Report of main proceedings for 15 April 2013
10th Session of the UNFF
UNFF10 continued on Monday, 15 April. Working Group I (WGI) met throughout the day to discuss the zero draft of the decision text on: forests and economic development; assessment of progress made on the implementation of the Forest Instrument towards the achievement of the four GOFs; regional and subregional inputs; and enhanced cooperation on policy and programme coordination, including the provision of further guidance to the CPF. Working Group II (WGII) discussed the zero draft of the decision text on emerging issues and MoI on SFM.
WGI: On Monday morning, UNFF10 Vice-Chair and WGI Co-Chair Anna Masinja introduced the zero draft of the decision on forests and economic development.
During general comments, Indonesia, for the G-77/CHINA, said the private sector’s role should be complementary, rather than a substitute for governments’ obligation to implement SFM. She called for addressing the existing funding gap, particularly for implementation of the Forest Instrument.
Ireland, for the EU, said the text must be cognizant of items being addressed by WGII. Bolivia lamented the “one-size-fits-all” model of commodification, and stressed SFM cannot ignore the role of governments, or of collective action by indigenous peoples and local communities.
The US called for stronger language on individual landscape approaches, urban forests and the contribution of forests, including linkages with other sectors and to sustainable development. The Democratic Republic of the Congo called for coordinating SFM reporting mechanisms and stressed enhanced donor cooperation to avoid duplication of project funding.
ARGENTINA questioned the scope and use of the term “national accounting systems” in reference to valuation of the social and economic benefits of forests.
TURKEY urged emphasizing monitoring and evaluation of SFM initiatives and including stronger language linking SFM and land-use management. BRAZIL called for increasing focus on financing, capacity building and technology transfer for implementation of the Forest Instrument. LESOTHO underscored enhanced cooperation in short- and long-term training programmes for forestry, land management, water harvesting and information management.
During the first reading of the operational paragraphs (OP) in the afternoon, on improving data collection and reporting (OP1a), the US proposed language on valuing the contribution of forests to other sectors. ARGENTINA said the broad language on valuation increases subjectivity. BOLIVIA stressed that valuation includes, inter alia, the contribution to food and water, and accounts for different approaches and tools, in accordance with national legislation. The EU suggested recognizing the cash and non-cash contributions of forests. Kenya, for the G-77/CHINA, requested reverting to the original text pending further consultations.
On integrating SFM in national development strategies (OP1b), the EU proposed deleting utilizing the Forest Instrument to identify collaborative and integrated approaches to land management. The US introduced text (OP1b bis) on supporting economic development strategies that, inter alia, avoid forest degradation.
On creating, strengthening and implementing strategies for SFM (OP1c), the G-77/CHINA, suggested adding “holistic, balanced, comprehensive and coherent policies.”
The US suggested (OP1c alt) elaborating the landscape approach as an integrated approach for SFM.
The EU preferred, and SWITZERLAND supported (OP1c bis), “recognizing the role that forest ecosystems play in economic development.”
On strengthening enabling environments to attract private sector investment (OP1d), the G-77/CHINA suggested enhancing the role and participation of indigenous peoples and local communities.
On legal frameworks contributing to economic development (OP1e), the G-77/CHINA proposed establishing and strengthening frameworks and governance. The EU called for (OP1e bis) promoting gender equality.
On investments (OP1f), the EU called for promoting public and private investment, in particular for small holders and (OP1f bis) integrating urban forests into urban planning.
On integrating strategies (OP1g), the G-77/CHINA included comprehensive, balanced and coherent policies. SWITZERLAND suggested financial mechanisms to reduce the risks and impacts of natural disasters and climatic events.
The EU suggested moving preambular paragraphs (PP) to the operational text, on inter alia: progress in implementing the Forest Instrument; collaborative activities with the CPF; and the benefits of forests to sustainable development.
On the positive contribution of forests to economic growth (PP7), the EU, US, G-77/CHINA and TURKEY provided additions to the contributions of forests to economic growth.
On the benefits of forests, trees outside forests and SFM (PP8), the EU called for reference to “multiple benefits” and the G-77/CHINA urged including cultural benefits.
WGII: Emerging Issues: On Monday morning, UNFF10 Vice-Chair and WGII Co-Chair Saiful Azam Martinus Abdullah introduced the zero draft.
Ghana, for the G-77/CHINA, with the EU, US, JAPAN, BRAZIL, SWITZERLAND, CUBA, NEW ZEALAND, GUINEA, INDONESIA and CHINA, urged clarifying the mandate of the AHEG. BRAZIL, with CUBA and GUINEA, supported holding two meetings. SWITZERLAND noted that clearly defining the scope of the review process will enable the AHEG to make informed decisions.
The G-77/CHINA, opposed by the EU, US, JAPAN, CANADA and NEW ZEALAND, proposed establishing a global forest fund and a GEF focal area on forests. TURKEY supported establishing a global forest fund. The US, supported by JAPAN, called instead for stronger language on the GEF’s focus on forests. Senegal, for the AFRICAN GROUP, supported establishing regional forest funds.
The EU, US and NEW ZEALAND highlighted strengthening language on domestic and private financing, and on forest governance and enabling environments. BRAZIL, SOUTH AFRICA and others said the UNFF, as an international forum, should focus on government responsibility.
The G-77/CHINA noted lack of reference to the common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) principle, highlighting that support should flow from “North to South.” The EU called for a balanced reflection of all the Rio Principles.
CAMEROON, with the US, urged supporting regional forestry groups or commissions. JAMAICA stressed special consideration of SIDS in SFM financing and supported holding UNFF11 in New York. The AFRICAN GROUP called for stronger language on supporting LFCCs, and, with NEW ZEALAND, on local, national and regional actions. NGOs, for the MAJOR GROUPS, called on Member States to adopt a clear roadmap to a financial mechanism for implementing SFM.
During the first reading of the text on emerging issues (EI), the G-77/CHINA requested a footnote clarifying the themes and subthemes of UNFF11, and for elaborating text on the interconnections of the post-2015 development agenda, Rio+20 follow-up and UNFF11 themes.
On the role of forests in achieving sustainable development (EI OP1), the US proposed text ensuring that UNFF10 conveys to ongoing processes that “failures to better conserve and sustainably manage forests may put at risk the achievement of other internationally agreed development goals.” The EU urged emphasizing the role of SFM in achieving MDGs.
New Zealand provided additional text requesting the UNFF Secretariat to promote messages on the importance of forests in the achievement of internationally agreed development goals in the post-2015 development agenda and discussions on the Rio+20 outcomes.
On establishing an open-ended intergovernmental AHEG (EI OP3), the G-77/CHINA proposed an alternate paragraph to clarify the mandate of the AHEG. The EU cautioned against establishing an AHEG that is both open-ended and intergovernmental, as the mandate of the AHEG will determine its form.
Cautioning that the concepts relating to the 2015 review process and the post-2015 development agenda are being mixed up, Switzerland proposed a new paragraph elucidating the 2015 review process (EI OP4).
On the frequency of AHEG meetings (EI OP5), the US, with JAPAN, favored text calling for the AHEG to meet “at least once,” citing possible budgetary constraints.
On submission of views on options for the future IAF (EI OP6), the G-77/CHINA suggested the Secretariat prepare a full evaluation of the current IAF, including the gaps, and the EU proposed specifying requesting views on the IAF’s effectiveness and efficiency.
On providing support to the Forum Trust Fund (EI OP9), JAPAN suggested noting that support is voluntary and the US proposed replacing “ensure the full participation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition” to “support the participation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.” The EU proposed prioritizing LDCs, and requesting the Secretariat to prioritize the coverage of economy class tickets, daily subsistence allowance and terminal expenses, and report on this at UNFF11. The G-77/CHINA preferred retaining the original text.
MoI: On approaches to forest financing (MoI OP2), the G-77/CHINA proposed reference to the CBDR principle, the US preferred language from the Rio+20 outcome document, and the EU proposed text clarifying that financing for SFM should continue to come from a range of complementary sources.
On actions to be taken by Member States and other relevant stakeholders, delegates discussed forest financing paragraphs (MoI OP3), including on creating enabling conditions, devoting adequate resources to address gaps and strengthening cooperation. The G-77/CHINA asked for clarity on actors providing adequate resources. The EU requested insertion of “efficient use of forest financing.”
On national actions to be undertaken (MoI OP4), the US, with the EU, called for stronger language on involving stakeholders in including forests into national plans and policies. The G-77/CHINA suggested text allowing action to be taken in accordance with national circumstances and capacities. SWITZERLAND, supported by the US, proposed alternate paragraphs calling on Member States to provide data for financing and developing national strategies for SFM.
On regional actions (MoI OP5), SWITZERLAND and the G-77/CHINA proposed text expanding on the nature, approach and purpose of support for regional and subregional organizations.
On actions at the international level, (MoI OP6-OP9), the US suggested clarifying that financial mechanisms should improve access to funds “in line with their mandates,” and JAPAN and the US proposed deleting the text inviting the GEF to establish a new focal area on forests. JAPAN called for clarity on the budgetary implications of donors providing resources to the facilitative process.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Following a break over the weekend, during which delegates had a chance to enjoy activities such as the Bosphorus Cruise organized by the Turkish Government, Working Groups reconvened to tackle a first reading of the draft decisions. Having had a weekend within which to coordinate their positions, negotiations were off to a good start as many delegations underscored a general convergence on the broader issues. However, as they started to delve deeper into the text, it became clear that many issues remain fractious.
While delegates worked to try to complete the first readings, several interventions led to including text such as “in accordance with national priorities” to take into account regional and national differences. Often, this was accompanied by a number of breaks for urgent consultations to try and resolve differing opinions. What remains to be seen is if this tactic will be enough to ensure an efficient, timely conclusion to UNFF10. As one delegate could be heard saying, “in order for there to be consensus, delegates will have to start establishing what their priorities are.”