Working Group I took up draft text on programme element I.1, national forest and land plans. The G-77/CHINA, supported by MALI, COLOMBIA and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, recommended that: NFPs be developed in the context of each countrys socioeconomic, cultural and political situation; decentralized planning be undertaken only when applicable; inputs from local communities be recognized and respected; and the effects of trade and market forces be considered in NFP implementation. He proposed adding a new paragraph urging donor countries to provide new and additional resources for the development and implementation of NFPs. With INDIA and IUCN, he also proposed replacing a reference to sustainable forest management (SFM) with conservation, management and sustainable development of all types of forests. The EU, supported by AUSTRIA, said: a broad multi-sectoral approach should be undertaken in devising NFPs; governments and relevant agencies should develop consensus on the content of NFPs; and environmental and conservation issues should be fully integrated with wider economic and land-use plans. He preferred a continuing forum for international consultations over the establishment of a consultative body and encouraged governments to form partnership arrangements.
The US emphasized that NFPs are only one approach to achieving SFM. All planning should address the unique circumstances of each country, including its history, land tenure systems and land-use laws. He urged that references to NFPs be replaced with references to SFM and that countries with NFPs give priority to conservation and SFM in order to better attract funding from national and international sources. NEW ZEALAND suggested that all conclusions and proposals for action be consolidated and sought to replace references in the text to the conservation and sustainable development of forests with sustainable forest management.
MALI noted that NFPs are often inspired by national forest policies. JAPAN noted that it was agreed recently that SFM covers a broad range of conservation, use and development of forests. He called for further development of the concept of forest partnership agreements (FPA) as a mechanism for international partnerships. He stressed the importance of developing and testing pilot programs in order to promote confidence in NFPs among different communities. INDIA, supported by IUCN, emphasized: incorporation of a broad spectrum of forest-dependent communities into NFPs and proposals for action; recognition of the existing rights of these communities; and FPAs as vehicles for implementing SFM.
UKRAINE asked for language emphasizing capacity building for LDCs and economies in transition. CANADA proposed language stressing linkages to the CBDs work on biodiversity and forests, particularly CBD COP technical advice on integrating biodiversity conservation into forest and land use plans. FINLAND differentiated between formal and indicative land use plans and called for monitoring of NFPs.
The CHAIR clarified that programme element V.1, on international organization and multilateral institutions, judges existing international institutions, while V.2, on legal mechanisms, encompasses any new international structures. SWITZERLAND called for an intersectoral approach to the development of NFPs and stressed local traditional forest- based knowledge in a section on technology transfer.
COLOMBIA emphasized the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. The FAO asked for clarification of terms, noting that the UNCED terminology recalled here by the G-77/China was adopted as a compromise between emphasizing the objective of development of societies and emphasizing the means of obtaining such development. When forest objectives per se are referred to, the correct term is management.
AUSTRIA emphasized that the goals of NFPs include conservation of biodiversity, soil, water and fragile forest ecosystems. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed participatory approaches at local levels and ensured benefit sharing. The CHAIR asked for all changes in writing and announced the compilation of a composite text, with all amendments highlighted and origin indicated in abbreviated form, for the next discussion of this programme element. If a negotiated text cannot be agreed, the output of discussion on this element may be elaborated in a Chairs summary. The EU proposed adding an annex with definitions of terms used. The CHAIR agreed, providing that authoritative definitions of words agreed to within the UN context could be found and accepted by all.
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