Delegates discussed Programme Element III.2 on 19 March. Jean Clement, FAO, introduced the SG's report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/10). The report provides an overview of C&I and suggests issues for consideration. Delegates presented a range of views on the levels at which C&I should be defined and implemented, the extent to which C&I for different countries or regions could be comparable, and the relationship between C&I and certification.
The EU highlighted international criteria for C&I for consideration at IPF-3, suggesting a regional approach linking national with sub-national and forest-management levels. The G-77/CHINA underlined C&I as a "main axis" of forest management, emphasizing international cooperation. C&I should incorporate national, social and cultural circumstances, be region-specific and be developed in a transparent and participatory way. DENMARK called for translating C&I to the field level.
Several delegates, including TURKEY, CANADA, DENMARK and WWF, stressed developing common definitions of SFM. MALAYSIA called for international consensus on elements of SFM and examination of convergence of initiatives. PERU stressed the need for consensus in establishing C&I.
FRANCE and JAPAN called for a simple set of global C&I with universal applicability. GHANA said compatible, comparable global criteria might be possible, but requiring the same in indicators is not workable. The UK said there is much convergence on criteria, but the IPF should not seek a single set of indicators. BRAZIL stated that the development of global C&I should be gradual and flexible and acknowledge each country's unique qualities as well as the differences between natural forests and plantations.
GERMANY said the next step is to develop a C&I framework as consistent as necessary and as flexible as possible to guarantee comparability while respecting differences. SWEDEN suggested that IPF-3 develop a menu of indicators for nations. The NETHERLANDS said formulation of C&I is a national responsibility. National criteria should be derived from internationally agreed C&I.
AUSTRALIA suggested identifying a unifying framework for C&I that could be applied regionally by ecological zones and by countries with common interests. He supported field testing and standardizing indicators. CANADA and NEW ZEALAND said the IPF should examine C&I comparability and compatibility, but CANADA cautioned against diluting concepts to achieve consensus.
The US said that the IPF should not seek agreement on global C&I. The goal is national implementation. It is more useful to promote comparability between sets of C&I. MEXICO discouraged the imposition of global indicators at the national level. NORWAY said variations between ecological zones and regions require national adjustments. C&I must not seek compatibility between countries. The GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT stated that C&I should be first developed at the national level and address the needs of all stakeholders.
INDIA said it seems possible to produce globally compatible national criteria, but with independent national or sub-national indicators. Universally acceptable certification is a logical outcome of C&I. INDONESIA said global C&I are essential if certification is to be based on comparable standards. SWITZERLAND said links between C&I and certification should be clarified. POLAND said the IPF must determine whether to protect timber or forests prior to implementing certification schemes.
FINLAND stressed the need to recognize the links between the establishment of C&I to other IPF tasks such as reviewing forest assessments, national forest and land-use plans and international cooperation in trade. IRAN stated that economic, social, legal, administrative and biological factors should be considered.
Delegates considered the draft Co-Chairs' summary on 22 March. The summary cites action proposals from the SG's report that were strongly or generally supported, those for which caution was expressed, and those where there was less agreement. Under international cooperation on C&I development and application, the summary: explores developing a global consensus on SFM terms and definitions; considers regional and national application; suggests that countries develop national, local and management- level indicators; recommends a simple, transparent C&I development process reflecting economic, social and ecological differences; involves all relevant parties including forest dwellers; explores building national level C&I into a global set or converging them at the regional level; forges links with ongoing initiatives; and notes the August C&I seminar sponsored by Finland. A section on further C&I conceptual development notes: C&I are tools with different functions; a broad spectrum of indicators is needed, not all of which are quantifiable; the importance of field testing; the contribution of C&I to global forest assessment; and the possibility of clarifying issues related to forest product certification.
Several delegations said the indications of support for recommendations in the SG's report were not correct. WWF said NGOs should be listed as relevant parties for developing national C&I. Social and environmental C&I must be separate. The EU said more attention should be given to links between national, sub-national and regional activities The G-77/CHINA called for analysis of appropriate convergence of initiatives and the implications of proliferation of initiatives. He also added a reference to religious values in global forest assessment and said development of C&I should be a gradual process based on national policies for SFM that should not contribute to trade restrictions. Supported by the US, he proposed deleting a paragraph that would explore the possibilities of national C&I being built into a global set or converged at the regional level. The US also deleted a reference to regional level C&I. He said countries should decide whether they need local and management level C&I and that field testing should be at the national level. MEXICO said C&I should be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. A paragraph relating C&I to certification should be deleted because their relationship is not clear.
BRAZIL said a reference to trade restrictions in the utilization of indicators was not necessary. INDONESIA said the development of C&I should include only native forest dwellers because some forest dwellers are illegal occupiers. The PHILIPPINES said the summary should mention financial assistance and technology transfer.
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