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Summary report, 11–22 March 1996

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

The Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) held its second session from 11-22 March, 1996 in Geneva. Delegates conducted their first substantive discussions of six programme elements: underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation; fragile ecosystems affected by desertification and the impact of air pollution on forests; needs and requirements of countries with low forest cover; international cooperation in financial assistance and technology transfer for sustainable forest management; assessment of the multiple benefits of all types of forests; and methodologies for proper valuation of the multiple benefits of forests. The substantive discussions were based on Secretary-General's reports prepared by the IPF Secretariat and UN agencies participating in the Interagency Task Force on forests.

Delegates also completed initial consideration of the remaining programme elements: progress through national forest and land use plans; traditional forest-related knowledge; criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management; trade and environment in relation to forest products and services; and international organizations and multilateral institutions and instruments, including appropriate legal mechanisms.

During the final two days of the meeting, delegates considered the Co-Chairs' summaries. They labeled these transitional in nature to signify that the summaries did not represent negotiated text. Delegates agreed to begin negotiations at IPF-3 on items that had received substantive consideration at this session, although another substantive discussion is scheduled on the programme element on financial assistance and technology transfer. Delegates left Geneva satisfied that they had expressed national positions on a range of forest issues, but somewhat frustrated that all of their positions were not reflected in the report of IPF-2.


The Economic and Social Council, in its decision 1995/226, endorsed the recommendation of the third session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) to establish an open-ended ad hoc Intergovernmental Panel on Forests to pursue consensus and coordinated proposals for action to support the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests. In pursuing its mandate, the IPF is focusing on 11 issues clustered into five interrelated categories and will submit final conclusions and policy recommendations to the CSD at its fifth session in 1997.

The IPF is considering the outputs of a large number of ongoing processes and initiatives and drawing upon the expertise and resources of relevant organizations within and outside the United Nations system, as well as from all relevant parties, including major groups. Meetings of experts sponsored by one or more countries, international organizations and major groups will contribute to the work of the IPF. The IPF will hold a total of four meetings and, at its first session, decided that all topics should be left open for discussion during its second and third sessions, but different topics will be emphasized at each session.

The first meeting of the IPF took place in New York from 11-15 September 1995. At this meeting, delegates elected Sir Martin Holdgate (UK) as Co-Chair from the developed countries and Mr. N.R. Krishnan (India) and Dr. Manuel Rodriguez (Colombia) as Co-Chairs from the G-77, with Krishnan serving as Co-Chair for the first two sessions and Rodriguez serving as Co-Chair for the final two sessions. Delegates also adopted the IPF programme of work and attempted to set the dates and venues of future meetings. Several of the issues that have typically divided North and South again proved difficult. Members of the G-77 were resistant to any proposal that could foreseeably lead to a loss of national control over forests and forest products. There was also some concern about the subject of criteria and indicators and whether proposed intersessional workshops should constitute an official part of the Panel process. Developed countries questioned the need to extend the length of meetings of the Panel and expressed serious concerns about the Panel's work.


The second session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF-2) opened on Monday, 11 March 1996. Co-Chair N.R. Krishnan (India) recalled the work of the IPF at its first session (IPF-1). Since the first meeting, an interagency task force on forests, composed of various UN agencies, produced the documents for IPF-2. Joke Waller-Hunter (UN Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (DPCSD)) highlighted activities since IPF-1, including country-led initiatives focusing on key agenda issues to facilitate the output of the IPF. Sir Martin Holdgate (UK) served as the other Co-Chair, while Juste Boussienuet (Gabon), Anatoliy Pisarenko (Russian Federation) and Manuel Rodriguez (Colombia) were elected Vice-Chairs.

The Co-Chair presented delegates with the provisional agenda (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/1) and an informal paper on the organization of work. Some delegations offered opening comments.

ITALY, on behalf of the European Union, highlighted the Helsinki process, a pan-European attempt to develop regional guidelines for sustainable forest management (SFM), as well as international cooperation and scientific research and monitoring. The US admonished the Panel to bear in mind that countries vary greatly in type, management, and ownership of forests, and said success would depend upon appreciating these differences while seeking common ground. CANADA highlighted the Panel's relationship to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and stated that biodiversity is intrinsically contained in many of the IPF's programme elements. He also pointed out the IPF's relationship to other conventions, including the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD). BRAZIL suggested that general statements be reserved for specific programme elements.

During the two-week session, delegates first reviewed and discussed the Secretary-General's reports prepared for each of the 11 programme elements. After an initial review, the Co-Chairs circulated their summary of the discussion. The summaries were intended to include the positions of delegations and observers on the range of issues and proposed actions contained in the Secretary-General's reports. The delegates then discussed and proposed amendments to the Co-Chairs' summaries. The revised Co-Chairs' summaries were then included in the report of the session at the final plenary.


Delegates took up initial consideration of Programme Element I.1 on 15 March and continued on 18 March. The FAO introduced the Secretary-General's (SG's) report on progress in national forest and land-use plans (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/8). The report reviews the history of forestry planning, provides observations from various processes, and notes lessons learned in planning features, institutional issues and policy environments. It also lists possible areas for action and discussion.

The EU, CANADA, the US, NORWAY, UGANDA, the UK, DENMARK, AUSTRALIA, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, SWITZERLAND and NGOs noted the need for participatory approaches. CANADA, FINLAND and INDIA highlighted decentralized planning, and BRAZIL said centralized planning has been inadequate. PAPUA NEW GUINEA said top-down leadership may be necessary.

INDONESIA said proposed measures must be in accordance with national legislation. GABON highlighted the sovereignty of States in managing resources. NEW ZEALAND noted the need to consider land-use planning and to adopt plans and policies at the highest national level. DENMARK requested specific guidelines on national forest programmes, which should include concrete targets and timetables, and be action-oriented and participatory.

The PHILIPPINES stated that recognition of indigenous peoples' property rights in the National Forestry Action Plan (NFAP) will create a need to resolve conflicting land claims. The INTERNATIONAL INDIAN TREATY COUNCIL also stressed conflict resolution, stating that land is synonymous with indigenous cultures, and that honoring land treaties must be included in panel discussions.

TANZANIA, SWEDEN and the G-77/CHINA stressed capacity building. MALAYSIA and ZIMBABWE addressed ways that planning could be country-driven, while a number of delegations, such as JAPAN, MALAYSIA and the US, said that donor coordination and overlapping planning processes should be considered. ECUADOR and COLOMBIA noted partnership agreements as an important mechanism.

The EU recognized the need for full integration of environmental issues to ensure multiple benefits, while CANADA recommended integrating the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into forest sector plans, and the NETHERLANDS called for clarification of forest versus forestry planning, and how biodiversity relates to both. COLOMBIA urged the IPF to consider planning methods other than those related to forestry. NORWAY, INDONESIA and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA said differences in ownership were a factor. The G-77/CHINA stated that the historical context of planning in developing countries must be considered.

GERMANY noted its plans to host an expert consultation on national forest and land-use plans. The meeting will concentrate on national plans, instruments and institutional mechanisms to coordinate political, socio-economic, and environmental interventions. SWEDEN noted an October workshop planned with Uganda on consensus building.

The Co-Chairs' draft summary was discussed on 22 March. It contains sections on coverage of analysis, content of the planning process and constraints. The coverage section suggests defining terms, which should be consistent with the Forest Principles and Agenda 21, covering all types of forests, considering goals pursued by means other than formal plans, and streamlining various planning processes. It recommends sharing experiences, and refers to the CBD, FCCC and CCD. The content section calls for examination of land-use and the forest sector and a link between forest and other planning, states that plans should be country driven, and discusses participatory and top-down approaches. Scientific, economic and biodiversity issues are mentioned, as are the roles of forest owners, indigenous people and conflict resolution. Constraints include capacity building and donor coordination.

Delegates suggested various changes to a paragraph on analysis of forest types and utilization patterns. The G-77/CHINA and CANADA recommended a historical analysis of forest and land-use planning by developing countries. The EU noted historical factors as well as the character of plans.

In a paragraph about sharing experiences, the G-77/CHINA added a reference to regional mechanisms, while the EU added a call for international guidelines. The US said the reference to mechanisms was premature and that the IPF should not forecast agency responsibilities.

Several delegations recommended changes to a paragraph on integrating forest plans with others, including changing "forest sector" to "forests," socio-economic "processes" to "policies," and that plans "should" be adopted. AUSTRALIA and the US said national and local level forest management planning should be linked, and other references to national criteria, priorities and laws were added.

The G-77/CHINA added a reference to the impact of international trade and market forces. The US and CANADA reformulated the text to reflect an open, decentralized and participatory process involving local communities and other interested parties, which also recognized that, in many countries, the government has the central responsibility for planning and programme implementation in the forest sector. National, sub-national, and local planning systems could identify high priority areas for participatory planning.


Delegates discussed Programme Element I.2, underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation on 13 and 20 March. Ralph Schmidt (UNDP) introduced the SG's report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/2) and stated that given the degree of national specificity and interaction among causation issues, this analysis would be most effectively pursued at the national and sub-national levels. AUSTRALIA, supported by PAPUA NEW GUINEA, recommended that national forest plans (NFPs) take local and regional planning needs into account. He stated that agricultural clearing, fuelwood collection and land tenure reform were causes of deforestation requiring governmental review. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed the need to develop NFPs, stating that they should be geared toward domestic political regimes. He said developed countries should assist developing countries in devising NFPs and suggested that harmonized guidelines and partnerships may be useful. NEW ZEALAND cautioned against generalizing about the causes of deforestation. He said that plantations have been successful in New Zealand and that sustainable trade in forest products should be encouraged.

COLOMBIA stated that while poverty may be an underlying cause of deforestation, the wealth of "consumer bosses" in developed countries and land holding practices are major causes as well. CHILE noted that plantations can relieve pressures on natural forests and help to prevent desertification in soil degraded areas. FINLAND said research on criteria and indicators (C&I) may help to determine optimum forest cover and suggested that the protection of natural forests and the conservation of biodiversity in natural and semi-natural forests be highlighted.

The US called for specific solutions and a review of sustainable forest management (SFM) policies. Supported by SWITZERLAND and CANADA, she noted the need for national case studies. She also stated that while countries could set their own optimum forest cover targets, these would not be valuable at the international level. ZIMBABWE said action proposals should focus more on indirect causes and that communal land tenure could be a survival strategy. PERU acknowledged forests' social and economic roles and stated that land holding implies use of land as well as ownership.

POLAND noted the link between causes such as air pollution, climate, forest ecosystem simplification and social elements. Afforestation can be combined with protective measures that address fragmentation, soil and water protection and other non-timber values. CANADA said forest partnership agreements need further elaboration and that biodiversity should be considered broadly.

ECUADOR noted that international lending agencies can cause deforestation by encouraging the adoption of economic policies that result in environmental exploitation. JAPAN underscored the cross-sectoral nature of the analysis and difficulties in generalizing. He supported national case studies and field level application of C&I and SFM. The EU called for: optimization of financial resources; scientific research and monitoring; assessment and valuation of forest benefits; and certification procedures.

IRAN stated the need for afforestation and reforestation as well as the importance of population and technology transfer issues. UGANDA asked that fuelwood be recognized as a non-timber forest product and stated that forest quality can be a bridge to the CBD. GERMANY called for deliberate and controlled forest replacement plans, country-specific optimum cover levels and increased use of forest product substitutes.

SWITZERLAND said that forests should be valued for more than timber; NFPs should define optimum forest cover; and indirect causes of deforestation should be further examined. CANADA said actions should comport with sustainable consumption and production and that land tenure should be examined. INDONESIA noted that planned deforestation followed by reforestation can be a sound management practice, if done correctly. A relationship between harvesting damage and lack of property rights is inappropriate.

The EU stated that inappropriate forest management policies should be revised and that assistance to developing countries should focus on promoting proper legislation and improving planning. INDIA agreed that NFPs should include optimum forest cover and called for methodologies to assess forest quality changes. GREEN EARTH ORGANIZATION questioned the use of plantations and suggested that the reinstatement of farmlands through sound agricultural practices may be preferable.

NORWAY acknowledged the need to establish legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms for NFPs in addition to a data bank on the replacement and modification of forests. Future forest policies must adequately address biodiversity. FRIENDS OF THE EARTH INTERNATIONAL noted the ineffectiveness of national enforcement measures as an underlying cause of deforestation and urged that the customary rights of indigenous peoples be protected.

MALAYSIA supported the sharing of knowledge and technology at the international level. He urged that donor coordination be improved. The UK noted the need to distinguish between fact and assumption when discussing causes of deforestation and stated that changes in forest use are not always bad. He said decisions should be based on national and sub-national factors. BRAZIL said causation factors and optimal forest cover should be defined for each country individually. He acknowledged the impact economic factors can have and the need to address land-tenure issues.

FRANCE agreed that all deforestation is not harmful and added that forest quality was more important than forest quantity. BIODIVERSITY ACTION NETWORK called for consideration of all causation issues including those that are politically charged such as macro-economic adjustments, international trade and exchange rates, and consumption and production patterns.

The US said studies of the change in deforestation could show causes of reforestation and that definition of land tenure in the report should be expanded. SWEDEN said that agriculture and land-use must be considered as causes and that optimum forest cover could be clarified by consumption and production studies. IUCN and the ASIA FOREST NETWORK suggested that nations develop policies to facilitate community involvement in forest management.

AFRICAN NETWORK FOR FOREST CONSERVATION called for a monitoring system to facilitate participatory management, alternatives to biodiversity exploitation, legally-binding commitments and rigorous land-use planning. The NETHERLANDS COMMITTEE FOR THE IUCN called for the need to address industry subsidies; extraction from virgin forests; impacts of dam construction; and case studies of indigenous and local forest management projects. CANADA supported enhanced community empowerment.

The Co-Chairs' draft summary on Programme Element I.2 was discussed on 20 March. The summary recognizes that: the causes of deforestation are complex, with many lying outside the forest sector; long-term consumption and production patterns as well as transboundary economic and environmental factors play a large role; country-specific NFPs and a diagnostic framework are needed; actions should be coordinated with those under other international legal instruments; and actions regarding forest quality and quantity assessments, joint management programmes with local involvement, the compilation of existing data, capacity building and improved donor coordination are needed.

THE GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT said international and multilateral pressures should be addressed and suggested that the IPF develop concrete proposals and identify responsible parties. WWF noted the danger in including statements that deforestation may not necessarily be harmful, saying that there could be repercussions to indigenous communities. The G-77/CHINA stated that the causes of deforestation in all countries should be viewed from a historical perspective.

The EU and AUSTRALIA said that forest fires, grazing pressures and unsustainable agriculture should be recognized as causes of deforestation. CANADA expressed the need to clearly differentiate between direct and underlying causes and stated that deforestation may not be harmful in the context of land-use plans. BRAZIL noted that all causes raised by the IPF were not included in the report and stated that the international causes should be better represented, particularly those relating to trade, market forces and the under-valuation of non-wood products and forest services.

SWITZERLAND recommended that the report address relevant activities undertaken by the FCCC, CBD and CCD. MEXICO asked that the "diagnostic framework" and the mechanisms for information collection be more clearly defined. NORWAY said the forestry sector should be addressed as a cause. He called for involvement of local people in decision-making, planning of forest modifications in other sectors and increased knowledge of the qualitative aspects of forests.

The US noted that although major forest areas may be outside the direct control of national governments, this does not constitute an underlying cause of deforestation. A reference to joint management may not be appropriate for all countries. She suggested an additional paragraph identifying examples of policies and interventions that have contributed to deforestation as well as those that have led to SFM. GABON noted the need for a reference to the Forest Principles and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 in the paragraph on related international agreements. Foreign debt and inadequate resources should be recognized as indirect causes of deforestation. INDIA and MALAYSIA stressed the need to recognize poverty and consumption patterns as underlying causes. INDIA added that poverty alleviation should be included as a strategy for non-forest sectors of the economy. MALAYSIA said that in order to be effective, the IPF must propose specific actions to identify underlying causes, address these causes, and identify difficulties in implementing SFM. CANADA noted the need to address sub-national governing structures such as provincial governments within a federal system.

A revised draft summary on Programme Element I.2 was circulated on 22 March. It included most of the delegates' comments. The references to poverty, land-tenure, agricultural pressures, international market forces, undervaluation of non-wood goods and services, joint management programmes, related international agreements and recommended actions were expanded.


Delegates discussed Programme Element I.3 on 18-19 March. Anthony Gross introduced the SG's report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/9) prepared by the CBD Secretariat. The report encourages cooperation and communication between the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP) and the IPF in considering protection of traditional knowledge (TK) of indigenous and local communities, and highlights conservation, sustainable use and benefits-sharing.

The G-77/CHINA said CBD discussions should not dictate the work of the IPF, which should address the broader context of SFM. MALAYSIA noted the CBD's competence on forest biodiversity rather than forests. AUSTRALIA stated that the IPF should not duplicate the work of other bodies, but should draw upon the work of the CBD. NORWAY recognized linkages with CBD and GATT.

CANADA stated that the IPF should focus on the use of indigenous knowledge, and leave its protection to other fora. GHANA highlighted integrating TK into forest management. This view was supported by numerous delegations. The NETHERLANDS, supported by the UKRAINE, emphasized indigenous participation in national forest planning, while MEXICO highlighted integrating local communities into sectoral planning. PAPUA NEW GUINEA stated that the IPF should examine indigenous communities holistically, rather than on a piecemeal basis. WWF recommended intersessional consultations and a workshop on instruments for indigenous peoples' rights in national legislation.

Commercialization of TK was also emphasized. The G-77/CHINA referred to the Forest Principles and proposed text on the relationship between forest communities and forest biodiversity, and on compensation. The PHILIPPINES called for national guidelines on developing sui generis systems. KENYA called for international support to document TK. INDIA highlighted his country's natural wealth and stressed benefit-sharing regimes. COLOMBIA underscored the rights of traditional peoples, procedures for technology transfer and resources for cooperation.

BRAZIL called for: technology transfer and joint biotechnology ventures; conserving endangered ecosystems; and benefits-sharing from commercialization. AUSTRALIA did not support new and additional funding, while SWITZERLAND highlighted the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and bilateral aid.

Delegates discussed the draft Co-Chairs' summary on 22 March. The report refers to the terms of reference for the Panel as determined by CSD-3 and IPF-1. The terms of reference extend the IPF's scope beyond that of the Convention on Biological Diversity to include the application of traditional knowledge to SFM. The report recognizes the need to focus on trade issues, including commercialization and benefits-sharing, capacity building for using TK, and recognizes the financial implications of these activities.

The INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND INTERNATIONAL TREATY COUNCIL called for consistency with the CBD. He highlighted: equitable sharing of benefits; recognizing indigenous ownership of TK before studying it; and participation of indigenous NGOs. The G-77/CHINA emphasized traditional agriculture especially regarding SFM and non-timber forest products (NTFPs), substituted "interested relevant parties" for "stakeholders," and agreed to study indigenous rights "within the context of national laws." He highlighted international cooperation based on common but differentiated responsibilities, including financial resources, joint ventures, biotechnology, fragmented and endangered ecosystems, biodiversity corridors, biosafety and a clearinghouse mechanism, among others.

CANADA, supported by AUSTRALIA, the PHILIPPINES and NEW ZEALAND, stated he was "uncomfortable" with treating indigenous knowledge as a "commodity," and called for: benefits-sharing on "mutually-agreed terms;" local land management and conflict resolution; and indigenous rights. AUSTRALIA requested that the IPF take note of the CBD COP-3.

The US emphasized TK in SFM, stating that other issues belong under the CBD. She refocused the paragraph on trade to national issues, calling for protection of TK for SFM, and including in situ biodiversity conservation under Article 8(j) of the CBD. Supported by NEW ZEALAND, she deleted language referring to "going beyond Agenda 21" to develop TK for SFM.

INDIA stated that several paragraphs emphasize "exploiting" TK over benefits-sharing, highlighting the need to first recognize intellectual property rights to TK. The PHILIPPINES questioned the paragraph stating the "need to draw upon" TK, asking who would do so and for what purpose. JAPAN called for an outline of studies done on the nature of TK regarding SFM, and highlighted financial implications. To the paragraph on benefits-sharing with forest dwellers, BRAZIL added "towards sustainable forest development."


Co-Chair Holdgate introduced Programme Element I.4, fragile ecosystems affected by desertification and the impact of air-borne pollution on forests on 11 March. David Harcharik, FAO Assistant Director General, Forestry Department, introduced the SG's report on this item (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/3). Part 1 of the document summarizes the challenges in fragile ecosystems, and the successes and failures in reforestation, especially in Africa. It suggests that the IPF consider integrating plantations and reforestation with natural systems, and strengthening governments' capacities. Part 2 considers forest decline, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. It says the IPF should consider the need for: additional international commitments on long-range pollution; monitoring and research; and an approach that defines a threshold for negative impacts.

PART 1 – DESERTIFICATION: Delegates began consideration of Programme Element I.4 on 12 March and highlighted several issues, including: placing the IPF within the context of the CBD, the FCCC and the CCD; an integrated view of underlying causes; socio-economic plans in harmony with afforestation; national forest action plans on the local and micro levels; bottom-up and participatory management and partnerships; the effect of poverty, unemployment, refugees and internal migration; NGO and local authority participation; suitable species for arid areas; land tenure reform; increased financial and technical assistance to developing countries; and the potential of NTFPs and traditional knowledge.

Delegates made several additional points. The EU called for: integrating national plans with evolving international programmes; improving donor coordination; and expanding applied research. SWEDEN encouraged an expansion of plantation research with an aim toward establishing profitable market outlets. CHILE stated that governmental assistance in the form of direct and indirect subsidies and the provision of access to technology has resulted in an increase in plantations and an overall reduction in desertified/arid zones. The US specifically endorsed linkages to the CCD Committee on Science and Technology. INDIA is tackling forestry as an integrated package, including socio-economic and agricultural development issues. He also highlighted the Arid Forest Research Institute, which focuses exclusively on forestry issues. UGANDA noted that reforestation campaigns in tropical Africa have not narrowed the gap between afforestation and deforestation and said narrowing the gap is a priority. BRAZIL could not support statements that plantations are negative as a whole and questioned the asserted sharp decline in the production and trade of non-timber forest products. He said the document did not present a holistic view of desertification. PERU emphasized the importance of addressing population pressures in high mountain regions.

PART 2 — AIR POLLUTION AND FORESTS: Many delegations noted: air pollution is an external factor that cannot be controlled by the forest sector itself; technology transfer is needed to prevent and mitigate pollution; the "critical loads" concept is crucial; and cost-effective agreements are needed. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said an international agreement may be premature and noted the need for scientific evidence and research. He called for a workshop or expert group meeting. GERMANY and FRANCE supported scientific research, raising awareness to influence political decisions and taking measures to improve forest stands. JAPAN noted that urbanization and nitrogen oxide emissions necessitate a regional approach. SWEDEN stated that complex ecosystems such as tropical rainforests may be especially sensitive, and that the problem cannot be solved through forest management practices. CITIZENS ALLIANCE FOR SAVING THE EARTH AND ATMOSPHERE (CASA), on behalf of several Japanese NGOs, highlighted the importance of legally-binding instruments on transboundary air pollution and climate change. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION drew attention to the fragile nature of boreal forests, noting that Russian forests comprise 22% of the world's total. BRAZIL called for a study of natural versus anthropogenic causes of forest death. He called the reference to economic growth and fossil fuels a "sensitive issue" for developing countries that requires further study.

On 21 March, delegates considered the Co-Chairs' draft summaries on Parts 1 and 2. The text states that the IPF: emphasized that desertification and drought are widespread phenomena affecting northern boreal forests as well as forests in arid and semi-arid regions; noted that this programme element should be carried out in close relationship with the CBD, FCCC and CCD; stated that actions to combat desertification should address the underlying causes and consider the role of poverty, migration, refugees, land-use planning, and fuelwood; called for application of bottom-up approaches, involving local communities and NGOs; and recommended adoption of an integrated approach. With regard to the impact of air-borne pollution, the IPF: stressed the need for a preventative approach to combating air pollution; emphasized the need for continued monitoring of the impact of air pollution on forest health; noted that the critical loads approach should be adopted by all countries where forests are affected by air pollution; and stated that national strategies should be developed to prevent damaging air pollution.

JAPAN said the conclusions should not refer to desertification and drought in boreal forests, nor should they address actions already covered by the CCD. The critical loads approach is important, but should only be adopted where appropriate. The US stressed: participation in the Committee on Science and Technology of CCD; mentioning mitigation when referring to combating desertification and drought; and that degradation, rather than desertification, affects northern boreal forests. CANADA supported changing "stakeholders" to "interested parties" and referred to interested parties listed in the Forest Principles. MEXICO called for consistency with the CCD and noted that an integrated approach should also include consumption and production. BRAZIL said the list of underlying causes of desertification should include external debt and trade imbalance and called for more flexible language regarding sustainable development strategies. He suggested that developed as well as developing countries should monitor experience and the conclusions should refer to Agenda 21 and the Forest Principles. He asked whether the "preventative approach" entailed changing consumption and production patterns or required changes outside the forest sector. SWEDEN proposed a sentence stating that air-borne pollution causing acidification is an external factor that cannot be influenced by the forest sector. FAO said the reference to sustainable development strategies should be deleted as it conflicts with a similar reference made in Programme Element I.1. The adoption of too many plans can lead to ambiguities. ECUADOR stated that the report should be amended to reflect that desertification can occur in all soil-poor areas, including humid and semi-humid zones.


Delegates discussed Programme Element I.5, the needs and requirements of countries with low forest cover (LFCs), on 12, 13 and 21 March. UNEP senior programme officer Bai Mass Taal introduced the SG's report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/4). The report identifies LFCs based on FAO statistics and definitions. It concludes that LFCs require assistance to reduce their dependence on foreign forest goods and services and that they may consider investing in "minimum permanent forest estates."

CHINA sought a unified definition for LFCs and noted that forest cover must be addressed at international and national levels. International cooperation relating to capacity building and financial and technical assistance is needed. MEXICO said all forest types and vegetation should be considered. It is important to recognize biodiversity and other environmental goods and services that are not economically reflected. The UK said a single definition for LFCs will not satisfy all circumstances. Actions should be prioritized, recognizing that all countries do not have the same options and that afforestation, reforestation and plantations are not only applicable to LFCs .

AUSTRALIA said the needs of developed and developing LFCs should be identified. Inventory methodologies and greater emphasis on timber production values are needed. Plantations can protect biodiversity and decrease the pressure on native forest resources. GABON said optimal forest cover should be defined as the point at which a country's supply of forest goods and services equals demand. "Irreducible needs" should be acknowledged to eliminate North-South discrepancies. The NETHERLANDS emphasized the importance of timber and was hesitant about promoting substitutes.

GERMANY encouraged grouping countries based on their causes of deforestation, noting this may also help in the analysis of Programme Element I.2. Inter-sectoral policy development and the establishment of country-specific affordable quantities of forest cover that consider opportunity costs associated with water and land tenure systems are needed. The US welcomed international cooperation concerning technology sharing, as well as joint implementation schemes for carbon off-set and financing. CANADA said developed LFCs should be addressed and recommended the following: participatory forest stewardship; enhanced efficiency of fuelwood; valuation of non-wood resources; and integration of biodiversity concerns into national plans and land tenure systems.

IRAN urged consideration of international causes of low forest cover such as poverty and the lack of technology and expertise. Mangrove forests should also be addressed. COLOMBIA stated all countries should improve degraded areas and that the list of recommendations should be prioritized. NEW ZEALAND supported approaching national level concerns and evaluating the environmental impacts of substitutes.

MALAYSIA asked that forest cover be clearly defined and whether woodlands are included. A methodology for evaluating non-wood forest products should be established. UGANDA noted that it should be listed as an LFC and recommended a less restricted definition of protected areas that would address biodiversity factors in multiple use areas. UKRAINE said a holistic approach is necessary to meet the needs of LFCs and to value non-market forest resources. Methodologies should be developed to promote public participation.

INDIA proposed that LFCs determine their own minimum forest cover within generally established guidelines. Waste of forest goods and services must be reduced. SOUTH AFRICA said it should be listed as an LFC. Although industrial plantations may provide socio-economic benefits, developers should meet the costs. Greater consideration of the non-use values of forests is needed. WWF emphasized consideration of biodiversity values and an integrated and precautionary approach. LFCs should be redefined on the basis of production and use of goods and services.

The Co-Chair circulated his draft summary on Programme Element I.5 on 21 March. The report calls for: a more consistent definition of LFCs, applicable to developed and developing countries; restricted forest areas and permanent forest estates; biodiversity conservation integrated into NFPs; country-specific minimum and optimal cover; efficient use of existing information; security of forest goods and services; and the use of plantations.

WWF urged that plantations be considered cautiously and managed to enhance biodiversity. NGO participation should be increased and a data base for existing information be created. The G-77/CHINA called for a definition of LFCs applicable to all countries; coordination of actions with those under the Small Island Developing States Programme of Action; and genetic resource conservation integrated into national forest and land-use plans. The EU encouraged the development of land-use plans in all countries, especially LFCs.

NORWAY said NFPs and land-use plans should address conservation and sustainable development and that "optimum degree of forest cover" should be clarified. AUSTRALIA stated that methodologies for forest inventories should be better defined. UKRAINE said that restricted forest areas in LFCs should provide food security and acknowledged their link to public health.

NEW ZEALAND, supported by AUSTRALIA, CHILE, CHINA, SOUTH AFRICA, UGANDA and the EU, stated that plantations should: enhance biodiversity; provide forest goods and services; and be managed using indigenous species where possible. GABON said that developed countries should assist developing LFCs in securing their forest goods and services. IRAN said mangrove and subtropical forests must be recognized as well as the environmental and socio-economic problems of LFCs.


Delegates discussed Programme Element II on 13-14 March. Ralph Schmidt (UNDP) introduced the SG's report on financial assistance and technology transfer (E/CN.17/IPF/1995/5), which highlights economics and sustainable development.

The G-77/CHINA recalled the Forest Principles' references to: full incremental costs; new and additional financial resources; and technology transfer on favorable terms. He linked SFM to funding, stating that: donor coordination may decrease ODA; private resources may not favor sustainable development; and multilateral institutions often impose conditionalities. ECUADOR, supported by KENYA, BRAZIL, CHINA and CANADA, stated that each country must establish priorities. UGANDA highlighted the responsibility of recipients when asking for assistance. NORWAY noted that the GEF mandate adequately covers forests, and stressed that all countries should facilitate investments for SFM.

The EU, supported by the US, said the report inaccurately notes a decline in ODA for forestry. Supported by BULGARIA, he highlighted effective use of assistance, and increasing finance through non-ODA sectors including forest revenues. DENMARK, supported by the UK, the NETHERLANDS, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, JAPAN, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and NORWAY, said financial instruments should complement each other, with public funds enabling private resources for sustainable development. The US highlighted joint ventures and noted that private investment can have detrimental impacts if not regulated. Regarding mobilization of domestic funds, the US highlighted the issue, the PHILIPPINES focused on international cooperation, and GABON noted difficulties in mobilization of funds. Regarding technology transfer, BRAZIL pointed out the private sector role and JAPAN stressed predictable and investor-friendly markets. Regarding the private sector, the PHILIPPINES said it might not be motivated by sustainable development; INDIA said it creates jobs but defeats forest policy; and COLOMBIA called for a strict code of conduct.

The IUCN and CANADA highlighted national trust funds and foundations. NORWAY praised carbon offsets and tradable emissions permits, but noted the latter would take time to develop. ECUADOR said tradable development rights could impinge on sovereignty and indigenous rights. ZIMBABWE, COLOMBIA and BRAZIL supported debt-for-nature swaps, but rejected debt-for-policy reform swaps and national forestry funds.

ARGENTINA, the PHILIPPINES and BRAZIL called the FCCC the proper framework for the discussion of carbon offsets and tradable emissions permits. FRANCE and AUSTRALIA welcomed language on tradable resources. FRIENDS OF THE EARTH questioned tradable development rights. MEXICO highlighted innovative mechanisms for development. NEW ZEALAND called national forestry funds national decisions. UKRAINE called for support for economies in transition. PERU highlighted South-South development cooperation. CHILE underlined "triangular" cooperation, in which one developing country provides technical assistance to another, funded by an international agency. CANADA emphasized Agenda 21's language on technology transfer. The ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS - TRIBAL PEOPLES OF THE TROPICAL FORESTS said protection of indigenous knowledge and practices will only be realized if indigenous peoples and local communities are considered as subjects and not only as objects of any plan.

Delegates discussed the draft Co-Chairs' report on 21 March, which was revised on 22 March. The revised draft report highlights: Chapter 11 (Combating deforestation) of Agenda 21; international cooperation for SFM; ODA, domestic and private resources, and innovative financial mechanisms; forest plantations; data on valuation and investment; and technology transfer and capacity building.

FUNDACION NATURA noted: NTFPs and services; a code of conduct for donors including transparency and participation; replacement of natural forests by plantations; involving civil society in decisions on the private sector; and controlling illegal logging.

The EU, supported by the US, JAPAN, CANADA and NORWAY, noted that CSD intersessional meetings focus on finance and technology transfer and cautioned against duplication. Supported by UGANDA, ZIMBABWE and SWITZERLAND, he highlighted the role of ODA along with domestic resources such as forest revenue and private sector investment. Better valuation of products and services is essential. He questioned whether ODA for SFM is declining.

JAPAN asked for clarification of "commitments" accepted at UNCED. The US, supported by the PHILIPPINES, differentiated among different innovative mechanisms, recognizing the potential of joint ventures and debt-for-nature swaps. The US called for further analysis of carbon offsets, tradable permits and debt-for-policy-reform swaps.

UKRAINE supported finance and technology transfer for countries with transitional economies. MEXICO stated that recipient countries should have more weight in utilizing ODA, and that private sector funding should not replace ODA commitments.

UGANDA highlighted domestic resources, stating that ODA should be mutually beneficial. Supported by ZIMBABWE, he added language on conducive environments for profitable forestry businesses to complement ODA and enhance financial sustainability for SFM.

The FAO pointed out that it has no mandate to coordinate collection of data on forestry investment, as requested in the text. ZIMBABWE highlighted coordination to improve efficiency, and removing ODA conditionalities, which override priorities of recipients. Supported by several delegations, he noted that the report should avoid using conclusive wording.

The G-77/CHINA focused on: provision of new and additional resources; concessional and preferential technology transfer; and avoiding a prescription for national policies. In reference to finances, he: emphasized meeting UNCED commitments; expressed concern that "imposed conditionalities have not been compatible with SFM;" called GEF "totally inadequate" and available only to support legally-binding conventions; and called finance a prerequisite for technology transfer. He highlighted a code of conduct for private sector funding.

GABON suggested C&I for resource mobilization for sustainable development. CANADA highlighted: national codes of conduct for the private sector; transferring public sector technology; and domestic resources and innovative mechanisms for capacity building. BRAZIL suggested that alternative uses of forests could be construed as investments. Regarding technology transfer, he referred to triangular cooperation and public domain and private sector technology. He listed biotechnology, logging technologies and equipment, and environmentally sound technologies as priorities.


On 14 March, Jean Clement, the Task Manager for FAO, introduced the SG's report on Programme Element III.1(a) (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/6), which describes: the users of forest resources information; FAO's forest resources assessment; gaps in forest information; and approaches and lessons learned and future trends. Delegates highlighted several common issues, including: increasing information production, processing and interpretation to benefit planners at different levels; improving the global forest assessment; developing national databases and a regional data bank for assessing forest area and resources; increasing institutional capacity and international coordination efforts to collect global data on changes in forest cover; improving comparability of information in national inventories; and ensuring transparency in the process to prevent bias.

In addition, the G-77/CHINA noted the need to expand the base of institutions consulted in assessment processes and encouraged South-South cooperation. COLOMBIA, ARGENTINA and CHINA commented on the availability of technology, and stressed the need for technical assistance, international cooperation and mobilization of funds. SWITZERLAND and INDIA supported developing local capacity for interpreting inventories. MALAYSIA said future assessments should include measures of carbon storage and forest health.

FUNDACION PERUANA PARA LA CONSERVACION DE LA NATURALEZA emphasized: increased use of ground-based measurements to verify remote sensing imagery; enhanced information access; NGOs and local communities as resources; forest authenticity; soil and biodiversity conservation; and transparent and effective partnerships. The CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL FORESTRY RESEARCH noted that evaluating NTFPs, biodiversity and environmental services requires broad assessments, and that investment in forestry research as a percentage of income is lower than in agriculture. GABON questioned whether finance and technology transfer imply a partnership for mutually advantageous exchange. He called on the IPF to define the rules of international cooperation. ZIMBABWE acknowledged progress in assessment and capacity in developing countries. He supported research in monitoring methods but said harmonizing terminology and classification could lose key details. BRAZIL said assessments should account for multiple benefits, such as non-wood products, and should emphasize information on economic and social variables. The report should include temperate and boreal forests.

On 21 March, delegates discussed the Co-Chairs' summary on Programme Element III.1(a). The summary states that the Panel: emphasized that assessment of all types of forests is essential for SFM; noted that there were many shortfalls and gaps in existing information; stressed that forest assessments should adopt a holistic approach; recommended that criteria and indicators (C&I) be an integral part of forest assessment; noted that capacity building at national and local levels is crucial; noted that assessments represented a significant financial burden, in particular for developing countries; and stated that national assessment programmes should be transparent. The summary also states that, concerning international cooperation, the IPF agreed that much work was needed to define the scale, scope, content, frequency and dissemination of data. The FAO, in partnership with other international organizations, national institutions and NGOs, should contribute to coordinating international efforts on forest assessment.

Several delegations commented that the document should not assign roles to organizations at this stage and that C&I should be national in character. FUNDACION PERUANA PARA LA CONSERVACION DE LA NATURALEZA, on behalf of an NGO working group, said the document should move toward concrete actions. She said overemphasis on costs could impede creative thinking. Remote sensing and geographic information system technology should be made available inexpensively and on mutually agreed terms. The G-77/CHINA said "stakeholders" should be changed to "interested parties" in all report sections. NGOs should contribute to, rather than play a leadership role in, an international coordinating effort. The US supported the reference to the FAO Global Forest Resource Assessment. The PHILIPPINES said references to biodiversity conservation should also note sustainable use and equitable sharing of benefits. CANADA said integrating indicators in SFM should be cost-effective, scientifically sound and internationally consistent, while recognizing countries' differences in forest characteristics, economies, societies and cultures.


The FAO introduced the SG's report on Programme Element III.1(b) (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/7) on 15 March and stated that all forest resources should undergo valuation. He said the IPF should assess whether existing methodologies are sufficient and if adequate use is being made of existing valuation data.

INDONESIA, RUSSIA, ARGENTINA, the G-77/CHINA and others proposed a variety of bases for valuation including the social, economic, cultural and ecological aspects of forests. Non-economic as well as economic valuations were mentioned by CANADA, MEXICO, the PHILIPPINES, NEW ZEALAND, INDIA and FUNDACION NATURA DE ECUADOR. The UK said the IPF could set benchmarks as tools to illustrate relative forest values, especially those without obvious market value. INDIA said the intangible aspects of forests cannot be easily monetized and are therefore undervalued.

MEXICO said the total economic value of forests, recognizing international implications, should be addressed. The NETHERLANDS said valuation methods may not be capable of including non-monetary values. AUSTRALIA said assigning monetary values is not always necessary. POLAND noted that valuation methodology can be a vehicle for moving toward a non-consumptive society. BRAZIL stated that valuation measures should be incremental in nature and suggested that significant changes in behavior, perceptions and attitudes were required.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA and NEW ZEALAND suggested that valuation methodologies should be cost effective. The G-77/CHINA said valuation is important but should not be promoted at the expense of higher priority activities, such as the development of reliable data systems. The US, NEW ZEALAND and ECUADOR said valuation should be compatible with national accounts, while the G-77/CHINA, BELARUS and COLOMBIA said valuation should be conducted in accordance with national plans and priorities.

The EU said valuation methodologies and political issues are closely linked and called for research to clarify their relationship. A lack of scientific understanding should not be cause for inaction. NORWAY said that valuation of forest resources requires cooperation from all sectors, including NGOs, and that non-market goods and services deserve greater consideration in decision-making, but may be difficult to quantify. The FUNDACION PERUANA PARA LA CONSERVACION DE LA NATURALEZA said decision-making processes should recognize the value of sustaining non-renewable resources.

MALAYSIA and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA said the IPF should elaborate on the sharing of experiences between developing countries. The PHILIPPINES and PAPUA NEW GUINEA noted difficulty in applying valuation methodologies. KENYA, FRANCE and COLOMBIA called for wider participation in valuation exercises. TANZANIA stated that the methodologies in the report are too complex to be absorbed easily by governments and local communities and called for more training opportunities.

Delegates considered the Co-Chairs' draft summary on 21 March. The draft: stresses the wide range of benefits forests provide; notes that methodologies for goods and services are in the early stages and have limitations; emphasizes that economic valuation is one of many considerations; notes that many methodologies are too complex and expensive for widespread application; notes opportunities for international cooperation; suggests further research and participation; lists criteria including cost-effectiveness, simplicity and clarity, and country-driven; calls for recognition of ecological, social, cultural and religious values and trade; notes inclusion in national accounts; and requests a matrix of various methodologies.

The GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT said the Panel should encourage development and implementation of valuation methodologies. There is no evidence that methodologies are too complex, expensive or beyond the understanding of stakeholders. Supported by the US, he said the report should not qualify participation of indigenous people in research. The G-77/CHINA noted that valuation exercises should not be conducted at the expense of more pressing needs. The EU said multidisciplinarity should be a valuation criterion. The US emphasized research on global dimensions of climate change and biodiversity. INDONESIA said that forest valuation methods should entail scientific evaluation and address non-quantifiable forest services.


Delegates discussed Programme Element III.2 on 19 March. Jean Clement, FAO, introduced the SG's report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/10). The report provides an overview of C&I and suggests issues for consideration. Delegates presented a range of views on the levels at which C&I should be defined and implemented, the extent to which C&I for different countries or regions could be comparable, and the relationship between C&I and certification.

The EU highlighted international criteria for C&I for consideration at IPF-3, suggesting a regional approach linking national with sub-national and forest-management levels. The G-77/CHINA underlined C&I as a "main axis" of forest management, emphasizing international cooperation. C&I should incorporate national, social and cultural circumstances, be region-specific and be developed in a transparent and participatory way. DENMARK called for translating C&I to the field level.

Several delegates, including TURKEY, CANADA, DENMARK and WWF, stressed developing common definitions of SFM. MALAYSIA called for international consensus on elements of SFM and examination of convergence of initiatives. PERU stressed the need for consensus in establishing C&I.

FRANCE and JAPAN called for a simple set of global C&I with universal applicability. GHANA said compatible, comparable global criteria might be possible, but requiring the same in indicators is not workable. The UK said there is much convergence on criteria, but the IPF should not seek a single set of indicators. BRAZIL stated that the development of global C&I should be gradual and flexible and acknowledge each country's unique qualities as well as the differences between natural forests and plantations.

GERMANY said the next step is to develop a C&I framework as consistent as necessary and as flexible as possible to guarantee comparability while respecting differences. SWEDEN suggested that IPF-3 develop a menu of indicators for nations. The NETHERLANDS said formulation of C&I is a national responsibility. National criteria should be derived from internationally agreed C&I.

AUSTRALIA suggested identifying a unifying framework for C&I that could be applied regionally by ecological zones and by countries with common interests. He supported field testing and standardizing indicators. CANADA and NEW ZEALAND said the IPF should examine C&I comparability and compatibility, but CANADA cautioned against diluting concepts to achieve consensus.

The US said that the IPF should not seek agreement on global C&I. The goal is national implementation. It is more useful to promote comparability between sets of C&I. MEXICO discouraged the imposition of global indicators at the national level. NORWAY said variations between ecological zones and regions require national adjustments. C&I must not seek compatibility between countries. The GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT stated that C&I should be first developed at the national level and address the needs of all stakeholders.

INDIA said it seems possible to produce globally compatible national criteria, but with independent national or sub-national indicators. Universally acceptable certification is a logical outcome of C&I. INDONESIA said global C&I are essential if certification is to be based on comparable standards. SWITZERLAND said links between C&I and certification should be clarified. POLAND said the IPF must determine whether to protect timber or forests prior to implementing certification schemes.

FINLAND stressed the need to recognize the links between the establishment of C&I to other IPF tasks such as reviewing forest assessments, national forest and land-use plans and international cooperation in trade. IRAN stated that economic, social, legal, administrative and biological factors should be considered.

Delegates considered the draft Co-Chairs' summary on 22 March. The summary cites action proposals from the SG's report that were strongly or generally supported, those for which caution was expressed, and those where there was less agreement. Under international cooperation on C&I development and application, the summary: explores developing a global consensus on SFM terms and definitions; considers regional and national application; suggests that countries develop national, local and management- level indicators; recommends a simple, transparent C&I development process reflecting economic, social and ecological differences; involves all relevant parties including forest dwellers; explores building national level C&I into a global set or converging them at the regional level; forges links with ongoing initiatives; and notes the August C&I seminar sponsored by Finland. A section on further C&I conceptual development notes: C&I are tools with different functions; a broad spectrum of indicators is needed, not all of which are quantifiable; the importance of field testing; the contribution of C&I to global forest assessment; and the possibility of clarifying issues related to forest product certification.

Several delegations said the indications of support for recommendations in the SG's report were not correct. WWF said NGOs should be listed as relevant parties for developing national C&I. Social and environmental C&I must be separate. The EU said more attention should be given to links between national, sub-national and regional activities The G-77/CHINA called for analysis of appropriate convergence of initiatives and the implications of proliferation of initiatives. He also added a reference to religious values in global forest assessment and said development of C&I should be a gradual process based on national policies for SFM that should not contribute to trade restrictions. Supported by the US, he proposed deleting a paragraph that would explore the possibilities of national C&I being built into a global set or converged at the regional level. The US also deleted a reference to regional level C&I. He said countries should decide whether they need local and management level C&I and that field testing should be at the national level. MEXICO said C&I should be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. A paragraph relating C&I to certification should be deleted because their relationship is not clear.

BRAZIL said a reference to trade restrictions in the utilization of indicators was not necessary. INDONESIA said the development of C&I should include only native forest dwellers because some forest dwellers are illegal occupiers. The PHILIPPINES said the summary should mention financial assistance and technology transfer.


Delegates discussed Programme Element IV on 18-19 March. J.E.K. Aggrey-Orleans of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) introduced the SG's report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/11), which includes: cooperation to enhance trade in forest products and services; developing methodologies for valuation and cost internalization; and voluntary certification for SFM.

The G-77/CHINA emphasized the Forest Principles, including: technology transfer; nondiscriminatory trade; reduced tariff barriers; integrated conservation and economic policies; and unilateral trade restrictions. Timber certification schemes should be a consequence of SFM. He underlined biodiversity and technology, particularly biotechnology, for SFM. The EU focused on: consistency between the WTO and trade for SFM; linkages 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 the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, INDONESIA, GERMANY and SWITZERLAND, stated that voluntary certification is potentially useful for SFM, while INDONESIA said certification should not be imposed unilaterally. NEW ZEALAND stated that certification may not necessarily lead to SFM. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA, NEW ZEALAND, BRAZIL, COLOMBIA, AUSTRALIA and IRAN cautioned against trade barriers, including tariff and non-tariff barriers.

ARGENTINA, SWITZERLAND, MALAYSIA, WWF, BULGARIA and the PHILIPPINES recognized trade-induced environmental impacts, while WWF also emphasized the impact of agricultural production. SWITZERLAND highlighted market access and cost internalization. MALAYSIA recognized: supportive economic climates; trends in trade; discrimination against tropical forest products; proliferating certification initiatives; and substitute products. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said the document overemphasizes tropical timber.

MEXICO underlined market transparency and the need for different certification standards for different ecosystems. JAPAN stressed: full-cost internalization; transparency; credibility of certifying organizations; and cost-effectiveness. FRANCE cautioned against promoting non-environmentally sound substitutes. GABON cautioned against negotiating environmental issues and leaving everything else to the market.

AUSTRALIA stressed cost internalization and, with CANADA, trade and environmental services, and the work of other organizations, including the WTO.

The NETHERLANDS proposed: certification schemes involving industrial sectors overseen by governments and NGOs; avoiding proliferating labels; and tracing timber. THE GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT encouraged holistic consideration of trade for SFM. BRAZIL highlighted trade related to boreal and temperate forests, and lesser-used species.

NORWAY highlighted the work of other fora as a framework for discussions, and harmonized certification under national and regional objectives. The UN ASSOCIATION OF SWEDEN emphasized social concerns and consumer confidence regarding certification. The CITIZENS' ALLIANCE FOR SAVING EARTH AND ATMOSPHERE noted difficulties in objective certification, transparency and participation. ZIMBABWE, UGANDA and CHILE focused on local and domestic trade. ZIMBABWE highlighted ecotourism and the informal sector, and UGANDA highlighted NTFPs.

SWEDEN said certification should be market-driven and not directly implemented by governments. BULGARIA highlighted lesser-used species, market transparency and access. CHILE noted insufficient attention to production processes and national forest policy. The PHILIPPINES called for research on lesser-used species and on new products.

Delegates discussed the Co-Chairs' summary on 22 March. The summary recognizes the potential positive and negative effects on SFM of international trade in wood and NTFPs. It requests analysis of: market access and trade barriers; certification and labeling; full-cost internalization; market transparency; lesser used species; and financing and technology.

WWF highlighted: CBD and CITES; obstacles to certification; the role of incentives; and, in the paragraph on wood exports, NTFPs. The EU linked trade and environment to C&I and valuation. He called for preliminary work on a framework for credible timber certification, which should be efficient, cost-effective, voluntary, non-discriminatory, transparent and include all forests. The G-77/CHINA referred to: Agenda 21; purchasing power of developing countries; the impact of international trade on forests; tariff and non-tariff barriers; intellectual property rights vis--vis trade in forest products; proliferating certification schemes; certification of all forest products; technology needs; and subsidies with negative effects on rural populations and SFM.

AUSTRALIA highlighted the environmental impacts of trade and marketplace competitiveness of forest products. The NETHERLANDS emphasized tracing certified timber though the chain of custody. CANADA discussed certification and eco-labeling, including: market access and trade policy when accounting for production and processing methods; linkages between certification and international and national C&I; eco-labeling as an environmental policy instrument; and equivalency and mutual recognition including international guidelines.

The US and the PHILIPPINES emphasized consistency with the IPF's mandate. To the section on trade barriers, the US added "subsidies which distort trade in forest products." On certification, she called for clarification on scientific data and markets. She emphasized market transparency.

ZIMBABWE emphasized domestic trade, including informal trade, on market access and trade barriers. JAPAN underlined impact analysis of certification on importing and exporting countries, and questioned whether private property owners would be the unit of certification. BRAZIL included "the impact on existing social conditions, and on other alternative uses and products," to the paragraph analyzing cost internalization, and added the World Bank to a list of institutions reporting capacity building activities.


Delegates considered this programme element on 19 March. The Secretariat introduced the SG's report on Programme Element V (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/12), which provides a preliminary list of international organizations and instruments, summarizes work of the interagency task force on forests, and notes the Swiss/Peruvian initiative on work of international organizations, multilateral institutions and instruments in the forest sector. A more extensive document will be prepared for IPF-3.

Several delegations noted the importance of the Swiss/Peruvian Initiative and the need to analyze gaps and overlaps in work by international organizations. The G-77/CHINA said the next report should include: relevant institutions and programmes in SFM and forestry including resources available; a basis for evaluating programmes; and a description of relevant legal instruments. Assessment of this programme element must be carried out at the national level. The US said international organizations, institutions and convention secretariats should focus on forest activities where they have comparative advantage. CANADA highlighted coordination, efficiency and effectiveness of international forest-related institutions, especially governance and leadership. The document should consider: options to mobilize institutions' strengths; models in other sectors; new and innovative governance structures; and coordination of multilateral and bilateral resources. PAPUA NEW GUINEA called for an assessment of all UN organizations providing leadership in forestry and proposed that a comprehensive report be prepared for IPF-3. The NETHERLANDS said the World Commission on Forests could make a valuable contribution and that the IPF should identify organizations for implementation. WWF said while many supportive statements on knowledge and contribution of indigenous people have been made, the list of NGOs in the report contains no indigenous peoples' organizations. MEXICO said the increased attention to forests has led to competition among international organizations. The IPF presents an opportunity to scrutinize international institutions.

On the final day of IPF-2, delegates considered the Co-Chairs' draft summary. The text notes the points that should be taken into account in preparation for substantive discussion of this programme element at IPF-3 including: the framework of the analysis should be the Forest Principles, Agenda 21 and relevant decisions of the CSD; the importance of obtaining a clear view of the forest-related work of organizations, institutions and instruments; the clear mention of in-depth descriptions of activities carried out by these entities at different geographic levels, including an assessment of their comparative strengths and gaps, and of areas requiring enhancements; the inclusion of detailed descriptions of existing legal instruments and recommendations on their coordinated implementation; the institutional arrangements in other sectors as possible models for developing innovative approaches for adaptation to the forest sector; the options for ensuring enhanced coordination among bilateral and multilateral institutions; linkages and institutional relationships with other organizations such as those involved in research, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations; and the ways and means to effectively streamline their contribution to activities of the UN system.

The G-77/CHINA proposed adding a new paragraph noting the need to avoid duplication of work with FCCC, CCD and CBD. He also proposed: including descriptions of existing legal instruments "related to forestry"; finding ways to "affect", rather than "effectively streamline", the contributions of organizations involved in research; and specifying that organizations be "engaged in forestry activities." The US said the some elements were unclear and beyond the terms of reference for this programme element. He said the framework for analysis should include the IPF mandate and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 (Combating Deforestation) and called for deletion of references to: the financial resources of international organizations involved in forest projects; options for re-organization of existing structures and governance of these institutions; future institutional arrangements; options for enhanced donor coordination among bilateral and multilateral institutions; and the linkages between international organizations and NGOs.

CANADA said that while some points may be outside the IPF's mandate, all matters will be considered in further detail at IPF-3. BRAZIL proposed deleting the paragraph on consideration of institutional arrangements in other sectors and development of innovative approaches for adaptation to the forest sector.


Co-Chair Krishnan noted that items 1-6 of the provisional agenda had been completed, and invited consideration of the Report of the Panel on its Second Session (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/L.1). The G-77/CHINA stated that the revised Co-Chairs' summaries do not reflect many of the fundamental positions of the Group nor indicate the disagreement on many points. He said the G-77/CHINA could not accept the summaries as part of the session's report. He also proposed a paragraph noting that the summaries were not subject to negotiation, and in no way constitute any agreement, temporary or definitive, on any elements of the work programme of the IPF.

The US stated that the texts represent a substantial amount of work and expressed regret that they would not be included as part of the report. He proposed including them in the report with a paragraph noting that there is no agreement. JAPAN agreed with the US and said that the proposed report amply demonstrates that there is no negotiated agreement. The PHILIPPINES said there were erroneous reflections of views in the texts. She said the G-77/CHINA had asked for clear indication of particular groups and their views. ITALY said the G-77/CHINA's proposal places a negative layer over the meaning of the meeting, and asked that the proposal be modified in a positive manner. Joke Waller Hunter (DPCSD) reminded delegates that the IPF must submit its report to CSD-4, and the summaries, as proposed by the G-77/China, would not constitute part of that report. She proposed noting that the report includes the Co-Chairs' summaries of the discussion of the elements under consideration, and that these summaries were not subject to negotiations. They are transitional in nature and the elements will be further considered and crystallized. The G-77/CHINA replied that the summaries cannot be part of the report because the texts reflect the convergence, but not the divergence, of views.

An extended debate ensued concerning the report. Co-Chair Krishnan reminded the Panel that the views expressed in the report were in no way final and were subject to reconsideration and alteration at IPF-3. The G-77/CHINA agreed that their full positions would not have to be attached, but said a statement noting that the views of the G-77/CHINA were not fully reflected must be included. CANADA, supported by the EU, the US and JAPAN, objected to a specific reference to one group and suggested the report convey that the summaries did not necessarily fully reflect the views of any one group or delegation. Co-Chair Krishnan proposed that the report include a statement to the effect that the report does not include all the views expressed by the delegations, and the delegations, especially the G-77/China, reserve their positions on many issues. These proposals were unacceptable to both the G-77/CHINA and other delegations.

A compromise was eventually reached based on text proposed by Co-Chair Holdgate, which stated that the summaries did not necessarily reflect the full views of the G-77/China or other delegations. The amendment was adopted by consensus.

Delegates then adopted the report of the Panel on its second session, as amended. The IPF acknowledged the hard work and contributions of Co-Chair Krishnan, who will be relinquishing his position as Co-Chair. Manuel Rodriguez (Colombia) will represent the G-77/China as Co-Chair during IPF-3 and 4.


The debate during the last two days of IPF-2 was indicative of the status and ultimate meaning of the entire session. In refusing to grant authority to the meeting's conclusions and insisting that all discussions were transitional, delegates acknowledged what their fairly non-committal statements had been indicating for two weeks: IPF-2 was a warm-up. Yet even if delegations were deliberately vague on some issues and the meeting was deliberately structured to initiate discussion without negotiations on less controversial, substantive matters, IPF-2 did illuminate areas that may remain contentious through the remainder of the Panel's work. On questions like the relative emphasis on forests and forestry, the roles of national or global measures, and the IPF's relationship to other negotiations and bodies, this meeting sketched some of the boundaries and turning points of delegates' early collective thinking.

A number of delegates and NGOs suggested that the IPF needs to clearly define how it will reconcile forests, including their ecological, social, and aesthetic goods and services, with forestry, which has its primary focus on timber production and economic values. Interventions and reports pointed to imbalances and preferences in both directions. One delegate noted that a document explaining the causes of low forest cover did not refer to timber extraction. On the other hand, the Secretary-General's report on trade suggests a lack of information on forest services, and that "For practical purposes, therefore, the effects and effectiveness of measures based on the linkage between environment and trade in forest products and services will be assessed in terms of wood products alone in this document." The report thus excluded forest services and non-timber forest products. As another example, comments on national forest plans often referred to "forestry plans," a substitution that was common throughout the debate.

Delegates and observers say that the attention to forestry is partly an institutional issue. Many IPF delegates are from forestry or economic, rather than environmental, ministries. Furthermore, the bodies preparing discussion reports have traditionally dealt primarily with the timber value of forests. Another element is the role of forestry in some countries' economies, which led some delegates to say that sustainable forest management must recognize that people use and consume the wood from forests. A third factor has scientific and cultural implications: giving consideration to non-monetary forest benefits requires a means of calculating or assigning their values. At several points during IPF-2, it was suggested that non-economic valuation methodologies are not yet sufficiently consistent or mature, which makes comparison with forestry valuation difficult. Some delegates also said that social and non-monetary values are perceived as bases for advocacy more than components of sustainable forest management. Others noted the potential impact non-monetary values could have on land tenure and use.

Debate over the role of plantations was another aspect of the balance of forests and forestry concerns. A number of delegations said repeatedly that plantations have a role to play by taking production pressure off natural forests. NGOs and a small number of delegations resisted assigning a role to plantations, suggesting that if they replace natural forests they threaten biodiversity and other values that are less directly economic. The unresolved question is where should the IPF direct the focus of its attention to sustainable forest management. Delegates said that preserving biodiversity was not enough, but more positive, coherent definitions were not provided.

Much of the debate at IPF-2 seemed to demonstrate a lack of coordination with other fora. Several times delegations admonished the Panel to consider its terms of reference and remain focused. An example of this was Argentina's comment that the debate on traditional forest-related knowledge resembled a session of the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) Conference of the Parties. Much of the discussion of this programme element focused on the potential commercial value of traditional knowledge, even more explicitly than the CBD. Other areas of overlap included benefits-sharing, although without explicit mention of intellectual property rights or prior informed consent.

This spillover between IPF-2 and other fora also extended to other CSD subsidiary bodies. Held only days before the Panel convened, the CSD Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Finance and Production and Consumption spent a full week debating financial issues, weighing the effectiveness and availability of Official Development Assistance (ODA) against domestic public and private finance, foreign direct investment and innovative financial mechanisms including tax incentives. Notably, the Working Group intentionally avoided discussion of tradable emissions permits and other mechanisms deemed to be the responsibility of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). By week's end, developing countries were calling for greater participation in Northern country fora on sustainable production and consumption patterns, including the concept of eco-labeling that encompasses timber certification.

The discussions on finance, production and consumption, and timber certification at IPF-2 demonstrated that delegates were largely unaware of progress made at the Working Group on Finance. Furthermore, by the last day, some delegates tried to further extend IPF's mandate, adding, for example, seemingly unrelated items of biotechnology and biosafety to the Co-Chairs' summary on traditional forest-related knowledge.

The issue of international institutions and relevant legal mechanisms was given initial consideration in Geneva, as mandated by IPF-1. Delegates welcomed technical input from the Swiss/Peruvian initiative and other guidance in this area. Nevertheless, to date the IPF has not solicited positions on its ultimate recommendations to the broader world of forest policy. Within the initial comments on institutional and legal instruments, consistent views on the existence of institutional gaps or overlaps have led to a proliferation of suggestions for the proper response. Those suggesting criteria and indicators or certification beyond the national level have not yet explained how to pursue or implement those objectives.

What the IPF has expressed is an intention to determine its own priorities. A number of delegations have suggested that the CBD should not address forests or forestry policy beyond its implications for biodiversity. Additionally, the discussion of finance issues suggests that some believe the IPF must act independently, even when issues are concurrently considered by other bodies. At this juncture, it is impossible to say what recommendations, agreements or commitments the IPF might produce until delegates agree that the time for negotiation has arrived. The discussions initiated at IPF-2 will no doubt reach that point during the Panel's final two sessions.


FOURTH SESSION OF THE CSD: The fourth session of the CSD is scheduled to meet from 18 April - 3 May 1996 at UN Headquarters in New York. For more information, contact Andrey Vasilyev, Division for Sustainable Development, DPCSD, tel:+1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212-963-4260.

IPF-3: The Intergovernmental Panel on Forests will hold its third session from 9-20 September 1996 in Geneva.


International Conference on Certfication and Labeling of Products from Sustainably Managed Forests: Australia will sponsor this conference from 26-31 May 1996 in Brisbane. The conference intends to advance international dialogue on the issue of certification and labeling as a means for achieving sustainable forest management and will contribute to the IPF through agreed, non-binding "options for actions." For more information, contact: Conference Logistics, tel: +61 6 281 6624; fax: +61 6 285 1336.

Certification of Forest Products and International Trade: Germany and Indonesia will host a joint expert working group meeting from 12-16 August 1996 in Bonn. The group will address the impact of certification and labeling on trade, market access and the achievement of sustainable forest management. For more information contact: Hagen Frost, German Federal Ministry of Economics, tel: +49-228-615 3947, fax: +49-228-615 3993; Rainald Roesch, Mission of Germany to the UN, tel: +1-212-856-6295, fax: +1-212-856-6280; or Dr. Untung Iskandar, Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, tel: +21-5701114, 5730680, fax: +21-5738732, 5700226.

Implementing the Forest Principles: Promotion of National Forest and Land Use Programmes: Germany will sponsor this international experts consultation from 16-22 June 1996. It will focus on the integration of international and national forest-related activities into a country-specific forest programme. The consultation will produce options to be considered at IPF-3. For information, contact Christian Mersmann, German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), tel: +49 6196 79 3452; fax: +49 6196 79 7333; e-mail: 101562,[email protected]

Workshop on Financial Mechanisms and Sources of Finance for Sustainable Forestry: This Workshop, sponsored by Denmark, South Africa and UNDP, is scheduled for 4-7 June 1996 in South Africa. It will focus on: costs, incentives and obstacles for implementing sustainable forest management; status of financial assistance for sustainable management programmes; innovate funding mechanisms; and effectiveness of funding and in-country coordination between financing institutions. For more information contact: Susan Becker, UNDP Natural Resources Management Unit, Sustainable Energy and Environment Division, fax: +1-212- 906-6973.

Long-term Trends in Supply and Demand for Wood Products and Possible Implications for Sustainable Forest Management: This ongoing activity, sponsored by Norway and managed by the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the Norwegian Forest Research Institute (NISK), is conducted by an international team of experts representing various disciplines from 1 December 1995 to 1 July 1996. The process will prepare a synthesis paper on: factors affecting long-term trends of non-industrial and industrial supply and demand for wood; main trends and prospects in non-industrial and industrial supply and demand for wood; and possible implications for sustainable forest management. The final results will be reported to IPF-3. For more information contact: Mr. Jostein Leiro, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tel: +47 2224 3608, fax: +47 2224 9580/81; Mr. Svein Aass, Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN, tel: +1-212-421-0280; fax: +1-212- 688-0554; EFI, tel: +358 73 252 020; fax: +358 73 124 393; e-mail:; Internet:

Intergovernmental Seminar on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management: Finland will sponsor this seminar to be held from 19-22 August 1996 in Helsinki. The Seminar will aim at promoting and encouraging national implementation of criteria and indicators and study the feasibility of their further development as well as their comparability and international compatibility. For more information, contact the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; ISCI Secretariat, tel: +358 0 160 2405; fax: +358 0 160 2430; e-mail:; Internet:

Experts Meeting on Rehabilitation of Forest Degraded Ecosystem: Portugal, Cape Verde and Senegal, in cooperation with the FAO, will sponsor this meeting from 24-28 June 1996 in Lisbon. The meeting will analyze afforestation, reforestation and restoration of forests, especially in countries with fragile ecosystems affected by drought or desertification. It will identify practical measures for promoting integrated strategies for sustainable forest management. For information contact: Mr. Fernando Mota, tel: +351 1 347 1411 or 347 4358; fax: +351 1 346 9512; or Miguel Jeronimo, Mission of Portugal to the UN, tel: +1-212-759-9444; fax: +1-212-355-1124.

International Experts Group Study on International Organizations, Multilateral Institutions and Instruments in The Forest Sector: Switzerland and Peru are co-sponsoring this international expert group study on the work carried out by international organizations and multilateral institutions, and under existing legal instruments related to forest issues. The first meeting took place in Geneva from 5-8 March, and the second is scheduled for July 1996. For more information contact: Livia Leu Agosti, Mission of Switzerland to the UN, tel: +1-212-421-1480; fax: +1-212-751-2104; Italo Acha, Mission of Peru to the UN, tel: +1-212-687-3367; fax: +1-212 927-6975; or Bernardo Zentilli, Coordinator, Swiss/Peruvian Initiative, tel: +41 22 749 2437; fax: +41-22-749-2454.


Sustaining Ecosystems and People in Temperate and Boreal Forests — An International Conference on Integrating Conservation of Biological Diversity with Social and Economic Goals: This conference is co-sponsored by Canada and the Province of British Colombia and is scheduled for 8-13 September 1996 in Victoria, British Columbia. For more information contact: Conference Secretariat, Connections Victoria Ltd., tel: +1-604- 382-0332; fax: +1-604-382-2076; Internet:

Ecological, Social and Political Issues in Certification of Forests Management: This experts group meeting will be jointly conducted by the University of British Colombia and the Fakulti Perbutananat, University of Pertanian, Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur from 12-16 May 1996. This meeting will contribute to the development of objective, systematic and scientifically-based standards for certification of forestry operations, focusing on the ecological, social and political issues in certification of forest management.

International Symposium on the Non-Market Benefits of Forests: This symposium, scheduled for 23-29 June 1996 in Edinburgh, Scotland, will be sponsored by the Forestry Commission of the UK. The meeting will explore the latest developments in measuring and valuing the non-market outputs of forestry and examine ways to use the information in making decisions about forest management and in the development and implementation of forestry policy. For more information, contact: Ann Alexander, Forestry Commission, tel: +44 131 334 0303; fax: +44 131 334 2819.

Third Expert Level Follow-up Meeting of the Helsinki Conference: The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe will convene this meeting from 30-31 May 1996 in Geneva.

Montreal Process Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate Boreal Forests: This meeting will be held in Brisbane, Australia, and is scheduled for 3-7 June 1996. For information, contact: Montreal Process Secretariat, tel: + 61 6 272 4500 or 4330; fax: +61 6 272 3201.

XX Session of the ITTC and XVIII Sessions of the Permanent Committees: These meetings will take place from 15-23 May 1996 in Manila, the Philippines. For more information contact: ITTO Secretariat, tel: +81-45-223 1110; fax: +81-45-223 1111; e-mail: [email protected]

Towards a Sustainable Paper Industry — Making Informed Choices: The Canadian Pulp and Paper Association will sponsor a full-day session on 2 May 1996 in New York to encourage the development of a better informed forest products marketplace. For more information contact: Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, Trade and Government Affairs, fax: +1-514- 866-3686.

Further information