Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 13 No. 90
Tuesday, 12 March 2002
MONDAY, 11 MARCH 2002
On Monday, delegates at UNFF-2 met in a brief
Plenary in the morning to review progress in the work of UNFF-2.
Following the Plenary, informal consultations were held on the three
ad hoc expert groups, and a contact group was convened to
consider a draft compilation text of the UNFF’s ministerial message.
Delegates met briefly in Plenary to hear reports
from the Working Groups and decide on the organization of work for
the day. Hossein Moeini (Iran), Chair of Working Group I, reported
that the Group had completed its first round of discussion on
combating deforestation and forest degradation; forest conservation
and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems;
rehabilitation and conservation strategies for low forest cover
countries; and rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands and
the promotion of natural and planted forests, and was prepared to
conduct the next round of negotiations on draft outcomes on these
items. Ositaadinma Anaedu (Nigeria), Chair of Working Group II, said
progress had been slow, and noted that negotiations on a compilation
text on the ministerial message would continue and should be
completed by the end of the day.
On the organization of work, Chair Øistad
proposed that delegates resume informal consultations on the ad
hoc expert groups, and meet in contact groups on the ministerial
message and on criteria for reviewing the effectiveness of the
international arrangement on forests. The G-77/CHINA opposed having
three groups meet concurrently, and said negotiations on the
ministerial message should take priority.
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE UNFF AD HOC EXPERT
Patricia Chaves (Costa Rica) chaired informal
consultations on the draft terms of reference for the UNFF ad hoc
EXPERT GROUP ON APPROACHES AND MECHANISMS FOR
MONITORING, ASSESSMENT AND REPORTING: Officers: Delegates agreed
that the Chairmanship of the expert group shall be elected from
among the government-designated experts.
Duration of Work: Delegates discussed whether
the expert group should complete its work three months prior to
UNFF-3 or three months prior to UNFF-4. Some suggested that
discussing the duration of work was premature, as the group’s tasks
had not yet been decided. The matter remains pending.
Meetings: Delegates agreed that the expert
group would hold up to two meetings for up to five days each, and
that the UNFF Secretariat would facilitate the delivery of these
meetings. Delegates agreed to use this language for the meetings of
the other two expert groups.
Proposals and Recommendations to the UNFF:
Delegates discussed and agreed, with minor amendments, to a proposal
by the Chair stating that proposals and recommendations should be
provided by consensus and, in the absence of agreement, that the
expert group’s reports shall reflect fully the diversity of views
expressed. Delegates agreed to use this language for the proposals
and recommendations of the other two expert groups as well.
Secretariat: Delegates agreed that the UNFF
Secretariat would serve as the Secretariat of the expert group,
supported by the CPF. Delegates agreed to use this language for the
Secretariats of the other two expert groups as well.
EXPERT GROUP ON FINANCE AND TRANSFER OF
ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TECHNOLOGIES (ESTs): Scope and Work Programme:
Delegates agreed that this expert group shall provide scientific and
technical advice to the UNFF on finance and ESTs. Delegates debated
references to existing and future documents relevant to the expert
group’s work, with a group of developing countries stressing the
need for an explicit reference to the report of UNFF-1
(E/2001/42/Rev.1). With some amendments, delegates agreed that "the
work of the ad hoc expert group should be undertaken within
the context of ECOSOC Resolution (E/2000/35) and reports of UNFF-1
(E/2001/42/Rev.1) and UNFF-2, and should also consider, inter
alia, related IPF/IFF proposals for action and relevant outcomes
of UNFF sessions including their reports."
Tasks: Regarding the chapeau, delegates did
not support a proposal for the expert group to splits its tasks by
addressing finance in 2003 and ESTs in 2004, and the text was
bracketed. Under a proposed sub-section on finance, delegates agreed
to a proposal that the expert group "consider previous initiatives
on finance, as well as relevant IPF/IFF proposals for action,
background papers, and strategy documents of CFP members." Delegates
also agreed that the expert group would "assess the role, status and
effectiveness of ODA to developing countries for sustainable forest
management (SFM)," but that this phrase should be moved to a
subsequent paragraph of the "Tasks" section. Text calling for the
identification of mechanisms to enable developed countries to fulfil
their ODA commitments encountered considerable opposition, and was
Regarding the assessment of country experiences
with financing SFM, delegates agreed that the expert group would
"assess country experiences towards mobilization of financial
resources to support SFM." Delegates could not agree whether this
would apply to all countries, or only to developing countries and
countries with economies in transition. The remainder of this
paragraph, including text calling on the expert group to propose
approaches to enhance and more effectively use and mobilize such
financial resources, was bracketed.
Delegates agreed that the expert group should
"assess and consider" the private sector’s role in financing SFM.
One developed country proposed that the expert group should
recommend measures to improve the enabling environment for private
investment in SFM at the national and international levels, and be
aimed at encouraging increased private resource flows to the forest
sector. A group of developing countries suggested, and a developed
country opposed, specifying particularly "in developing countries."
The issue remains unresolved.
On reviewing the status of international
arrangements related to financing SFM, a group of developing
countries proposed, and others opposed, that it recommend increased
funding, including new and additional funding. On addressing new
approaches to financing SFM, some developed countries preferred that
the expert group "discuss" rather than "propose" new approaches. A
group of developing countries stressed the need to reflect the
inadequacy of existing levels of finance. A developed country
delegate opposed a reference to a global forest fund.
Officers: Delegates agreed that the
Chairmanship of the expert group shall be elected from among the
Duration of Work: Delegates agreed that the
expert group should initiate its work immediately after UNFF-2, and
complete its work three months prior to UNFF-4.
EXPERT GROUP ON PARAMETERS OF A MANDATE FOR
DEVELOPING A LEGAL FRAMEWORK: Officers: A group of
developing countries proposed that this expert group be co-chaired
by a developed country expert and a developing country expert, but
no consensus was reached.
CONTACT GROUP ON THE MINISTERIAL MESSAGE
Ositaadinma Anaedu (Nigeria) chaired a contact
group on a compilation text of the UNFF ministerial message.
Stressing the need for brevity in the opening
paragraph, delegates agreed to move text pertaining to national
forest programmes (NFPs), criteria and indicators (C&I) for SFM and
voluntary certification systems to a subsequent paragraph.
Delegates also agreed to state that although significant progress
has been made in SFM, much remains to be done. On the IPF/IFF
proposals for action representing significant progress, developing
countries suggested, and others opposed, deleting a commitment to
"national" implementation of the proposals for action to promote SFM,
including cross-sectoral coherence in the framework of NFPs. Several
developed countries proposed that language urging the international
community to strengthen cooperation on finance, trade, transfer of
ESTs and capacity building be moved to the action-oriented section
of the ministerial message.
Developing countries opposed referring to the
UNFF as the permanent intergovernmental forum for forest policy
deliberations. A group of developed countries suggested underscoring
the unique character of the UNFF and committing to strengthening the
UNFF’s leading role in facilitating the development, coordination
and guidance of international forest policy. Regarding the benefits
of forests beyond wood and non-wood products and services, delegates
debated elements for inclusion, but did not reach consensus.
Delegates agreed to text stating that: SFM is essential to
sustainable development; natural and planted forests are affected
and affect other sectors; and development of all sectoral policies
and approaches should take into account cross-sectoral impacts.
Developing countries proposed, and many developed countries opposed,
deleting a paragraph stating that SFM involves reconciling
conflicting interests, and that forest management is the concern of
many stakeholders. On financing and the importance of trade to SFM,
one developed country added "trade capacity building." A group of
developed countries proposed adding language on fostering
development goals and targets for forests.
On text stating that linkages between forests,
poverty, governance and law enforcement are crucial to addressing
underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation,
developing countries proposed, and others opposed, deleting a
reference to governance and law enforcement. Delegates did agree,
however, to include references to unsustainable patterns of
production and consumption and insufficient international
cooperation. Delegates debated text inviting the CPF to support the
UNFF’s work, and a developed country proposed text stating that
countries should act to ensure that priority areas are addressed by
the governing bodies of the CPF.
On the relationship between the Convention on
Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UNFF, some developed country
delegations strongly supported sending a specific message to CBD
COP-6, and developing countries proposed referring to other relevant
conventions, such as the Convention to Combat Desertification and
the Framework Convention on Climate Change. One developed country
delegate proposed stating that the World Summit on Sustainable
Development (WSSD) provides a unique opportunity for strengthening
private sector involvement in SFM.
Delegates then debated specific areas that the
WSSD should address. On the multiple benefits of forests, delegates
discussed whether to list examples of benefits and functions,
including references to energy and water. Delegates agreed to
language endorsing SFM as a priority on the international political
and policy agendas, taking into account linkages between forests and
other sectors through integrated approaches. Delegates also
discussed language on financing, and one developed country proposed
language addressing, inter alia, the responsibilities of
developing countries to ensure that ODA is used effectively. On
action to address unsustainable timber harvesting and forest law
enforcement, one developed country proposed text on associated
illegal trade in timber and non-timber forest products. Delegates
also addressed proposals on: voluntary partnerships to reduce the
rate of deforestation; and international cooperation to achieve SFM,
implement IPF/IFF proposals for action, and monitor, assess and
report on implementation for integrated decision making. Some
developed countries supported text calling on countries and the CPF
to accelerate implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action and
intensify efforts on reporting to the UNFF to enable assessment of
progress in 2005.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As the second week of UNFF-2 began and the
impending arrival of ministers drew nearer, the pressure on
delegates to reach agreement on the ministerial message rose several
degrees. Unfortunately, many observers noted that they were not
successfully rising to the challenge, and there was significant
frustration with the lack of progress, as well as the guidance and
procedure of the contact group, as another day was spent reiterating
divergent views rather than negotiating compromises. Moreover,
despite repeated calls for a short, pithy and inspiring ministerial
message, the text of the message grew longer while, some said, the
substance grew shorter, which would not bode well for the tenuous
position of forests on the international agenda. Delegates were also
beginning to worry that UNFF-2 may not have time to adequately
address the criteria for reviewing the effectiveness of the
international arrangement on forests, and whether this may actually
be in the interest of some delegations.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: Delegates will meet
in Conference Room 1 at 10:00 am to continue informal consultations
on the ad hoc expert groups.
CONTACT GROUPS: A contact group will convene
at 10:00 am in Conference Room B to continue negotiations on a new
draft compilation text of the ministerial message. A contact group
on criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international
arrangement on forests may convene later in the day.