The fourth and final session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Developments (CSD) Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF-4) met in New York from 11 - 21 February 1997 to IPF-4 negotiate action proposals and conclusions under 12 programme elements dealing with the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests: I.1. National forest and land-use plans; I.2. Underlying causes of deforestation; I.3. Traditional forest-related knowledge; I.4. Ecosystems affected by desertification and pollution; I.5. Needs of countries with low forest cover; II. Financial assistance and technology transfer; III.1(a). Forest assessment; III.1(b). Valuation of forest benefits; III.2. Criteria and indicators; IV. Trade and the environment; V.1. International organizations and multilateral institutions; and V.2. Legal mechanisms.
The IPF was also supposed to formulate recommendations to the CSD on future legal mechanisms, international organizations and multilateral institutions. Delegates called for continued intergovernmental forest policy dialogue but could not agree on major issues such as financial assistance and trade-related matters, or whether to begin negotiations on a global forest convention. On these and other elements, the IPF forwarded a range of options to the CSD. Recommendations on specific characteristics and functions of a continued intergovernmental forum or negotiating process were attached as a non- negotiated annex to the IPFs report.