Daily report for 13 March 2002

2nd Session of the UNFF

On the eighth day of UNFF-2, ministers and delegates engaged in a dialogue with heads of CPF member organizations. Delegates also met in Working Group I in the morning and evening to address combating deforestation and forest degradation, and in a contact group in the afternoon and evening to consider criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests.


UNFF-2 Chair Knut istad opened the high-level ministerial segment, announcing that Colombian Environment Minister Juan Mayr would chair the segment. Chair istad presented the Chairs summary of the multi-stakeholder dialogue. The INTERNATIONAL UNION OF FOREST RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS (IUFRO) called for increased resources for and recognition of research, as well as language on "science-based" SFM where possible. A representative of SMALL-SCALE FOREST OWNERS AND FOREST INDUSTRIES supported public-private partnerships, secure land tenure rights and a stable policy environment. A representative for NGOs AND INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS called on the WSSD to, inter alia: launch a global initiative to combat illegal harvesting and trade; set specific target dates to reverse forest degradation; and announce initiatives to address underlying causes of forest degradation.

Hosni El-Lakany, Chair of the CPF, explained that the CPFs objectives are to strengthen collaboration and coordination among its members, and support the UNFFs work. Venezuela, for the G-77/ CHINA, noted that dialogue with heads of CPF organizations will help developing countries formulate national policies. Spain, for the EU, recommended that the CPF and the UNFF Secretariat elaborate a reporting framework to guide UNFF-3 preparations. Chair Mayr explained that the dialogue would address: cross-sectoral harmonization, including fostering synergies between forest-related instruments and organizations; forests and current international political and policy agendas; forest conservation, protection and use; and financing for SFM. Government representatives and CPF members introduced each topic, followed by discussion.

CROSS-SECTORAL HARMONIZATION: COSTA RICA stressed that the multi-functionality of forests requires cross-sectoral approaches, and highlighted the need for cross-sectoral coordination and harmonization of policies in national-level planning. FINLAND recommended that regional institutions and forest-related instruments be encouraged to promote specific action on forest law enforcement, illegal trade and voluntary certification schemes, and encouraged CPF members to develop a conceptual framework of criteria and indicators with measurable key indicators for broader implementation. Hosni El-Lakany, Assistant Director-General, FAO Forestry Department, stressed the need to coordinate national forest policies with other sectoral policies, and highlighted integrated land-use policies and programmes as a successful example of a multi-sectoral approach.

Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, highlighted the important role of forests in carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation, and in overcoming poverty. Dennis Tirpak, UNFCCC Coordinator, discussed recently agreed forestry and land-use activities under the Kyoto Protocol, which could lead to new sources of income for forest owners who want to "grow" carbon. Sergio Trindade, International Center for Research on Agroforestry, proposed establishing "national sustainable development forest missions" to harmonize and integrate various initiatives. The US said the CPFs role is critical in facilitating and supporting implementation of the proposals for action. COLOMBIA cited illicit crops as a major cause of deforestation, and stressed the need to address underlying causes such as drug consumption in developed countries. ECUADOR said structural changes and drug trafficking must be addressed.

FORESTS AND CURRENT INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL AND POLICY AGENDAS: SOUTH AFRICA stated that deforestation and forest degradation continue, despite adoption of SFM policies, and noted that forest degradation can only be addressed by reversing the cycle of poverty and powerlessness in underdeveloped regions. The UK emphasized: raising the profile of forests on the international political agenda; moving from dialogue to action; forging new partnerships between governments, business and civil society; and combating illegal logging.

Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted the "tremendous erosion of public funding for forestry." He underscored the importance of connecting the forest agenda with the broader agenda of sustainable development. David Kaimowitz, Director General of CIFOR, highlighted links between forests, poverty and human welfare, and highlighted the contribution that forests can make to sustainable livelihoods. Frank Pinto, UNDP, noted the need to improve the design and implementation of regulatory frameworks to remove perverse incentives that encourage unsustainable practices. COSTA RICA urged greater regional cooperation in Central America for implementing the proposals for action. CHINA stressed that poverty eradication cannot be divorced from the multiple benefits of forests. The NETHERLANDS emphasized the importance of private investment in contributing to SFM.

FOREST CONSERVATION, PROTECTION AND USE: ECUADOR said traditional methods of conservation are insufficient and stressed the need for concrete incentives for sustainable use of forests. The US highlighted the potential of innovative public-private partnerships. Klaus Töpfer called for, inter alia, an integrated landscape and ecosystem approach, more effective coordination and support from multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), a good GEF replenishment, and discussion on illegal logging, enforcement and labeling.

Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary, said the CBDs action-oriented work programme on forest biological diversity under consideration addresses: conservation, sustainable use and benefit-sharing; creation of an institutional and socioeconomic enabling environment; and knowledge assessment and monitoring. Hama Diallo, UNCCD Executive Secretary, advocated restoration to combat land degradation and poverty, and called for participation of all stakeholders. Andrew Deutz, IUCN, stressed the need to balance conservation with sustainable livelihoods, and highlighted progress in forest landscape restoration. COLOMBIA advocated ethics as a reference point for negotiations at WSSD. COSTA RICA highlighted national success in forest restoration, and stressed the need for regional cooperation. AUSTRALIA advocated cross-sectoral planning, and underscored the role of the private sector. The FAO supported a shift from conservation to sustainable use, and BRAZIL said international institutions should respect national agendas. GREENPEACE highlighted conservation, sustainable use, and equitable benefit-sharing, and called for application of the ecosystem approach and the precautionary principle.

FINANCING FOR SFM: MALAYSIA called for increased ODA and a global forest fund. LATVIA underscored the need for well-designed national forest policies, political will, and mobilization of domestic resources for implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action. INDIA urged the international donor community to connect the goal of poverty eradication to the sustainable management of all types of forests. Mohamed El Ashry, CEO of the GEF, stressed the need to leverage private capital and strengthen policies and institutions for implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action. Manoel Sobral, ITTO Executive Director, reiterated that SFM is uncompetitive compared to plantation forestry and other land uses, and said greater economic value must be attached to SFM.

Odin Knudsen, World Bank, said SFM will be funded primarily through the private sector, stressing the importance of attracting socially and environmentally responsible investment. Noting a lack of progress on financing, BRAZIL supported establishing a global forest fund and addressing external debt.


COMBATING DEFORESTATION AND FOREST DEGRADATION: Working Group I, chaired by Hossein Moeini (Iran), met in the morning and evening to discuss the draft text on combating deforestation and forest degradation. Delegates debated the nature of the outcomes of this agenda item, noting its applicability to other substantive agenda items, and agreed that the draft text would include "lessons learned" and "future steps." They also agreed to include a section on country experiences in UNFF-2's final report.

Lessons Learned: Delegates agreed to include text on: the significance of domestic law enforcement and illegal international trade; and the encouragement of projects, programmes and initiatives at the international level. Delegates agreed to bracket references to trade. Delegates also forwarded references on finance to the ad hoc expert group on finance and transfer of ESTs.

Future Steps: Delegates agreed that capacity-building programmes of CPF members should "address the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation" and "facilitate countries' efforts to incorporate relevant research results into national policy initiatives and to conduct analyses of underlying causes," but did not agree whether to invite CPF members to "develop" or "enhance" such programmes. Delegates also agreed to encourage countries and CPF members to take into consideration all lessons learned and apply them as appropriate.


In the afternoon and evening, delegates met in a contact group, chaired by Stefan Leiner (European Community), on criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests.

Delegates agreed that the systematic and objective review of the effectiveness "will be carried out in the context of" the principal functions of the arrangement. A proposal to add that the review will also address concrete process-oriented targets as contained in Paragraph 21 (Targets) of the Plan of Action was bracketed. Delegates agreed that the review should take into account the work of UNFF "and its members and the CPF" in facilitating implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action. Delegates further agreed that the review: should consider, inter alia, efforts of countries to implement the proposals for action, outputs of the ad hoc expert groups and intersessional meetings and country- and organization-led initiatives, and forest-related work of CPF members; and would draw on voluntary reports from countries, organizations "and processes," "and other outcomes from UNFF sessions." In the chapeau of a paragraph listing criteria, delegates replaced "proposed parameters to review the effectiveness" with "specific criteria for the assessment of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests." A developing country proposal noting the need to take into account that the elaboration of specific criteria is part of an evolving process was added in brackets.

Delegates agreed that criteria relating to the implementation of IPF/IFF proposals for action include the extent to which: countries, the CPF and other actors have made progress in implementation; countries have developed and started to implement NFPs or equivalent processes; participation of stakeholders in these programmes and processes has been enhanced; and the international arrangement on forests has facilitated and promoted countries implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action, focusing on the means of implementation (finance, transfer of ESTs and capacity building) as well as relevant common items. Additional parameters relating to implementation were proposed but not discussed in detail.

Delegates made new proposals for, but did not discuss, criteria relating to a forum for continued policy development and dialogue, cooperation and policy programme cooperation, international cooperation, monitoring and assessing progress, and strengthening political commitment. Delegates also considered but did not agree to text on gathering baseline information for the criteria and adopting quantifiable indices, targets and benchmarks at UNFF-3.


As the ministerial dialogue, featuring heads of CPF member organizations, ran smoothly throughout the day, delegates seemed pleased with how well it was organized and how enthusiastically Chair Juan Mayr encouraged participants to engage in a frank exchange. This stood in stark contrast to the multi-stakeholder dialogue, which some felt was relatively unorganized and bland in comparison. Meanwhile, the corridors and small conference rooms were buzzing with increased activity as informal consultations on the many outstanding issues finally kicked into high gear. Although delegates seemed inspired by this development, they were becoming increasingly frazzled with the last-minute and late-night negotiations, and wondered if this newfound stride would be enough to meet the supposed deadline of 6:00 pm Friday.


MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE: The ministerial dialogue will begin at 10:00 am in Conference Room 1.

WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will meet at 10:00 am on the 22nd floor of Two UN Plaza to continue discussion on the draft texts on progress in implementation of the UNFF-2 elements.

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: Informal consultations on the ad hoc expert groups are expected to begin at 10:00 am in Conference Room B.

CONTACT GROUP: The contact group on review criteria is expected to meet in the afternoon, in a room to be announced.    

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