Published by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 13 No. 50
07 May 1999
HIGHLIGHTS FROM IFF-3
THURSDAY, 6 MAY 1999
On the fourth day of IFF-3, delegates in Plenary began
substantive discussion on international arrangements and
mechanisms to promote the management, conservation and
sustainable development of all types of forests. WG1 revisited
underlying causes of deforestation, TFRK, and forest
conservation and protected areas to consider the Co-Chairs
Reports on these topics. The contact groups on trade and
environment and the transfer of ESTs met in the afternoon.
Jag Maini, IFF Secretariat, introduced the Secretary-
Generals Report on international arrangements and mechanisms to
promote the management, conservation and sustainable development
of all types of forests (E/CN.17/IFF/1999/16). Several
delegations, including CHINA and COSTA RICA, emphasized that
existing instruments on forests are inadequate because they do
not address forests in a holistic manner. The EU, with ESTONIA,
LATVIA and POLAND, underscored the need to ensure that efforts
towards consensus do not prevent continued action to implement
the IPF proposals for action. The EU underscored the need to
identify necessary functions for the process beyond the year
2000. The G-77/CHINA expressed concern that the report contained
a subliminal message leading readers to a legally binding
instrument (LBI) and reiterated the G-77/CHINAs call for a
forest fund. The G-77/CHINA, supported by BRAZIL, KOREA,
COLOMBIA, NAMIBIA, NIGERIA, PERU and others, deemed
consideration of a LBI premature due to a lack of consensus on
many elements. COSTA RICA highlighted the Costa Rica-Canada
Initiatives (CRCI) aim to build consensus and provide basic
elements. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, with SWITZERLAND, supported
the CRCI process and a LBI. TURKEY, SENEGAL and SOUTH AFRICA
also endorsed the CRCI.
CANADA emphasized the need for a LBI, and requested that the
option of negotiating a LBI by 2002 be included. MALAYSIA called
for a LBI with an emphasis on trade and financial resources.
CHINA said a sound financial mechanism should be the basis for a
LBI. The US doubted institutions with forests in their mandate
would relinquish jurisdiction to a new institution. AUSTRALIA
questioned the need for a LBI. NIGERIA underscored that capacity
building is a greater priority. BRAZIL favored continuing the
forest policy dialogue beyond 2000 through existing arrangements
such as the CSD. NEW ZEALAND agreed that some form of
international policy dialogue is needed in the future.
AUSTRALIA, supported by KOREA, asked the Secretariat to prepare
a separate list of objectives and actions with an analysis of
policy options, including: existing mechanisms, an ongoing
intergovernmental forum, the International Tropical Timbers
Agreement, a new LBI or a combination of these options.
NORWAY emphasized a comprehensive approach to the
international forest dialogue with wide stakeholder
participation. JAPAN underscored that any arrangement or
mechanism should ensure: SFM as a national priority; development
of effective NFPs based on internationally shared ideas; further
development and application of C&I; and wood products traded
internationally come from sustainably managed forests. MALAYSIA
proposed additional elements for consensus building including
forest resource security, forest management of tree crops,
timber production and forest ecosystem health. IRAN proposed
addressing concerns of low forest cover countries. INDIA said
international arrangements and mechanisms must address
underlying causes of deforestation, the situation of developing
countries and funding sources for reforestation. The US
identified areas for future international forest discussions or
arrangements: biodiversity conservation; forest health
maintenance; soil and water conservation; carbon cycle; forest
productivity maintenance; social and economic benefits; and
legal, institutional and economic policy frameworks.
SOBREVIVENCIA called for proposals to, inter alia, protect the
remaining ancient forests and prohibit trade in such forests,
establish a world conservation fund and forgive debt. GREENPEACE
INTERNATIONAL called on the IFF to urge the WTO not to conclude
a forest trade agreement until CSD-8 had adequately considered
the issue and to request the WTO to report on the progress of
its deliberations on this issue.
WORKING GROUP 1
In discussion on the Co-Chairs Report on underlying causes,
the EU and US requested bracketing text on financial matters.
NORWAY called for reference to trade and WTO in the proposals,
and reiterated his request for reference to indigenous peoples
rather than indigenous people. AUSTRALIA expressed concern over
duplication with the IPF proposals for action and suggested a
general reference to the IPF proposals. BRAZIL, supported by
INDONESIA and MALAYSIA, remarked that some proposals overlooked,
inter alia, competitiveness of SFM relative to other land uses,
credit availability, access to markets, tariffs and trade
barriers. The US, supported by AUSTRALIA, added the private
sector to those responsible for deforestation and questioned the
reference to a process leading specifically to agreements on
commitments for addressing underlying causes. ECUADOR emphasized
a partnership with NGOs, indigenous peoples and other groups,
and suggested an additional proposal on national policies to
change production and consumption patterns.
CHILE called for reference to beneficial subsidies to recover
degraded areas. In reference to the impacts of international
financial institutions AUSTRALIA suggested reference to more
transparent decision making. ECUADOR opposed reference to
poverty and illiteracy as underlying causes.
Co-Chair Asadi introduced the Co-Chairs Report on TFRK.
NORWAY regretted the brevity of the report and the absence of
reference to the CBD, the International Labour Organisation
Convention 169 or the UN Draft Declaration of the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples. He proposed reference to the recognition of
indigenous peoples rights to natural resources in their
traditional areas. NORWAY, with CANADA, sought the addition of
IPR systems and reference to the expected conclusions of COP-5
of the CBD.
Regarding benefit sharing, MALAYSIA urged, and ECUADOR
opposed, inclusion of payments where necessary. The EU, with
CANADA, suggested adding WIPO after the reference to TRIPs and
the CBD. The EU, supported by JAPAN, proposed asking the CBD
Secretariat, CIFOR, IUFRO and the FAO to collaborate in
recording TFRK. CANADA questioned whether this was already
happening within the CBD Clearing House Mechanism. JAPAN noted
that TFRK is part of a sensitive discussion within the CBD and
TRIPs and that the IFF should not prejudge these outcomes.
JAPAN, the US, AUSTRALIA and ECUADOR suggested deleting
reference to TRIPs.
On the Co-Chairs Report on forest conservation and protected
areas, the EU emphasized networks. INDONESIA called for
reference to innovative forms of cooperation. The US suggested
broadening the context of the proposals to include the private
sector, NGOs and local communities, and bracketed text referring
to financial support mechanisms to encourage interested parties
involvement. INDONESIA supported, and TURKEY opposed, specific
reference to water resources as part of SFM.
TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT: The contact group on trade and
environment completed preliminary discussion of conclusions on,
inter alia, valuation, market transparency, consumer choices and
illegal trade. Delegates concluded text, ad referendum,
regarding valuation through full-cost internalization of forest
products and services and their substitutes and its influence on
competitiveness. The group concurred on text, ad referendum,
that studies on the relative full life-cycle analysis of the
environmental impacts of forest products and their substitutes
suggest forest products may be preferable.
On a paragraph regarding the need for increased market
transparency to improve market access of forest products and
services, some developed countries stressed the need to include
reference to sustainably managed forests. Other delegates felt
this reference would restrict other forest goods and services
from receiving increased market transparency. The reference to
SFM was left in brackets. Added to this paragraph was an
accepted proposal stating that increased understanding by
producers and consumers of the potential relationship between
trade and SFM could help promote responsible consumer choices.
Consensus was not reached on a paragraph regarding illegal
trade. Reference to illegal harvesting was deleted after one
developing country delegate emphasized that it is a sensitive
internal issue. The delegate also supported the inclusion of
reference to illegal trade in forest biological resources, while
a developed country delegate opposed its inclusion. The
reference remained bracketed. Reference to indigenous peoples
loss of revenue due to illegal trade was retained. Delegates
agreed to text emphasizing the importance of national policies
and international cooperation in reducing with the aim to
eliminating illegal trade. A paragraph referring to CITES and
the listing of tree species was deleted.
TRANSFER OF ESTs: The group reached agreement on text which
urged countries and organizations to initiate coordination and
cooperation on forest-related technical assistance and capacity
building for the transfer and application of ESTs. A developed
country sought to avoid language that could imply commitment of
Developing countries indicated preference for more explicit
and specific text committing developed countries to extend
assistance and underlining the needs of developing countries.
Developed countries remained resistant to such inclusions and
stressed the need to streamline language and to avoid overlap
with the IPF proposals for action.
Delegates agreed on ESTs transfer that highlight the needs of
low forest cover countries and countries with fragile forest
ecosystems. Agreement was reached on actions that would
facilitate transfer and application of ESTs for use of wood and
non-wood waste and byproducts created by logging and wood
processing for industrial processes, giving special attention to
wood waste materials as an energy source.
Paragraphs with reference to biological forest resources
remained in brackets. Some said addressing the issue was beyond
the jurisdiction of the IFF as it is addressed by the CBD and
other international arrangements. Some delegates said expert
consultations would be necessary to resolve the issue.
IN THE CORRIDORS
A number of delegates expressed concern over the quality of
the content of the Co-Chairs Reports. Many were concerned that
substantive text changes submitted by delegates in the working
groups were not reflected in the Reports. Some delegates feel
that more contact groups are necessary to ensure that text
suggestions are adequately recorded.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Plenary will convene in Salle XIX at 3:00 pm.
WG1: WG1 will meet at 10:00 am to continue discussion on the
Co-Chairs Reports on underlying causes of deforestation, TFRK
and forest conservation and protected areas.
CONTACT GROUPS: The contact group on trade and environment
will reconvene at a time to be announced. The contact group on
ESTs will reconvene in Salle XXV at 10:00 am.