Sretarugsa of Thailand said that national objectives should not be standardized.

Lillian Carrillo of Peru called for a strengthened IAF, but noted that global targets are inappropriate.

Carlos Fierro of Ecuador stressed common but differentiated responsibilities and new resources to facilitate action.
Around the UNFF

Tony Bartlett of Australia confers with Deborah Davenport and Lauren Flejzor of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB).

Peter Wood of ENB smiles with Elvira Muharemi of Albania.

Hussein Sabbagh of Syria confers with Hadil Da Rocha Vianna of Brazil.

Oleg Shamanov of Russia and UNFF head Pekka Patosaari confer.

ENB writers Radoslav Dimitrov and Reem Hajjar take notes in Working Group I.

Relevant weblinks

United Nations Forum on Forests
UNFF 5 Provisional Agenda
UNFF 5 Organization of Work (PDF)
UNFF 5 Background Documents
UNFF 5 Official Documents

ENB's coverage of recent Forestry sessions

FAO Committee on Forestry: 14-19 March 2005
ITTC-37: 13-18 December 2004
UNFF Experts Group: 7-10 September 2004
ITTC-36: 20-23 July 2004
UNFF4: 3-14 May 2004


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