Working Group II continued discussion of programme element II (international financial assistance and technology transfer). The G-77/CHINA proposed replacing all references in the text to SFM with management, conservation and sustainable development of forests from the Forest Principles. She also proposed noting additional references from the Forest Principles and deleting investment from a reference to the investment gap between needed and available resources.The EU proposed noting disinvestment in the forest sector and the role of NFPs in prioritizing financial investment. NORWAY proposed that the Panel note rather than confirm the investment gap. The US said references to the Forest Principles should only be included as needed and proposed recognizing the need to increase the absorptive capacity of markets.
On public finance, the G-77/CHINA proposed noting that levels of funding for forests are insufficient and declining, and recognizing that forest-related projects financed through the GEF are guided by international conventions. She highlighted: countries with low forest cover; solutions to debt problems; and market-based, rather than economic, instruments. The EU recommended a proposal for financing NFP initiatives in developing countries. SWITZERLAND proposed more effective use of existing financial mechanisms. The US, supported by IUCN, added a reference to community-based enterprises. IUCN, with INDIA, recommended adding a separate section on community sector investment.
On private sector investment, the EU, supported by AUSTRALIA, proposed including the negative social and environmental aspects of policies and regulations. NEW ZEALAND, supported by the G-77/CHINA, JAPAN and CANADA, suggested removing the brackets around voluntary codes of conduct. AUSTRALIA proposed inserting careful evaluation of policies and regulations before implementation. The G-77/CHINA proposed adding: fair and even distribution of private capital flows among developing countries; strengthening national regulations and enforcement; and cooperation with major groups. The US said it is premature to include voluntary codes of conduct, but their potential should be explored. She proposed, with IUCN, deleting the reference to tax breaks. IUCN recommended a proposal on community forest management.
On technology transfer, CANADA recommended a reference to related work on cooperation being conducted in the CBD. The G-77/CHINA proposed condensing three proposals on research, and the UK, supported by the US, proposed creating a separate heading. The NETHERLANDS called for research on human impacts on forest protected areas. On coordination, the G-77/CHINA called for development of indicators for monitoring the adequacy and effectiveness of international cooperation. She proposed deleting references to: an external agency to support in-country donor coordination; mandatory coordination among UN organizations; and Internet-based information systems. AUSTRALIA called for a shared vision of SFM toward common objectives. The US proposed that NFPs provide a good basis for priority setting in many countries, and national level coordination in recipient countries. CANADA proposed a reference to international instruments related to forests, particularly CBD and FCCC.
Delegates proposed amendments to the draft text on programme element IV (trade and environment). The G-77/CHINA proposed deleting in special circumstances, trade restriction may be necessary to achieve environmental objectives. The US recommended deleting the need to explore an agreement on trade in forest products. ZIMBABWE advocated further studies on non-wood forest products and on domestic trade in forest products.
On market access, the G-77/CHINA recommended new proposals for: assessment of the effectiveness and trade impacts of subsidies; removal of all unilateral bans and boycotts; and exploration of the possible need for an agreement on trade in forest products and for voluntary codes of conduct. Environmental NGOs proposed references to the possibility that non-tariff barriers may promote SFM and to exceptions to WTO rules contained in the Uruguay Round agreements. The TIMBER TRADE ASSOCIATION suggested including the potential negative effects of trade restrictions in forest products.
On the relative competitiveness of forest products, the G-77/CHINA suggested language on mechanisms for community-based processing and marketing of wood and non-timber forest products. On lesser used species, the US, supported by environmental NGOs, proposed a reference to community-level efforts in technology development. Environmental NGOs proposed promotion of non-timber forest products.
On certification, the G-77/CHINA emphasized that certification schemes should be transparent, nondiscriminatory and rational. The EU proposed adding labelling to the section title and language noting that voluntary eco-labelling and certification are not considered non-tariff barriers. SWITZERLAND, supported by NEW ZEALAND, suggested deletion of the term international harmonization.
Environmental NGOs, supported by AUSTRALIA, recommended deleting the reference to feasibility of country certification. AUSTRALIA proposed a reference to the market implications and credibility of certification schemes and new language regarding performance standards and environmental management systems as important components of SFM. CANADA proposed noting the likelihood that some certification and labelling schemes will use certification as one criterion for sustainable forest products. GERMANY called upon relevant agencies to ensure transparency. JAPAN noted the needs of small forest owners. On the proposals for action, the EU proposed references to technical barriers to trade and the proliferation of schemes. The G-77/CHINA called upon trade agencies to bring certification into perspective and promote international harmonization among schemes. The US noted the need to ensure that new schemes comply with WTO agreements on technical barriers to trade. On full cost internalization, NORWAY said that social and economic costs may not be reflected in the market. Environmental NGOs proposed references to the reallocation of costs and benefits. Industry NGOs proposed deleting language noting that full cost internalization is essential for SFM. The US said exchange of information should facilitate discussion rather than speed up implementation. On transparency, the G-77/CHINA noted community participation and the EU and environmental NGOs called for an assessment of illegal trade in forest products.
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