Negotiations on proposals for action on financial assistance and technology transfer began in Working Group II on Thursday, 13 February and continued on Friday, 14 February. After a first exchange of views, the debate continued in contact group meetings over the weekend and throughout the following week. Final agreement on text was reached on Thursday, 20 February on most proposals for action, with the last few resolved in the final Plenary session. An exchange of views on conclusions took place in Working Group II on Wednesday, 19 February. Since there was insufficient time for full negotiation on conclusions, the Chair explained that comments would be incorporated into a non-negotiated text reflecting delegations views.
Topics considered under this programme element include: strengthening financial assistance; enhancing private sector investment; enhancing national capacity and coordination; enhancing international cooperation; technology transfer and capacity- building; and information systems.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: The question of whether to use language from the Forest Principles surfaced several times. The G-77/CHINA called for a chapeau to the section that would recall the Forest Principles. As a result, the agreed final version of this section begins with an action proposal for new and additional financial resources to be provided to enable management, conservation and development of developing country forest resources, and refers to the Rio Declaration and relevant chapters of Agenda 21.
GABONs proposal for new language calling on developed countries to find solutions to developing country debt led to a new action proposal that notes progress in debt relief and urges the international community to continue to implement measures aimed at durable solutions to debt and debt-servicing problems of developing countries.
BRAZILs proposal to recommend the establishment of an international fund was deferred to the final Plenary. Delegate opposition focused on a lack of consensus on the need for a fund (US); the late timing of the proposal, which would make deferral in the context of convention negotiations more appropriate (CANADA); and the need for further study before its consideration (the EU). The agreed action proposal lists three options: reflecting countries differing positions: to invite international discussion; to urge the establishment of the fund; or to pursue other actions to enhance funding.
Proposals for action in this section: call for new and additional financial resources; urge recipient countries to prioritize forest activities and donors to increase ODA to forests; request the international community to work with developing countries to identify needs for SFM and required and available resources; call for support for improved forest programmes and for related activities in international institutions including concessional lending; invite exploration of innovative ways to use existing financial mechanisms and generate new and additional forest-specific public and private financial resources; recognize the importance of increasing resources available and the continuation of various measures aimed at solutions to debt problems; and note discussion of an action proposal for an international fund to support forest activities in developing countries.
PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT: During the debate, the US deleted references to full-cost pricing and to tax breaks as incentives for overseas investment. Language was changed to focus on the lead role of the private sector in formulating voluntary codes of conduct. A new action proposal on reinvestment of revenues was modified by the US to invest financial resources generated from forest activities in SFM. Language limiting countries actions within their respective legal frameworks was added to action proposals on investment, reinvestment and voluntary codes of conduct.
The final document urges countries to encourage: private sector efforts to formulate, in consultation with interested parties, and implement voluntary codes of conduct towards SFM; investment in SFM of private sector financial resources generated from forest activities; and reinvestment of revenues from forest goods and services into their source forests. It invites developing countries to promote policies and regulations for attracting investment for SFM and urges developed-country incentives to encourage private sector overseas investment in SFM.
ENHANCING NATIONAL CAPACITY AND NATIONAL COORDINATION: US objections to nomenclature on NFPs resulted in contact group consultations and inclusion of US amendments specifying that recipient countries should establish NFPs based on priority needs and that donors should support rather than finance national initiatives aimed at creating national forest programmes and policy frameworks in developing countries.
The G-77/CHINA proposed a sub-paragraph on donor support for capacity-building within the context of the Forest Principles, which was debated but not agreed.
The final documents proposals for action call for: recipient countries to establish country-driven NFPs and donor support for them; development and employment of market-based and other economic instruments; enhancement of community financing and local investments; and recipient country identification of national authorities for in- country coordination.
ENHANCING INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: A draft action proposal on provision of information was deleted while one on coordination among UN organizations was moved to programme element V. Delegates did not accept a proposal by GABON on the adequacy of resources mobilized in an action proposal on adequacy of forest programmes.
The final document proposes actions for: enhanced coordination among donors and international instruments; exploration of indicators for monitoring and evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of forest programmes and projects supported by international cooperation; and exploration of the feasibility of innovative financial initiatives to support NFPs.
TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND CAPACITY-BUILDING: The G- 77/CHINA added a new action proposal on promoting, facilitating and financing access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies within the context of Agenda 21 and the Forest Principles. A proposal by the US to recognize countries ongoing efforts by urging them to continue these activities was withdrawn. The G-77/CHINA called for assessment of national technological capabilities. Based on a suggestion by the ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, the EU added a new action proposal on supporting indigenous people and other forest-related communities by funding SFM projects, capacity-building and information dissemination and by supporting their direct participation in forest policy dialogue and planning. The G-77/CHINA added a new action proposal on inventories of most appropriate technologies and most effective methods of technology transfer.
The final document contains action proposals on: promotion of technology transfer in accordance with language from the Forest Principles and Agenda 21; assessment and identification of national technological requirements and capabilities consistent with NFP priorities; strengthened North-South, South-South, and North-South-South cooperation in forest-related technology transfer; policies and incentives that encourage development and use of environmentally sound technologies; greater emphasis on capacity-building in NFPs, international cooperation programmes and dissemination and adaptation of technologies; support for indigenous people, local communities, other inhabitants of forests, small-scale forest owners and forest-dependent communities; and inventories of appropriate forest-related technologies and methods for their transfer to developing countries.
IMPROVING INFORMATION SYSTEMS: The EU objected to new and additional financial resources in the list of activities supported by improved information systems, but the language was retained. A new action proposal invited a list of international agencies and organizations to facilitate the provision of information, to which the EU added the CBD Secretariat.
The final document: calls for international action to develop improved information systems that support a range of activities; urges establishment of mechanisms for interpretation and dissemination of information, including through electronic means; and invites international organizations to facilitate the provision of a better information flow including through the establishment of specialized databases.
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