|On Thursday, 3 February, delegates convened for the ninth session of the UNFF, the final day of the High Level Segment. In the morning, delegates assembled in two Roundtable sessions on “Forests-plus: a cross-sectoral and cross-institutional approach" and “Forests and Rio+20." In the afternoon, delegates met in a High-Level Panel discussion with the heads of the 14 member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. During the High-Level Segment Closing Plenary, delegates adopted the Ministerial Declaration of UNFF9. In the afternoon and evening, delegates continued their deliberations to finalize a Draft Omnibus Resolution, which will be taken up in plenary on Friday, 4 February.
Zainol Zainuddin (Malaysia) moderated the “Forests-plus” Roundtable, highlighting that forests are at the intersection of social and economic development and play a key role in poverty eradication. Niels Koch, President, IUFRO, highlighted the need to move from a focus on forests towards the concept of “forests+”, which embraces inter-sectoral and inter-institutional complexity. He said governance arrangements: tend to simplify the complexity of forest problems, lack coordination, and fail to bridge the gap between high-level negotiations and project-level activities, noting a forests+ approach should build on a better understanding of actors’ interests. Country representatives discussed the challenges of addressing the various aspects of forests across sectors and institutions, both at the national and international levels. Many underscored national and regional initiatives, as well as the opportunity that Rio+20 provides to bring a clear message on the role of forests to multiple sectors.
The “Forests and Rio+20" Roundtable was moderated by Daniel Reifsnyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary, US State Department. Noting that the purpose of the roundtable was to discuss the role of forests in the broader sustainable development agenda, he invited participants to focus on: notable successes in SFM since the 1992 Rio Summit; critical challenges and obstacles to SFM identified since then; and measures required to ensure that forests remain healthy and contribute to human well-being and poverty eradication. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of Rio+20, invited delegates to consider, inter alia: gaps in SFM implementation and new and emerging challenges; how to use Rio+20 to highlight the connection between a people-centered approach to SFM and a green economy; and the existing international framework on forests. Country representatives reflected on, inter alia, successes and challenges to promoting SFM in the context of sustainable development, the challenges and opportunities of promoting SFM within a green economy, and how to advance the profile of forests in the Rio+20 Conference.
During the plenary meeting, delegates adopted the Ministerial Declaration, and then heard several country statements about its significance.
WGII deliberations continued into the night, considering a Draft Omnibus Resolution.