Delegates discussed the draft text on programme element I.4 (desertification and air- borne pollution). On conclusions on desertification and drought, the US suggested deleting in accordance with the IPFs mandate, the Forest Principles and Agenda 21 in a paragraph on coordinated international cooperation on forests. The G-77/CHINA proposed including a reference to the CBD in this paragraph. He recommended adding language regarding the positive and cost-effective results from plantations of fast-growth trees in terms of soil protection, and adding a new subparagraph on the use of protected areas as an in-situ conservation strategy for fragile and endangered ecosystems affected by drought and desertification. The EU proposed that forest-related action to combat desertification should be determined in the context of NFPs. He suggested deleting the reference to the Committee on Science and Technology of the Convention to Combat Desertification as the proposed body to strengthen research on restoration and rehabilitation.
On conclusions on air-borne pollution, the EU called for new language highlighting the important role of education, training and extension systems aimed at specific groups.
On proposals for action on desertification and drought, the US emphasized the need to avoid duplication with the CCD. Supported by JAPAN and the G-77/CHINA, he proposed deleting the reference to long-term institutional and legal arrangements in a proposal for strengthening partnerships. He recommended a new proposal inviting the Committee on Science and Technology of the CCD to undertake the identification of appropriate tree species for arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid land restoration, rehabilitation of existing vegetation types, and the potential for non-timber products. The AD HOC NGO FOREST WORKING GROUP recommended a new proposal on support for participatory research in resource management with indigenous people and local communities. The EU proposed inserting institutional and land tenure reform in a proposal on forest-related analysis and monitoring. He proposed adding language on: coordination and harmonization of national forest and land use plans at the regional level; and consideration of dry land issues in NFPs and promotion of stakeholder education and training in dry lands management. The G-77/CHINA suggested a new proposal for action to promote protected areas where ecosystems in arid and semi-arid regions still exist, including preservation of water resources and traditional and historical uses.
On proposals for action on air-borne pollution, TURKEY recommended a new proposal to promote technical cooperation, including information exchange and technical assistance, to encourage capacity building in research. The US recommended adding a new proposal for further work under existing monitoring systems on ways to assess and monitor national level C&I for SFM to air-borne pollutants. The EU proposed deleting a reference to field data collection. JAPAN, supported by the G-77/CHINA, proposed making the reference to monitoring programmes more general rather than specifying only those of the EU and ECE. The G-77/CHINA proposed deleting a proposal to incorporate reduction of air pollution into national sustainable development strategies and a proposal encouraging regions to enter into binding agreements to reduce the impact of air-borne pollutants.
On programme element I.5 (countries with low forest cover), the US noted that some proposals on NFPs are covered under other programme elements and, with JAPAN, proposed deleting paragraphs on permanent forest estates, non-wood substitutes and Forest Partnership Agreements. He also proposed a reference to other policy frameworks. With the EU, he proposed noting that ODA is an important source of funding, rather than the most important source. The EU also called for liaison with activities under the framework of the CBD, use of the NFP concept and retention of natural species where appropriate. AD HOC NGO FOREST WORKING GROUP said special care should be given to avoid replacing natural species with large scale tree plantations.
The G-77/CHINA proposed language emphasizing: natural regeneration of degraded areas through involving indigenous people in management; national and international protective mechanisms; and, precise identification for countries categorized as having low forest cover. He urged assistance for developing countries in order to increase their forest cover through technology transfer and to gather and analyze data. UKRAINE called for references to countries with economies in transition.
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