The Plenary convened in the afternoon on 20 September to adopt the report of the Panel on its third session (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/L.3). In addition, the Co-Chairs presented delegates with an informal paper containing a draft introduction to the report. The paper notes that the objective of IPF-3 was to produce a document containing elements for use at IPF-4, and states that all elements are open for further discussion and negotiation with a view to achieving general agreement on all conclusions and proposals for action. The paper empowers the Secretariat to prepare a document for IPF-4 that will integrate additional proposals and inputs from intersessional activities. The Co-Chairs also proposed that the Panel welcome contributions from the Convention on Biological Diversity and that the IPF Secretariat provide the information on progress made by the Panel to Conventions Conference of the Parties so as to continue the dialogue between the Panel and the Convention. The US suggested amending the final portion of the proposal to continue an exchange of information between the Parties.
The paper notes that the Panel expressed concern that most reports were not translated in all official UN languages by the commencement of the session and that some were never available in all languages. SWITZERLAND, supported by the US, proposed a request to the Secretary-General to make available the necessary resources to reproduce the documents in all languages in due time.
In his closing remarks, Co-Chair Holdgate noted that the Panel has a diversity of views on the table for consideration between now and IPF-4, and suggested the Panel was right not to hurry the process. IPF-4 will produce a valuable statement to the world community and the IPF has already contributed to the advancement of an understanding on forests matters.
Co-Chair Rodriquez noted there was considerable disagreement that must be dealt with in the future. He said it was clear that governments want specific results, and delegates will have to be imaginative to devise viable methods to achieve the IPFs goals. The meeting adjourned at 4:30 pm.
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