Delegates convened in a Joint Working Group session during the afternoon to discuss the operational aspects of their work. Co-Chair Holdgate opened the meeting by reminding delegates that the objective of IPF-3 is to produce a document that will be used in preparing the Panels final report to the CSD. He circulated a note from the co-Chairs regarding the further work of the Panel for the remainder of IPF-3. The first round of discussions, wherein delegations provide their views and amendments on the given text, will continue through Wednesday morning in both Working Groups. The Secretariat will incorporate all amendments into a second draft as soon as possible. Delegates will negotiate the text paragraph by paragraph during the second round of discussions Wednesday afternoon and Thursday in the two Working Groups. The aim will be to reach preliminary agreement on less contentious issues and to identify the more controversial elements that will have to be bracketed. The Chair emphasized, however, that the entire document will go to IPF-4 in brackets, so all issues will remain open for discussion at IPF-4.
The Chair briefly summarized the work plan for IPF-4. The Panel will: continue and finalize negotiations on the text of its report to the CSD, using the document resulting from IPF-3 as its basis; integrate into the text additional proposals and inputs, including results from intersessional activities, as well as proposals for action on programme elements V.1 (international organizations and multilateral institutions) and V.2 (legal mechanisms); and, if necessary, rationalize the structure of the final report.
The EU requested clarification on whether the current format and existing programme elements would be forwarded to IPF-4. The Chair responded that these programme elements and long lists of options for action would not likely be condensed by the end of this session. He suggested that there might be two documents for IPF-4, one incorporating the recommendations from IPF-3 and the other a tentative Chairs draft that would illustrate how the former might be condensed. JAPAN suggested that the text be accompanied by recommendations to the CSD regarding specific actions to be taken for the Special Session of the General Assembly. He emphasized that unless there are additional inputs to agreed text during IPF-4, easy portions of the document should be finalized as much as possible at IPF-3. The UK appealed to delegates to bear in mind the bigger picture of IPF and what they want its overall message to be. The outcome of IPF-3 should note that a great deal of activity on forests has occurred since Rio, and it should highlight the areas on which there has been significant progress, such as criteria and indicators. There must be a continuation of work on forestry after IPF-4 and some type of mechanism for periodic review.
The INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES reported progress made since the announcement of an intersessional meeting on traditional forest-related knowledge (TFRK) to be sponsored by Denmark and Colombia. A steering committee has been formed and has determined the date and venue for the meeting. The meeting will take place in Laticia, Colombia from 9-13 December 1996. He called for inclusion of the meetings findings in the IPFs final report.
The Joint Working Group session adjourned at 4:00 pm and delegations and regional groups broke into informal consultations.
[Return to start of article]