Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

 

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

 

Vol. 13 No. 133
Monday, 30 May 2005

SUMMARY OF THE FIFTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS FORUM ON FORESTS:

16-27 MAY 2005

The fifth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-5) was held from 16-27 May 2005, at UN headquarters in New York. The main task before UNFF-5 was to review the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests (IAF) and redesign the arrangement, if necessary.

During the two-week session, delegates: reviewed progress and considered future actions; reviewed the effectiveness of the IAF; considered the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests; and considered enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination.

During the course of the meeting, there was a panel discussion on forest issues in the Asia and Pacific region. UNFF-5 also convened a high-level segment and policy dialogue with heads of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) organizations, during which delegates considered three main issues: forest law enforcement and governance and sustainability; restoring the world’s forests; and actions for the future. A multi-stakeholder dialogue was also held immediately following the high-level segment.

In the end, UNFF-5 was unable to reach agreement on strengthening the IAF and could not produce either a ministerial statement or a negotiated outcome. By Thursday, 26 May, delegates had agreed ad referendum to four global goals on: significantly increasing the area of protected forests and sustainably managed forests worldwide; reversing the decline in official development assistance (ODA) for sustainable forest management (SFM); reversing the loss of forest cover; and enhancing forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits. They also agreed in principle to negotiate, at some future date, the terms of reference for a voluntary code or international understanding as well as means of implementation. On Friday afternoon, delegates decided to forward the draft negotiating text to UNFF-6, to be held from 13-24 February 2006, at UN headquarters in New York.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFF

The UNFF followed a five-year period (1995-2000) of forest policy dialogue facilitated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF). In October 2000, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in resolution E/2000/35, established UNFF as a subsidiary body with the main objective to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. To achieve its main objective, principal functions were identified for UNFF, namely to:

  • facilitate implementation of forest-related agreements and foster a common understanding on SFM;

  • provide for continued policy development and dialogue among governments, international organizations, and major groups, as identified in Agenda 21, as well as to address forest issues and emerging areas of concern in a holistic, comprehensive and integrated manner;

  • enhance cooperation as well as policy and programme coordination on forest-related issues;

  • foster international cooperation and monitor, assess and report on progress; and

  • strengthen political commitment to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.

The IPF/IFF processes produced more than 270 proposals for action towards SFM, known collectively as the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action. These proposals served as the basis for the UNFF Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW) and Plan of Action and have been discussed at annual UNFF sessions. Country- and organization-led initiatives also contributed to the work of the UNFF.

ORGANIZATIONAL SESSION: The UNFF organizational session and informal consultations on the MYPOW took place from 12-16 February 2001, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates agreed that the UNFF Secretariat would be located in New York and addressed progress towards the establishment of the CPF, a partnership of 14 major forest-related international organizations, institutions and convention secretariats.

UNFF-1: The first session of UNFF took place from 11-23 June 2001, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates discussed and adopted decisions on UNFF’s MYPOW, a Plan of Action for the implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action, and UNFF’s work with the CPF. They also recommended establishing three ad hoc expert groups to provide technical advice to UNFF on: approaches and mechanisms for monitoring, assessment and reporting; finance and transfer of environmentally sound technologies; and consideration with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests.

UNFF-2: The second session of UNFF took place from 4-15 March 2002, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates adopted a Ministerial Declaration and Message to the World Summit on Sustainable Development and eight decisions on:

  • combating deforestation and forest degradation;

  • forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems;

  • rehabilitation and conservation strategies for countries with low forest cover;

  • rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands and the promotion of natural and planted forests;

  • concepts, terminology and definitions;

  • specific criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the IAF;

  • proposed revisions to the medium-term plan for 2002-2005; and

  • other matters.

UNFF-3: UNFF-3 met in Geneva, Switzerland, from 26 May – 6 June 2003. UNFF-3 adopted six resolutions on:

  • enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination;

  • forest health and productivity;

  • economic aspects of forests;

  • maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs;

  • the UNFF Trust Fund; and

  • strengthening the Secretariat.

UNFF-3 also finalized the terms of reference for the three ad hoc expert groups, a task that had been carried forward from UNFF-2. Also adopted was a decision on the voluntary reporting format.

UNFF-4: UNFF-4 convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 3-14 May 2004. UNFF-4 adopted five resolutions on:

  • forest-related scientific knowledge;

  • social and cultural aspects of forests;

  • monitoring, assessment and reporting and criteria and indicators;

  • review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests; and

  • finance and transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

UNFF-4 attempted but could not agree on resolutions on traditional forest-related knowledge and enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination.

UNFF-5 REPORT

Chair Manuel Rodriguez Becerra opened the session on Monday, 16 May 2005, by reporting progress in institution building and policymaking at the global level, but identified significant gaps between goals and achievements. He highlighted continued deforestation, urged delegates to decide on future actions, and expressed hope that the UNFF-5 high-level ministerial segment would produce strong recommendations to ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly. Noting a positive climate for decision making, he called on UNFF-5 to produce a strong body of regulations on sustainable forest management.

Pekka Patosaari, Coordinator and Head of the UNFF Secretariat, highlighted the important role of UNFF processes such as the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue. He called for outcomes that would reinvigorate commitment and provide guidance for the future IAF, and stressed the need for additional funding. He indicated the importance of continued CPF support for the UNFF, and suggested that the work of the new IAF could contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

On Tuesday, 17 May, Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai addressed UNFF-5. She recounted the replacement of a natural forest ecosystem in Kenya by monoculture plantations, which has caused land degradation and water shortages, and underscored that the foundations of a secure state are a sustainably managed environment, democracy and a culture of peace. She appealed for support for a Congo River Basin forest ecosystem convergence plan for forest protection that has been formulated by central African heads of state, noting that, while many consultations have taken place concerning the Congo Basin, little action has occurred on the ground. Maathai called for the creation of an efficient, accountable and transparent trust fund managed by international bodies, and suggested that the Food and Agriculture Organization play a central role in the convergence plan.

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: On Monday, delegates elected to the Bureau Manuel Rodriguez Becerra (Colombia) as Chair, Vasile Lupu (Romania), Francis K. Butagira (Uganda), Denys Gauer (France) as Vice-Chairs and Rezlan Ishar Jenie (Indonesia) as Vice-Chair-cum-Rapporteur. Delegates adopted the agenda (E/CN.18/2005/1). Patosaari reported that an itemization of trust fund contributions would be made available but that there is no written report on the status of the Secretariat. On Tuesday, 17 May, delegates elected Simeon A. Adekanye (Nigeria) as Vice-Chair to replace Butagira who had to return home.

The following report is organized by agenda item.The section entitled “Future of the International Arrangement on Forests” contains a detailed account of the negotiations on the future international arrangement.

ENHANCED COOPERATION AND POLICY AND PROGRAMME COORDINATION

On Monday, 16 May, Hosny El-Lakany, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), presented the CPF Framework 2005 (E/CN.18/2005/INF/1). He noted that the document recounts the CPF’s progress since its inception, including work on streamlining national reporting, harmonization of requests for information and definitions, creation of a database on SFM funding sources, information-sharing, technical and financial assistance, capacity building and awareness raising. He noted the need for strengthening external funding for implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action, work at the regional and national levels, and interaction with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

A large number of countries responded to this with a renewed call for greater political will and implementation of internationally-agreed SFM commitments taking a cross-sectoral approach, and to back this with predictable funding, transfer of environmentally-sound technologies, capacity building, and utilization of traditional forest knowledge. Many suggested the development of a smaller number of high-priority goals, particularly those linked to reducing deforestation, forest degradation, and linking these to poverty reduction and the MDGs.

Countries also expressed the need for a CPF seed fund that would facilitate enhanced coordination, and focus on avoiding duplication and excessive bureaucracy. Some stressed the need for regional approach supported by the private sector and civil society, and discussed the possible role of the UNFF secretariat beyond UNFF-5. Several expressed their preference for or against the development of an LBI.

ASIA AND PACIFIC DAY

On Wednesday, 18 May, delegates convened in a morning panel discussion that focused on forests in the Asia and Pacific Regions. The panel and ensuing discussion focused on issues relating to China’s high demand for forest products, timber certification, empowerment of women in rural Nepal, Japan’s contribution to SFM in the region, SFM in India, and the Millennium Development Goals. A Chair’s summary of the Asia and Pacific Day panel discussion was appended to the draft decision that was forwarded to ECOSOC for adoption.

A summary of the presentations and the discussion can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/vol13/enb13126e.html

HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

On Wednesday morning, 25 May, delegates met in a high-level segment (HLS). The HLS focused on the linkages between forests and the international development goals, including those in the Millennium Declaration. It was also an opportunity for ministers and other high-level delegates to express their views on the future of the IAF. A summary of this portion of the HLS can be found at http://www.iisd.ca/vol13/enb13131e.html

On Wednesday afternoon, the HLS broke into two roundtables. Roundtable I discussed themes relating to restoring the world’s forests. Roundtable II discussed forest law enforcement and governance. Summaries of both discussions can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/vol13/enb13131e.html

On Thursday, 26 May, delegates resumed the HLS to discuss actions for the future. This discussion represented a final opportunity for ministers and other high-level delegates to restate their positions on the future arrangement on forests. A summary of this portion of the HLS can be found at http://www.iisd.ca/vol13/enb13132e.html

MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE

Immediately following the HLS on Wednesday, 25 May, the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue (MSD) was held. Representatives of the Major Groups read a series of prepared statements. There was no discussion of these statements. Brief summaries of the statements can be found at http://www.iisd.ca/vol13/enb13131e.html

FUTURE INTERNATIONAL ARRANGEMENT ON FORESTS

On Monday, 16 May, Patosaari proposed and delegates agreed to consider jointly the following agenda items: review of the effectiveness of the IAF (E/CN.18/2005/6); review of progress and consideration of future actions (E/CN.18/2005/8); and consideration with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests (E/CN.18/2005/9). These agenda items were discussed in plenary sessions, working groups, and thereafter in a contact group and an informal group. On Wednesday, 18 May, delegates were presented for the first time with the Chair’s draft decision and a draft ministerial statement. The Bureau prepared the Chair’s draft decision, which was based on country statements made during the plenary discussions on Monday, 16 May and Tuesday, 17 May.

On Thursday, 19 May, Working Group I (WGI) discussed the Chair’s draft decision on the IAF, while Working Group II (WGII) considered the ministerial declaration and the global goals and financial matters in the Chair’s draft decision. On Wednesday, 25 May a contact group was formed to discuss all aspects of the Chair’s draft decision together.

Delegates delivered their opening statements in plenary on Monday and Tuesday, 16-17 May.

Jamaica, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), supported by Indonesia, Nigeria, Cuba, Ghana, Gabon, Kenya, India, South Africa, Senegal, Namibia, Guyana, and Argentina, reiterated the need to implement internationally-agreed commitments to SFM, and stressed the importance of identifying appropriate financial mechanisms and predictable funds for SFM. She urged developed countries to assist in the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies and capacity building in support of best practices and utilization of traditional forest knowledge. Finally, she called for a comprehensive approach to address the links between SFM and socioeconomic development.

Luxembourg, on behalf of the EU, supported by Canada, the US, and Switzerland, stated that the present IAF has not achieved its full potential, and, supported by Australia, said that civil society and the private sector have not been adequately engaged. Supported by Canada, Switzerland, and Iran, he stated that clear, quantitative targets and goals were essential for securing political commitment and accountability. He suggested the following targets, each to be achieved by 2015: doubling the area of forests under sustainable management; reducing by half the number of people in extreme poverty of those whose livelihoods are dependent on forests; and reducing by half the global deforestation rate. Supported by the Republic of Korea, he advocated the creation of an LBI.

Australia, supported by Iran, recommended creating regional forest fora that would focus on region-specific action plans and targets, but would share a limited number of overarching global goals. Iran emphasized the importance of capacity building to enhance reporting and monitoring.

Indigenous Peoples called for the consideration of indigenous and tribal rights to land and resource tenure in any future IAF.

REPORT OF THE AD HOC EXPERT GROUP ON PARAMETERS: Andrea Albán Durán (Colombia) and Tim Rollinson (UK) presented the report of the Ad Hoc Expert Group on consideration with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate to develop a legal framework on all types of forests (AHEG-PARAM) (E/CN.18/2005/2), including an analysis of existing institutions and the identification of options for the future IAF. They noted that both non-LBI and LBI options would require common “building blocks,” but that an LBI would add the legal obligation to report on forests and send a stronger signal that forests are a global priority.

Rosalía Arteaga Serrano, Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, supported by Guyana called for strengthening UNFF to promote implementation. She opposed an LBI and quantifiable targets, and said a future IAF should seek to increase SFM areas, integrate forest management and development, and promote long-term political commitment and implementation of regional agendas.

Canada stressed that forests’ potential to serve development goals remains unfulfilled. He favored an LBI and stated that a future IAF should, inter alia: be performance-based; incorporate a strengthened UNFF and CPF; integrate forest policy and development; include a voluntary review mechanism based on national commitments; utilize regional processes; and include a voluntary code of conduct.

Norway said the IAF has not met expectations, noting unabated rates of deforestation. He said an LBI would strengthen political commitment and attract financial resources, and called for an IAF based on a limited number of objectives, regional processes to facilitate country implementation, linkage between SFM and development goals, and a strengthened CPF.

The US noted that the IAF had failed to place forests high on the political agenda, and called for a more focused and structured, but non-legally binding, arrangement. She proposed strengthening the CPF, involving major groups in an advisory capacity, and holding regional subsidiary body meetings on implementation.

Cuba stated its willingness to consider all options, including an LBI. He stressed defining goals as well as the means for obtaining SFM in terms of financial resources and technology transfer.

Switzerland queried why country reporting and use of the questionnaire format developed at UNFF-4 were so limited. He identified obstacles to the current IAF, including a lack of focus, a coherent framework, and political will. He advocated a voluntary code and, supported by New Zealand, global goals and targets, regional processes, and provision of financial resources for implementation.

New Zealand expressed frustration with the limited progress of the current IAF, and expressed concern over the CPF’s effectiveness. He noted the unwieldiness of implementing the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action, and called for helping countries determine their priorities. He noted insufficient support for an LBI, and called for high-level political engagement in order to mobilize international support and resources, with emphasis placed on regional- and national-level implementation.

Youth and Children, on behalf of six other major groups, noted gains made in increasing major group participation in the forest policy dialogue but called for, inter alia, formalized roles for major group focal points, financial support for major group participation, and an assignment of staff to work with major groups.

China expressed support for an LBI that would balance the principle of national sovereignty with the fulfillment of international obligations and enhance cooperation and participation.

The Russian Federation noted the achievements of UNFF, and called for strengthening the IAF. He suggested that UNFF provide clear guidance to the CPF and regional processes, integrate SFM goals with the MDGs and formulate specific targets and timetables.

Nigeria noted that UNFF has yet to fulfill its commitments with regard to capacity building, transfer of technology, and provision of financial assistance. He opposed an LBI and supported strengthening UNFF.

Guatemala noted that some experts at the Zapopan-Guadalajara country-led initiative in January 2005 had expressed interest in an LBI containing clear goals capable of contributing to broader social agendas and regional initiatives. Mexico recommended a high-level political framework with a new mandate, specific tasks, and capacity to provide funding and define a future legal framework. Ghana, on behalf of the Africa Group, supported by Namibia, Gabon, Senegal, Kenya and South Africa, stressed the importance of linking forests with the MDGs and balancing social, economic and environmental interests, and noted that lack of funding has hindered national reporting.

South Africa emphasized that implementation must replace dialogue and, supported by Indonesia and Argentina, take into account developing countries needs. She recommended accessing existing structures such as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States, and existing strategies such as the New Partnership for Africa’’s Development. She advocated engagement with civil society, strengthening the CPF and Global Environment Facility (GEF) funding, and a global forest fund (GFF).

Mozambique urged delegates to design a future arrangement that will improve implementation and address institutional weaknesses, the inadequate international legal framework, and lack of human and financial resources. Noting his country's implementation efforts, he urged UNFF to assist countries in improving domestic legal frameworks and in implementing programmes with immediate impact.

Indonesia noted its work on decentralization, protected areas and national parks and called for institutional capacity, financial resources, and human capital to meet the challenges of SFM. He called for a high-level IAF to play a central role in catalyzing regional cooperation on implementing the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action, such as through partnership and governance initiatives. He supported financially strengthening the CPF, increasing ODA in the context of forest development and the MDGs, and innovative financing such as a Global Environment Facility (GEF) operational programme on forests. He said regional processes should utilize existing UN regional economic commissions and development institutions.

Argentina favored an international legal instrument, preferably binding, for forest protection, noting that such a system should respect national sovereignty, reflect common but differentiated responsibilities, and ensure developing countries’ capacity for forest protection and sustainable management. He recommended leaving open the option of establishing an LBI in the future.

Brazil rejected proposals for an LBI, quantifiable targets, and a voluntary code of conduct, and stressed the importance of the non-binding 1992 Forest Principles and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21. He said a future IAF should center on a strengthened UNFF and pursue, inter alia: financial resources channeled through a global forest fund; national policies to promote SFM; international cooperation, including south-south cooperation; capacity building; transfer of environmentally sound technology; stakeholder participation; criteria and indicators (C&I); and market transparency. He said an ideal outcome of UNFF-5 would strengthen existing instruments and ensure long-term political commitment.

The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) said that global efforts should be translated to regional, national and local levels. He stressed the value of regional cooperation, the role of national forest programmes (NFPs), the importance of linking SFM and the CBD ecosystem approach, and the compatibility of ecological and economic priorities.

Colombia rejected quantifiable goals, and said a strengthened IAF should eliminate the gap between dialogue and action. She stressed the need to, inter alia: pursue goals previously agreed to at other fora; implement actions that benefit indigenous peoples and local communities; hold regional meetings to facilitate national-level implementation; and ensure adequate means of implementation.

Costa Rica said that the Central American Forest Strategy has been influential in improving NFPs, and emphasized that payments for ecological services should be viewed as an investment. Kenya called for a strengthened IAF and predictable funding to address obstacles to SFM.

India recommended further work to facilitate forest-related institutions, and stated that food security and health will take precedence over NFP funding. He stated that developing an LBI is premature and that the focus should be on capacity building. Malaysia said the IAF should play a more significant role, assess the means of implementation for the Proposals for Action, and increase major group involvement.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), advocated strengthening the relationship between UNPFII and UNFF and ensuring full participation of indigenous peoples in decision making.

Japan stated that promotion of regional initiatives, such as the Asia Forest Partnership (AFP), is essential for achieving SFM. He said the AFP agreed to: harmonize existing initiatives to combat illegal logging; review measures for the rehabilitation of degraded lands; develop minimum standards of legality, timber tracking and chain of custody systems; and create a cooperative customs framework. He encouraged countries to establish a code as a means of strengthening political commitment to SFM.

The UK encouraged the development of clear objectives, building upon elements such as the CPF and country-led initiatives, such as the Global Workshop on Forest Landscape Restoration Implementation.

Namibia reported its progress in adopting C&I for SFM and developing its NFP, and noted that adoption of obligatory responsibilities needs to be matched by a financial mechanism. Guyana noted major implementation shortcomings, and stated that any future IAF must address social issues and acknowledge regional initiatives. Gabon highlighted the importance of debt relief for poor countries, and called for strengthening the IAF through precise objectives, clear deadlines, and permanent funding.

Workers And Trade Unions stated that combating illegal logging must take precedence over free trade. She also pointed out that as long as social justice issues are ignored forests will remain at risk, and that any future arrangement must incorporate International Labor Organization core labor standards.

Scientific and Technological Communities noted that constraints in stopping forest degradation include: lack of awareness of the IPF/IFF processes; insufficient research capacity in poor countries, including lack of access to data and research funding; and erosion of human resources due to HIV/AIDS. He recommended an international research management fund, funded by developing countries through external debt repayments and by developed countries according to their contributions to global warming, and low-interest loans from Bretton Woods institutions for research on implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action.

Farmers And Small Forest Landowners called for, inter alia, establishing clear ownership structures favoring family and community forest owners.

Youth and Children called for transfer of knowledge to the younger generation. He advocated forests as a theme for UNESCO’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and strengthening the participation of youth partners for implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action through fund-sharing. Non-Governmental Organizations favored addressing forests under the CBD. She criticized UNFF's promotion of monoculture forest plantations, including genetically modified species.

Women said that, despite commitments made in 1992 and 2002, mainstreaming gender equity in the environmental sector has been fragmented, superficial and inconsistent. She called on a future IAF to ensure women are viewed as central to achieving SFM.

WORKING GROUP I: The first meeting of WGI convened on Thursday, 19 May, during which a number of delegations said the Chair’s draft text was a good basis for discussion. The G-77/China requested additional time to examine the text, and the EU, Australia and the US said it was important to give them the time requested. The Democratic Republic of Congo and Cuba requested translations of the Chair’s text. Vice-Chair Ishar Jenie suspended the meeting.

WGI reconvened on Friday, 20 May, and continued its discussion of the Chair’s draft text on Monday, 23 May. The EU asked for stronger language on objectives, goals, institutional arrangements, the CPF and regional processes. Switzerland said language on a voluntary code should appear earlier in the text. The Russian Federation urged the promotion of forests within the UN system.

On the preamble, the G-77/China requested language on, inter alia: sovereign use of natural resources; common but differentiated responsibilities; and means of implementation. The EU proposed text on long-term political commitment and a strengthened CPF. Switzerland, supported by Indonesia, Iran, and Peru, suggested that the Chair’s draft decision refer to ECOSOC Resolution 2000/35, which established the UNFF. The Russian Federation requested language stressing the CPF’s role in coordinating SFM implementation at all levels. The EU, supported by Switzerland and Japan, proposed eliminating a section on complementing IAF priorities but retaining a paragraph on multi-stakeholder partnerships, with Japan adding “regional” partnerships. Australia opposed deleting text on clustering the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action. Switzerland added a paragraph on strengthening the regional approach.

The US proposed a paragraph reaffirming the relevance of the Johannesburg Declaration from the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Forest Principles, as well as references to the importance of forests to “social and economic well-being” rather than “livelihoods,” the role of the CPF “at the center of the IAF,” and the importance of a high-level body on forests, subsidiary to ECOSOC. The US also proposed language on strengthening the IAF through existing resources and voluntary contributions, and establishing a regional approach to improve the linkage between high-level dialogue and implementation.

Japan preferred a reference to “illegal logging and associated trade” instead of “trade from illegal logging.” Cambodia added a reference to forest land encroachment as a cause of deforestation. Morocco, supported by Syria, Iran, Indonesia and Cuba, added text emphasizing the importance of economic growth and achievement of the MDGs for the conservation, management and sustainable development of all types of forests. Syria, supported by Saudi Arabia, Iran and Indonesia, suggested text referring to the special requirements of low-forest-cover-countries.

On enhanced cooperation, the G-77/China stressed that SFM policies should remain within national discretion. The EU and the US suggested different language on enhancing the contribution of forests to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals. The EU, with Switzerland, suggested including policy and programme coordination. The Russian Federation, with the EU, proposed text on coordination within the UN system. The US proposed that the CPF be the central focus of coordination on forest-related matters, while the EU, supported by Mexico and Switzerland, suggested deleting reference to a central focus. The G-77/China, supported by Indonesia and Iran, suggested referring to multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) rather than specific conventions. The EU, the G-77/China, the US and New Zealand expressed concern with complementarity, while New Zealand suggested alternative language on collaboration. Brazil advanced text on promoting research through a network of established institutes of excellence, establishing a clearinghouse mechanism for information sharing on national experiences, and facilitating developing country access to SFM technology. China preferred to “help” instead of “urge” countries to promote collaboration in implementing NFPs.

On working modalities, the EU, opposed by Switzerland, suggested separate sections on a high-level forum and regional processes. The Russian Federation suggested that UNFF meet annually and maintain a flexible work cycle. Switzerland supported a two-year work cycle, but suggested meeting regionally in year one and globally in year two. He suggested that regional meetings be hosted by the UN Regional Economic Commissions and the FAO Regional Forestry Commissions, and should, inter alia: address issues identified in the multi-year programme of work (MYPOW); be open to CPF members and other groups; report to global UNFF meetings; and be financed through the regular UN budget. The US proposed week-long biennial meetings at the global level and biennial regional meetings, sponsored by either the FAO’s Regional Forestry Commissions, or the UN Economic Commissions, or both. On regional meetings, Indonesia, with China, said the Forum should ensure the full and effective participation of developing countries.

On the MYPOW, Switzerland said UNFF should first meet globally in 2007 to adopt, inter alia, a 2008-2015 MYPOW. The US suggested the MYPOW should be organized by the seven thematic elements for SFM. He preferred a “revised” instead of “focused” mandate for the Secretariat, while Indonesia preferred a “function” instead of a mandate.

On monitoring, assessment and reporting (MAR), the US, supported by the G-77/China, the Russian Federation, Brazil and India proposed deleting text on third party assessments, peer reviews and independent evaluations. The EU, with Switzerland, proposed developing MAR processes, while Australia stressed harmonizing existing processes. China proposed inviting the CPF to coordinate existing processes.

On reviewing effectiveness, the US proposed a 2015 review. The EU and Switzerland said the review date would depend on the UNFF mandate and, opposed by the Russian Federation, objected to strengthening the Secretariat and enhancing its mandate.

On voluntary contributions to trust funds, the US and the Russian Federation specified “the UNFF” trust fund.

On the CPF, the EU and Switzerland suggested emphasizing the importance of the CPF by strengthening its role in facilitating and reporting on implementation of the Forum’s recommendations. Switzerland recommended adding language on ensuring funding for the work of the CPF, for example through the World Bank’s Programme on Forests (PROFOR) or NFP Facility trust fund arrangements. The US, supported by the EU, requested the addition of text calling for the proactive involvement of major groups to advise on implementation, with the latter opposing reference to an advisory group. Norway, supported by Australia, requested the addition of text calling for the CPF to support regional processes.

The US added a paragraph urging countries to give the CPF a mandate to develop joint action plans, and inviting the World Bank and FAO to establish, and countries to contribute to, a seed fund to support collaborative projects among CPF member organizations. He listed a number of criteria for awarding seed funding, including that: CPF organizations provide matching funds; projects focus on capacity building and implementation, “with a smaller proportion on policy issues;” and projects benefit three or more countries. Iran, supported by Saudi Arabia, stressed rehabilitation and conservation in LFCCs, and proposed inviting the CPF to strengthen the Tehran Process.

The US requested deleting a paragraph on an LBI. The EU, supported by the Republic of Korea, proposed text identifying an LBI as the best option, recommending that UNGA establish an intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop a legal framework on all types of forests, and calling upon donor governments and institutions to make voluntary contributions to a trust fund. The G-77/China, supported by the US, Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba and Guatemala, proposed that UNFF reconsider the parameters issue in 2015, noting not all G-77/China members support the proposal.

On a voluntary code, the EU suggested deleting text establishing a code. The US proposed text on a voluntary code on SFM as a statement of commitment to the IAF and to country actions to achieve the IAF’s strategic objectives. Switzerland proposed a 2007 deadline for developing a code. Argentina, supported by Cuba and Guatemala, suggested additional text recognizing that the LBI option could be considered among other possibilities in a future review of the IAF, with Costa Rica adding that both the LBI and non-LBI options are still valid.

The US said the code should consist of the decision taken at UNFF-5, and offered text recognizing that certain paragraphs of the draft UNFF-5 decision comprise the substantive elements of a voluntary SFM code. Brazil, supported by Indonesia and Peru, added text expressing concerns about lack of financial resources and technological capacities necessary for implementation, and recognizing the need to highlight the contributions of forests and their economic value to national, regional and international economies. Switzerland, supported by Guatemala, suggested text promoting the active participation of indigenous people, women and other forest-dependent groups in policy making and implementation.

Regarding civil society, the EU suggested using standard language from the Millennium Declaration.

On means of implementation, Brazil and Guatemala proposed language on enhancing country capacity to increase products from sustainably managed forests. Brazil preferred “provide” instead of “mobilize” financial and technical resources.

On the declaration and message, Canada proposed drawing upon the UNFF-5 ministerial declaration in preparing ECOSOC’s input to UNGA.

On deforestation and forest degradation, the US, Chile and China offered a reference to illegal logging while Brazil favored “illegal trade.”

On lack of resources, Canada, with Iran, Australia, and Malaysia, proposed reference to lack of “adequate” resources. The EU and the US, opposed by the Africa Group, Nigeria, Argentina, Indonesia and Costa Rica, suggested removing the paragraph. Switzerland added a paragraph on strengthening national forest governance.

Formal discussions in WGI ended on Tuesday, 24 May. On Wednesday, 25 May, the WGI discussion was combined with the work of WGII in a contact group.

WORKING GROUP II: On Thursday, 19 May, and Friday, 20 May, WGII had a general exchange of views on the draft ministerial declaration, global goals and financial aspects. Thereafter, they convened in a contact group to negotiate two thematic elements, means of implementation and goals, in the Chair’s draft decision.

General Statements: On the ministerial declaration, the EU suggested: conveying the importance of forests in pursuit of the MDGs; delivering a clear message to the UN General Assembly Millennium Summit review; and including key messages emerging from the ministerial roundtables. The US supported the EU but noted the need to focus on strengthening the future IAF and provide compelling language on why the ministers are taking this action. She also cautioned that the real objective of the declaration is not to tie the contributions of forests only to the MDGs but to social, economic, and environmental goals in general, for greater longevity within the broader international dialogue. Switzerland also noted that linking the declaration directly to the MDGs could be misleading, suggested that more weight be given to innovative approaches to providing means of implementation, and advocated explicit mention of strengthening governance at all levels.

On global goals, the US called for a clear statement of purpose that would be understood by others. She favored identifying flexible policies and actions at the national level that would contribute to achieving agreed-upon objectives, rather than setting quantified international targets. The EU called for establishing quantifiable global goals in order to send a clear message on forests, as well as national targets, which should be related to the global goals. He reminded participants that other processes have succeeded in establishing quantified objectives. Switzerland preferred that the text include a small number of quantifiable global goals. Mexico favored quantifiable global goals associated with clear time frames, with self-defined national targets. New Zealand suggested the inclusion of realistic and measurable global goals capable of demonstrating the potential of forests to contribute to the social agenda. Canada supported the inclusion of global goals, but called for addressing deforestation separately from the issue of forest degradation.

Vice-Chair Gauer adjourned the meeting in order to allow the G-77/China more time to consider the Chair’s draft declaration.

Canada called for text on measuring degradation and doubling restored forests. Switzerland proposed that any goal relating to improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent people should include forest tenure, use and access rights. Norway called for goals on means and monitoring, favoring a goal on “forests under sustainable management” over “forest degradation” and on doubling SFM area by 2015. The US, supported by Brazil and the G-77/China, favored “strategic objectives” over quantitative targets, and the US also called for identifying national policies and targets to achieve global goals. New Zealand stated that, while he was not opposed to targets, measuring progress is the primary challenge. The EU proposed text on voluntary national targets.

Mexico stated that political commitment must be galvanized through measurable commitments linked to MDG attainment, and that discussion should continue on quantitative goals. Switzerland, supported by Canada, clarified that national commitments would be self-defined and non-binding, while global goals would measure the success of the IAF. The US suggested agreeing on the content of global goals before discussing quantifiability. The EU recommended that the global goals use language from the MDGs. Guatemala noted that targets have assisted the development of a Central American regional forest strategy.

Switzerland said funding must be linked to concrete implementation activities, including adoption of a voluntary code.

On finance, the US, the EU and Switzerland opposed a GFF. Noting declining international forest assistance, the US called for innovative leveraging of funds, including through a seed fund for CPF collaborative activities, and subsidiary regional meetings on financing specific projects. She noted successes in leveraging funds for environmental services. Switzerland noted that ODA that indirectly affects forests is increasing.

The G-77/China stressed strengthening the means of implementation and identifying relevant modalities, with more emphasis on non-south-south ODA. The EU, with Switzerland, emphasized more effective use of existing resources and funds already allocated for development. Switzerland stated that an LBI would facilitate accessing GEF funds, and stressed including forests in national development priorities to access more ODA and creating effective enabling environments for “responsible” private investment. Supported by the US, he proposed a UNFF trust fund within PROFOR or the FAO’s NFP Facility for collaborative activities among CPF members. Canada announced an annual 8% increase in its ODA, but noted that increased forest-related ODA is limited without an LBI.

Means of Implementation: The EU stated that although the EU contributes 53% of total ODA, little of this is directed towards forests. The G-77/China called for increasing means of implementation and ODA. Mexico proposed a rapprochement, including both a GFF for capacity building and implementation and a CPF seed fund. The US noted the catalytic potential of a seed fund for financing regional projects through the CPF.

Switzerland, supported by Canada, supported a seed fund for collaborative activities among CPF members rather than projects, and, supported by the EU and the Russian Federation but opposed by Mexico and the US, opposed using seed funds for projects, noting that project funding would require complex governance and transaction costs. The EU supported using existing structures for financing CPF members’ activities, and recommended that CPF members join the discussion.

Switzerland suggested that the seed fund respond to the CPF’s needs, while the US countered that member governments also have the ability to direct CPF actions. Mexico, supported by Norway and the Russian Federation, expressed concern over using the seed fund for CPF administration. Canada stressed the need to identify the unique functions the proposed fund would fulfill, and suggested this may include cross-sectoral work.

The US called for further work on how to fund broader regional projects without high transaction costs, and supported Mexico’s call for ex post evaluation.

Finland stated that NFP Facility entry points are established by host countries and that PROFOR reinforces forest-specific work through lending that targets specific thematic areas.

The US requested GEF funding “for SFM.” The Russian Federation warned that establishing a new GEF operational programme on forests is premature, and asked for figures on present GEF forest funding. Mexico, with Norway, reiterated that GEF funding is only for binding treaties and, with the EU, warned against diverting resources from other issues to forests. The EU called for “inviting the GEF Council within its mandate to consider how to further increase resources on forests.”

The US stated that the capacity for new and additional funding is limited, but that directing more of FAO’s budget toward forests would be desirable. Canada concurred, but suggested that recent agreements, such as the Monterrey Consensus and the MDGs, may signal greater availability of funds. The US suggested that regional meetings could be effective in advancing south-south cooperation, and called for forests to be part of cross-sectoral strategies and poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs). The EU proposed text on, inter alia, integrating financing of NFPs into PRSPs. Mexico, supported by Norway and the US, stressed the importance of maintaining private sector investment.

On means of implementation, the US proposed securing high-level political support and proposed deleting reference to including a holistic approach to local and traditional technologies. She also supported the EU’s proposal on insisting that capacity building be directed at SFM and not forests in general.

The US reiterated her desire to delete text that would limit the call for political commitment to developed countries, suggesting that this excludes many activities and undermines solidarity. The Africa Group and Indonesia favored changing the text to “in particular developed countries.” The EU suggested that the emphasis on developed countries could appear as a sub-point.

Argentina proposed urging countries to improve means of implementation “in particular to support developing countries,” while the Africa Group and Indonesia preferred urging “all countries, in particular developed countries.”

On integrating NFPs into national sustainable development strategies, the US proposed incorporating them into “economic development strategies,” while Canada preferred “national planning strategies,” including poverty reduction strategies, “where appropriate.”

On voluntary contributions to achieve IAF objectives, the US proposed “urging,” and the EU suggested “inviting” countries to contribute.

Switzerland proposed deleting a paragraph on creating a GFF, while the G-77/China suggested basing it on new and additional financial “resources on a voluntary basis” rather than “commitments.”

The EU proposed language on, inter alia, fostering partnerships between rural communities and the private sector and removing tenure restrictions that limit community access to assets and markets. Mexico, Norway and Canada questioned the need for a reference to tenure reform. On partnerships, the US requested the addition of “NGOs.”

On a proposed new GEF operational programme on forests, the G-77/China stated that such a fund should not prejudice other GEF operational programmes. The US proposed alternative wording to “respect the GEF’s mandate.”

The EU proposed paragraphs emphasizing the importance of NFP activities.

On promoting international cooperation, the G-77/China proposed moving language on “reversing the decline in ODA” for forest-related activities to the top of a list of actions for integrating NFPs into national strategies, and adding “triangular cooperation” to language on south-south cooperation.

On creating an enabling environment for the private sector, the US added “for SFM.” The EU specified “for responsible national and international private sector investment” and, opposed by the US, Mexico and Australia, proposed “fully respecting the rights to land and resources by indigenous people and other forest-dependent people.”

Norway proposed text on creating an enabling environment for involving communities and forest users in SFM. The G-77/China proposed inviting international and regional financial and development institutions to channel additional resources to developing countries to finance SFM, and enhancing the capacity of countries to significantly increase the production of forest products from sustainably managed resources.

On generating revenue through payments for forest environmental services, Canada added that this should apply to forests that are “sustainably managed.”

The US proposed deleting language on protection and use of traditional knowledge and inserting text on promoting improved forest practices through strengthening SFM standards and utilizing the UNFF regional processes as a venue for: presenting country experiences in NFP implementation; inviting the CPF and bilateral donors to examine opportunities for funding projects and programmes; and examining patterns in implementation experiences, including gaps, opportunities, and needs.

Switzerland proposed funding CPF work, for example, through creation of PROFOR or NFP Facility windows.

Indonesia suggested a reference to increasing the IAF’s effectiveness. Venezuela suggested text on taking into account national and regional differences.

The US proposed emphasizing a strengthened IAF, and the EU suggested adding reference to NFPs. After the Africa Group questioned the need to include developed countries’ involvement in PRSPs, the US suggested that donors are an important component of PRSPs. Argentina stressed the need to address social as well as economic development. Canada proposed the inclusion of PRSPs “where appropriate.” Indonesia, opposed by the EU, expressed concern about linking ODA to NFPs. Argentina proposed the addition of “providing new and additional financial resources for SFM needs in developing countries.”

On reversing forest-related ODA decline, Cambodia specified this could be done “through local government and other means.” The US noted some ODA is not declining and advocated increasing ODA specifically for forests. With the EU and Canada, she favored preambular over operational language on ODA.

On increasing voluntary contributions, the US, opposed by Mexico and the EU, specified “to the UNFF-bis trust fund.” Indonesia, supported by the Africa Group and the US, suggested inviting “donor” countries and “other countries in a position to do so.”

On making effective use of existing resources, Cuba called for urging “developed countries to fulfill their commitments already agreed on ODA,” and for a separate paragraph on a GFF. Australia supported reference to more effective use of existing resources. Mexico preferred “existing and new” resources and, with the Africa Group, favored reference to “public” resources only.

Regarding land tenure, the EU proposed “reviewing” instead of “removing” tenure restrictions, and Canada proposed “securing long-term tenure rights and removing regulatory restrictions.” The US suggested moving the language on long-term tenure rights to a later paragraph on enabling environments. Switzerland proposed moving this language to later paragraphs on securing sustainable financing.

On creating a trust fund for forests, Switzerland, the US and Norway favored combining ideas for finance using new structures at the global level, specifically through the FAO’s NFP Facility, to support national actions to implement SFM, and PROFOR, to fund collaborative work among CPF members at the global and regional levels.

On the GEF, the Africa Group opposed a proposal by the US, Switzerland and Australia to “invite the GEF Council to explore ways to give greater consideration to SFM within the relevant GEF operational programmes, including by utilizing the full range of forest-related international organizations.”

Canada proposed inserting text on “involvement of and investment by local” communities and forest users in SFM to create an enabling environment.

India and Venezuela opposed a sub-paragraph on developing innovative mechanisms for generating revenue through payments for forest environmental services. The EU suggested taking into account national conditions. Mexico and Switzerland opposed a suggestion by Canada to include reference to poor communities. The Africa Group opposed Switzerland’s suggestion for “further” developing rather than developing “innovative” mechanisms. The US noted that revenue should be generated from users of forest environmental services, with payment to those who maintain them. Mexico and the US opposed a suggestion by the Africa Group and Canada on developing mechanisms “on the national, regional, inter-regional and international levels.” The discussion was halted pending consultation within the Africa Group.

The US, opposed by Cuba, suggested increasing the “request for” ODA for forest-related activities. The EU pointed out that ODA is allocated based on national priorities, not the forest sector, and, opposed by the Africa Group and Indonesia, proposed “maximizing the share of increasing ODA flows going to forest-related activities.” Delegates agreed on text referring to the global decline in ODA for forest-related activities, but continued to deliberate on developed countries fulfilling their ODA commitments to developing countries. Canada, supported by the US and opposed by the Africa Group, stated that the two ideas should be considered separately. Cuba stressed the importance of fulfilling current commitments, while Brazil, the Africa Group and Cuba suggested considering the reversal of ODA decline as a strategic objective.

The EU, opposed by the Africa Group, proposed deleting reference to new and additional resources for SFM. The US proposed “providing,” and Brazil added “significant,” resources. Both were added, and the US specified “from all sources.”

On making SFM a higher priority, delegates agreed to an earlier proposal by the US and Canada, as modified by the Africa Group, Switzerland, and Australia, respectively, to do this through “inter alia,” integrating forests into national planning strategies “or other forest strategies,” including poverty reduction strategies where “they exist.”

On proposed alternative paragraphs regarding sources of funds, Mexico noted that funding is needed for global goals besides SFM. The EU and US proposed deleting Mexico’s proposal to create a GFF within the UNFF Trust Fund, and favored establishing: a seed fund within the UNFF Trust Fund; an SFM implementation fund through FAO’s NFP facility; and a PROFOR-based fund to facilitate collaboration among CPF members.

Goals: On the chapeau to the goals, Brazil, supported by Colombia, India, Argentina and Nigeria, proposed that “demonstrable progress” be made by 2015. Switzerland, opposed by Brazil, preferred “no later than 2020.” The US offered a compromise to specify “preferably by 2015, but no later than 2020.” The EU asked whether demonstrable progress on “efforts” or “achieving” the goals should be shown by the deadline. Switzerland proposed that “all possible efforts should be made to achieve the shared global goals by 2015, with demonstrable progress to be made by 2011.” Switzerland, with Mexico, Norway, and Costa Rica, argued that linking the forest goals review with the 2012 Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) review would help decrease reporting burdens. The US, supported by Colombia and Argentina, opposed linking a forest review to that of the CSD, preferring a separate review on forests in the same year. Cuba concurred with a separate review, but suggested it take place in 2015.” Cuba supported a review in 2015 that is separate from the CSD review. Nigeria stressed that the goals’ timeline is contingent on means of implementation.

Canada suggested achieving the goals “no later than 2020” and making demonstrable progress by 2015. The US opposed “achieving” the goals, and supported demonstrable progress.

The EU opposed specifying that UNFF should achieve the goals, stressing country responsibilities. Brazil agreed, and noted the important role international financial institutions play in pursuing the goals. He clarified that demonstrating progress will depend on means of implementation.

The EU called for measurable and time-bound targets that take into consideration language developed in other fora. The US opposed numerical “component targets.” Australia, supported by New Zealand, suggested that global goals be general, while specific national targets be developed at the discretion of countries.

The US proposed the removal of any mention of targets, and stressed the importance of differentiating goals. Syria and Morocco noted that these are the same word in Arabic. Brazil favored “objectives,” either “strategic” or “over-arching,” with the US noting that over-arching differentiates them from other objectives.

Indonesia, supported by India, proposed the removal of target dates. Switzerland, supported by Mexico, reiterated the need to go beyond general goals, while the US reiterated that progress should be measured voluntarily at the national level. The US proposed language calling for an assessment of progress made by countries and the international community in 2015.

Switzerland requested goals on forest cover and quality, and on establishing the relevance of forests to sustainable development. Canada requested specific mention of decreasing deforestation and increasing afforestation. The US proposed replacing a goal to “reverse deforestation” with “decrease significantly forest degradation, and enhance forest health.” Switzerland, supported by Argentina, insisted on quantification and stressed that the current rate of deforestation needs to be halved. Syria and Morocco proposed additional goals on LFCCs and increased funding.

On a goal to enhance forests’ contribution to achieving international development goals, the US and India preferred “goals contained in the Millennium Declaration on poverty eradication and environmental sustainability” over “MDGs.” The US suggested deleting a target to reduce by half the number of forest-dependent people in extreme poverty by 2015. Switzerland preferred “improving the livelihood of forest-dependent people, measured as a reduction of the number living in extreme poverty, including through clarification of forest tenure, use, and access rights.”

On a goal to increase forests under sustainable management, the US, with Argentina, preferred increasing “significantly,” with the exact increase defined by individual countries. The EU preferred increasing “the area of” forests. The US and Australia, opposed by Mexico and Indonesia, proposed adding “the production of forest products, including for export, from sustainably managed forests.” The US also added “legally-harvested forests.” The EU, Argentina and Mexico favored adding “by 2015.”

Switzerland, supported by Mexico, Costa Rica, New Zealand, the EU and Morocco, but opposed by Brazil, India and Indonesia, preferred quantifiable, measurable targets. New Zealand stressed realistic targets, and the US favored national targets. Mexico favored language on doubling the area of forests under sustainable management.

The group debated a paragraph listing four goals, including significantly increasing new and additional financial resources, and “significantly” versus “by 50 percent” decreasing the rate of forest degradation; eradicating poverty and increasing the area of protected and sustainably managed forests.

Mexico supported quantifiable targets on deforestation, protected forests, and SFM but, with Switzerland, not on poverty eradication. The Africa Group questioned how to achieve quantified international targets. Canada requested a link to the MDGs calling for reversing deforestation by 2015.

Co-Chair Gauer proposed removing all quantifiers from shared goals to be reviewed by 2015, but the EU and Canada favored a call to “achieve” them by 2015 as per the MDGs. Mexico noted a scheduled CSD review in 2012 and, with Switzerland, asked for clarification on national targets. Indonesia noted that development needs do not end in 2015. Brazil, the EU and Canada urged a time-bound target of 2015 for reversal of ODA decline.

On a goal on protected areas and sustainably managed forests, the Africa Group, Brazil, Indonesia, Argentina and Peru opposed time-bound quantitative goals, proposed “strategic global objectives,” and supported “significantly” increasing protected areas. The EU, Mexico, Canada and Switzerland insisted on quantitative and time-bound goals. The US supported quantitative targets at the national level and qualitative “strategic objectives” at the global level. New Zealand preferred quantitative “50 percent” goals at the global level but not at the national level, and suggested “aspiring to” achieve goals. The EU and the Africa Group advocated achieving, instead of reviewing, goals by 2015, supported increasing protected but not sustainably managed forests, and increasing new and additional financial resources for “forest related activities” rather than “SFM implementation.” New Zealand noted that the goal on protected and sustainably managed forests takes account of national sovereignty and diverse conditions.

On a goal on poverty, Cuba favored significantly “reducing” over “eradicating” it. The EU noted that global goals mandate shared action at the global and regional levels and, with Switzerland, suggested referring to the MDGs rather than specifying timetables.

Iran opposed time-bound measurable targets, expressing pessimism on obtaining new and additional financial resources and proposed decreasing poverty “in the context of the MDGs” and waiting a few years before considering measurable targets. The US noted that it does not subscribe to the MDGs because they were not produced through an inter-governmental process.

In the evening of the penultimate day, delegates agreed ad referendum to language on goals to significantly increase the area of protected forests and sustainably managed forests worldwide, and reverse the decline in ODA for SFM. Mexico, supported by Switzerland, the EU, Guatemala and Canada, cautioned against including agreed-upon goals in a draft ministerial declaration before reaching agreement on important elements of the Chair’s draft text.

On the goal on loss of forest cover, Nigeria, with the US, obtained consensus on “reversing” rather than “significantly decreasing” it. Mexico called for language on rehabilitating degraded forest land. The US called for “protection” of forests. Nigeria and Indonesia called for text on “plantation development,” which was later modified to “reforestation and afforestation” by the US. The EU and Canada stressed the need to refer to degraded forest lands. Nigeria, with Mexico, suggested listing activities related to SFM comprehensively, or not at all. Delegates agreed ad referendum on the goal to “reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide through SFM, including protection, restoration, afforestation, and reforestation, and increased efforts to prevent forest degradation.”

The group then discussed the goal on enhancing forests’ contribution to development goals. Mexico stressed environmental sustainability as one of the MDGs. Nigeria proposed significantly reducing poverty, with Argentina adding “in forest areas.” The EU, opposed by Brazil, advanced achieving “significant reduction in the number living in extreme poverty by 2015.” The US and Brazil supported a broader goal to “enhance forest-related economic, social and environmental benefits.”

The EU retracted its proposal for poverty reduction by 2015 but asked for reference to improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent people. The group agreed ad referendum on the goal to enhance forest contributions to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, “particularly with respect to poverty eradication and environmental sustainability, including improving the livelihoods of forest dependent people.”

On a paragraph on voluntary national measures, Brazil stressed the importance of developing “integrated” policies and measures that take into account the seven thematic elements of SFM. Nigeria noted that these are addressed in a separate paragraph. Mexico, supported by the US, called for voluntary national measures, policies, actions “and”/or targets by 2007.

Brazil disagreed strongly with “targets” and supported language on “development or indication of measures, policies and actions.” South Africa strongly objected.

Mexico stressed the need to report on national forestry activities and achievements since 1992, while Brazil stressed reporting on future actions.

Brazil, supported by Indonesia, Canada, Switzerland, Mexico and the US, offered to replace “targets” with “specific goals” and delete reference to any year. Delegates agreed with Brazil that the goals and targets should be “voluntary” and “national.” Canada and Mexico favored keeping the 2007 reference.

On reporting, the EU suggested a compromise consisting of deleting the 2007 reference and moving it to a new paragraph on reporting. Brazil accepted this compromise but preferred 2010, noting that not all countries have the capacity to report by 2007. Mexico saw no reason for the date change, noting that countries are already reporting to the FAO. The EU also objected to changing the date, pointing out that all reporting would be voluntary. Indonesia and Nigeria opposed time-bound reporting. Switzerland called for flexibility and noted that concessions in forsaking quantitative global goals were not being reciprocated. He insisted on time-bound reporting, stressed the importance of establishing a mechanism for formulating and reporting on national goals, and said that without such a mechanism national financial resources would be allocated to other policy areas rather than to forests.

Ministerial Declaration: On several occasions over the course of the second week delegates discussed the issue of the ministerial declaration in the contact group. Each time the issue was raised, delegates argued that negotiating a ministerial declaration would consume valuable time that might otherwise be used to negotiate the Chair’s draft decision. However, at 3:00 pm on Thursday, 26 May, at the request of the Bureau and the UNFF Secretariat, a small group was convened specifically for the purpose of negotiating a ministerial declaration. The result was a four-paragraph statement recognizing that at least one billion people are wholly or partially dependent on forests for their livelihoods. It also expressed high-level commitment to ensuring that forest management contributes to the MDGs.

This four-paragraph ministerial declaration was then presented to delegates in the high-level segment for their consideration and adoption. They decided, however, that the hastily negotiated draft ministerial declaration was too weak to be adopted. In lieu of a ministerial declaration, delegates agreed to append a Chair’s summary of the high-level segment to the decision to be forwarded to ECOSOC for adoption.

CLOSING PLENARY

At the outset of the closing plenary on Friday 27 May, delegates were presented with two decisions, one to be adopted by the Forum and one to be forwarded to ECOSOC for adoption. After some discussion both decisions were approved.

DRAFT DECISION FOR ADOPTION BY ECOSOC: The EU, supported by Latvia, Canada and Mexico, proposed language to keep open the decision on whether or not to hold a seventh session, pending outcomes of the UNFF-6. After Brazil, supported by Cuba and Nigeria, opposed temporally limiting the mandate of the UNFF, the EU, supported by Brazil and Japan, proposed language that would accommodate this.

The US noted the absence of a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the agenda for UNFF-6 and, supported by the EU, Brazil, and South Africa, proposed its inclusion. Cuba, supported by Venezuela, objected, stating this may not allow sufficient time for negotiations. Argentina argued that major groups have had a chance to present their views and that not including them in UNFF-6 would not set a precedent. Colombia, Canada and the EU proposed the inclusion of major groups in a way that would not interfere with negotiations. The EU proposed additional language to this effect, and Cuba agreed. The US agreed, pending inclusion of text supporting the ability of major groups to hold side events.

The Chair’s summaries of the HLS and the Asia and Pacific Day were appended as annexes to this draft decision.

Final Decision: The draft decision forwarded by UNFF for adoption by ECOSOC includes:

a call to acknowledge the need to consider forest issues in preparation of ECOSOC’s report to the General Assembly’s high-level plenary on the Millennium Summit review.

It also includes decisions to:

  • hold UNFF-6 in New York from February 13-24, 2006;

  • determine the venue and dates of the seventh session during the UNFF-6; and

  • ensure that the sixth session of UNFF is given the opportunity to receive and consider inputs from representatives of major groups as identified in Agenda 21.

A provisional agenda for UNFF-6 is also included in the decision, which includes implementing the decision taken at UNFF-5 to forward the Chair’s draft text to UNFF-6 for further consideration.

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT: Chair Rodriguez presented, and delegates approved, the report of UNFF-5 (E/CN.18/2005/L.1). Chair Rodriguez then closed UNFF-5 at 5:35 pm.

OPENING OF UNFF-6

Chair Rodriguez then immediately opened the first session of UNFF-6 at 5:36 pm. Delegates nominated and approved Tono Krui (Croatia) and Franz Perrez (Switzerland) to the Bureau. Chair Rodriguez encouraged delegates to submit promptly their remaining nominations to the Bureau.

UNFF-5 CLOSING STATEMENTS: Pekka Patosaari, Coordinator and Head of the UNFF Secretariat, said that even though much work remains to be done, UNFF-5 had been a productive meeting. He also thanked the Bureau and the UNFF Secretariat for their hard work.

Chair Rodriguez said that while many had been hoping for a positive statement to come out of UNFF-5, this did not happen. He noted that important decisions have been made, but that much work remains to be done. Noting that the international community is up against a forest crisis, Rodriguez said that countries must lament that they have not responded to the challenge. 

Luxembourg, on behalf of the EU, expressed disappointment about the lack of a final result, and said that forests have now been relegated to the fringes of international dialogue. Australia expressed disappointment but noted its commitment to work regionally. Ecuador, on behalf of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, noted its commitment to cooperation and said that this group of Amazonian countries would bring a clear regional perspective to UNFF-6.

Indonesia said that the last two weeks have moved the international community away from SFM and that this prevents poverty eradication. He said the indecision shown at UNFF-5 reflects a lack of international commitment and hoped that this would not set a precedent. The US said that the challenge to strengthen the IAF is very complicated and not easily resolved. She likened UNFF to a family working through some difficult issues that maintains a high level of mutual respect, and said that this positive atmosphere is a recipe for future success. New Zealand expressed disappointment at the outcome of UNFF-5, and said that it would work regionally in the interim. Mexico emphasized its interest in building consensus and working to strengthen multilateralism. The Russian Federation noted that it attaches great importance to consensus on the forest agenda and said that UNFF is a unique body. He also said that all must bear some responsibility for the lack of a result at UNFF-5.

Nigeria, for the Africa Group, noted the Chair was not to blame for the failure of the meeting but that the failure was concocted five years ago when the UNFF was formed and delegates decided on a review of its effectiveness in 2005. He opined that the delegates who took the most self-righteous positions were the ones with the most extreme and immovable positions and said that everyone must come halfway in order to reach agreement. He noted that the agenda would be difficult at UNFF-6 but that miracles can happen.

Chair Rodriguez suspended UNFF-6 at 6:45 pm.

NEGOTIATED OUTCOME OF UNFF-5

In the end, delegates decided to continue discussing the bracketed “Draft Chair’s Text dated Thursday, 26 May 2005, 8:00 pm” at UNFF-6. This bracketed draft Chair’s text is appended as an annex to the decision. The following is a summary of the annex.

PRINCIPLE FUNCTIONS: On the principle functions of the IAF, the draft text states that the IAF should:

  • enhance the contribution of forests to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs; and

  • maintain global forest resources and quality for the long-term well-being of all, in particular forest-dependent peoples.

GLOBAL GOALS: Delegates agreed, ad referendum, to four global goals. The chapeau was not finalized, and currently reads:

“[With a view to the achievement of [the overall Millennium Development Goals,]/[internationally agreed development goals, including those included in the Millennium Declaration]] [Further agrees [that all possible efforts should be made][[no later than 2020]/[by 2015]] to achieve [no later than 2020]/[by 2015] the following shared global goals on forests/[.] [Demonstrable progress for the achievement of these goals should be made by 2015.]/[no later than 2020]/[by 2015] [upon]/[on] [which] [and make] demonstrable progress [to that end] [should be made] by [2011]/[2015]].”

The goals are:

  • to reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide through SFM, including protection, restoration, afforestation, and reforestation;

  • to enhance forest-based benefits and the contribution of forests to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs;

  • to increase significantly the area of protected forests and sustainably managed forests and increase the proportion of forest products from sustainably managed forests; and

  • to reverse the decline in ODA for SFM and to mobilize significantly increased new and additional financial resources for SFM implementation.

Delegates also agreed, ad referendum, to contribute towards achieving these goals through voluntary national measures, taking into account national sovereignty, and to voluntarily submit periodic national reports to UNFF, beginning in 2007.

MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: The bracketed text urges countries to make concerted efforts to secure high level political commitment and support to improve the means of implementation, especially in relation to finance, in particular to support developing countries, by, inter alia:

  • reversing the decline in global ODA for forest-related activities and calling for fulfillment of commitments to ODA;

  • urging countries to increase voluntary contributions to a trust fund in support of the future institutional arrangement, whatever form it may take;

  • mobilizing significant new and additional financial resources for SFM;

  • fostering access to forest resources and markets;

  • either creating a Global Forest Fund (GFF) through voluntary new and additional financial resources, creating a GFF as part of the UNFF Trust Fund, or inviting the FAO NFP facility to establish a fund supporting national actions towards SFM as well as inviting PROFOR to establish a fund to facilitate collaborative work among CPF members;

  • either inviting the GEF to consider establishing an operational programme on forests or inviting GEF to give greater consideration to forests through existing programmes;

  • creating an enabling environment for private sector investment;

  • developing innovative financial mechanisms for generating revenue; and

  • supporting the income diversification of people living in and around forest areas.

The text further calls for concerted efforts in capacity building and transfer of environmentally-sound technologies, by, inter alia:

  • providing greater support to scientific and technological innovations for SFM;

  • enhancing the capacity of countries to significantly increase the production of forest products from sustainably managed sources;

  • integrating NFPs into national sustainable development strategies, action plans, and PRSPs;

  • promoting a supportive and open international economic system that would lead to economic growth and sustainable development to better address the problems of forest degradation; and

  • promoting the participation of Indigenous Peoples, women and other forest-dependent groups in policy and programme development and implementation.

ENHANCED COOPERATION AND COORDINATION: The bracketed text calls for, inter alia:

  • promoting research and development of forests by means of a network of established institutes, especially in developing countries;

  • establishing a clearing-house mechanism to facilitate sharing of experiences and good practices; and

  • facilitating implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action by promoting a greater understanding of them.

The text also calls for improving collaboration with relevant MEAs through the IAF.

WORKING MODALITIES: This section still contains a lot of bracketed text. On regional meetings, the text states that meetings are to be organized every alternate year, either in conjunction or cooperation with the five UN Regional Economic Commissions, or with both the UN Commissions and the FAO Regional Forestry Commissions.

With respect to the UN Economic Regional Commissions, the text currently states that, inter alia: sessions should be organized in cooperation with the “UN Regional Commissions as well as existing regional processes, including those within the CPF and others.”

With respect to both options, the text currently requests: “UNFF to organize, with the support of the five UN Regional Commissions,” “regional meetings of the UNFF every two years and invites FAO, through its Regional Forestry Commissions, and relevant regional and subregional organizations and processes to actively participate in, support, and where feasible, co-host these meetings.” The text says these meetings should, inter alia, report to global-level UNFF meetings and to ECOSOC and be financed through the UN regular budget by the reallocation of funds saved by reducing the frequency and duration of global meetings.

The frequency of meetings is still undecided, with the text currently stating: “decides that [UNFF], [as a subsidiary body to ECOSOC], shall operate on the basis of a MYPOW to be adopted at its first meeting at the global level in 2007,” “with two year cycles for the period 200[6]8-[2015], with the Forum meeting [annually/every two years at the global level].”

Delegates also debated the year of the next review of the effectiveness of the IAF. The text currently states the next review will take place in 2015.

The current draft text:

  • urges member states to send consistent messages to governing bodies of the CPF so that, inter alia, the CPF prepares a work programme including deliverables and a budget that supports implementation of the UNFF MYPOW; and

  • invites the CPF to engage more proactively by, inter alia: increasing the transparency of its operations by involving Major Groups in implementation of activities; and providing analysis of global trends, gaps and policy implications drawn from national reports to CPF member organizations.

LEGAL FRAMEWORK: With regard to the legal framework, the draft decision recognizes that the LBI option could be considered during the 2015 IAF review.

VOLUNTARY CODE/GUIDELINES/UNDERSTANDING: The current text also calls for developing either a voluntary code, guidelines, or an international understanding on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests according to the terms of reference set out in an additional annex, summarized below. The suggested terms of reference for the voluntary code includes the purpose of the code, the process for developing the code and its possible thematic content. 

The current draft annex on the terms of reference says that the purpose of the code is to articulate international forest-related agreements on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to help achieve the goals decided upon at UNFF-5. It also says that the development of the code will be folded into the MYPOW of the Forum. Themes to be included in the code include: purpose of the code; reaffirmation of existing international agreements; relationship with other international instruments; cooperation; implementation; monitoring and reporting; and review.

DECLARATION AND MESSAGE: With regard to the ministerial declaration, the draft text states that ECOSOC decides to submit a ministerial declaration to the UN General Assembly emphasizing the crucial contributions that forests can make to the realization of development goals, including those contained within the Millennium Declaration. Finally, it decides that the present resolution is to supplement but not prejudice ECOSOC Resolution 2000/35.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF UNFF-5

The fifth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests was perhaps the most anticipated regular UNFF session since the institution’s inception in 2000. In the end, however, it was also among the most disappointing. UNFF-5 was expected to be a milestone event, one that was meant to open a new chapter in international forest policy. Instead, UNFF-5 ended up bogged down by intractable country positions and an ambitious negotiating agenda.

A promising starting point of the session was a near-consensus that the status quo is unacceptable and that serious changes are needed. Even the countries that had historically portrayed UNFF in a positive light now publicly conceded that UNFF is seriously lacking. This zone of agreement generated a shared commitment to strengthen the future IAF and improved the prospects of a substantive outcome that will provide a much needed overhaul. The following brief analysis of UNFF-5 examines the dynamics of discussions on key proposals, assesses achievements and shortcomings, and evaluates the outcome of the session.

KEY ISSUES

European delegates arrived in New York ready for a showdown and negotiated forcefully, making it clear that they were ready to abandon the entire UNFF process if significant changes were not made to the IAF. They were determined to obtain a set of policy commitments and insisted on quantifiable and time-bound global goals and national targets. When Brazil and the US mounted a “goals non-proliferation” campaign, talks quickly turned into a linguistic duel over the choice between “strategic objectives” and “global goals.” In the ensuing debate, Europeans and Canada dropped their demands for quantifiable targets, hoping to obtain firm time-bound policy commitments in return. When this major concession was not reciprocated on other key issues, open accusations of inflexibility grew loud and the meeting ground to a halt.

There was a strong sense that the “will of the few blocks the will of the many.” When Brazil was singled out as the main culprit and was accused of rigidity even by the US, it made symbolic gestures to show flexibility by accepting the phrase “global goals,” including to “reverse” forest loss – but remained adamant that such goals do not actually have to be “achieved,” only aspired to.

The idea of a code was a key compromise proposal designed to bridge irreconcilable differences, help set aside the intractable LBI issue, and open space for a mutually satisfying compromise. It did little, however, to affect some country positions. Early in the meeting, Brazil rejected not only binding instruments but also a voluntary code. The US accepted the code only in the shape of a general political “statement of commitment.” On the other side of the fence, Canada and the European Union pushed for establishing a process to elaborate a meaningful detailed code of practice. Ultimately, the two sides remained far apart and this became one of the breaking points in the session.

Financial resources remained center stage. Many delegations insisted on new financial resources and made all key proposals for strengthening the IAF contingent on guarantees for means of implementation. None of the donor countries, however, accepted a proposal to create a global forest fund; instead they sought to distribute some of the responsibility to international organizations and institutions and the private sector. Many tried to reverse the terms of the debate, stressed that firm policy commitments are a precondition for financial assistance, and hid behind the frequently repeated motto “No goals, no money”. However, few developing countries seemed to take this as a credible promise for new money in exchange for policy commitments.

PROCESS: THE WAY WE WERE

Some participants ascribed UNFF-5’s limited results to organizational and procedural limitations, raising a number of questions: Why did results from ad hoc expert groups on key issues (finance, review of the IAF, and parameters of a mandate for an LBI) or from intersessional country-led initiatives, such as in Guadalajara and Costa Rica, receive no mention in the draft texts produced for negotiation? This disjuncture between intersessionals and negotiating sessions has been a problem in other UN fora, making some wonder whether they are worth the time and money needed if they cannot effectively feed into outcomes.

Why were negotiations suddenly halted after delegates had reached ad referendum agreements on goals, which many had thought would be key sticking points? Many delegates lamented that this meant that valuable negotiating time at the end went completely to waste. Conversely, one delegate noted that the fact that the draft text was still a jungle of brackets in some key areas called for a sober assessment of the chances of completion and a timely halt to the process to allow for a fall-back conclusion to be negotiated. Some delegates speculated that the timing of the ministerial high-level segment, intended as a “deadline” for negotiators, made it a distraction for delegates who would rather have been concentrating on the negotiations.

These questions address a common complaint of inefficiency in the international policy-making process. Inefficiency is exacerbated if some delegates cannot participate due to lack of interpretation, translation of documents and chairs at the table, not to mention noisy spaces and lack of microphones. Yet such was the situation during the most intense negotiations. It would be interesting to see how long some countries would put up with some of these conditions if all the negotiations and draft texts were solely accessible in another UN language, such as French or Chinese. Where does responsibility for inefficiency ultimately lie? Some say stronger leadership might have pushed delegates into completing negotiations. Others wonder whether the move to bring the negotiations to an early halt was really the result of time limitations or whether it simply reflects the recognition that the continuing wide gulf between the positions (and interests) of states participating in the formulation of global forest policy was impossible to overcome.

CIVIL SOCIETY

The question of civil society engagement within UNFF has been contentious from the outset and may have also contributed to the inability of the UNFF to agree on an outcome. The mandate ascribed to UNFF was substantial enough to engage civil society beyond the IPF and IFF processes, which they had been ready to abandon, and generated hopes that this would be an action-oriented body that would address priority issues such as monitoring and reporting, underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and indigenous peoples’ rights. Civil society voices were channeled into nine major groups, as defined in Agenda 21. While some groups won greater attention under this arrangement than they would receive outside the process, NGOs and indigenous peoples lost out, as their voice was diluted among other major groups such as “Business and Industry”. This was reflected in the varying degree of willingness among the major groups to take part in the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue. At UNFF-5 their resentment appeared to turn into outright hostility, reflected in incendiary newsletters that were circulated and in statements expressing their readiness to walk away from the IAF.

Part of this dissatisfaction with the UNFF process has been linked to the greater access NGOs and indigenous groups have been able to achieve through other intergovernmental fora, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Working Group on Article 8(j), where they are regarded as participants not observers.   

As UNFF is under the aegis of ECOSOC, many countries have been reluctant to allow full participation of civil society groups, which may be seen as precedent-setting, and this played out through objections made to their participation during UNFF-5 and beyond. However, many governments recognize the importance of these groups in keeping forests on the international agenda, and will continue to support their involvement.

SEARCHING FOR A SILVER LINING

Before the gloom settles, several positive developments might be discerned on the horizon. The fact that countries were able to reach a tentative compromise on goals, including “reversing” loss of forest cover, was a step forward on what many predicted would be a major sticking point. Hopefully this compromise will hold when negotiations reconvene. There was other movement as well. New proposals on structure and means of implementation resulted from a thoughtful process by numerous delegates who are invested in the future of global forest policy. Discussions on financial assistance were far less acrimonious than they have been in the past, as various donor countries alluded to different forms of increased funding, perhaps as a “carrot” intended to pull supporters toward their various positions. This appeared to be one reason why the G-77 position did not remain solid. Finally, a decision to keep talking rather than “call the whole thing off” is a signal that delegates are not yet ready to admit full defeat. UNFF, therefore, cannot be cast as a total failure.

OUTCOME AND PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE 

UNFF-5 did not produce a new international arrangement on forests, nor did it strengthen the current one. One source of frustration with UNFF has been that previous sessions only produced a steady flow of political statements reiterating earlier statements. This session did not even produce a statement. This underscores the intractability of the global debate on forests, and raises the question of what makes agreements on forests more difficult than those on other environmental issues? Many delegates had hoped to strengthen the international arrangement on forests through substantive policy mechanisms. At the very least, these countries wanted to send a message to the international community that forests are important. In the end, UNFF-5 did produce a message, but not the one intended: it signaled to the world that international discussions on forests remain discussions, not particularly productive ones, and that the collective desire to turn dialogue into action remains just that – a desire.

The sole achievement of UNFF-5 was a tentative ad referendum agreement on national targets and global goals, including the goal of “reversing” the loss of forest cover. It is important to note, however, that this accomplishment was diminished by several serious limitations: conditionally agreed national commitments are voluntary and global goals are not quantified or mandatory, and none of them actually have to be “achieved.” Even reporting requirements were weak, with a starting date instead of a deadline. These tentative agreements do not provide a basis for a strong international instrument. If they are eventually adopted, the resulting IAF may not be particularly consequential.

Since the current round of UN discussions on forestry began in 1990, every round of talks has invariably resulted in an agreement to keep talking. UNFF-5 upheld this tradition by merely pushing discussions into the future. It is questionable, however, whether outstanding issues can be resolved by simply postponing their discussion. Furthermore, one might argue that now even the agreement to keep talking may be in question. Disappointed with a process that delegates variously described as a “quagmire” and “shambles,” some publicly threatened to abandon UNFF. On their way out, some hinted that future efforts may be made outside of the UNFF institutional framework. If this happens, it might make UNFF’s troubles even more difficult to overcome.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

GLOBAL FOREST AND PAPER SUMMIT 2005: This meeting will take place from 1-3 June 2005, in Vancouver, Canada. This Summit is intended to bring together senior executives from forest and paper companies with government policy makers to discuss key issues and challenges facing the sector globally over the next decade. As part of this event, the 18th annual PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Forest and Paper Industry Conference will take place on 1 June. It will be followed by “Vision 2015: The Global Forest and Paper Industry’s Coming Decade” on 2-3 June. For more information, contact: Forest Products Association of Canada; tel: +1-604-775-7300; fax: +1-604-666-8123; e-mail: info@globalforestpapersummit.com; internet: http://www.globalforestpapersummit.com

PREPARATORY CONFERENCE FOR THE EUROPE AND NORTH ASIA FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AND GOVERNANCE MINISTERIAL MEETING: This meeting is scheduled for 6-8 June 2005, in Moscow, Russian Federation, and will prepare for the initiation of a Forest Law Enforcement and Governance process for Europe and North Asia. For more information, contact: Nalin Kishor; tel: +1-202-473-8672; fax: +1-202-522-1142; e-mail: nkishor@worldbank.org; internet: http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/ESSD/ardext.nsf/14ByDocName/ForestGovernanceProgram

ITTC-38: The 38th session of the ITTC and Associated sessions of the Committees will convene from 18-22 June 2005, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. For more information, contact: Manoel Sobral Filho, ITTO Executive Director; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail: itto@itto.or.jp; internet:
http://www.itto.or.jp

UN CONFERENCE FOR THE NEGOTIATION OF A SUCCESSOR AGREEMENT TO ITTA, 1994, THIRD PART: Delegates will continue negotiations on a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994 from 27 June to 1 July 2005, in Geneva. For more information, contact: UNCTAD Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-5809; fax: +41-22-917-0056; e-mail: correspondence@unctad.org; internet: http://www.unctad.org/Templates/Meeting.asp?intItemID=3323&lang=1

THIRD MEETING OF THE CBD AHTEG ON REVIEW OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME OF WORK ON FOREST BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: The Convention on Biological Diversity’s Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on the review of implementation of the Programme of Work on Forest Biodiversity will take place from 25-29 July 2005, in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; internet: http://www.biodiv.org/doc/meeting.aspx?mtg=TEGFOR-03

XXII IUFRO WORLD CONGRESS: This Congress of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) will be take place from 8-13 August 2005, in Brisbane, Australia, and will focus on “Forests in the Balance: Linking Tradition and Technology.” For more information, contact: International Union of Forest Research Organization; tel: + 61 07 3854 1611; fax: + 61 07 3854 1507; e-mail: iufro1005@ozaccom.com.au; internet:
http://www.ozaccom.com.au/iufro2005/index.htm

INTERACTIVE FOREST & NATURE POLICY IN PRACTICE – MANAGING MULTI-STAKEHOLDER LEARNING IN SECTOR-WIDE APPROACHES AND NATIONAL FOREST PROGRAMMES: This course will be held from 12 September - 1 October 2005, in Wageningen, the Netherlands. This course aims to provide participants with insights, knowledge and skills for designing and managing interactive policy development and implementation processes in forest and nature management. For more information, contact: International Agricultural Centre (IAC); tel: +31-317-495-495; fax: +31-317-495-395; e-mail: training.iac@wur.NL; internet: http://www.iac.wur.nl/iac/courses/module.cfm?code=34/00/2005 

EIGHTH WORLD WILDERNESS CONGRESS: This meeting will take place from 30 September to 6 October 2005, in Anchorage, Alaska, US. The theme of the 8th WWC is Wilderness, Wildlands and People – A Partnership for the Planet. For more information, contact: The WILD Foundation Secretariat; tel: +1-805-640-0390; fax: +1-805-640-0230; e-mail: info@8wwc.org; internet: http://www.8wwc.org/ 

ITTO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TROPICAL PLYWOOD: This conference will take place from 26-28 September 2005, in Beijing, China. As part of its ongoing work to “study and promote policies and other measures to increase the competitiveness of the tropical timber industry,” ITTO will convene an international conference on tropical plywood, pursuant to the recommendations from the 36th and 37th ITTC sessions. For more information, contact: Paul Vantomme, ITTO Secretariat; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail: fi@itto.or.jp; internet: http://www.itto.or.jp/live/PageDisplayHandler?pageId=223&id=957

SEVENTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CCD: The seventh Conference of the Parties to the Convention to Combat Desertification will take place from 17-28 October 2005, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: UNCCD Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2802; fax: +49-228-815-2898; e-mail: secretariat@unccd.int; internet: http://www.unccd.int 

EUROPE AND NORTH ASIA FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AND GOVERNANCE MINISTERIAL MEETING: This meeting will take place in November or December 2005 in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation. The exact dates and location of the meeting have yet to be determined. For more information, contact: Nalin Kishor; tel: +1-202-473-8672; fax: +1-202-522-1142; e-mail: nkishor@worldbank.org; internet: http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/ESSD/ardext.nsf/14ByDocName/ForestGovernanceProgram 

39TH SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL TROPICAL TIMBER COUNCIL: ITTC-39 and Associated Sessions of the Committees will convene in Yokohama, Japan, from 7-12 November 2005. For more information, contact: Manoel Sobral Filho, Executive Director, ITTO; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail: itto@itto.or.jp; internet: http://www.itto.or.jp 

UNFF-6: The sixth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests will be held from 13-24 February 2006, at UN headquarters in New York. For more information, contact: Elisabeth Barsk-Rundquist, UNFF Secretariat; tel: +1-212-963-3262; fax: +1-917-367-3186; e-mail: barsk-rundquist@un.org; internet: http://www.un.org/esa/forests


This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Andrew Baldwin, Deborah Davenport, Ph.D., Radoslav Dimitrov, Ph.D., Reem Hajjar, and Peter Wood. The Digital Editor is Dan Birchall. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV), and the Italian Ministry of Environment. General Support for the Bulletin during 2005 is provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, SWAN International, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES) and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI). Funding for translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into French has been provided by the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Funding for the translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into Spanish has been provided by the Ministry of Environment of Spain. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.