Sixth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-6)

13-24 February 2006 | UN Headquarters, New York



Photo: Jose Antonio Ocampo, UN Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs

 

Highlights from Monday, 13 February

On Monday, 13 February, the Sixth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-6) convened at UN Headquarters in New York to discuss the future of the International Agreement on Forests (IAF). In morning and afternoon plenary sessions, delegates heard opening statements and addressed organizational matters. In an afternoon side event, the Major Groups hosted a discussion on the contribution of civil society to SFM. In the late afternoon, delegates broke into regional consultation meetings, followed by a reception hosted by the UNFF Secretariat.

 
 
Chair Judith Mbula Bahemuka, Kenya, highlighted the need for the Forum to live up to its potential for achieving globally agreed goal of , reducing deforestation, making sustainable forest management (SFM) a reality and increasing the contribution that forests make to human well-being. Highlighting continuing increases in deforestation, she said combatting deforestation will require improved methods of work, developing a multi-year programme of work (MYPOW), and increasing ODA for SFM. She urged delegates to keep the issue of a legally binding agreement in perspective.
 
 

Pekka Patosarri, Director, UNFF Secretariat, suggested that the Forum should consider making reference to the outcome document of the 2005 World Summit and global goals, and noted the need to clarify the objectives and functions of the IAF and the institutional status of the UNFF, and improve its ability to address emerging issues and make links to regional and national efforts. He noted the need to improve the global funding framework and to enhance UNFF's role with regards to the CPF and other institutions.

Jose Antonio Ocampo, UN Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, encouraged strengthening linkages between the work of the Forum and other forest-related processes, institutions and instruments, mainstreaming SFM into the broader development agenda, and enhancing regional initiatives and collaborative networks for more effective implementation on the ground.

Michael Martin, FAO and CPF Chair, on behalf of CPF members, offered their appreciation for support and guidance from the UNFF. He also supported enhanced collaboration with civil society.

Hosni El - Lakany, FAO and former CPF Chair, extended his gratitude to the forum participants and CPF partners, and noted the importance of the future of the IAF.

 
 

Panama, on behalf of  the Central American Integration System (left), said that the future IAF should emphasize the contribution of forest ecosystems to national, regional and international economies and strengthen forest governance with local participation in forest management. He also favored the adoption of a legally-binding instrument (LBI), and called for the creation of innovative financial mechanisms and the reintroduction of a working document on payment for environmental services.

Cambodia, on behalf of the ASEAN member countries (right), highlighted regional efforts in enhancing multiple-use forest management, and noted the option of establishing an ASEAN forest trust fund.

 
 

Left to right: The Amazonian Cooperation Treaty Organization supported a non-legally binding instrument.

Tony Bartlett, Australia, announced the release of a non-paper describing the development of a regional mechanism.

Bill Singleton, Canada, recalled Canada's long pursuit of an LBI, expressed scepticism regarding the ability of a voluntary instrument to meet these goals, and stated that they will be obliged to pursue other avenues if the UNFF fails to deliver beyond the status quo.

 
 
Austria, on bahalf of the EU, expressed disappointment at UNFF-5's  failure to reach consensus, and conceded that since achieving consensus on an LBI is not a realistic prospect, the EU wanted to engage in a pragmatic dialogue that would contribute to SFM for all forest types. He called attention to developments in other related fora, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). He also called for clarification of how the LBI issue would be handled at this session.
 
 
Side Event hosted by Major Groups
 
 
 

Left to right: Matgorzata Buszdo-Briggs, MCPFE, reviewed the MCPFE's high level dialogue for development of SFM for Europe and highlighted its success in enhancing the participation of civil society and the private sector in policy formulation and implementation as well as engaging expertise through technical workshops and regional meetings and in the development of specific projects.

Andrei Laleitin, representing NGOs

Gabon, on behalf of COMIFAC, described the 10 different channels for Major Group participation in SFM in the region, including women, teachers, youth, environmental groups, and parliamentarians, emphasized the importance of Major Groups working within the governmental framework, and noted the need for financial assistance and capacity building.

Jeannette Gurung, representing women and indegenous groups

 

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Daily web coverage:
13 February - 14 February
- 15 February - 16 February - 17 February
20 February - 21 February - 22 February - 23 February - 24 February
 

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ENB coverage of the UNFF and other forest processes:

 
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