Delegates commented on a Secretariats draft based on earlier statements on programme element V.
The EU, the US, MALAYSIA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND and COLOMBIA supported the continuation of the Interagency Task Force on Forests. The EU said it should be an informal body to ensure its continued success in responding with flexibility. The US emphasized transparency and participation.
The US, COLOMBIA, AUSTRALIA, JAPAN, NEW ZEALAND, VENEZUELA, BRAZIL, the PHILIPPINES and CUBA supported an ongoing intergovernmental dialogue on forests. COLOMBIA, AUSTRALIA, JAPAN, NEW ZEALAND and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA specified that it be under the auspices of the CSD. The US, NEW ZEALAND and UGANDA supported an ad hoc open-ended Intergovernmental Forum on Forests. AUSTRALIA called for an ad hoc high- level Forum that should report by 1998 on the possible elements of a legally-binding instrument and by 2000 on progress in implementing the IPFs proposals for action. NEW ZEALAND emphasized that the Forum should integrate regional C&I initiatives for SFM. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for a high-level forum to address all issues including coordination with other mechanisms and indigenous issues and all types of forests and to review the need for a legal mechanism.
CANADA said it cannot agree to a stand-alone high-level forum that is not linked to a convention, nor does it support a process linked to the FAO Committee on Forestry. UGANDA highlighted the need to overcome the problem that forestry issues are scattered across other instruments and lack a political voice, and with CHINA and COSTA RICA, supported a forum to establish an INC. COSTA RICA noted possible shortcomings such as insufficient financial and human resources.
The EU, MALAYSIA, CANADA, and PAPUA NEW GUINEA supported the establishment of an INC to elaborate an international convention on forests. CANADA specified that the negotiations should be finalized by 2000 and that the main issues for an INC include: creation of a permanent global governance structure that provides for effective participation of major groups; creation of rights and obligations in achieving SFM; elaboration of modalities for enhanced international cooperation and improved efficiency and coordination of assistance; and establishment of means for national reporting on progress in achieving SFM and for monitoring compliance.
The EU specified that the INC should work within a specific timeframe while continuing implementation, monitoring and evaluation of ongoing forest-related programmes. PAPUA NEW GUINEA highlighted the need for a complementary continuation of the IPF prototype with a clear objective to level the playing field. If an INC is not possible at this stage, INDONESIA supported the creation of an ad hoc Forum that would establish an INC by 2000.
MALAYSIA reaffirmed interest in a legal framework in the short term and said it should include: reference to the Forest Principles and Agenda 21; treatment of issues including the comprehensiveness of ITTA commitments, finance and technology transfer; and holistic treatment of forest-related issues such as biodiversity.
NORWAY said there could be advantages to a convention if consensus can be reached, but differing views on the format should not hamper progress on substantive issues. AUSTRALIA said it is yet to be convinced of the need for a global legal instrument. VENEZUELA noted the lack of political will and consensus for regional level conventions on SFM and said a legally-binding instrument on forests is premature, as did COLOMBIA and BRAZIL. JAPAN stressed that prior to initiating negotiations on a legally-binding instrument, its objectives and scope must be thoroughly discussed and full consensus on the need for a convention must be achieved. BRAZIL noted that the Panels mandate to develop a consensus on a step-by-step basis has not fully been met on this issue. The US suggested replacing language calling for a holistic mechanism with language recommending that any future arrangements should continue to promote international forest policy dialogue in a holistic manner, focusing on consensus-building and review of progress and taking account of countries different capacities to implement SFM.
COLOMBIA, NORWAY, the PHILIPPINES and JAPAN emphasized the importance of implementing the IPFs proposals for action. NORWAY underscored the need to maintain momentum created by the IPF process by establishing a framework for continued international dialogue on forests with clear objectives and timetables and, with COLOMBIA, to continue building consensus on issues that require further discussion.
BRAZIL recommended that the CSD be given a range of future options including: financial arrangements and mechanisms; a trade agreement; codes of conduct for the private sector; and the extension of Objective 2000 to all forests. The PHILIPPINES suggested that the options presented to the CSD be limited to two or three.
The ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES called for language on: securing the land rights of indigenous and other forest-dependent peoples; enhancing their participation in forest-related activities; and harmonizing forest policies with emerging social instruments such as the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. AUSTRALIA proposed new language recognizing the contribution of regional initiatives to develop and implement C&I in defining SFM. COLOMBIA and MEXICO underscored the importance of respecting the principle of differentiated responsibilities. MEXICO highlighted the need to include the principles of transparency, a gradual approach and a clear legal process.
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