The Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) held its third session from 9-20 September 1996 in Geneva. Delegates undertook substantive discussions on eleven programme elements: I.1 (national forest and land-use plans); I.2 (underlying causes of deforestation); I.3 (traditional forest-related knowledge); I.4 (ecosystems affected by desertification and pollution); I.5 (needs of countries with low forest cover); II (financial assistance and technology transfer); III.1(a) (forest assessment); III.1(b) (valuation of forest benefits); III.2 (criteria and indicators); IV. (trade and the environment); and V.1 (international organizations and multilateral institutions). They also initiated discussion on programme element V.2 (legal mechanisms).
The objective of IPF-3 was to produce a document containing elements to be considered for inclusion in the Panels final report to the CSD. Delegates did not engage in negotiations or drafting of the elements at IPF-3, but made comments and proposed amendments to be negotiated at IPF-4. While some regard IPF-3 as a success in that it provided an opportunity for a meaningful exchange of views on the issues, others expressed disappointment at the Panels inability to reach the negotiating stage on any of the programme elements and noted that this task may prove daunting during IPF-4.