Report of main proceedings for 18 March 1996

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

Delegates completed consideration of programme element I.1, national forest and land-useplans, as well as programme element I.3, traditional forest-related knowledge, to beginweek two of the second session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests. In theafternoon, they began discussion of programme element IV, trade and environment inrelation to forest products and services.


The G-77/CHINA stated that the historical context of planning in developing countriesmust be considered. He emphasized the need for capacity building, technology transferand international cooperation. AUSTRALIA said national forest plans should entailecologically sustainable management principles and participatory processes that recognizethe conflicts between stakeholders. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for increasedpublic participation and noted that planning processes may differ depending on ownershipof land and socioeconomic conditions.

FRANCE called for an expanded discussion of planning processes, increased publicparticipation and cooperation among all sectors. FINLAND stated that national plansshould apply economic and social incentives and be created through a decentralizedprocess. He noted the usefulness of forest inventories. IRAN recognized the need to plandifferently for different types of forests.

COLOMBIA urged the IPF to consider planning methods other than those related toforestry and creative planning and funding mechanisms such as partnerships withdeveloping countries. JAPAN called for international coordination to curb theproliferation of planning frameworks and prioritization of the planning processes ofdeveloping countries as a means of garnering assistance. ECUADOR urged that strategiesbe implemented and the coordination of funding mechanisms be improved, particularlywith regard to forestry partnership agreements.

The NETHERLANDS called for clarification of forest versus forestry planning, and howbiodiversity relates to both. Ecosystem and multi-sectoral approaches to planning areessential. BRAZIL stated that centralized planning has been inadequate, and called forintersectoral communication and consideration of the international market context innational planning. PAPUA NEW GUINEA called for a glossary of terms, and stated thattop-down leadership provided by national governments may be necessary. INDIAunderscored decentralized planning, and emphasized the participation of localcommunities, especially women.

GABON highlighted the sovereignty of states in managing resources, and underscored theuse of local experts. ARGENTINA described national policy reform for forest plantationsand native forests, supported by a national forest inventory. He emphasized theimportance of indicators. SWITZERLAND stated that national forestry programmesmust: serve as guidelines; incorporate central policies; and be participatory and binding.

MEXICO stated that sectoral planning is essential, especially relating to land-use, soildegradation, socioeconomics, and finance and technology transfer. FRIENDS OF THEEARTH suggested that: sustainable traditional land-use schemes should be recognized;land be set aside for its conservation value; those who remove forest cover should beliable for damages; and indigenous land rights should be recognized.


Anthony Gross introduced the Secretary General’s Report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/9)prepared by the CBD Secretariat. It encourages cooperation and communication betweenthe COP of the CBD and IPF in considering protection of traditional knowledge ofindigenous and local communities, and highlights conservation, sustainable use, andbenefits-sharing.

The G-77/CHINA said CBD discussions should not dictate the work of IPF, which shouldaddress the broader context of SFM. He referred to the Forest Principles and proposedtext on the relations between indigenous and local communities and forests’ biodiversityand on compensating traditional knowledge and practices. MALAYSIA said the textshould describe traditional knowledge in relation to SFM, not only to biodiversity, andshould note CBD’s competence regarding forest biodiversity rather than forests.

GHANA said IPF should identify ways to integrate traditional knowledge into forestmanagement practices and include incentives and compensation. COLOMBIA said IPFneeds methodologies to implement the rights of traditional peoples and procedures fortechnology transfer and resources for cooperation. BRAZIL said IPF should fosteranalysis through studies and promote the exchange of national experiences. He called for:technology transfer; joint ventures in biotechnology; conservation of endangeredecosystems; and enhancing the sharing of benefits of commercial use of traditionalknowledge.

ZIMBABWE said methodologies in use should be highlighted to draw on existingindigenous knowledge. TANZANIA said the document should develop strategies toprotect rights and benefits sharing and consider biodiversity buffer zones. WWFrecommended establishing intersessional consultations and a workshop on instruments forindigenous peoples’ rights in national legislation and their expression in an internationalinstrument.

The US said traditional knowledge may be more widely applied in forests of similarecosystems. IPF’s focus should be on use of traditional knowledge. IUCN emphasizedindigenous management systems, local land-use practices, indigenous land ownership andtraditional institutions. INDIA noted the potential for prospecting its natural wealth butstressed that indigenous knowledge should be recognized through benefit sharing regimes.

CANADA highlighted a national consultative exercise that will produce an input to IPF-3.IPF should focus on the use of indigenous knowledge, and leave its protection to otherfora. UGANDA said the report dwells on CBD and IPF but does not reflect the ForestPrinciples. He proposed a review of the report’s context and approaches andrecommended that IPF solicit intersessional initiatives on this topic.

NEW ZEALAND said IPF should not extend beyond forest related issues. She highlightedthe importance of developing methods for analysis of traditional knowledge andidentifying constituents, stakeholders, users and beneficiaries. The PHILIPPINES calledfor further discussion on guidelines for countries to develop their own sui generissystems and recalled a Forest Principles provision on indigenous people. Sheemphasized biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of resources and equitable sharingof benefits. GERMANY said local communities are often restricted from applying theirknowledge in its entirety and called for support in adapting their knowledge accordingly.KENYA said the international community should support documentation of the traditionalknowledge of local communities.


Mr. J.E.K. Aggrey-Orleans of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO)introduced the Secretary General’s Report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/11). The report discussestrade and environment including: cooperation to enhance trade in forest products andservices; developing methodologies for valuation and cost internalization; and voluntarycertification for linkage to SFM.

The G-77/CHINA emphasized the Forest Principles, including such issues as: technologytransfer; nondiscriminatory trade; reduction of tariff barriers; integrated conservation andeconomic policies; and unilateral trade restrictions. Timber certification schemes should bea consequence of SFM. He underlined biodiversity and value-adding technology,particularly biotechnology, in the context of SFM. The EU focused on: consistencybetween the WTO and trade in forest products for SFM; linkage with valuation and C&I;credible certification schemes which are cost-effective, transparent, fair, and voluntary;trade in NTFPs; domestic sales; and competing land uses. The US, supported by theREPUBLIC OF KOREA, stated that voluntary certification is a potentially useful tool forSFM, but that IPF must explore the issue, addressing: governance; the relation to nationallaws and policies; credibility of claims; involvement of stakeholders; and the availability offorest products. She also noted: protectionism; import and export restrictions; andvaluation of wood substitutes.

ARGENTINA said that IPF should analyze the environmental effects of distorting tradepractices, including tariff escalation schemes, and subsidies affecting the price ofagricultural products.

IRAN said measures should not put burdens on importing countries or create new barriersto trade. INDONESIA said IPF should assess how voluntary certification can promoteSFM and non-discriminatory trade in all types of forest products. Certification, notimposed unilaterally, and ecolabeling should be incentives to SFM. NEW ZEALAND said IPF should quantify impacts of tariff and non-tariff barriers and consider efficient andcompetitive forest industries. C&I could be a basis for cost internalization but should notbe seen as a “snake oil to cure all ailments.” Certification may not deliver SFM.

SWITZERLAND said analysis should concentrate on market access for forest products,trade-induced environmental impacts, cost internalization, and certification and labeling.MALAYSIA called for analysis including: impact of trade in all types of forest productson management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests;promoting a supportive economic climate; status, patterns and trends in forest productstrade; the case for liberalized trade; discrimination against tropical forest products;proliferation of timber certification initiatives; and certification of substitute products. TheREPUBLIC OF KOREA said the document overemphasizes tropical timber trade. Thenegative impact of tariff and non-tariff barriers should be studied.

MEXICO said consideration of market transparency should be expanded to cover all typeof forests. On certification, IPF must look at different standards for different ecosystemsand send appropriate signals to the marketplace. The report should make specificrecommendations. JAPAN stressed the need to address the differences between importersand exporters. Certification and labeling should be constructed to promote SFM byoffering appropriate incentives to producers. IPF should also address full costinternalization, transparent criteria, credibility of certifying organizations, cost-effectiveness and discrimination. COLOMBIA recalled a recent UNCTAD seminar, whichnoted that regulations often place developing countries at a disadvantage, and proposed astudy on preventing adverse impacts on forests products and their production. Voluntarycertification could become a barrier to markets, deny developing countries the right todevelopment and hasten deforestation. Local populations unable to place products on theinternational market may have to convert forests to other uses.

FRANCE cautioned against jeopardizing the quality and depth of analysis on issues suchas transparency and stated that concern for environmental degradation should not lead topromoting non-environmentally sound substitutes. GABON pointed out several difficultissues that should be considered at IPF-3 regarding competitiveness, economic efficiency,sustainability, long- and short-term values and capital markets. He cautioned against theidea that sustainable development requires negotiating environmental issues and leaving allelse to the market.

GERMANY supported voluntary certification programmes as a means of attaining SFMand increasing market access for products from sustainably managed forests.AUSTRALIA stressed the need to: identify and eliminate market barriers; assess costinternalization in the context of certification and labeling; consider the role of trade inrelation to forest services; and utilize the previous work of other internationalorganizations. CANADA said that trade issues were best handled within the WTO andthat links between trade and environmental services must be recognized. He called forgreater transparency in the process and underscored biodiversity and socioeconomicfactors as well as cost internalization.

The NETHERLANDS stressed voluntary certification programmes as a means ofpromoting SFM. Industrial sectors should take the lead in establishing certificationprogrammes with oversight by governments and NGOs. A proliferation of different labelsshould be avoided and methods of tracing timber should be employed. THE GLOBALFOREST POLICY PROJECT encouraged holistic consideration of trade issues and trademechanisms that ensure SFM. Certification can lead to SFM and cost internalization.BRAZIL stated that: tradable carbon emission permits should be tackled within thecontext of the FCCC; trade related to boreal and temperate forests, biodiversity andlesser-used species should be addressed; and tariff and non-tariff market barriers todeveloping countries should be reduced.


A number of delegates said the discussion of traditional knowledge reflects differinginterpretations of forest issues in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and theIPF. They suggested that the CBD is too limiting, stating that, while important,biodiversity encompasses only a subset of issues under consideration by the IPF. Forexample, some noted that indigenous issues extend beyond benefits sharing regimes andintellectual property rights to include customary use and forest management. Privately,some stated that IPF should send these messages to the CBD, and that the need to broadlyaddress similar issues could shape IPF’s consideration of institutions and instruments.


ISSUES FOR INITIAL CONSIDERATION: Delegates are expected to completediscussion of trade and environment and then consider programme element III.2, criteriaand indicators for SFM, and possibly V.1, International organizations and multilateralinstitutions and instruments, including appropriate legal mechanisms.

CO-CHAIR'S DRAFT CONCLUSIONS: Consideration of Co-chair’sconclusions will begin following conclusion of remaining agenda items.

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