Working Group I conducted the first round of discussions on programme element III.1(b), forest resource valuation, on 11 September. David Cassels (World Bank) introduced the Secretary-Generals report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/25). The report acknowledges the need to: identify and measure the various values of forests; develop methodologies to measure forest values; and determine how valuation will contribute to the attainment of SFM.
Many countries noted overlapping responsibilities with the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions. MEXICO, supported by JAPAN, the EU, COLOMBIA, CANADA, MALAYSIA and environmental NGOs, called for assessment of the non- economic benefits of forests. The US and NORWAY differentiated between research on technical aspects of valuation and policy recommendations, noting limitations to across the board solutions. BRAZIL and the US recommended that the IPF encourage other organizations to conduct research on methodologies. NORWAY highlighted the development of appropriate policies and regulations to control rent-seeking.
TURKEY noted the Forest Principles emphasis on the promotion of public awareness and, with NEW ZEALAND, stressed difficulties with recommending that governments seek to control pricing. The NETHERLANDS highlighted the need to recognize the value of soil conservation and carbon sequestration, particularly in swamp forests. The WORLD BANK noted the need to differentiate between quantifying values and setting prices.
AUSTRALIA supported economic rent for wood products to cover management costs, national resource accounting plans and user fees as a means of supporting conservation. NEW ZEALAND called for ways to internalize externalities related to non-timber values in order to determine appropriate economic rents. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for practical means to incorporate natural resource accounting into SFM. UNESCO sought pilot projects to test valuation methodologies and economic rent for non-timber values. The EU and the UK noted that application of appropriate valuation methodologies will justify forest management economically. KENYA, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and NEW ZEALAND called for capacity building for valuation programmes. CANADA, UGANDA and INDIA emphasized participation by all interested parties in identifying values and developing methodologies.
Delegates addressed the draft negotiating text on forest valuation on 17 September. The EU stressed the need to address the values of forest owners. She noted that while a variety of valuation methodologies have been developed, governments should be encouraged to develop methodologies addressing their own legal and political circumstances. The US said the report exceeds the mandate of the CSD and urged further discussion within the context of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions. He added that references to the religious values of forests should be omitted.
The G-77/CHINA called for methodologies to assess the cultural, social and economic values of forest degradation and for matrices matching available forest valuation methodologies with required data sets for all forest goods and services. NORWAY called for analysis of costs associated with changes in forest quality.
A revised draft negotiating text was produced but not discussed due to time constraints.
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