Report of main proceedings for 17 April 2013
10th Session of the UNFF
UNFF10 continued on Wednesday, 17 April. In the morning, WGI convened for the second reading of the revised draft text. It then adjourned for further consultations by negotiating blocs and resumed during lunch. Under WGII, early morning informal consultations convened on the AHEG. The WG met for an update on these informal consultations, which continued thereafter.
In the afternoon, WGI continued the second reading of the revised draft text, while negotiating blocs continued simultaneous informal consultations. WGII commenced the second reading of the revised draft text, while a drafting group addressed the issue of the 2015 review of the IAF. Negotiations in both WGs continued late into the evening.
WORKING GROUP I
In the morning, WGI Co-Chair Anna Masinja introduced revised draft text. Delegates commenced the second reading of the operational paragraphs. Throughout the day, WGI agreed ad referendum on articles including: UNFF9 Ministerial Declaration on the launch of the International Year of Forests (PP2); UNGA resolution A/RES/61/193 (PP3); MYPOW and the overall themes of UNFF10 (PP6); benefits of forests, trees outside forests and SFM (PP8); and actions to address causes of deforestation and degradation (OP1b bis).
Ireland, for the EU, called for including green economy (OP1a), and suggested, with the US, deleting a preambular paragraph on the same topic.
The EU introduced alternate language on the contributions of forest goods and services to national economies, and the social, cultural and environmental impacts on rural and urban communities (OP1a alt).
On the EU’s additional text on promoting economic opportunities through gender equality as a strategy for strengthening governance and institutional frameworks (OP1e bis), Kenya, for the G-77/CHINA, called for, inter alia,review of forest-related legislation.
On mobilizing resources for forests and economic development (OP2 bis), the G-77/CHINA welcomed the efforts of regional and subregional processes, and invited the UNFF Secretariat to cooperate to host regional workshops on forest-related issues (OP2 ter).
WGI Co-Chair Shulamit Davidovich reconvened WGI during the lunch period for the second reading of the preambular paragraphs. On recalling forest principles (PP1), Indonesia, for the G-77/CHINA, called for including the Rio Principles, specifically CBDR, and SWITZERLAND, with the EU and the US, opposed singling out principles. WGI agreed to use “NLBI” in place of “Forest Instrument” throughout the text.
Delegates debated the best placement to acknowledge progress made on implementation of the NLBI (PP4). The US preferred the original text contained in the zero draft, the EU proposed moving the text to the operational paragraphs, and the G-77/CHINA requested amendments from the first reading to note the challenges in making progress.
Delegates agreed to revisit text on including forests in the post-2015 development agenda (PP9), once discussions are finalized by WGII. The G-77/CHINA questioned the rationale of the EU’s text on the challenge of urbanization (PP9 bis). The EU and the US underscored its relevance, agreeing to reformulate the text.
On developing communication tools on the contribution of forests to urban communities (OP13), the G-77/CHINA suggested, and the EU opposed, deleting reference to human wellbeing and urban communities. SWITZERLAND proposed, and delegates agreed, to reference “rural and urban communities.”
The G-77/CHINA supported the EU’s proposal to note the UNGA resolution A/RES/67/200 regarding the celebration of International Forest Day (OP14 alt), and with the EU, opposed by the US, deleting the role of the UNFF Secretariat in facilitating International Forest Day celebrations (OP15).
On enhanced cooperation (OP11), the US supported the EU proposal to delete specific reference to donor countries and the CPF organizations. The G-77/CHINA proposed a preamble to encourage sharing experiences, lessons learned and best practices regarding SFM.
On inviting CPF collaboration in streamlining reporting (OP12a), delegates debated concerns raised by NEW ZEALAND to avoid excluding processes and organizations such as the Montreal Process and ITTO.
On strengthening the UNFF Secretariat’s effectiveness to engage Major Groups (OP13a), delegates agreed to delete specific reference to business and industry. The G-77/CHINA called for specifying indigenous and local communities.
On continuing to foster synergies within CPF organizations (OP13b), the G-77/CHINA, the EU and TURKEY supported SWITZERLAND’s proposal to join text with other activities of the CPF (OP12).
WGI agreed to delete improving systematic collection, analysis and reporting of information (OP1a). On strengthening enabling environments (OP1d), the US noted that reference to stakeholders would be more appropriate elsewhere.
SWITZERLAND supported the development of gender equality strategies proposed by the EU (OP1e bis). On developing incentives for investing in SFM (OP1f), the US and the EU said the focus should remain on community forests and small holders.
On strategies by Member States to reduce the risk and impacts of natural disasters and extreme climatic events (OP1g), the G77/CHINA underscored, opposed by the EU, technical and financial cooperation mechanisms. Co-Chair Masinja called for resolution of language by representatives of these groups.
On mobilizing resources for forests and economic development (OP2), the EU proposed, and delegates accepted, liaising with WGII for guidance on finance discussions.
WORKING GROUP II
WG2 reconvened on Wednesday morning to hear an update from the informal group established to address paragraphs on the AHEG (OP3-8). Alan Reid (New Zealand), co-facilitator of the informal group, noted that text was drafted to reflect, inter alia, a proposal to establish an open-ended intergovernmental AHEG and an independent review of the IAF. He noted key issues to be addressed included reviewing: the past performance of the UNFF and its support structures, including CLIs; the NLBI and options for the future IAF; the NLBI in relation to other forest-related conventions; the UNFF Secretariat and its functions; activities of the CPF in addition to the individual activities of its members; MoI and the facilitative process; and the UNFF’s relation to the UN.
Reid requested additional time for the informal group to continue its work. WGII Co-Chair Saiful Azam Martinus Abdullah adjourned the meeting until the afternoon when the second reading of the revised draft text commenced.
In the afternoon, WG II Co-Chair Srećko Juričić moderated the session. Co-facilitator Reid stated that the informal group had formulated text on the AHEG, the independent review and the submission from countries and other stakeholders. He said the group is continuing its work on the details of the independent review and financing and funding.
The WG commenced the second reading of the revised draft text, starting from the operational paragraphs. The WG agreed ad referendum to the paragraph stressing the importance to food security, water, biodiversity, climate change, poverty alleviation and energy, of achieving the four GOFs and SFM (OP1 bis).
The WG agreed ad referendum to request the UNFF Secretariat and invite CPF members, to promote the message of forests’ importance in implementing the Rio+20 outcomes and post-2015 development agenda (OP1 ter).
On encouraging Member States to integrate SFM into their discussions of the Rio+20 outcomes and the post-2015 development agenda (OP2), the US proposed alternate language (OP2 alt). The WG agreed ad referendum to encourage Member States to fully integrate forests into the discussions on the Rio+20 outcomes and the post-2015 development agenda.
On acknowledging the inputs provided through the intersessional work undertaken by various bodies (OP10), the G-77/CHINA proposed deleting the reference to the “green economy” in CLIs’ work on “the role of forests in a green economy.” MOROCCO, supported by the G-77/CHINA and JAPAN, proposed referring to “related CLIs” and including the reference in the list of intersessional work.
In the evening, reporting back to WGII on the informal group, co-facilitator Reid noted the group had formulated text for a coherent flow of work for the review process. He highlighted that the text is considered aspirational, stressing that the review must remain independent and that funding constraints still exist.
The US, JAPAN and SWITZERLAND supported the EU proposal (OP10 bis), which notes a significant increase in ODA for SFM. The G-77/CHINA opposed, saying the increase is due to an increase in climate finance. The EU, supported by the US, proposed compromise text welcoming progress towards achieving the GOF on increasing resource mobilization.
The G-77/CHINA called for deleting text recognizing the evolution of forest financing (OP10 ter), noting he would accept the paragraph if the text was linked to establishing a global forest fund. The EU said that, given the G-77/CHINA’s proposal, the compromise text had been rejected and thus the language in OP10 bis must revert to the original proposal.
On addressing gaps in forest financing and increasing financing for the implementation of the Forest Instrument (OP12b), JAPAN proposed, and WGII agreed, to replace “Forest Instrument” with “NLBI.” The G-77/CHINA proposed, and WGII agreed ad referendum, to invite Member States and others to “provide enhanced resources to address” the gaps and to “increase financing for the implementation of the NLBI.”
AHEG: In the informal group, co-facilitated by Reid and Elise Haber (South Africa), delegates discussed text on emerging issues, in order to find a compromise on the IAF review process and a potential AHEG.
During the discussions, delegates highlighted including clearly-defined paragraphs on the IAF review process and the AHEG process. They emphasized that the text contained in the resolution will mandate the review and the AHEG, and provide a “skeleton” of the roadmap, noting that further detail and general timelines will be contained in an annex to the resolution.
Delegates cautioned against influencing the post-2015 development agenda process and referencing the number of AHEG meetings, before an agreement on this has been reached. They urged consideration of the methodology of the review process, and called for clear differentiation between the CPF and CPF member organizations within the “skeleton” and the annex.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Many delegations had an early start to the eighth day of UNFF10. Coordination meetings and informal groups were tasked with finding consensus before the WGs resumed their second reading of the revised draft resolutions. To some, it seemed that the pace of the working groups had taken on the characteristics of the local Istanbul tram, with many stops along the way for delegates to “get off and consult.”
Nevertheless, delegations persevered to reach the final stop, although it seemed they were losing passengers along the way. Overall, delegates seemed relatively satisfied that some progress had been made, as both WGs saw paragraphs being agreed ad referendum. Others felt, however, that on a number of issues, progress was rolling back. One delegate pointed out that many of the agreed paragraphs were “the low hanging fruits,” noting that agreement on the contentious issues had been deferred.