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UNFF Eighth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests
United Nations Headquarters, New York | 20 April - 1 May 2009
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Stormy Negotiations on a Sunny Day

On Thursday, 23 April, delegates to the eighth session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF8) continued deliberations in two working groups throughout the day. Working Group I addressed forests in a changing environment, and Working Group II discussed means of implementation.

Working Group I deliberations centered on the Secretary-General's report on Forests in a Changing Environment. They discussed recommendations to member states, the UNFF, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, international organizations, and the UNFF Secretariat, as well as recommendations on enhancing cooperation among multilateral environmental agreements. Delegates then heard general statements on forests and climate change, biodiversity and desertification. In the afternoon, Co-Chair Ozols suspended the session early, encouraging delegates to prepare ideas on inputs and the form of a message from UNFF8 to the outside world on forests in a changing environment.

Working Group II discussed specific elements of a global forest fund and a facilitative mechanism. On the fund, they outlined their positions on beneficiaries, investment and selection criteria, scope of activities eligible for funds, targeted funding volume and sources, hosting organization, and stakeholder partnerships. Delegates began discussions on elements of a facilitative mechanism. After suspendeding the session in the afternoon for informal consultations, the Bureau distributed a draft "road map" for financing sustainable forest management. Discussion on the draft was deferred until the following morning, as many delegations felt that its distribution was premature, and that its content did not reflect the morning's discussion.

Above: UN Headquarters on an ideal spring day in New York.


Thursday, 23 April
Working Group I: Forests in a Changing Environment


Xiao Wenfa, China.

Pedro Andrade, Brazil.

Chadi Mohanna, Lebanon.

Daniel San Roman, Uruguay.

Dan Firth, Australia.

Jaroslav Kubista, Czech Republic for the EU.

Working Group II: Means of Implementation


Baya Bensmail, Algeria, for the African Group.

Mayte Masot Planas, Cuba.

Nadia Osman, Sudan, for the G-77/China.

JUSCANZ delegates huddled during a break in negotiations.

Side Events

IUCN, the World Resources Institute, the governments of the US and UK, and the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration organized a side event on global opportunities for forest restoration.

The European Commission presented a side event on EU policies and activities to address deforestation.
Around UNFF8

Tourists enjoyed the fair weather as they waited to enter the UN.

The iconic Chrysler building towered beyond Ralph Bunche Park.

UNDP and NGO Sustainability hosted a talk by James Gustave "Gus" Speth, Dean of Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, former Administrator, UNDP, and author of the book The Bridge at the Edge of the World, on the subject "Beyond Today's Capitalism: Moving to True Sustainability." (L-R: Olav Kjørven, Director, UNDP Bureau for Development Policy, Roma Stibravy, Chairperson, NGO Sustainability, and "Gus" Speth, Yale.)

Related Links

United Nations Forum on Forests
UNFF8
UNFF8 Provisional Agenda
Collaborative Partnership on Forests

Related IISD Coverage of Forest Meetings

19th Session of the FAO Committee on Forestry, 16-20 March 2009, Rome
44th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, 3-8 November 2008, Yokohama
UNFF CLI on Financing for Sustainable Forest Management, 8-12 September 2008, Paramaribo
Seventh Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF-7), 16-27 April 2007, New York
Sixth Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF-6), 13-24 February 2006, New York
Fifth Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF-5), 16-27 May 2005, New York
Fourth Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF-4), 3-14 May 2004, Geneva

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