Co-chairs Sir Martin Holdgate (UK) and Manuel Rodriguez (Colombia) opened the session, emphasizing its importance because delegates must arrive at negotiated conclusions and recommendations for transmission to the CSD. They applauded the level of progress made during the intersessional period and encouraged consideration of reports produced at intersessional workshops. A workshop on traditional forest-related knowledge sponsored by Denmark and Colombia was announced for January of next year.
The Director of the Department of Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development, Joke Waller-Hunter, highlighted progress made during the intersessional period and encouraged the Panel to take advantage of work accomplished. Common understanding has emerged with regard to several programme elements including land-use planning, national forest plans and forest assessments. Further deliberation on C&I, valuation of forest goods and services and underlying causes of deforestation is needed. The IPF should adopt realistic recommendations and refrain from taking a wish list approach.
The provisional agenda (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/13) was then introduced. The proposed agenda of work consists largely of two parallel working group sessions. Preliminary conclusions are to be drafted during the first week and negotiated into final text during the second week. Programme element V.2 (legal mechanisms) will be discussed in plenary. SWITZERLAND suggested that plenary be extended to facilitate the adoption of conclusions. The provisional agenda was adopted. The EU, supported by GABON and SENEGAL, expressed concern regarding the unavailability of certain documents in all working languages. The Panels work could be impeded.
The floor was open for general comments. The EU highlighted the need to formulate clear and appropriate conclusions as well as concrete proposals for action. Cross-sectoral issues must be acknowledged and incorporated.
COLOMBIA and the ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES emphasized the importance of intersessional activities, such as the upcoming meeting sponsored by the Colombian and Danish governments on traditional forest-related knowledge. MEXICO said the Panel should deliver practical conclusions that spell out means to implement them. FINLAND reported that the Nordic forestry ministers met in July and expressed their support for the IPFs work and urged it to formulate recommendations for concrete action. He underlined that the Panels work should be holistic and intersectoral, and a policy forum must continue to exist after IPF-4 to maintain momentum.
[Return to start of article]