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Drafting Group C met in an informal session on Wednesday night to complete negotiations on outstanding issues.

COMBATING DEFORESTATION: The US proposed a new formulation for paragraph 24 that supports further study on the issue of certification and labeling of forest products to contribute to a better understanding of their potential role. The Chair called for further consultations on this paragraph and paragraph 23 (financial resources). Paragraph 26 (fora for forestry dialogue) was deleted.

OPEN-ENDED INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON FORESTS: There was a prolonged discussion on the two bracketed paragraphs 3.V.2 on other arrangements for further implementation of the Forest Principles. The G- 77/China removed brackets from the alternative paragraph, which calls on the Panel to advise on the need for other instruments, including appropriate legal arrangements. As a result, delegates deleted the brackets around the title of category V, which now reads: 'International organizations and multilateral institutions and instruments, including appropriate legal mechanisms.'

The EU and the US called for the deletion of paragraph I.3, since protection of traditional forest-related knowledge is being addressed elsewhere. The G- 77/China and Canada wanted to retain the text. The final compromise text, proposed by Canada, states that consideration of this issue will be 'consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity.' Reference to national law was deleted. Delegates agreed to the first option for paragraph II (improving the efficiency and coordination of bilateral and multilateral assistance), as amended by the UK and the G-77/China.

PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: Agreement was reached after a minor amendment to paragraph 7 (environmental consequences), on social and economic conditions in developing countries.

ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY: Agreement was reached after the G-77/China replaced a reference in paragraph 5(e) (biosafety) to 'note' work on the development of guidelines on biosafety.

CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: There was a prolonged procedural debate about the status of paragraphs 7 and the new paragraph 9(j) on the protection of traditional knowledge and practices. The latter was transferred from the chapter on financial resources. Some confusion resulted and the Chair said he would consult with Cavalcanti.

SUSTAINABLE MOUNTAIN DEVELOPMENT: Agreement was reached after brackets were removed from 'protection' of indigenous people's interests.

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