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FOREST CONTACT GROUP

The Chair of the Contact Group, Bagher Asadi (Iran), noted that a few things had changed since forests were discussed during the informal consultations that preceded UNGASS. The Denver communique from the Group of 8 contained two paragraphs on forests. An open-ended informal ministerial working group on forests had also been formed, which would provide political guidance to the negotiations. The group then attempted to begin negotiations on paragraph 34 (follow-up action on forests). This paragraph consisted of a number of options, which include an intergovernmental forum or an intergovernmental negotiating committee. A number of countries supported using a formulation the Chair had offered as the basis for further negotiations. It was agreed to do so, on the understanding that elements missing from this formulation could be reintroduced during negotiations. Discussion began with the Chair’s text but did not proceed far, as proposals to reinstate missing elements were made. Delegates decided to defer further discussions until after the ministers meet Wednesday morning, but to provide the ministers with one formulation that contained all positions to assist in their deliberations.