Working Group I held initial discussions on programme element III.2 on 11 and 12 September. David Harcharik (FAO) introduced the Secretary-Generals report on criteria and indicators (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/21). He encouraged wider country participation in the development of criteria and indicators (C&I), harmonization of terminology and identification of a core set of common indicators at the international level. FINLAND said C&I should be incorporated into NFPs and contribute to policy formulation. JAPAN called for multiple stakeholder participation.
On harmonization of C&I, AUSTRALIA, supported by NORWAY and INDONESIA, sought harmonization of terms, definitions, methodologies and measurement standards used in developing national C&I. GERMANY stressed harmonization between C&I and other concepts such as codes of practice or performance standards. SWITZERLAND and MALAYSIA also sought consensus on key concepts and mutual recognition of initiatives such as FAOs FRA 2000. DENMARK supported inclusion of C&I in NFPs and, with TURKEY, supported a core set of global criteria. NEW ZEALAND emphasized the need to maintain momentum on C&I and sought consensus on terms. He stressed that C&I together define SFM and selectively removing elements lessens their effectiveness. AUSTRIA stressed the indivisibility of SFM and C&I and recalled IPF-2s unanimous support for expanding C&I. UGANDA emphasized the importance of harmonization and convergence of C&I developed nationally.
CIFOR noted that only a small set of C&I are universally applicable. The EU and POLAND supported C&I at the national level. The US supported efforts toward national C&I and expressed reservations about global C&I. ITALY, supported by GERMANY and CUBA, called for flexibility in the formulation of C&I for SFM. The UK, supported by POLAND, called for flexibility in application to account for diverging needs. The UK also said C&I should be implemented without waiting for further refinement. INDIA said C&I should be more specific for application at the national and forest management unit levels. PAPUA NEW GUINEA said sufficient guidelines exist for governments to develop and apply their own C&I. The G-77/CHINA said specificity should not be traded for universality, and called for diffusion of information on C&I. The GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT distinguished national level C&I from certification of individual forest management units and said harmonization of C&I is premature. CANADA said identification of a comprehensive set of C&I at the global level would be premature and highlighted the importance, measurability and comparability of cultural and social C&I. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION noted difficulties associated with harmonizing criteria.
BRAZIL said the report fails to emphasize the international cooperation needed to allow all developing countries to participate in C&I initiatives. TURKEY noted difficulties in the implementation of C&I and called for cooperation on technology transfer. CHINA, supported by MEXICO, called for assistance to developing countries for development and implementation of C&I. MEXICO called for prioritization of proposed actions.
A draft negotiating text was discussed on 17 and 18 September. The EU highlighted: the importance of C&I implementation at all levels; descriptive criteria; land use plans; mutual recognition, consistency and convergence of C&I; and, with the US, forest owner and land tenure issues. JAPAN requested recognition of levels equivalent to management-level units and, with the US, voiced concerns over what criteria should help to assess. The US expressed concern over language on: benefit apportionment; forest management unit C&I; and C&I as a basis for trade restrictions. FINLAND, supported by the EU, suggested language from its recent C&I seminar on, inter alia: actions for poverty alleviation; institutional strengthening; human resources development and public participation; consensus on terms; and research on C&I for measuring biodiversity, non- wood forest products, non-market benefits and human and cross-sectoral impacts on forests. Environmental NGOs stressed language on sub-national level C&I for large countries and Convention on Biological Diversity assistance on C&I for forest quality and biodiversity. CANADA said the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity should complement existing C&I frameworks. The G-77/CHINA called for: criteria that reflect components of SFM; a global set of C&I; and contributions from donor countries and multilateral organizations for the development and implementation of C&I. GABON, citing the Rio Declaration and Forest Principles, stated the need for the international community to mobilize the financial resources and technology required for C&I formulation and SFM in developing countries.
A revised draft negotiating text was produced but not discussed due to time constraints.
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