Vol. 134 No. 1
MYPOW CLI HIGHLIGHTS:
On Tuesday, 13 February, 2007, over 150 participants representing 74 member countries, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations convened for the first day of the Country-Led Initiative (CLI) in support of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Multi-Year Program of Work (MYPOW). In the morning, participants took part in an opening ceremony, discussed three background papers which were presented, and listened to presentations by Major Groups. In the afternoon, participants met in three working groups, and in the evening, attended a dinner and cultural performance hosted by the Ministry of Forestry of Indonesia.
Boen Purnama, Secretary General of the Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia, welcomed participants, and encouraged them to work together for the benefit of forests and people globally. He expressed gratitude to Germany as co-host of the CLI, and other donors. He stated that the outcomes of this meeting would be presented as an official document at UNFF-7.
Matthias Schwoerer, Head of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Germany, recalled his country’s support for the international forestry process and the UNFF, including several CLIs, that brought together partners to combat deforestation at all levels. He said that the UNFF needed to be strengthened to regain lost credibility.
Pekka Patosarri, head of the UNFF Secretariat, thanked the Government of Indonesia for hosting the CLI meeting and noted Indonesia’s commitment to the UNFF process, adding that CLIs are a crucial part of UNFF’s work. He expressed hope that the meeting would clarify technical issues and be dynamic, action-orientated and comprehensive.
Hans Hoogeveen, the Netherlands, Chair of UNFF-7, expressed his condolences to victims of the recent Jakartan floods and encouraged countries to lend their support. He noted that the floods and other natural hazards demonstrate our ecological vulnerability and economic interdependance. He said that the UNFF stands at a critical juncture and highlighted progress made in setting the four Global Objectives, linking of forests to the broader development agenda, and the adoption of a non-legally binding instrument (NLBI) on all types of forests.
M.S. Kaban, Minister of Forestry, Indonesia, said that achieving sustainability remains a challenge for many countries, and that developing countries in particular face difficulties in balancing economic, environmental and social objectives. He noted that forests were central to Indonesia’s development and stressd that UNFF should not lose sight of its crucial role in bridging forest policy with development and poverty reduction. He described Indonesia’s new initiatives to address deforestation through: combating illegal logging and illegal trade; restructuring the forestry sector; promoting rehabilitation and conservation; empowering communities; and promoting sustainable forest management (SFM). Minister Kaban officially opened the CLI meeting with the sounding of a gong.
Patosarri presented the UNFF Secretariat’s paper on the UNFF MYPOW (2007-2015) and emphasized that it should be: focused on implementation and clear on expected outputs; practical in aims and objectives; and flexible. He explained that UNFF will now meet every two years, noted the importance of each session’s thematic focus, and suggested considering Global Objective 4 at all sessions. He noted the key was to establish a way to use the intersessional period effectively and that the paper refers to an “intergovernmental expert meeting” as a way of preparing and concluding activities. Patosarri also outlined the need for: enhanced cooperation and coordination; consideration of cross-cutting and enabling issues; and improving stakeholder engagement.
Doris Capistrano, Center for International Forest Research (CIFOR), presented a paper titled “Revitalizing the UNFF: Critical Issues and Ways Forward.” She said that the three major topics for discussion in the paper were: critical and emerging issues that would significantly impact forests; coordinating with other processes that are relevant to the UNFF; and criteria for prioritizing issues for inclusion in the MYPOW. She said that the critical and emerging issues include: climate change; trade and investment; governance; and ecosystem services.
Tapani Oksanen, World Bank Program on Forests (PROFOR), introduced a World Bank-commissioned paper to assess SFM financing and means of implementation. He welcomed feedback from participants prior to its finalization for UNFF-7. Hosny El Lakany, PROFOR, presented the paper and described the changing landscape of actions and finance for forests, focusing on practical issues, both existing traditional sources of funds and potential innovative approaches and mechanisms. He said options for financing had been selected to facilitate discussion at UNFF-7, including new concepts, such as payment for ecosystem services. In order to advance portfolio and partnership approaches, he highlighted the need to enhance public sector funding, catalyze payments for ecosystem services and mobilize communities and civic resources.
CHILDREN and YOUTH emphasized the importance of building capacity to educate young people in order to empower their participation in SFM decision making processes.
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS expressed concern over the lack of action by members, and urged them to address underlying causes of deforestation and recognize indigenous rights. SMALL FOREST LANDHOLDERS emphasized the link between forests and poverty reduction and the role of forest-dependant communities in implementing forest policy. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES encouraged enhancing the interface of science and policy and the integration of traditional forest-related knowledge. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE expressed concern regarding the lack of implementation of existing agreements such as Agenda 21, and that the draft NLBI text is weak regarding indigenous peopleï¿½s rights. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY noted the important role that multi-stakeholder processes play within forest policy.
CUBA urged in-depth consideration of the means of implementation for developing countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In response to INDIAï¿½s comment on the need to address forestry-related issues under discussion in other fora, Capistrano recalled the importance of placing the discussion in a broader context. PAKISTAN stressed the importance of ï¿½on the groundï¿½ implementation of SFM. El Lakany said implementation should take into account forest practitionersï¿½ knowledge. COSTA RICA said that in many countries, lack of planning capacity at the operational level limits the impact of forest policies. BRAZIL expressed support for the background papers, and sought clarification regarding the regional component, and the potentially high costs of implementing the Global Objectives. AUSTRALIA urged the development of a different conceptual framework, and stressed the need for communication between global and regional processes. MALAYSIA and others emphasized the importance of new and additional funding for SFM. The US supported the bold approach taken by the background papers, but noted that official development assistance alone will be insufficient to implement the Global Objectives and highlighted the importance of engaging the private sector. NEW ZEALAND cautioned against opening previously negotiated issues, and noted that regional inputs should play a vital role. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION emphasized the need to link forests and climate change in the MYPOW. INDONESIA, on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), recalled the importance of forests in development, the key role of regional inputs to UNFF and the need to enhance market access for certified products. KENYA requested that the contribution of UNFF to ECOSOC and CSD be examined.
Working Group 1: Co-Chair Paul Lolo, Nigeria, emphasized the importance of Working Group 1 (WG1) discussions on ï¿½Themes of UNFF Biennial Meetingsï¿½, and encouraged participants to exchange ideas. INDONESIA, MOROCCO and the PHILIPPINES proposed that the discussion papers presented in the morning plenary should provide a strong basis for discussions. BRAZIL, supported by the UK, GHANA, and NEW ZEALAND, said that it was important to look at the structure of the meetings under which the themes are being addressed. The US, supported by others, said that WG1 should aim to compile a list of major themes to be discussed at UNFF-7 given the differing priorities of members. BRAZIL said that by achieving the four Global Objectives, other goals could be met and UNFF would gain credibility. The UK and SWITZERLAND said that focusing on the four Global Objectives would not attract enough interest. GERMANY noted that participantsï¿½ views were along the same lines, and encouraged participants to see how these ideas for themes can be logically interlinked. Co-chair Bartlett, Australia, thanked participants for their inputs and called on them to continue discussing ideas prior to the next session.
Working Group 2: Ingwald Gschwandtl, Austria, Co-chair of Working Group 2 on ï¿½Modalitiesï¿½, introduced the discussion and explained the purpose was to discuss the ways to organize the various components of the UNFF process, including the intersessional periods, the 2011 International Year of Forests, potential high-level segments, stakeholder engagement, the regional dimension and linkages to other processes. Co-chair Gschwandtl urged participants to focus on lessons learned from the previous period and the five key discussion points compiled by the Secretariat, on: improving the effectiveness of working modalities for future UNFF sessions; improving the effectiveness of stakeholder contributions; using the MYPOW to facilitate the implementation of the NLBI; addressing the reporting requirements of the UNFF Secretariat and member states; and monitoring and review of MYPOW implementation.
Co-chair Datoï¿½ Mokhtar Mat Isa, Malaysia, opened the discussion and participants focused on the Secretariatï¿½s MYPOW paper. Numerous participants cautioned against the intersessional meetings becoming UNFF sessions and highlighted the need to focus on the regional element. Others stressed the need to reconsider and strengthen methods of stakeholder participation.
Working Group 3: Jose Doig, Peru, Co-chair of Working Group 3 (WG3) on the ï¿½Regional and Sub-regional Dimensionï¿½, noted that the purpose of the working group was to link ongoing regional work with the UNFF. WG3 Co-chair Peter Mayer, International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), noted the opportunity of the exchange in WG3 given the common principles underlying the diversity in regional experiences. It was agreed to base discussions on: the existing regional mechanisms and how can they cooperate to provide input to the UNFF; the objectives of regional meetings and their links with MYPOW; and how best to provide input from the regions to UNFF.
AUSTRALIA, BANGLADESH, BENIN, COSTA RICA, EGYPT, FRANCE, GABON, JAPAN, NEPAL, NORWAY, PAKISTAN, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, SOUTH AFRICA, the FAO and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization shared information on the processes in their regions. COSTA RICA emphasized that national budget allocation was a crucial constraint to implementation of forest strategies. IRAN cited the example of the RAMSAR Wetlands Convention to strengthen regional processes. The US noted the importance of addressing SFM at the grassroots level. KENYA noted the importance of regional coordination on trade-related forestry issues.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Following the warm opening sounds of the Balinese gong, participants were quick to engage in discussion based on three background discussion papers. One delegate enthusiastically commented that the CIFOR background paper contained ï¿½the best analysis of the UNFF process in the past five yearsï¿½. An upbeat morning plenary set the stage for a constructive substantive dialogue, unencumbered by pressure to arrive at a negotiated outcome. Many delegates praised the leadership of the Secretariat in providing well defined discussion points for the working groups. Time will tell whether these positive developments will translate into action-oriented and concise outcomes able to be incorporated into UNFF-7 discussions.