Daily report for 6 March 2002

2nd Session of the UNFF

On the third day of UNFF-2, delegates met in morning and afternoon Plenary sessions to engage in a multi-stakeholder dialogue on sustainable forest management (SFM).


MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE: Knut istad (Norway) chaired the multi-stakeholder dialogue. Jag Maini, Head of the UNFF Secretariat, introduced the note by the Secretary-General on this topic (E/CN.18/2002/10). He explained that the dialogue would engage five key stakeholder groups, and that a Chairs summary would be produced and included in the final report of UNFF-2.

The INTERNATIONAL UNION OF FOREST RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS (IUFRO) presented a discussion paper contributed by the scientific and technological community which analyzed strategies for rehabilitation in low forest cover countries (LFCCs) and for rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands (E/C.18/2002/10/ Add.1). He noted that IUFRO has taken action on many IPF/IFF recommendations, and highlighted its experiences relating to: combating deforestation and forest degradation; promoting forest conservation and protection of unique forest types and fragile ecosystems; developing rehabilitation and conservation strategies for LFCCs; and rehabilitating degraded lands and promoting natural and planted forests. The CONFEDERATION OF EUROPEAN FOREST OWNERS presented a discussion paper on the role of private non-industrial forest owners in achieving SFM (E/C.18/2002/10/Add.2). She highlighted the importance of, inter alia, respect for property rights, public participation, and proposals for enhancing the conservation of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems.

The GLOBAL FOREST COALITION highlighted uncertainty regarding the multi-stakeholder dialogue due to a lack of information on its organization and modalities, and called for a longer lead time to enable useful preparations. He stressed that the expert groups must allow for major group participation and that the CPF Network must involve major groups and civil society at both the international and national levels. He highlighted NGOs and indigenous peoples contributions to implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action. He said the UNFF must be innovative and produce concrete outcomes that foster partnerships, solve implementation problems and replicate successes, rather than develop new proposals for action. He said UNFF activities and outcomes could include, inter alia: creation of a database of successes and challenges; a credible monitoring, assessment and reporting mechanism on progress in implementing the proposals for action; and exchange of country experiences to identify examples of successful implementation and a collaborative needs assessment to identify obstacles to effective implementation and opportunities for innovative solutions. He expressed concern that some national forest programmes (NFPs) have failed to embody a cross-sectoral and participatory approach that takes into account, inter alia, social, cultural and ecological values of forests, and the rights of indigenous peoples.

The INDIGENOUS PEOPLES NETWORK said that indigenous peoples did not feel well-represented in the Forum, and noted that their participation has been marginalized through the rigid implementation of ECOSOC rules without taking into account advances made in participation in other fora. He recommended ensuring participation through a voluntary fund, emphasized that not all stakeholders have the same interests, and urged full recognition of indigenous peoples rights and legal recognition of their territories. Venezuela, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, supported stakeholder involvement in capacity building, technology transfer and mobilization of resources in order to implement the Plan of Action and the MYPOW. The UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY described its research linking the role of forests in enhancing human security and its efforts to promote networking and capacity building in developing countries and economies in transition. He also proposed the designation of an International Year of the Forest. South Africa endorsed the participation of indigenous peoples in the multi-stakeholder dialogue and stressed that participation of all groups should continue within the UNFF process. She underscored the importance of indigenous land rights.

Spain, for the EU, said that implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action should be based on bottom-up dialogue at national and regional levels. The US recommended that multi-stakeholder dialogues be enhanced and, with CANADA, requested that the UNFF Secretariat improve the multi-stakeholder dialogue process in preparation for UNFF-3. She urged increased industry and major group representation, and suggested that IUFRO could aid the international community by articulating scientific connections between the IPF/IFF proposals for action and multilateral environmental agreements relevant to forests, notably the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification. COSTA RICA outlined several successful examples of multi-stakeholder participatory activities and processes aimed at implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action throughout Central America. CANADA welcomed the input from the Indigenous People's Network and IUFRO and outlined its own efforts to foster national multi-stakeholder dialogue.SWEDEN underscored the importance of involving private forest owners and women in achieving SFM. BRAZIL stressed the importance of full participation in addressing cross-sectoral problems, and called for new partnerships. NEW ZEALAND noted its participatory approach in returning land to indigenous people. FRANCE stressed participation of private forest owners, and called for a change in procedures to remove obstacles hindering their ability to obtain accreditation. The CPF called for complementarity between the dialogue and the CPF Network.

MALAYSIA underscored the importance of economic, social and environmental benefits of forests, rehabilitation programmes, and cooperation with the private sector. The UK said that an effective cross-sectoral approach must respect indigenous peoples rights, supported the EU proposal to remove obstacles to participation, and called for a revision of the accreditation procedures to take into account the differing needs of different major groups. FINLAND attached great importance to participation and transparency in developing new policies to implement the IPF/IFF proposals for action on cross-sectoral issues. The AMERICAN FOREST AND PAPER ASSOCIATION stressed the importance of SFM to ensure a globally competitive forest industry, highlighting the role of voluntary certification systems in this regard, and called for mutual recognition of certification schemes. She underscored the importance of forest law enforcement and called for a strong message opposing illegal logging, which affects markets and undermines credibility.

The GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT welcomed the high attendance at the multi-stakeholder dialogue and called for discussion on the nature of the outcomes of UNFF sessions. He advocated binding agreements on specific issues and the creation and announcement of partnerships at UNFF sessions. He also called for a clear ministerial message to the WSSD. SENEGAL noted the importance of multi-stakeholder participation and stressed the need for balance through broad participation of countries. The CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK noted that an analysis it had conducted identifying priority areas for further implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action in Canada, including, inter alia: developing and implementing policies and mechanisms to reform land tenure; improving quantitative data on forest goods and services; establishing a network of representative protected areas; and increasing forest-related ODA to support bottom-up approaches to development. GHANA called for increased participation of NGOs, trade associations and the timber industry in the UNFFs discussions, and for publicity and education on the UNFFs work in order to encourage dialogue and feedback from stakeholders.

GREENPEACE contested assertions made in IUFROs paper (E/ C.18/2002/10/Add.1), on: the US as "the worlds leading social power"; the misuse of terms in marketing campaigns aimed at consumers; and the ability of the World Heritage Convention to establish a representative network of protected areas. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE FORESTERS (US) emphasized the importance of multi-stakeholder dialogue in enabling effective sustainable forest policy decisions. He urged the UNFF and governments to focus on what remains to be done to achieve SFM, and said a loose, voluntary framework that allows individual governments to decide for themselves how to implement SFM is preferable to a prescriptive international regulatory approach.

POLAND stressed that multi-stakeholder dialogue is important at the global level but is particularly crucial at national and local levels. PORTUGAL emphasized the role of private forest owners in implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action. She recommended focusing on difficulties encountered in involving and securing the participation of major groups in policy development and decision making. The PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRY OF PORTUGAL addressed the need for improved efficiency in implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action, such as by empowering the CPF Network to better support concrete action on the ground. He stressed the need for political and institutional environments that foster joint efforts to promote SFM. He called for an improved understanding of the impacts of cross-sectoral policy measures on the private sector, and recommended facilitating the accreditation process to attract more private sector participation in the UNFFs deliberations.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA noted its slow implementation of the IPF/ IFF proposals for action due in part to insufficient resources, and said it hopes to improve its own stakeholder involvement in SFM. IUFRO stated its intention to support and contribute actively to the UNFF and implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action. SENEGAL highlighted the lack of participation by many African countries at UNFF-2, and said their participation needs to be facilitated, adding that many African countries are not well-informed about forest issues.

Chair istad then invited delegates to comment on how preparations for the next multi-stakeholder dialogue could be conducted. The GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT highlighted the need to involve stakeholders early in the preparatory process and stated that stakeholders should be invited to help plan and structure the dialogue. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY suggested that major stakeholders prepare reports not only to identify progress and gaps made by governments in implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action, but also to identify progress made by the major groups themselves.

In closing, Chair istad commended the active participation by various partners in the multi-stakeholder dialogue, and highlighted key points that were raised, including the need to improve the preparatory process, support for a bottom-up approach, and the importance of women, indigenous peoples and the private sector in SFM. He asked major groups to elect two representatives to deliver brief statements to the high-level ministerial segment, and noted that the Chairs summary of the multi-stakeholder dialogue would be presented to the ministers.

Jag Maini commended the enriching discussions, as well as the contributions made by major groups on the IPF/IFF proposals for action. He said: major groups must seek accreditation from ECOSOC in order to participate; one member of the Secretariat would be responsible for liaising and communicating with major groups; and experience had been gained from the CSDs multi-stakeholder dialogues.


The atmosphere in the corridors was upbeat after the morning session, due to the better than expected turn-out and the positive tone of statements made early in the multi-stakeholder dialogue. However, the dialogue seemed to lose steam in the afternoon and the session ended nearly two hours early, with many delegates expressing frustration that the dialogue had been merely a series of random monologues detached from the rest of the meeting and its themes. Some criticized the lack of preparation, organization and guidance, and hoped that future multi-stakeholder dialogues would be better prepared and would elicit more interactive dialogue and substantive outcomes that could meaningfully contribute to future UNFF sessions.


WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I is expected to meet in Conference Room 1 at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm to discuss means of implementation and progress in implementation of proposals for action related to combating deforestation and forest degradation, and forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems.

WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II is expected to meet in the General Assembly Hall at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm to address concepts, terminology and definitions, and monitoring, assessment and reporting.  

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