Report of main proceedings for 18 April 2013
10th Session of the UNFF
UNFF10 continued on Thursday, 18 April. In the morning, following informal group consultations, delegates in WGI continued the second reading of the revised draft text. Delegates in WGII reconvened in informal groups throughout the morning, addressing the AHEG process and MoI for SFM.
In the afternoon, WGI reconvened for the third reading of the revised draft text. WGII met briefly for an update from the informal groups, followed by a resumption of discussions in the informal groups. In the evening, a brief stocktaking plenary convened to assess progress of the WGs. The work of both WGs continued late into the night.
WORKING GROUP I
WGI reconvened on Thursday morning to consider the outcomes from the informal group consultations. Throughout the day, WGI agreed ad referendum on paragraphs, inter alia: recognizing challenges to SFM (PP9 bis); welcoming efforts by regional and subregional processes to provide input to the Forum (OP Pre2 bis); continuing and strengthening activities of Major Groups and recognizing the importance of indigenous peoples and local communities (OP13a); enhancing the role of forests and SFM in sustainable development (OP2 quart); and integrating SFM in national development strategies (OP1b).
Christoph Dürr (Switzerland), facilitator of the informal group, presented proposed text drafted by the informal group on: forests’ inclusion in post-2015 development agenda and policies and strategies to reduce the risk and impacts of natural disasters and extreme climate conditions (PP9 bis); regional and subregional inputs (OP2 ter bis); CPF member assistance in harmonizing ongoing initiatives on forest valuation (OP5); and the UNFF Secretariat’s effectiveness in engaging Major Groups (OP13a).
Kenya, for the G-77/CHINA, emphasized that some of the concessions had been made by individual countries and that the G-77/CHINA required additional time for further consideration of new text and suggested amendments.
Upon resumption, the G-77/CHINA reported back and proposed amendments on policies to reduce the risk and impacts of natural disasters and the adverse effects of climate change (OP1g).
The US, supported by the EU, proposed to “invite” rather than “call on” the Secretariat to collaborate on issues related to SFM (OP2 ter bis). The G-77/CHINA requested time to consult.
The G-77/CHINA objected to merging text inviting CPF member organizations to assist countries in valuation of non-market forest products and services (OP4, 4 alt 1 and 4 bis), cautioning that the merged text undermines the prior emphasis on non-market values. They preferred maintaining reference to forest “products and services” rather than “goods and services” to enhance ongoing initiatives to recognize and account for the range of forest values (OP5). Delegates agreed to delete all alternate texts for this item (OP5 alt 1 and alt 2).
WGI reconvened in the afternoon. WGI Co-Chair Shulamit Davidovich introduced language that was agreed upon in WGII (WGII OP1 ter and OP2) on the post-2015 development agenda, for integration into the pending WGI text.
The G-77/CHINA accepted replacing the preambular paragraph (PP9) regarding reference to the UN development agenda beyond 2015. The US, supported by the EU, NEW ZEALAND, MEXICO and TURKEY, proposed inserting this text in the section on enhanced cooperation (OP13d). The EU further proposed that the WGII language (WGII OP2) on the UN development agenda beyond 2015 accounting for the role of forests be moved to the WGI section on forests and economic development. NEW ZEALAND emphasized the agreement on accepting the text from WGII without amendments, and suggested sending the G-77/CHINA’s proposal urging UN support for Member States in intergovernmental processes to WGII. The text remained bracketed.
On contributions of forests to national and local economies (OP1a alt), Indonesia, for the G-77/CHINA, called for, and SWITZERLAND opposed, considering both market and non-market values. The G-77/CHINA retained reference to “products” not “goods.” Delegates agreed to delete alternate text on establishing data collection, analysis and reporting non-market approaches (OP1a alt 2), and debated including market-based approaches (OP1a alt 2 bis). Co-Chair Davidovich requested this paragraph be discussed by the informal group.
On creating, strengthening and implementing policies and strategies to promote SFM (OP1c), the G-77/CHINA and SWITZERLAND, opposed by the EU, suggested deleting reference to “landscape.” The item was deferred to the informal group. Text on promoting SFM and the role of forests in economic development (OP1c alt and 1c bis) were also deferred to the informal group.
On enabling environments for investments in SFM (OP1d), delegates agreed to: replace “environments” with “conditions”; and delete “sustainable” when referring to private sector investments. The G-77/CHINA, opposed by the EU, called for deleting “bio-based products” when referencing opportunities for employment. Co-Chair Davidovich deferred the matter to the informal group.
On establishing and strengthening legal frameworks to realize forests’ potential (OP1e), the EU proposed, and the G-77/CHINA objected to, deleting reference to “indigenous peoples and local communities,” preferring reference to “indigenous and local communities” instead. The item was deferred to the informal group.
The G-77/CHINA suggested deleting additional text promoting economic opportunities and gender equality strategies, saying it is included in a preambular paragraph (PP7). The EU and the US stressed that it required emphasis and should be in an operative paragraph, but conceded to its placement under legal frameworks for forests’ potential (OP1e). SWITZERLAND proposed adding “with a view of promoting international trade in forest products.” The issue was deferred to the informal group.
Delegates agreed to text on promoting public and private investments, including through developing positive incentives (OP1f), deliberating on: recognizing forests’ contribution to sustainable development and poverty eradication; and balancing emphasis on locally-managed forests.
WORKING GROUP II
During the afternoon, WGII Co-Chair Srećko Juričić moderated the session. AHEG informal group co-facilitator Alan Reid updated the WG on the progress of the informal group on the AHEG, reporting that the group had completed its work and produced text that could form part of the final resolution. MoI informal group facilitator Charles Barber (US), reporting on progress of the informal group, stated that the group has produced clean text on some of the contentious issues, but requires more time on some outstanding issues, such as the paragraphs relating to the GEF.
Co-Chair Juričić adjourned the meeting to allow the MoI informal group to continue its consultations.
UNFF10 Chair Mario Ruales Carranza opened the meeting, inviting the Co-Chairs of the Working Groups to provide updates on the progress of work in their groups. WGI Co-Chair Davidovich reported that WGI has agreed ad referendum on eight paragraphs and is close to agreement on other paragraphs, with the intention of concluding tonight.
WGII Co-Chair Juričić reported that the informal group on the review of the IAF concluded its work, and that the informal group on MoI made progress on many pending issues, and intends to continue its work after the plenary. He requested permission for WGII to continue its work until 12:00am.
UNFF10 Chair Carranza adjourned the plenary, urging all delegates to redouble their efforts to reach consensus on the draft resolutions.
MOI: In the informal group, delegates discussed text on MoI, including actions at the national (OP13) and international level (OP21). On national actions, delegates considered text on promoting the development of market- and non-market-based approaches for SFM. On international actions, they considered the role of the GEF in providing SFM financing, as well as the creation of a global forest fund.
There was broad agreement on increasing the GEF’s role in SFM financing, with many delegates advocating for the GEF to establish a new focal area for forests and increase the allocation of funds for SFM in future replenishments. Some delegates noted that as the GEF is not a financial mechanism of the UNFF, the Forum should not “call upon” the GEF to undertake tasks.
On establishing a global forest fund, delegates recognized that their current positions are at opposite spectrums, with some delegations for and others against its establishment. Some preferred calling for establishing a fund immediately, with the modalities to be finalized at a later date, while others urged waiting for the results of the 2015 review of the IAF before considering establishing such a fund. The informal group agreed to refer this issue back to the Co-Chairs.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Thursday morning negotiations greeted tired delegates like a much-needed Turkish coffee, a strong and small serving of negotiations, yet a bit heavy with the sediment of unresolved issues. The WGs met intermittently throughout the day to receive updates from the informal groups, following which delegates were dismissed to continue work on sweetening the bitterness of unresolved text.
Although there was a long list of issues that remained contentious, such as the creation of a global forest fund, one of the issues that delegates could be heard discussing was an over-reliance on old text and decisions. They noted that this, along with calls for more reports and studies, does not bode well for increased action, and thus accountability and governance, within the UNFF and its Member States. Some crestfallen delegates commented that this practice is becoming ever more pervasive.
Other delegates were heard emphasizing the importance of the 2015 review of the IAF as it will be the only means of knowing “what is working, what is faulty, and if a legally-binding instrument can assist in unlocking bottlenecks.” One delegate bemoaned that, should the roadmap for the review be badly planned, combined with a lack of action and accountability, the IAF could be left in a precarious position.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of UNFF10 will be available on Monday, 22 April 2013 online at: http://enb.iisd.org/forestry/unff/unff10/