Report of main proceedings for 14 March 1996

2nd Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests of the Commission on Sustainable Development

Delegates completed consideration of financial assistance and technology transferduring the morning of the fourth day of the second session of the Intergovernmental Panelon Forests. By the end of the day, they had also finished discussion of programmeelement III.1(a), assessment of the multiple benefits of all types of forests.


FRIENDS OF THE EARTH said improving efficiency in spending entails reducingadministrative costs, not increasing conditionality. He voiced concern over tradabledevelopment rights and the report’s omission of a recent multilateral pilot programme forBrazilian rainforests. MEXICO noted that proposed innovative mechanisms concentrateon conservation rather than development. She expressed concern about mechanisms thatplace responsibility on developing countries.

ZIMBABWE cautioned against blanket statements regarding the private sector. Forestproductivity in dry areas is often too low to attract investment. He also emphasized:socially and environmentally oriented ODA goals; technology development; andextension agencies. He did not support proposals on debt swaps and national forestryfunds. NEW ZEALAND supported innovative financial mechanisms, but noted they raisedifficult questions and are under consideration in other fora. She welcomed the emphasison the private sector and said national forestry funds were a national-level decision.

INDIA said the emphasis on mobilizing domestic resources complicates the report andreiterated commitments made in the Forest Principles. Despite donor statements, ODA inabsolute terms has decreased. He said new donor policies require changes by recipientsand private investment leads to more jobs but defeats forest policy.

GABON said many African countries may not be able to mobilize domestic funds due toa current lack of public investment and that UNCED has been unsuccessful in projectingfuture financial needs. He supported concerns that private investment may not be aneffective means of attaining long-term sustainability. PAPUA NEW GUINEA announcedthat its provincial forest plans have been completed. He highlighted the need to establishnew mechanisms to increase domestic and ODA funding. BRAZIL noted the crucial roleof the private sector in financing and technology transfer. He called for compliance withUNCED’s mandate to develop new and additional financial resources and encouragedNGO participation in data gathering and fund raising. He supported debt-for-nature swapsbut not debt-for-policy; consideration of tradable emission permits in context of theFCCC; and, as supported by CHINA, partnerships and joint ventures between donor andrecipient countries provided they comport with the host country’s sovereign rights.

CANADA said recommendations for capacity building need further elaboration. Hesupported Brazil on acknowledging national sovereignty in international partnershipagreements. Agenda 21 should serve as the template for technology transfer. GERMANYnoted that: national finance arrangements, in Agenda 21, should reflect the actual qualityand quantity of forests; an intersectoral approach to financing is essential; institutionalshortcomings should be addressed; cooperative agreements formed at the national level;and the constructive role of NGOs.

FINLAND said it is alarming that deforestation, overutilization, loss of biodiversity andproblems in other sectors result from disinvestment. National funds should be analyzedfor efficiency and effectiveness. DENMARK said all instruments should be improved tocomplement each other. Public funds, domestic or ODA, must create an enablingframework for private resources, that cannot be expected to promote sustainabledevelopment. ALGERIA said UNCED commitments can only be achieved throughstrengthening capacity and financial resources for an international body involved in SFM.

The UKRAINE called for: internal fundraising and forest fund creation; economic reformthat promotes ecological criteria and sustainable principles in SFM; and internationalsupport for self sufficiency for economies in transition. The ALLIANCE OFINDIGENOUS AND TRIBAL PEOPLES OF THE TROPICAL RAINFOREST said theCBD’s protection of indigenous knowledge and practices will only be realized ifindigenous people are the subject of plans as well as the object. Recognizing indigenousgroups’ rights within their territories would permit them to cooperate to protect remainingnatural forests. FUNDACION NATURA said debt-for-development proposals cannotinterfere with national sovereignty. Tradable emissions should not work only in favor ofdeveloped countries. UGANDA said IPF should highlight the responsibility of recipients,whose structural problems, including revenue collection and accountability, must beameliorated before they ask for assistance.

PERU highlighted “reciprocal” South-South development cooperation, and questionedhow to continue initiatives like the Amazonian Cooperation Treaty without political will.CHILE underlined North-South and South-South technical cooperation, highlighting“triangular” cooperation involving a developing country funded by an internationalagency to share information with another developing country. ARGENTINA suggestedthat development banks should concentrate on forests and highlighted sovereignty vis-a-vis carbon offsets and tradable emissions permits, stating that the FCCC is theproper framework for discussion.

ECUADOR called for a forum at IPF on demands placed on countries as a result of newroles in world relations.


Jean Clement, the Task Manager for FAO, introduced the Secretary General’s Report onprogramme element III.1(a) (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/6), which describes: the users of forestresources information; FAO’s forest resources assessment; gaps in forest information;and approaches and lessons learned and future trends.

The EU encouraged information production, processing and interpretation to benefitplanners at different levels. He supported the global forest assessment and noted the needto address local impacts of national policies. SWEDEN called for improvement of theglobal forest assessment process, considering: forest degradation; assistance in nationalcapacity building; and information to develop SFM plans. TANZANIA highlightednational databases and a regional data bank for assessing forest area and resources. Datashould reflect macro-economic conditions.

CANADA stressed: conducting national forest assessments best suited to national needsand available resources; increased national capacity building; addressing views of allstakeholders; and more frequent global forest assessments. The G-77/CHINA noted theneed to expand the base of institutions consulted in assessment processes and encouragedSouth-South cooperation. Transparency in the process is important to prevent bias.JAPAN supported enhanced capacity building and institutional development, pledgingUS$150 million to the FAO for this, and suggested harmonization of national datacollection methods.

NEW ZEALAND called for increased institutional capacity and internationalcoordination efforts to collect global data to reflect changes in forest cover, woodproduction and carbon absorption levels. NORWAY and GERMANY commented on theneed to improve comparability of information on national inventories. Norway alsohighlighted local and regional utilization in forest assessments. The US agreed with manypriorities in the report, including continued resource assessments and harmonizationefforts. He supported expanded Forest Resource Assessment, but noted the need for cost-benefit analyses.

GERMANY called for making use of existing assessment data, and an overview ofinstitutions in this field. He noted the Swiss/Peruvian initiative and highlightedGermany’s activities. SWITZERLAND said that assessments should focus on feasibility,usefulness and prioritization of elements, and supported: developing local capacity forinterpreting inventories; the report’s priorities; and its issues for consideration.AUSTRALIA emphasized the importance of capacity building, but noted that conceptssuch as biodiversity are hard to inventory. He called for clarification of definitions andnoted Australia’s forthcoming forest report.

IRAN stated that capacity building must be a high priority and called for nationalmechanisms to improve the information capabilities of developing countries. Heemphasized the importance of further research on forest inventory techniques andintegration of indicators for SFM. MALAYSIA recognized the need to harmonizestandards for reporting. Future assessments should include measures of carbon storageand forest health. Indicators should be simple and practical to use. The REPUBLIC OFKOREA supported proposals on capacity building and stressed the need for standardizeddata.

FUNDACION PERUANA PARA LA CONSERVACION DE LA NATURALEZAemphasized: increased use of ground-truthing; enhanced information access; NGOs andlocal communities as resources; forest authenticity; soil and biodiversity conservation;and transparent and effective partnerships. POLAND stated that nonlinear forestmethodologies have created a new scientific base for SFM and that unbiased data isnecessary for management decisions. The CENTER FOR INTERNATIONALFORESTRY RESEARCH noted that evaluating NTFPs, biodiversity, and environmentalservices require broad assessments, and that investment in forestry research as apercentage of income is lower than in agriculture.

AUSTRIA noted that cost-efficient forest assessments should incorporate social andenvironmental data, and should avoid duplication. KENYA highlighted accurateinformation for forest management, including development of C&I, and capacity buildingto coordinate forest, social and environmental assessments. FINLAND highlightedresource assessments for forest management and respect for national needs whengathering data. He emphasized: coordination; identifying information users; informationdissemination; and including non-forest information with assessments.

GABON questioned whether finance and technology transfer implies a partnership formutually advantageous exchange. He called upon IPF-2 to define the rules ofinternational cooperation. The UK stated that assessing social, economic, cultural andenvironmental benefits is necessary for land use decisions and that global assessmentshave limited value for national planners. He supported a study on charging fees forinformation.

The NETHERLANDS suggested investing in capacity building. FAO should monitorbiodiversity of forests, health conditions, biomass, and forest product and is the logicalagency to implement the assessment.

ZIMBABWE acknowledged progress in assessment and capacity in developing countries.He supported research in monitoring methods but said harmonizing terminology andclassification could lose key details. FAO said it verifies data. The UN budget crisis willaffect FAO’s forestry department, but the amount given to forest resource assessment willincrease. Suggestions for new assessment elements are of interest but would presentproblems in methodology, data consistency and financial resources.

FRANCE urged increased forest assessment when fundamental information isunavailable. It is important to collect and update data to identify trends. COLOMBIA saidall necessary technology is in Northern nations. Access to and costs of computertechnology present problems, therefore technical assistance and mobilization of funds areneeded. INDIA said SFM indicators have not been identified. A wide range ofinformation is needed for National Forestry Action Plans and assessments. FAO shouldorganize regional workshops to improve country staff expertise.

BRAZIL said assessments should account for multiple benefits, such as non-woodproducts, and should emphasize information on economic and social variables. The reportshould include a table on temperate and boreal forests. ARGENTINA stressed the lack ofdata on forest benefits and requested information on the integration of forest ecosystems.Assessments require international financial support and information exchange, and shouldreflect social and economic information. CHINA said the quality of capacity building andforest assessment should be emphasized. Priorities should include internationalcooperation on technology and shared information.


Participants at IPF-2 generally agreed that delegates restrained themselves in definingpositions during finance and technology transfer discussions. Some thought countrieswould continue to hold back until the IPF work programme and objectives are betterdefined. Some observers interpreted the restraint on financial issues as a reflection onsome countries’ weak commitment to SFM. Others speculated the lack of specificproposals at this early stage of negotiations was more of a strategic move, that countrieswere waiting for others to reveal their positions first.


VALUATION OF FOREST BENEFITS: Delegates are expected to considerprogramme element III.1(b) methodologies for proper valuation of the multiple benefitsof forests in both morning and afternoon sessions.

Further information