The second session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF-2) opened on Monday, 11 March 1996. Co-Chair N.R. Krishnan (India) recalled the work of the IPF at its first session (IPF-1). Since the first meeting, an interagency task force on forests, composed of various UN agencies, produced the documents for IPF-2. Joke Waller-Hunter (UN Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (DPCSD)) highlighted activities since IPF-1, including country-led initiatives focusing on key agenda issues to facilitate the output of the IPF. Sir Martin Holdgate (UK) served as the other Co-Chair, while Juste Boussienuet (Gabon), Anatoliy Pisarenko (Russian Federation) and Manuel Rodriguez (Colombia) were elected Vice-Chairs.
The Co-Chair presented delegates with the provisional agenda (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/1) and an informal paper on the organization of work. Some delegations offered opening comments.
ITALY, on behalf of the European Union, highlighted the Helsinki process, a pan-European attempt to develop regional guidelines for sustainable forest management (SFM), as well as international cooperation and scientific research and monitoring. The US admonished the Panel to bear in mind that countries vary greatly in type, management, and ownership of forests, and said success would depend upon appreciating these differences while seeking common ground. CANADA highlighted the Panel's relationship to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and stated that biodiversity is intrinsically contained in many of the IPF's programme elements. He also pointed out the IPF's relationship to other conventions, including the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD). BRAZIL suggested that general statements be reserved for specific programme elements.
During the two-week session, delegates first reviewed and discussed the Secretary-General's reports prepared for each of the 11 programme elements. After an initial review, the Co-Chairs circulated their summary of the discussion. The summaries were intended to include the positions of delegations and observers on the range of issues and proposed actions contained in the Secretary-General's reports. The delegates then discussed and proposed amendments to the Co-Chairs' summaries. The revised Co-Chairs' summaries were then included in the report of the session at the final plenary.
[Return to start of article]