Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 13 No. 103
Thursday, 5 June 2003
WEDNESDAY, 4 JUNE 2003
On Wednesday, delegates met in working groups to
continue negotiating resolutions on forest health and productivity
(FHP), economic aspects of forests (EAF), and maintaining forest
cover to meet present and future needs (MFC), and convened in a
contact group to discuss enhancing cooperation and policy and
programme coordination. Delegates also met in two informal
consultations: on reporting format, the Trust Fund and MFC; and on
enhanced cooperation and FHP.
WORKING GROUP 1
FOREST HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY: Conceição
Ferreira (Portugal) chaired the working group on a FHP draft
resolution. The EU asked, and delegates agreed, to highlight
progress monitoring and addressing air pollution and its effects on
On factors affecting FHP, the G-77/CHINA called
for, inter alia, including water cycles as a factor affecting
FHP and appealed for flexibility. The EU and the US expressed a
preference for including water regimes to reflect management
considerations. Delegates accepted the G-77/CHINA proposal.
On addressing factors affecting FHP in an
effective manner, the G-77/CHINA insisted on a reference on the need
for official development assistance and reliable new and additional
financial resources. CANADA, the US and the EU suggested retaining
more general language to avoid duplication as this issue will be
addressed by the resolution on enhanced cooperation. CANADA
suggested that the language conform with the outcomes of the World
Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The matter was deferred
pending clarification of the WSSD wording.
Regarding the effects of climate change on
forests, delegates agreed not to specify these as either positive or
On the resilience to negative factors, the EU
stressed the importance of site-adapted species selection. JAPAN
emphasized the contribution of sustainable forest management (SFM)
to the mitigation of negative factors, such as climate change.
Delegates agreed that SFM contributes to healthy forests and
ecosystems that are more resilient to negative factors.
On pest and disease control, the US, with the EU,
MEXICO and NEW ZEALAND, stressed the importance of preventive
approaches, while the G-77/CHINA stressed that these approaches
should not be used as disguised trade barriers.
CANADA, stressing the importance of prevention,
sympathized with the concerns of the G-77/CHINA and referred to the
World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary
After resuming discussion on FHP in the evening,
the G-77/ CHINA requested, and delegates agreed, that CPF members
assist countries upon request in identifying and assessing factors
On preventive measures and remedial action
against factors negatively effecting FHP, the G-77/CHINA requested
text on support from intergovernmental organizations. The US called
for "cross-sectoral" preventive measures, and the EU, opposed by
some countries, suggested text on the development of site-adapted
and well-structured forest stands.
Regarding measures on pests and disease control,
delegates accepted US text on consistency with relevant World Trade
Organization provisions. They discussed merging paragraphs on
national forest protection strategies and cooperation to address
transboundary impacts of factors affecting FHP.
On information collection and dissemination, the
G-77/ CHINA proposed, and the EU opposed, deleting reference to
cooperation in monitoring. Delegates accepted a US proposal on the
usefulness of criteria and indicators (C&I) processes.
ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF FORESTS: Gustavo Eduardo
Ainchil (Argentina) chaired the working group that considered a
revised draft resolution on EAF. Delegates discussed the preamble’s
chapeau, which highlights lessons learned, and disagreed on whether
these lessoned learned represent "a range of views." SWITZERLAND,
with AUSTRALIA, the EU, NORWAY and the US, emphasized the importance
of including lessons learned.
On the need for an integrated approach for SFM,
the G-77/ CHINA stressed the recognition of religious aspects, while
the EU favored spiritual aspects. The G-77/CHINA said implementation
depends on financing, capacity building and transfer of
environmentally sound technology (EST). The EU and the US stated
this applies to all countries. On a paragraph regarding the
valuation of forest goods and services, the G-77/CHINA proposed text
on the importance of international assistance. CANADA, supported by
the EU, stressed that international assistance should be matched by
prioritizing forests in developing country national policy.
The G-77/CHINA, opposed by the EU and the US,
suggested deleting a preambular paragraph on illegal harvesting and
related trade, because it duplicates existing IPF/IFF proposals for
action. CANADA proposed text encouraging participation in processes
on forest law enforcement and governance (FLEG).
CONGO invited countries to partake in a UNFF
intersessional workshop on technology transfer for SFM organized
with, inter alia, the UNFF Secretariat and the US.
CONTACT GROUP ON ENHANCED COOPERATION
Hossein Moeini Meybodi (Iran) chaired the contact
group and presented a revised draft resolution on enhanced
cooperation and policy and programme coordination. Delegates agreed
to add a preambular reference to internationally-agreed development
goals and the contribution of SFM to the realization of the goal of
poverty alleviation. They also discussed the EU’s proposed text on
welcoming new forest partnerships and whether or not to refer to
"the major groups," or "stakeholders," in the preambular paragraph
on promoting public participation.
Regarding the recognition of the work of the
Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) on the harmonization of
forest-related definitions, the US suggested replacing "harmonizing"
with "collecting," noting an absence of agreement on the meaning of
Regarding preambular and operational paragraphs
on the CPF, the US proposed revisions reflecting that CPF members
are not international bodies, but their individual representatives.
Delegates accepted G-77/CHINA proposals to delete: "informal and
voluntary" as pertaining to the CPF; and "world-wide" as relating to
the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
Delegates then discussed an operational paragraph
encouraging CPF member organizations to facilitate the establishment
of partnerships on implementation of IPF/IFF proposals for action.
The US stressed that partnerships are not only governmental, and
suggested adding a reference to other relevant partners. The G-77/
CHINA proposed language that partnerships should be established in
accordance with criteria agreed to by the Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD). The EU and SWITZERLAND opposed this, noting the
existence of partnerships unrelated to CSD resolutions.
Delegates agreed on a US proposal urging
governments to identify the IPP/IFF proposals for action to the
governing bodies of the CPF member organizations as priority areas
for actions, consistent with national priorities and the mandates of
On the mobilization and prioritization of
financial resources, CANADA and the US called for avoiding
exhortatory language and proposed addressing this issue in an EAF
decision, or in the resolution’s preamble. The G-77/CHINA stressed
the need to underline the pivotal importance of the means of
implementation in the context of cooperation and other thematic
In informal consultations in the evening,
delegates agreed on paragraphs, inter alia: emphasizing the
need for collaboration between the UNFF and the CSD; encouraging SFM
in national poverty reduction strategies; and requesting the UNFF
Secretariat to facilitate intersessional activities. The G-77/CHINA
requested, and delegates accepted, that regional and sub-regional
cooperation be pursued "as appropriate."
WORKING GROUP 2
MAINTAINING FOREST COVER TO MEET PRESENT AND
FUTURE NEEDS: Peter Csoka (Hungary) chaired the working group
discussing a revised resolution on MFC.
The US and the G-77/CHINA suggested working in
conformity with the other working groups by reducing the preambular
text to one paragraph, and focusing on country lessons learned.
The contribution of plantations to the
environment and meeting present and future needs was discussed. The
EU, supported by NORWAY and JAPAN and opposed by AUSTRALIA, NEW
ZEALAND and the G-77/CHINA, recognized this contribution if
plantations are sustainably managed. Delegates agreed to: refer to
sustainable management of plantations, but not to their responsible
establishment; and delete reference to plantations’ environmental
The EU, supported by AUSTRALIA and MEXICO,
suggested that the resolution urge a reversal of the current
deforestation trend. The G-77/CHINA suggested adding reference to
NFPs and the assistance needs of developing countries. Delegates
debated the need for reference to natural forests and noted the lack
of concrete proposals for action in the suggested text. NEW ZEALAND,
supported by the US and NORWAY, suggested moving the text to the
On the US proposal to make reference to an
Internet-based clearinghouse mechanism, the G-77/CHINA, supported by
NEW ZEALAND, remarked that many developing countries lack Internet
access, and suggested that information also be made available in
On afforestation and reforestation efforts, the
G-77/CHINA, supported by NEW ZEALAND and opposed by the US, asked
that countries be invited, not urged, to undertake action. The G-77/
CHINA, with NEW ZEALAND, asked that reference to semi-natural
forests be deleted. SWITZERLAND, supported by the EU, the US and
AUSTRALIA, opposed this deletion on the grounds that the majority of
Europe’s forests are semi-natural. The G-77/ CHINA suggested adding
an explanatory footnote on the meaning of the term semi-natural.
Regarding C&I, the G-77/CHINA suggested, and
CANADA, the EU and AUSTRALIA opposed, text stressing that countries
should integrate C&I into NFPs within their capacity on a voluntary
basis, and suggested deleting references to the full range of forest
Delegates discussed a proposal to simplify the
paragraph on cross-sectoral cooperation and, in a separate
paragraph, retain the importance of MFC in contributing to poverty
The US and SWITZERLAND cautioned against focusing
only on developing countries. CANADA supported, and the G-77/ CHINA
and NEW ZEALAND opposed, NORWAYï¿½s insistent request for a reference
to biodiversity strategies, including the conservation and
sustainable use of biodiversity. NEW ZEALAND, supported by the US
but opposed by the EU, suggested adding a reference to SFM instead.
On encouraging the participation of major groups
and relevant stakeholders in accordance with the national
circumstances and priorities and language, delegates stressed the
need for support to capacity building, particularly in developing
countries. The US suggested: calling for effective FLEG as a means
of MFC; promoting cooperation through the FLEG processes, WSSD
partnerships, and new bilateral or regional arrangements.
MONITORING, ASSESSMENT AND REPORTING: The
G-77/CHINA presented an alternative draft resolution on this issue,
proposing principles to be used in preparing the UNFF-4 reporting
format, including simplicity, flexibility, timely availability, and
relevance to UNFF-4ï¿½s thematic issues. The draft resolution urges
countries and the international community to assist developing
countries and countries with economies in transition (CEITs) in
strengthening their capacity to provide voluntary reports. Several
delegates expressed concern that this proposal does not reflect
lessons learned and Plenary debate.
TRUST FUND: Delegates discussed a draft
resolution on the UNFF Trust Fund. One country clarified that this
resolution is needed to allow earmarking of funds for travel and
daily subsistence allowances (DSA). Delegates debated whether the
fund should benefit only developing and least developed countries,
or CEITs as well. Delegates agreed on operative text inviting donor
governments, institutions and other organizations to provide
contributions to the Trust Fund and recognize the need for
additional resources. One country suggested text specifying that
travel and DSA may be provided from funds specifically designated
for this purpose.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Despite slow progress in the working groups and
informal consultations, some delegates are nevertheless optimistic
about agreement on the draft resolutions. Some are concerned that
too much emphasis has been placed on semantic particulars, at the
expense of more important substantive matters. But, as one delegate
put it, now is the only time to ensure that country interests are
not jeopardized in the struggle to capture meaning. Adding to the
mix, it is rumored that a developing country president will make an
important announcement from his capital regarding mahogany.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP 1: Delegates will convene from
10:00 am - 1:00 pm to continue their deliberations on the EAF draft
resolution, and from 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm to work on the draft FHP
WORKING GROUP 2: Delegates will convene from
10:00 am - 1:00 pm to continue discussing the draft resolutions on
MFC and the reporting format.
CONTACT GROUP: The contact group will
reconvene from 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm to continue its work on the draft
resolution relating to enhanced cooperation.
INFORMAL INFORMAL CONSULTATION: With a view
to adopting the resolution on enhanced cooperation, this meeting
will convene in the morning.