IPF-4 concluded with a Plenary session in the afternoon and evening of Friday, 21 February. The G-77/CHINA presented a proposed introduction on: the Panels origins; its mandate and link to the Forest Principles, particularly Principle 1(a) recognizing national sovereignty; its inability to deal with the complexity of issues in four sessions; and elaboration of its important conclusions and proposals for action.
Delegates adopted the introduction with the following amendments: The EU added reference to: the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21; improvement of existing forest-related international cooperation by implementing the Panels action proposals; and provision for effective participation of and collaboration with all interested parties and major groups, emphasizing the crucial role of women. CANADA replaced commitments and obligations with decisions and commitments made at UNCED. The US added a subparagraph recognizing progress that has been made since Rio on, inter alia, substantive international dialogue on forests; the results of regional, international and country-led initiatives; and a better understanding of SFM.
The Plenary adopted the Panels report contained in five informal papers, agreeing to make a distinction between the action proposals generally agreed as the result of negotiations and the conclusions reflecting the overall thrusts of the Panels discussions under various programme elements.
Final statements were made by the EU, the G-77/CHINA, the US and the ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES. The EU highlighted the important role of NFPs and urged delegates not to allow the global forest policy momentum to slip away. The G-77/CHINA reflected on the complex agenda and need to resolve issues on technology transfer and new and additional financial resources. The ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES noted that the participation of indigenous peoples in the Panel and the Leticia intersessional meeting were precedents in the CSD. He further stressed the importance of environmental and social justice and the recognition of the comprehensive rights of indigenous peoples to development and to control their territories, knowledge, technologies and cultural heritage. In his closing remarks, Co-Chair Rodriguez noted the major differences of opinion and slow pace of collective understanding on how to resolve global forest problems, trade and financial matters and the domestic root causes of deforestation. He said he was optimistic about the substance and creativity in many of the action proposals that will guide implementation of SFM. Co-Chair Holdgate was encouraged by the Panels spirit of warm cooperation and fellowship.
[Return to start of article]