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Fourth Session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests
Photos and RealAudio of 9 February
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9 February:

On the eighth day of IFF-4, delegates met in contact groups to further negotiate bracketed text. The contact group on EST transfer met in the morning, the contact group on financial resources met briefly in the afternoon and the contact group on international arrangements and mechanisms (Category III) met throughout the day.

Contact Group on international arrangements and mechanisms (Category III)
On the proposed UNFF's programme of work, Chair Samuel R. Insanally proposed removing the list of programme elements. Chair Insanally is pictured here on the left, with Alison Drayton (Guyana) and Andrey Vasiliyev, Senior Officer at the Division for Sustainable Development (DESA).

How to proceed?


Left and below: Informal consultation to determine how progress can be achieved on remaining items of contention.


The Co-chairs of the IFF, the Contact Group Chairs and some regional representatives met after the afternoon session on Category III in order to plot a work programme for the last two days of the meeting.

Side event: Community Involvement in Forest Management

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) hosted a panel discussion on community involvement in forest management. Simon Rietbergen (IUCN, above, second from the right) moderated the panel comprised of: Peter C. Gondo, Research and Technical Services Coordinator, Southern Alliance for Indigenous Resources (SAFIRE, far right); Peter Walpole, Director of Environmental Science for Social Change, Inc. (second from the left); and Alberto Salas, Coordinator of Conservation of Forests and Protected Areas at IUCN in Costa Rica (far left). The panelists presented the finding of the first three regional profiles on community involvement in forest management (CIFM).

Reporting on the Eastern and Southern Africa regional profile, Gondo identified factors influencing policy change, including: increased recognition of the need for new approaches within forestry departments; decentralization and devolution; increasing demands and pressures from local communities; changes in land policies; donor and NGO influence; and international agreements, especially from UNCED and related conventions.
RealAudio excerpts of Mr. Gondo's presentation

Walpole presented a Southeast Asia regional profile. He described 3 criteria for determining success in CIFM projects: people's livelihoods are improved, the forests are better protected and effective long-term strategies for community involvement are developed. He illustrated these with case studies taken from his work in the Philippines.
RealAudio excerpt of Mr. Walpole's presentation

Salas overviewed experiences with and lessons learned from community involvement in forestry in Mesoamerica.

RealAudio excerpts from the question and answer period - all panelists respond to the question "what are the obstacles to implementing successful CIFM policies?" RealAudio excerpt of Mr. Gondo responding to the question "how do donors and NGOs sometimes hinder the success of CIFM?"

Side event: Community Involvement Forest Management in Mesoamerica

On the evening of Wednesday February 9, a presentation sponsored by Coordinadora Indigena Campesina de Agroforesteria Comunitaria Centroamericana (CICAFOC), and La Union Nacional de Organizaciones de Foresteria Comunal (UNOFOC) was given on "Community Involvement Forest Management in Mesoamerica". The presenters, Nicolas Aguilar Murillo (UNOFOC) and Alberto Salas (UNOFOC) discussed the necessity of community participation for successful management and use of forests, outlining a series of practices and activities they hoped would be transformed into institutional policies.

Salas (above, on the right) described the community management strategy as part of a bigger world project. He highlighted goals of the project, including, among others, the establishment of linkages and exchanges to accelerate a process of learning between nations and across regions, and reaffirming the capacities of the community for participatory management of forests in Mesoamerica, especially farming and indigenous communities.

Murillo (left) explained the CICAFOC-UNOFOC alliance, noting that it was comprised of more than 100 forestry, indigenous and farmer organizations in Mesoamerica. He highlighted challenges the alliance must confront, including: management, industry and commercialization; training and development of local capacity; and political and government relations.

In the corridors: 
Many delegates are becoming increasingly nervous that time is fast running out for negotiations. Intense discussions are underway to determine which part of the overall package will be agreed upon first. Some delegations are firmly of the opinion that everything rests on a signal that new money will be forthcoming.
Despite the funding concern, some delegations are still miles apart on other key issues, such as traditional forest-related knowledge. Some delegations believe that others are using the TFRK discussions to push an agenda on intellectual property and sui generis systems, which they believe is beyond the competency of the IFF. Others believe that this is a legitimate forum for advancing this issue.
While many delegations have made regular references to transparency and participation, these concepts appear to have been shelved in Category III deliberations. NGOs, Indigenous Peoples' organizations and a number of delegates were disappointed that non-delegate viewpoints were not allowed to be voiced at the conclusion of the day's discussion. Some delegates believe that a different perspective may have helped provide impetus and focus on some issues.


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