Delegates took up initial consideration of Programme Element I.1 on 15 March and continued on 18 March. The FAO introduced the Secretary-General's (SG's) report on progress in national forest and land-use plans (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/8). The report reviews the history of forestry planning, provides observations from various processes, and notes lessons learned in planning features, institutional issues and policy environments. It also lists possible areas for action and discussion.
The EU, CANADA, the US, NORWAY, UGANDA, the UK, DENMARK, AUSTRALIA, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, SWITZERLAND and NGOs noted the need for participatory approaches. CANADA, FINLAND and INDIA highlighted decentralized planning, and BRAZIL said centralized planning has been inadequate. PAPUA NEW GUINEA said top-down leadership may be necessary.
INDONESIA said proposed measures must be in accordance with national legislation. GABON highlighted the sovereignty of States in managing resources. NEW ZEALAND noted the need to consider land-use planning and to adopt plans and policies at the highest national level. DENMARK requested specific guidelines on national forest programmes, which should include concrete targets and timetables, and be action-oriented and participatory.
The PHILIPPINES stated that recognition of indigenous peoples' property rights in the National Forestry Action Plan (NFAP) will create a need to resolve conflicting land claims. The INTERNATIONAL INDIAN TREATY COUNCIL also stressed conflict resolution, stating that land is synonymous with indigenous cultures, and that honoring land treaties must be included in panel discussions.
TANZANIA, SWEDEN and the G-77/CHINA stressed capacity building. MALAYSIA and ZIMBABWE addressed ways that planning could be country-driven, while a number of delegations, such as JAPAN, MALAYSIA and the US, said that donor coordination and overlapping planning processes should be considered. ECUADOR and COLOMBIA noted partnership agreements as an important mechanism.
The EU recognized the need for full integration of environmental issues to ensure multiple benefits, while CANADA recommended integrating the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into forest sector plans, and the NETHERLANDS called for clarification of forest versus forestry planning, and how biodiversity relates to both. COLOMBIA urged the IPF to consider planning methods other than those related to forestry. NORWAY, INDONESIA and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA said differences in ownership were a factor. The G-77/CHINA stated that the historical context of planning in developing countries must be considered.
GERMANY noted its plans to host an expert consultation on national forest and land-use plans. The meeting will concentrate on national plans, instruments and institutional mechanisms to coordinate political, socio-economic, and environmental interventions. SWEDEN noted an October workshop planned with Uganda on consensus building.
The Co-Chairs' draft summary was discussed on 22 March. It contains sections on coverage of analysis, content of the planning process and constraints. The coverage section suggests defining terms, which should be consistent with the Forest Principles and Agenda 21, covering all types of forests, considering goals pursued by means other than formal plans, and streamlining various planning processes. It recommends sharing experiences, and refers to the CBD, FCCC and CCD. The content section calls for examination of land-use and the forest sector and a link between forest and other planning, states that plans should be country driven, and discusses participatory and top-down approaches. Scientific, economic and biodiversity issues are mentioned, as are the roles of forest owners, indigenous people and conflict resolution. Constraints include capacity building and donor coordination.
Delegates suggested various changes to a paragraph on analysis of forest types and utilization patterns. The G-77/CHINA and CANADA recommended a historical analysis of forest and land-use planning by developing countries. The EU noted historical factors as well as the character of plans.
In a paragraph about sharing experiences, the G-77/CHINA added a reference to regional mechanisms, while the EU added a call for international guidelines. The US said the reference to mechanisms was premature and that the IPF should not forecast agency responsibilities.
Several delegations recommended changes to a paragraph on integrating forest plans with others, including changing "forest sector" to "forests," socio-economic "processes" to "policies," and that plans "should" be adopted. AUSTRALIA and the US said national and local level forest management planning should be linked, and other references to national criteria, priorities and laws were added.
The G-77/CHINA added a reference to the impact of international trade and market forces. The US and CANADA reformulated the text to reflect an open, decentralized and participatory process involving local communities and other interested parties, which also recognized that, in many countries, the government has the central responsibility for planning and programme implementation in the forest sector. National, sub-national, and local planning systems could identify high priority areas for participatory planning.
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