Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 13 No. 101
Tuesday, 3 June 2003
MONDAY, 2 JUNE 2003
On Monday, delegates discussed progress in
implementation relating to maintaining forest cover (MFC) and, in
the afternoon, resumed discussion on economic aspects of forests (EAF)
before engaging in a substantive discussion on reporting format. In
the evening, delegates met informally to discuss decisions relating
to the Trust Fund. Delegates also met all day to negotiate the terms
of reference for the ad hoc expert groups.
MAINTAINING FOREST COVER
Pekka Patosaari, UNFF Secretariat Coordinator and
Head, introduced a report on MFC to meet present and future needs
(E/ CN.18/2003/8). He outlined progress achieved and highlighted
future challenges, including the lack of sufficient data and
information and the need to strengthen capacity and enhance
intersectoral cooperation and linkages.
MOROCCO, on behalf of the G-77/China, supported
by ARGENTINA, INDIA, IRAN and SAUDI ARABIA, emphasized the linkages
of MFC with EAF, forest health and productivity (FHP), protected
areas and other elements of the UNFF programme. He underlined the
need for immediate action, adding that the proposed measures will
require financial resources, environmental technologies, capacity
building and better conditions for international trade. He
underscored that cross-sectoral impacts are both national and
international, and, with SWITZERLAND, stressed the importance of
GREECE, on behalf of the EU and acceding
countries, stressed the importance of: secure land tenure and
property rights; the value of criteria and indicators (C&I) as tools
for sustainable forest management (SFM); the contribution of planted
forests to poverty eradication and biodiversity preservation; and,
with SWITZERLAND, timber plantations, and ensuring their
environmental and social viability. FIJI, on behalf of the Pacific
Islands Forum Group, stressed the importance of non-timber forest
services, such as fuel, medicine and soil and water protection, and
called for the development of partnerships to address the problem of
the region’s limited financial and human resources.
CONGO said the report insufficiently assesses the
implementation of national strategies and legislation, noted that
difficulties in policy implementation are due to a lack of human and
financial resources, and called for funding for land-use projects
and protected areas. NEW ZEALAND stressed the need for long-term
investments in policy development and legislation, and private
sector involvement. He also noted the outcomes of a recent workshop
on planted forests held in New Zealand.
TOGO called for the appropriate means and
capacity building to enable forest- and biodiversity-related data
collection in developing countries, and, with SWITZERLAND, stressed
that international support may be necessary for specific actions.
INDONESIA described its cross-sectoral efforts aimed at MFC,
including restoration activities and a moratorium on forest
conversion. CHINA underlined the need for a comprehensive approach
to restoring forest cover. The UK described its work on SFM,
highlighting, inter alia, its active participation in the
Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration.
COLOMBIA underscored the need to integrate forest
and biodiversity strategies, guarantee civil society participation
in the management of protected areas, recognize the intellectual
property rights of local communities, and collect reliable
information on forest cover. TURKEY stressed the importance of
non-economic services and functions of forests and the challenges of
overcoming poverty among forest-dependent and forest-dwelling
communities. The US recommended that countries take a more active
role in information gathering and long-term timber market
forecasting. MALAYSIA highlighted the urgent need for: free trade
and a supportive economic climate; financial resources to help
developing countries achieve SFM; and the internalization of
environmental costs of forest goods and services. He recommended
reaching an agreement on the concept of optimal forest cover and
that the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) develop relevant
CANADA supported the need for national forest
programmes (NFPs) and other national strategies relevant to forests,
and welcomed suggestions relating to: C&I; international assistance;
and global and regional studies by the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) and the Economic Commission for Europe.
SWITZERLAND presented its history of SFM and stressed the importance
of national action. IRAN outlined its NFP, noting participation by
the private sector and other stakeholders. INDIA supported the
efforts of the UNFF and the CPF to develop a database on wood and
non-wood resources. ARGENTINA described its social forestry
programme, incorporating initiatives aimed at reducing poverty. The
REPUBLIC OF KOREA underlined the need to incorporate cross-sectoral
considerations and strengthen mechanisms for coordination among
forest and related sectors. MEXICO described its NFP based on a
sectoral approach and emphasized the role of regional assistance in
providing information-sharing mechanisms.
LESOTHO described past impediments in its effort
to maintain forest cover and made a formal request to establish a
regional partnership. POLAND distinguished between MFC and
maintaining forest quality, and stressed the need for proper forest
management to enhance FHP. EGYPT pointed out its achievements in MFC
through irrigation and desert reclamation, acknowledging the role of
the private sector.
ECUADOR said MFC hinges on the ability to provide
livelihoods for forest-dependent communities, and urged that
financial resources be channeled into NFPs. SAUDI ARABIA outlined
its achievements in afforestation and establishing protected areas.
The LOW FOREST COVER COUNTRIES (LFCC) Secretariat stressed the need
to enhance capacity building, share national and regional
experiences, and control population growth as a means of MFC. He
proposed that FAO carry out regional outlook studies.
ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF FORESTS
In the afternoon, delegates resumed their
discussion on EAF. CUBA asked for an improved balance between public
and private sector involvement in achieving SFM, stressed the need
for improved technology transfer, and, with CHINA, urged donor
countries to fulfill their aid commitments. Switzerland said that,
while it is committed to increasing development assistance, aid
recipients should pursue SFM.
COLOMBIA called for cross-sectoral cooperation
and more investments to ensure the economic competitiveness of SFM.
CHINA said the forestry sector needs an advanced industrial
structure combined with adequate environmental and social impact
assessments. TOGO stressed the adverse effects of forest legislation
that ignores the social and economic value of forests. ITALY
underlined the importance of integrating EAF into conservation
measures aimed at promoting FHP.
Stressing the multiple benefits of forests, JAPAN
called for a market-based approach to SFM and said that trade
liberalization should accompany sound environmental and social
FINLAND outlined its private-public partnership
that optimizes forests for timber production, wood energy and carbon
removal. MALAYSIA called for: improving information collection and
dissemination; studying the social and economic impacts of non-wood
substitutes for timber; and, with ARGENTINA, called for
collaboration in full cost internalization; and the removal of trade
barriers. ECUADOR called upon UNFF-3 to help prevent international
interference with domestic environmental policy and support
strengthening environmental institutions. SOUTH AFRICA underscored
the importance of participatory decision making and called for
concrete proposals for ensuring the equitable global distribution of
NORWAY emphasized the benefits of SFM for poverty
alleviation; recommended giving priority to SFM in forest-related
development assistance and, with ARGENTINA, called for combating
illegal logging. AUSTRALIA stressed the challenge of achieving a
balance between protection and production, encouraged the removal of
sovereign investment risks, and, with CANADA and CHILE, urged
countries not to recreate the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
ARGENTINA emphasized the link between forests and climate change.
CANADA noted its progress, and called attention to indigenous
peoples’ participation, in forest certification. The UK highlighted,
inter alia, ongoing research to estimate the value of
non-timber forest services and recalled a memorandum of
understanding with Indonesia to combat illegal logging.
SWITZERLAND stressed the need for cross-sectoral
approaches, market incentives for SFM and consumer awareness
programmes. The US highlighted the need for improved monitoring,
assessment and reporting (MAR) regarding forest economics, and
stressed the role of partnerships in combating illegal logging and
attracting SFM financing. CONGO underscored the need for market
transparency and forest value assessments, and called for awareness
and education programmes.
CHILE stressed the role of governments in
creating favorable conditions for SFM investment and supporting
small- and medium-sized enterprises and indigenous peoples in
value-added production. He also noted that certification should not
be a trade barrier. TURKEY stressed the importance of its forest
sector in generating employment.
UNFF Coordinator and Head Patosaari presented a
format and guidelines for voluntary reporting to UNFF-3,
highlighting the Secretariat’s intention to produce a structured yet
flexible format for reporting progress in implementation, including
lessons learned and challenges encountered.
GREECE, on behalf of the EU and acceding
countries, stressed the need to, inter alia: translate IPP/IFF
proposals for action into national languages; discuss the reasons
for the limited reporting to UNFF-3; and prepare reporting
guidelines for UNFF-4 based upon those suggested for UNFF-3. Noting
the limited number of submitted reports, SWITZERLAND recommended
streamlining the reporting format and harmonizing it with those
formats of closely-related processes. JAPAN noted the increase in
the number of reports since UNFF-2, and welcomed the establishment
of a relevant expert group.
The US stressed the flexibility and the voluntary
nature of the reports, and acknowledged concerns on their length.
BRAZIL, with SENEGAL and the US, expressed concern over the
reporting burden resulting from a new format and stressed the need
to emphasize the benefits of reporting for developing countries.
CONGO noted the difficulties it faced in reporting and asked that
specific assessment of natural resources be included. The LFCC
Secretariat called for the inclusion of biological zones in
AD HOC EXPERT GROUPS
Delegates continued deliberating on the terms of
reference for the parameters ad hoc expert group in informal
informals. Discussion revolved around the preparatory work of the
expert group, yet no agreement was reached.
Delegates informally discussed draft resolutions
requesting the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to authorize
the UNFF Secretariat to use the trust fund to support daily
subsistence allowances (DSA) of developing country participants at
UNFF sessions. Participants expressed general support for both
resolutions, but some questioned the necessity of asking for ECOSOC
authorization. The Secretariat explained that the General Assembly
resolution prohibiting support for DSA pertains only to regular
budgets, and not trust funds. A major country requested that the
scope of the resolutions be enlarged to include DSA support for
meetings of the ad hoc expert groups, and asked for
clarification on whether the support is for DSA only, or for travel
as well. One regional group requested additional time for
consultation, and asked for clarification on the terms of reference
of the trust fund. Several delegates said the resolution text should
make clear that it pertains only to the trust fund. Two participants
proposed the creation of a separate trust fund to support travel and
DSA only. The informal consultation was suspended, pending the
outcome of the consultations on the ad hoc expert groups and
the additional information requested.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The subdued mood of UNFF-3ï¿½s first week soured
slightly after the results of Mondayï¿½s informal consultations on the
ad hoc expert groups became known. While the details of the
closed discussions on the ad hoc expert groups remain
unclear, some delegates feel that the proposal currently on offer is
far from the anticipated compromise, suggesting that discussion on
this issue will continue well into UNFF-3ï¿½s second week. One
delegate said that UNFFï¿½s reputation is riding on the issue of the
ad hoc expert groups, noting that a second failure to
establish the groups could bode poorly for UNFF.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Before breaking out into contact and
working groups, delegates will meet at 10:00 am in Salle XVIII to
finish discussing reporting formats.
CONTACT GROUP: Immediately following Plenary,
delegates will meet in Salle XXII to commence work on a decision on
enhanced cooperation and policy and programme cooperation. Delegates
will then reconvene in informal consultations from 6:00 - 9:00 pm in
Salle XXVII to continue their work on this issue.
WORKING GROUP 1: Immediately following
Plenary, delegates will meet in Salle XVIII to work on decisions
relating to FHP, and from 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm to work on decisions
WORKING GROUP 2: Delegates will meet from 3:00
pm - 6:00 pm to work on decisions relating to MFC.