Working Group II considered programme element II (international cooperation and technology transfer) on 10 September. Co-Chair Manuel Rodriguez introduced the Secretary-Generals report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/19) and a document containing a summary of the report and the proposals for action (E.CN.17/IPF/CRP.1). The report recognizes that there are limited opportunities to increase funds from international public resources other than official development assistance (ODA) to finance SFM. Several case studies quoted in the report highlight the potential for raising additional financial resources at the domestic level in developing countries, although most of these countries have limited ability to raise sufficient funds to finance SFM activities. The report also discusses: public finance; market-based instruments; private sector investment; policy reform to attract investments; and establishment of information systems to speed up investments. It also proposes: a working group on innovative ways to generate financial resources; a code of conduct for forest-based private companies; and a set of indicators for evaluating international cooperation.
On technology transfer, the report notes that the majority of technologies for forest management required by developing countries are well-known and are already being utilized in some countries. The proposed measures to encourage effective transfer include: using technology needs assessment as a tool for analyzing requirements; strengthening research and development institutions; exploring the possibility for new international research institutions for SFM; and developing global databases. The report highlights the need to optimize existing available funds. The report also states that in- country coordination and coordination among donors are crucial, and NFPs are a good basis for setting priorities on cooperation.
Delegates first discussed the report on 10 September. Based on the comments of delegations, the Secretariat produced a draft negotiating text, which delegates considered on 19 September. Based on further comments from delegates, the Secretariat produced a revised draft negotiating text, which was considered on the final day of the session. During the course of these discussions, delegates offered the following comments, proposals and suggestions.
On public finance, delegates offered a number of recommendations for inclusion. The G- 77/CHINA recommended provision of predictable levels of funding to support long-term objectives in the conservation, management and sustainable development of forests, as called for in Agenda 21. He also sought substantial new and additional financing, and noted that ODA for forests is insufficient and declining. The G-77/CHINA also proposed replacing all references in the text to SFM with management, conservation and sustainable development of forests from the Forest Principles. 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. He noted that SFM is not given sufficient priority in ODA and highlighted community-based enterprises. The EU proposed noting that ODA has been insufficient to achieve SFM and called for donor agencies to finance national initiatives aimed at developing NFPs in developing countries. NORWAY recognized that ODA will continue to be important to support SFM, but to maximize effectiveness, these funds should be combined with other sources.
On private sector investment, delegates disagreed on the proposed code of conduct and the proposed working group on innovative ways to generate financial resources. BRAZIL supported the proposed working group and recognized the need for a code of conduct. MALAYSIA, COLOMBIA, SWITZERLAND and MOROCCO supported the code of conduct and the working group. JAPAN questioned the need for a working group and said the code of conduct requires further consideration. NEW ZEALAND, supported by the G-77/CHINA, JAPAN and CANADA, suggested removing the brackets from voluntary codes of conduct. CANADA said the code must not overshadow the need for regulation of foreign investment at the national level. GABON questioned whether the proposed code of conduct would be national or international and suggested the former would be more appropriate given differences in countries circumstances. The US said it is premature to include voluntary codes of conduct, but their potential should be explored.
Delegates offered other comments on private sector investment. The G-77/CHINA proposed adding: fair and even distribution of private capital flows among developing countries; strengthening of national regulations and enforcement; and cooperation with major groups. The EU, supported by AUSTRALIA, proposed including the negative social and environmental aspects of policies and regulations. GERMANY highlighted the need for closer involvement of the private sector in development of NFPs. FINLAND emphasized favorable conditions for long-term private investment in SFM, including incentives for small-scale and micro-enterprises, internalization of environmental costs, and appropriate pricing of environmental goods and services. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA recognized the need and potential to mobilize private investment in SFM in developing countries, but noted that a lack of information and insecurity of investment create obstacles to realizing this potential. CHINA noted an overemphasis on national and private investment at the expense of international financing and technology transfer from North to South.
On technology transfer, the US proposed noting that technology needs assessment is one approach among many and questioned the utility of establishing new research institutions. Supported by AUSTRALIA, the US proposed that the IPF identify research priorities. Supported by the UK, the US proposed that bilateral and multilateral donors give priority in financing technology development, exchange and transfer to each countrys assessment of its technological requirements. JAPAN called for references to North-South, South-South and trilateral cooperation. CANADA recommended a reference to related work on cooperation being conducted under the Convention on Biological Diversity. The G-77/CHINA proposed noting that technology mainly resides in the North, in particular technologies in the private domain, therefore considerable potential exists for North-South cooperation in technology transfer under favorable conditions. SWITZERLAND called for improved knowledge sharing and extension mechanisms.
On coordination, the G-77/CHINA called for development of indicators for monitoring the adequacy as well as the effectiveness of international cooperation. She proposed deleting references to an external agency to support in-country donor coordination and mandatory coordination among UN organizations, and proposed changing the name of the section from coordination to cooperation. AUSTRALIA called for a shared vision of SFM toward common objectives. The EU noted that NFPs should provide the basic framework for national and international cooperation including priority setting. The US proposed that NFPs provide a good basis for priority setting in many countries, and for national level coordination in recipient countries. The US also invited countries to give priority to SFM in programming the ODA available to them. CANADA proposed a reference to international instruments related to forests, particularly the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
On information systems, the G-77/CHINA deleted a reference to Internet-based information systems, noting that many developing countries do not have Internet access. GERMANY proposed a reference to effective implementation of NFPs through improved information systems. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION proposed inviting the FAO to develop a global depository box for information on available technologies and potential funding sources for SFM.
Working Group II met on the final day to consider a revised draft text on this programme element. The G-77/CHINA noted that language from the Forest Principles on conservation, management and sustainable development of forests did not need to be used throughout the document, but noted that some agreed terms were needed. She proposed that specific references to the Convention on Biological Diversity should be replaced with more general language. The EU proposed deleting a list that described priorities for technology transfer and capacity building. CANADA noted that a clearinghouse for technology transfer was under consideration by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity and expressed hope that COP-3 would provide clarification. The US called for clear references to developing, recipient or other types of countries throughout the text. UGANDA said that the texts references to NFPs in a section on coordination appeared to impose an element of conditionality. JAPAN questioned a reference to the development of indicators for international cooperation. Discussions on this programme element will continue at IPF-4.
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