Summary report, 4–15 March 2002
2nd Session of the UNFF
The second session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-2) took place from 4-15 March 2002, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates addressed progress in implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action and the UNFF Plan of Action related to the following substantive items, or elements: combating deforestation and forest degradation; forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems; rehabilitation and conservation strategies for low forest cover countries (LFCCs); rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands and promotion of natural and planted forests; and concepts, terminology and definitions. UNFF-2 also considered means of implementation, including finance, transfer of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs), and capacity building for sustainable forest management (SFM), in the context of these elements. The following "common items" were also addressed: enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination; emerging issues relevant to country implementation; monitoring, assessment and reporting; promoting public participation; national forest programmes (NFPs); trade; enabling environments; and intersessional work.
A multi-stakeholder dialogue was held on Wednesday, 6 March, to address multi-stakeholder contributions to, and engage in genuine dialogue on, the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action and related key issues.
A High-Level Segment took place on Wednesday and Thursday, 13-14 March. On the first day, ministers engaged in a policy dialogue with heads of member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. On the second day, ministers engaged in a dialogue focusing on the UNFF's input to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and on national commitments to country goals and strategies for implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
The outcomes of UNFF-2 included a Ministerial Declaration and Message to the WSSD, and eight decisions, on: combating deforestation and forest degradation; forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems; rehabilitation and conservation strategies for countries with low forest cover; rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands and the promotion of natural and planted forests; concepts, terminology and definitions; specific criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests; proposed revisions to the medium-term plan for 2002-2005; and other matters.
UNFF-2 was also mandated to establish terms of reference (ToR) for three ad hoc expert groups on: approaches and mechanisms for monitoring, assessment and reporting, finance and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, and consideration with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests. However, delegates were not able to reach agreement and instead took a procedural decision to forward to UNFF-3 an entirely bracketed paper containing the draft ToR, which was appended to the report of UNFF-2.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFF
The possibility of developing international forest policy and a mechanism to coordinate such policy was discussed during preparations for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, but delegates eventually agreed only to adopt the "Non-legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests," also known as the "Forest Principles," and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21, "Combating Deforestation."
INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON FORESTS: In 1995, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), at its third session, established the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) to continue the intergovernmental forest policy dialogue. During its two-year mandate, the IPF developed some 150 negotiated proposals for action on issues relating to SFM. However, delegates could not agree on a few major issues, including financial assistance and trade-related matters, or whether to begin negotiations on a global forest convention. CSD-5, in April 1997, and the 19th Special Session of the UN General Assembly, in June 1997, endorsed the IPF's outcome and recommended a continuation of the intergovernmental policy dialogue on forests. Subsequently, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) established the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) to continue this work under the auspices of the CSD.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM ON FORESTS: The IFF met four times between October 1997 and February 2000, with its deliberations resulting in approximately 120 proposals for action on a range of topics, including: promoting, facilitating and monitoring implementation of the IPF proposals for action; financial resources; trade and environment; transfer of ESTs; issues needing further clarification; and forest-related work of international and regional organizations and under existing instruments. At its fourth and final session in February 2000, the IFF concluded its deliberations and issued its final report, which included a recommendation for an international arrangement on forests. Delegates agreed to recommend the establishment of the UNFF and to invite the relevant international organizations, institutions, and instruments and UN organizations to participate in a Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). In April 2000, delegates at CSD-8 endorsed the IFF's conclusions and proposals for action and invited the ECOSOC President to initiate informal consultations on options for placing the UNFF within the intergovernmental machinery of the UN system.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE UNFF: On 18 October 2000, ECOSOC adopted Resolution E/2000/35, outlining an international arrangement on forests and establishing the UNFF as a subsidiary body of ECOSOC. The Resolution states that the main objective of the international arrangement on forests is to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end. Its purpose is to: promote the implementation of internationally agreed actions on forests at the national, regional and global levels; provide a coherent, transparent and participatory global framework for policy implementation, coordination and development; and carry out principal functions, based on the Rio Declaration, the Forest Principles, Chapter 11 of Agenda 21, and the outcomes of the IPF and the IFF, in a manner consistent with and complementary to existing international legally-binding instruments relevant to forests.
The Resolution sets out six principal functions for the international arrangement on forests to meet its objective:
(a) facilitate and promote the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action as well as other actions that may be agreed upon; catalyze, mobilize and generate financial resources; and mobilize and channel technical and scientific resources;
(b) provide a forum for continued policy development and dialogue to foster a common understanding of SFM and to address forest issues and emerging areas of priority concern in a holistic, comprehensive and integrated manner;
(c) enhance cooperation as well as policy and programme coordination on forest-related issues among relevant international and regional organizations, institutions and instruments;
(d) foster international cooperation, including North-South and public-private partnerships, as well as cross-sectoral cooperation at the national, regional and global levels;
(e) monitor and assess progress at the national, regional and global levels through reporting by governments, and regional and international organizations, institutions and instruments, and on this basis consider future actions needed; and
(f) strengthen political commitment to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests through: ministerial engagement; liaising with the governing bodies of international and regional organizations, institutions and instruments; and promoting action-oriented dialogue and policy formulation related to forests.
To carry out these functions, the Resolution establishes the UNFF as a subsidiary body of ECOSOC and also establishes the CPF to support its work and enhance cooperation and coordination. Other provisions include that the UNFF will: consider, within five years, the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests, with a view to making a recommendation to ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly; and take steps to devise approaches toward appropriate financial and technology transfer support to enable implementation of SFM, as recommended by the IPF and IFF.
The Resolution also states that the UNFF will operate under the rules and procedures of ECOSOC and that it should, inter alia: be open to all States and operate in a transparent and participatory manner; build upon the transparent and participatory practices established by the CSD, IPF and IFF; and ensure the opportunity to receive and consider inputs from representatives of major groups, in particular through the organization of multi-stakeholder dialogues.
The Resolution states that the UNFF will meet on an annual basis for up to two weeks and have a high-level ministerial segment for two to three days, as required. It indicates that the UNFF may convene ad hoc expert groups for scientific and technical advice. It also requires the first substantive meeting of the UNFF to adopt a Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW) and develop a Plan of Action for implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
UNFF ORGANIZATIONAL SESSION AND INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE MYPOW: The UNFF organizational session and the informal consultations on the MYPOW took place from 12-16 February 2001, in New York. At the organizational session, delegates agreed that the UNFF Secretariat would be located in New York. They also agreed that the first and fifth substantive sessions of the UNFF will be held in New York, with the three intervening sessions to be held in Geneva and San José, Costa Rica. Delegates addressed progress towards the establishment of the CPF, and also agreed to the duration of the Bureau members' terms.
The purpose of the informal consultations was to exchange views on the MYPOW in order to facilitate the preparation of a Secretary-General's document on the MYPOW for consideration at UNFF-1. During the informal consultations, delegates exchanged views on the MYPOW programme elements relating to: facilitation and promotion of implementation; monitoring, assessment and reporting; enhancing cooperation and policy and programme coordination; fostering international and cross-sectoral cooperation; fostering a common understanding of SFM and addressing forest policy issues and emerging areas; and strengthening political commitment. The informal consultations also addressed the review of the international arrangement on forests to be undertaken in five years.
UNFF-1: UNFF-1 took place from 11-23 June 2001, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates discussed and adopted decisions on the UNFF's MYPOW, a Plan of Action for the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action, and the initiation of the UNFF's work with the CPF. They also recommended the establishment of three ad hoc expert groups to carry out intersessional work to inform and provide technical advice to the UNFF, on: approaches and mechanisms for monitoring, assessment and reporting; finance and transfer of ESTs; and consideration with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests. UNFF-1 further adopted a statement on the programme budget implications of the MYPOW.
UNFF-2 Chair Knut Øistad (Norway) welcomed delegates to UNFF-2, highlighting its mandate to assess implementation of the IPF/ IFF proposals for action. He emphasized the importance of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in reviewing progress in implementation of Agenda 21, highlighting progress with regard to forests. He noted the diverse goods and services from forests and their importance for human livelihoods, expressed hope that the UNFF's work would contribute to a more peaceful world, and said the UNFF should be judged by action on the ground.
Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted the elements to be discussed at UNFF-2 as important inputs into the WSSD process. He emphasized the long-term and cross-cutting nature of forest issues; stressed the need to consider forests in the broader context of sustainable development; and said that connecting the forest agenda with the emerging anti-poverty agenda would be crucial in this regard.
ECOSOC President Ivan imonovic highlighted the relationship between ECOSOC and the UNFF and areas of cooperation between them, and urged discussing ways to integrate the UNFF's outcomes into ECOSOC's work. Hosni El-Lakany, Chair of the CPF, highlighted the challenges in prioritizing activities within allocated resources, intervening strategically and producing concrete results.
Jag Maini, Head of the UNFF Secretariat, highlighted critical areas for discussion at UNFF-2: positioning forests on the international political agenda; finance; cross-sectoral policy harmonization; and protection of forests. He emphasized the importance of the UNFF's ministerial message to the WSSD.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: At the close of UNFF-1, delegates had elected Ositaadinma Anaedu (Nigeria), Patricia Chaves (Costa Rica), Alexey Kornienko (Russian Federation), and Knut Øistad (Norway) to serve on the Bureau for UNFF-2. On Monday, 4 March, delegates agreed to the election of Knut Øistad as Chair of UNFF-2, elected Hossein Moeini (Iran) to represent the Asian Group on the Bureau and Patricia Chaves to serve as Rapporteur. They also adopted the provisional agenda (E/CN.18/2002/1). On the organization of work for UNFF-2, delegates agreed to meet in one working group on Monday afternoon and Tuesday, 4-5 March, to discuss preparations for the High-Level Ministerial Segment (chaired by Ositaadinma Anaedu) and the draft ToR of the UNFF ad hoc expert groups (chaired by Patricia Chaves). They also agreed to establish Working Group I, chaired by Hossein Moeini, to address means of implementation and progress in implementation, and Working Group II, chaired by Ositaadinma Anaedu, to address concepts, terminology and definitions, including criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests, to begin their work on Thursday, 7 March.
COUNTRY STATEMENTS: Several countries then delivered opening remarks, including Venezuela, on behalf of the G-77/China, who stressed, inter alia, the importance of forests in promoting human well-being in developing countries, and the need for transparency in trade and for unimpeded market access for developing country forest products. Spain, on behalf of the EU, stressed the need for implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action at the national level. He urged UNFF-2 to: adopt technical details for the expert groups and a provisional implementation questionnaire to improve reporting information for UNFF-3; address illegal logging and related trade issues; send a positive message to the WSSD; and signal the sixth Conference of Parties (COP-6) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to prepare a revised work programme on forest biological diversity that will, inter alia, foster implementation of the relevant IPF/IFF proposals for action.
Canada recommended that the UNFF concentrate on the implementation of existing proposals for action rather than develop new ones. Brazil stressed the importance of the ad hoc expert group on finance and transfer of ESTs for implementing SFM on a permanent basis. Japan noted that good governance and appropriate law enforcement are fundamental for SFM, and with South Africa, urged the international community to address illegal logging. Indonesia stressed the importance of addressing trade, cautioning against the use of terms lacking consensus from the IPF/IFF process, and underlined the need for streamlined national reporting to reduce the burden on developing countries. Australia highlighted the complementary roles of the UNFF and the CBD in advancing SFM and forest conservation activities, and stressed the need for collaborative action to better integrate forest biodiversity considerations into national development programmes.
China called for practical actions in the areas of finance and transfer of ESTs to support implementation of the proposals for action in developing countries. South Africa called on UNFF-2 to focus on preparation of its ministerial message to the WSSD, which should include specific commitments and address topical problems.
On Wednesday, 6 March, Knut Øistad (Norway) chaired the multi-stakeholder dialogue, which addressed the review of progress in implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action within the context of the elements of UNFF-2. Representatives from NGOs, indigenous peoples' groups, scientific and technological communities, business and industry, and private non-industrial forest owners, as well as government representatives, participated in the dialogue. The session began with the presentation of background papers prepared by lead organizations, followed by opening statements from major groups and some countries on their contributions to implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action, and a dialogue between governments and major groups. Participants also discussed possibilities for enhancing the effectiveness of future multi-stakeholder dialogues.
Jag Maini introduced the Secretary-General's Note on the multi-stakeholder dialogue (E/CN.18/2002/10). 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/ CN.18/2002/10/Add.1). 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), highlighting the importance of, inter alia, secure land tenure rights as a mechanism to promote SFM, public participation, a "bottom-up approach" to implementation, and proposals for enhancing the conservation of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems.
In the opening statements from major groups and countries, many participants highlighted issues related to stakeholder involvement in implementing the proposals for action, and stakeholder engagement within the UNFF itself. On implementing the proposals for action, participants underscored the role of local private forest owners, the scientific community, women, NGOs, indigenous peoples and the private sector in, inter alia, capacity building, technology transfer, mobilization of resources, and implementation on the ground. Portugal noted difficulties encountered in involving and securing major groups' participation in policy development and decision making. The EU said implementation of the proposals for action should be based on bottom-up dialogue at national and regional levels. The Pulp and Paper Industry of Portugal highlighted the need to empower the CPF Network to better support concrete action on the ground. The United Nations University described its research on the role of forests in enhancing human security and its efforts to promote networking and capacity building in developing countries and countries with economies in transition (CEITs). Participants also highlighted the need for: collaborative partnerships to support implementation; a database of successes, failures and challenges; and a credible mechanism for monitoring, assessment and reporting.
On multi-stakeholder engagement within the UNFF itself, many participants welcomed the high level of attendance at this session but highlighted the difficulties encountered in gaining accreditation. The Indigenous Peoples' Network said that indigenous peoples do not feel well-represented in the Forum and recommended ensuring participation through a voluntary fund. Ghana called for publicity and education relating to the UNFF's work to encourage dialogue and feedback from stakeholders. The Global Forest Policy Project recommended that the ToR of the UNFF's ad hoc expert groups allow major group participation and that the CPF Network involve civil society and major groups at both the international and national levels.
Some participants emphasized the need to improve the multi-stakeholder dialogue for UNFF-3. The Global Forest Coalition lamented the lack of information on the organization and modalities of this dialogue, and called for more advanced preparation of future sessions. 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.
PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTATION
One of the primary tasks of UNFF-2 was to address progress in implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action relating to four substantive issues: combating deforestation and forest degradation; forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems; rehabilitation and conservation strategies for LFCCs; and rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands and promotion of natural and planted forests. Delegates engaged in an initial exchange of views on these issues in Working Group I on Thursday and Friday, 7-8 March. After this initial exchange, delegates were unclear as to what the nature and format of the outcomes of UNFF-2 on these issues should be summaries or negotiated decisions or recommendations for each subject. During the ensuing negotiations, delegates clarified their intention not to formulate new proposals for action, choosing instead to negotiate a list of lessons learned and future steps on each issue, which they did during the latter half of UNFF-2's second week.
COMBATING DEFORESTATION AND FOREST DEGRADATION: On Thursday, 7 March, Bai-Mass Taal, UNEP, summarized the Secretary-General's Report on combating deforestation and forest degradation (E/CN.18/2002/6). The G-77/China and Brazil highlighted that problems of deforestation and forest degradation result from poor socioeconomic conditions, while the US identified additional emerging issues relating to forest loss and degradation, including land tenure rights, domestic policy and subsidies, and corruption. The G-77/China, supported by Cuba, Malaysia and the Global Forest Coalition, called for an action-oriented approach to addressing the underlying causes of deforestation and degradation. With regard to on-the-ground implementation, Malaysia highlighted certification as a means of ensuring SFM, and Ghana called for the convergence of certification schemes. The Global Forest Policy Project noted that competition between certification schemes may increase their overall quality and effectiveness.
On the list of lessons learned and future steps, the most contentious debate related to language on trade. Some developing countries supported reference to the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers on sustainable forest products in the context of the WTO Doha agenda, while developed countries opposed referring to tariff and non-tariff barriers. After some debate, South Africa brokered the impasse, urging countries to promote trade policies that support SFM, including in the WTO.
Final Text: The first section highlights lessons learned through the exchange of country experiences, including that:
- the CPF is important to developing country efforts to address underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation and to incorporate research into national policy;
- integrating rural development with NFPs can reduce poverty and combat deforestation;
- cross-sectoral policy cooperation is a useful reduction approach;
- prediction and management of forest fires are important areas for international collaboration; and
- initiatives to strengthen law enforcement play a vital role in combating deforestation.
The second section outlines future steps to be taken, inter alia:
- inviting the CPF to strengthen new capacity-building programmes for developing countries to implement SFM and incorporate research into national policy;
- inviting the donor community to support developing countries in predicting and managing forest fires;
- urging governments to address law enforcement and illegal logging;
- urging countries to promote SFM through trade policies and practices, including in the WTO, and to negotiate in the WTO in the context of the Doha Work Programme in order to implement relevant IPF/IFF proposals for action.
- inviting countries and CPF members to report on subsidies that may generate deforestation; and
- urging countries to strengthen international cooperation on finance, trade, technology transfer and capacity building aimed at achieving SFM in developing countries.
FOREST CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION OF UNIQUE TYPES OF FORESTS AND FRAGILE ECOSYSTEMS: On Thursday, 7 March, Bai-Mass Taal, UNEP, presented the Secretary-General's Report on forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems (E/CN.18/2002/9). In the initial exchange of views, Canada stressed the importance of planning, prioritization and sound implementation plans, noting that advancements in SFM are often due to improved governance rather than increased financing. Costa Rica highlighted the negative impact of agricultural policies on forests, and stressed the need for increased research on the benefits of forests and the effects of plantations. Mauritius highlighted the particular vulnerability and fragility of forest ecosystems in small island States, and called for increased financial support for their conservation. The US noted that the extent of protected areas varies between regions and forest ecosystems, and emphasized that national protected area management laws are often inadequate and poorly enforced. Malaysia advocated balance between the protection and sustainable use of forests, and said market access for wood products could generate funds for forest protection. Asociación Napguana stressed the importance of the prior informed consent of indigenous peoples and mutual benefits when protecting forests. On Thursday and Friday, 14-15 March, delegates negotiated a list of lessons learned and future steps.
Final Text: The first section highlights lessons learned through the exchange of country experiences, including that:
- conservation of forest biodiversity can be achieved if an integrated approach to protected areas and SFM is used;
- capacity to protect fragile ecosystems can be improved through international frameworks, including IUCN/World Commission on Protected Areas framework; and
- the CBD can make an important contribution to forest protection through the CPF.
The second section outlines future steps to be taken, inter alia:
- inviting the donor community, CPF member organizations and major groups to strengthen countries' capacity to assess protected areas and identify areas under threat;
- inviting the donor community to support developing countries' protected area management;
- encouraging knowledge exchange on promotion and creation of national funds and innovative mechanisms to finance conservation;
- encouraging developing countries to promote coordination with the donor community with regard to forest and fragile ecosystem conservation and protection; and
- urging countries to strengthen international cooperation on finance, trade, technology transfer, and capacity building with a view to conserving and protecting unique types of forest and fragile ecosystems.
REHABILITATION AND CONSERVATION STRATEGIES FOR LFCCS: On Friday, 8 March, Bai-Mass Taal, UNEP, introduced the Secretary-General's Report on rehabilitation and conservation strategies for LFCCs (E/CN.18/2002/7).
In their initial discussions on progress in implementation in this area, the G-77/China expressed dissatisfaction with the extent of donor support for rehabilitation and conservation in LFCCs, and stressed the need to properly define what is meant by "low forest cover." She also emphasized that forests play a subsistence role in many LFCCs and advocated support for the Tehran Process and implementation of its Strategy Plan of Action. The EU said rehabilitation and conservation are important for sustainable development and are best enhanced through the coordinated efforts of national programmes, cross-sectoral plans, and biodiversity strategies. The US said afforestation is one option for increasing forest cover in LFCCs, but stressed that not all planted forests are alike, highlighting the range of species, species mixtures and management options as key variables determining the various costs and benefits of planted forests. Senegal stressed the need for capacity building to address the relationship between domestic forestry and relevant international frameworks and conventions. He underscored that poverty, forest fires, refugees, conflict and population pressure impede implementation of rehabilitation and conservation strategies for LFCCs. Papua New Guinea said plantations are used to increase forest cover in highly populated areas.
Final Text: The first section highlights lessons learned through the exchange of country experiences, including that: the Tehran Process Strategic Plan of Action helps LFCCs promote the inclusion of forest-related issues on their national development agendas; rehabilitation strategies are a priority for LFCCs; and local and indigenous communities that rely on forests must be included in LFCC's forest management.
The second section outlines future steps to be taken, inter alia: inviting donor communities, CPF members and major groups to support the work of the Tehran Process; encouraging LFCCs to adopt holistic and cross-sectoral approaches in developing NFPs; and urging countries to strengthen international cooperation on finance, trade, transfer of ESTs and capacity building.
REHABILITATION AND RESTORATION OF DEGRADED LANDS AND PROMOTION OF NATURAL AND PLANTED FORESTS: Michael Martin, FAO, introduced the Secretary-General's Report on this topic (E/CN.18/2002/3). Delegates highlighted the ecosystem approach and emphasized the cross-sectoral nature of rehabilitation and restoration and their role in poverty reduction. Delegates also stressed the role of planted forests, noted that significant challenges remain regarding restoration, and highlighted the importance of capacity building and effective monitoring systems.
Delegates debated, inter alia, language relating to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), on designating it as the financial mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), and on establishing a GEF focal area for land degradation.
Final Text: The first section highlights lessons learned through the exchange of country experiences, including that:
- countries have seen multiple benefits from adopting holistic approaches for forest rehabilitation and restoration;
- planted forests provide multiple benefits in semi-arid regions;
- participation in international and regional processes and knowledge-sharing opportunities enhance country efforts;
- the CCD can contribute through the CPF to advance countries' efforts; and
- countries can facilitate private sector investment by providing supportive economic instruments.
The final text outlines future steps, including encouraging: international collaboration; all efforts aimed at providing financial resources to achieve the objectives of the CCD; and countries to approve the establishment of a focal area for land degradation in the GEF.
CONCEPTS, TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS: Delegates considered concepts, terminology and definitions on Friday, 8 March, in Working Group II, and on Friday, 15 March, in Working Group I.
On 8 March, Hosni El-Lakany, Chair of the CPF, introduced the Secretary-General's Report on monitoring, assessment and reporting (MAR), including concepts, terminology and definitions (E/CN.18/ 2002/8). To guide UNFF-3 preparations, the EU proposed that a focused questionnaire be used for voluntary country reporting on implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action. India said reporting requires capacity building for developing countries and, with others, highlighted the need to streamline reporting to reduce reporting burdens on countries. The US opposed use of the term "harmonization." India called for clearly defining what constitutes an LFCC. On 15 March, Working Group I negotiated the draft decision as well as a US proposal, which, inter alia, invited CPF members to report on progress in fostering an understanding of concepts, terminology and definitions at UNFF-3.
The US opposed including under this agenda item a proposal requesting the Secretariat to develop a questionnaire on progress in implementing the proposals for action to assist countries in their reporting at UNFF-3. This text was included as a separate draft decision entitled "Other Matters."
- reaching a common understanding of concepts, terminology and definitions is important to increase comparability and compatibility of forest data;
- countries are eager to reduce the redundancy and duplication of international reporting;
- development and implementation of NFPs, as well as work on criteria and indicators (C&I), has led to a better understanding of concepts, terminology and definitions; and
- the value of country-led initiatives, such as the MAR expert meeting held in Japan, and the forest-related definitions expert meeting held in Rome.
This decision highlights future steps to be taken, inviting:
- CPF members to build upon their work on fostering a common understanding of concepts, terminology and definitions;
- the CPF to submit a progress report at UNFF-3 on its efforts;
- countries and CPF members to expedite their work on concepts, terminology and definitions regarding low forest cover; and
- CPF members to streamline reporting requests and, to the extent possible, synchronize reporting cycles to reduce reporting burdens on countries.
On Friday, 15 March, during the meeting of Working Group I, delegates decided to draft a separate draft decision requesting the Secretariat to develop a questionnaire to assist countries in preparing their voluntary reports for UNFF-3.
Final Text: The final decision states that the UNFF, taking note of the views exchanged by countries and major groups at UNFF-2 on the status of countries' efforts to implement the IPF/IFF proposals for action, requests the Secretariat, in order to assist countries to prepare their voluntary reports, to develop a suggested format to serve as a basis for countries to use and report on their implementation of the relevant IPF/IFF proposals for action for UNFF-3.
ENHANCED COOPERATION AND POLICY AND PROGRAMME COORDINATION
On Friday, 8 March, Hosni El-Lakany, Chair of the CPF, provided a progress report on the CPF's work and outlined the framework. He said the CPF works on a voluntary basis with each member organization accountable to its own governing council. El-Lakany also noted that the CPF had agreed on its working modalities, which include a focal agency system that will coordinate the activities of the CPF members toward the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
Senegal said the CPF should ensure that all countries receive pertinent information from the CPF, not just those with adequate resources. The US inquired about the logistical management of the CPF, and El-Lakany explained that the CPF should be seen as an informal information-sharing body that will become more formalized in the future. Japan, supported by Malaysia, said the duplication of work among CPF members should be avoided. The EU stated that cooperation between the UNFF and the CPF is crucial, but that NFPs are the most reliable frameworks for coordinating implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action. A final decision was not taken on this issue.
PROPOSED REVISIONS TO THE MEDIUM-TERM PLAN FOR 2002-2005
Jag Maini presented the Proposed revisions to the medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005 (E/CN.18/2002/CRP.1), explaining that it proposes to include in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs a new sub-programme entitled "Sustainable Forest Development" in the medium-term plan for 2002-2005, as a result of the establishment of the UNFF. The US requested that the title of the new sub-programme be changed to read "Sustainable Forest Management," and delegates further agreed to use language consistent with a report from ECOSOC to the General Assembly (A/C.5/56/4).
Final Text: The final decision proposes to include a new sub-programme on SFM (sub-programme 9) in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the medium-term plan for the period 2002-2005 (Programme 7), which is to be revised by the 57th session of the General Assembly. The final text invites the UNFF to comment on the narrative of the new sub-programme. The narrative is contained in an annex and specifies the objective, strategy, expected accomplishments, indicators of achievement, and legislative mandate for the sub-programme on SFM. The expected accomplishments include, inter alia: fostering international cooperation in SFM; facilitating and promoting the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action; strengthening political commitments to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests through ministerial engagements, action-oriented dialogues and policy formulation; and monitoring and assessing progress at national, regional and global levels through reporting by governments, regional and international organizations, institutions and instruments. The indicators of achievement will include, inter alia: the number of coordination and cooperation activities implemented on mutually agreed actions on forests; adoption and implementation of the Plan of Action; the number of High-Level Ministerial Segment meetings between ministers and executive heads of CPF member organizations, and the formulation of policies relating to the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests; and establishment of a mechanism to monitor, assess and report on progress.
SPECIFIC CRITERIA FOR THE REVIEW OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE INTERNATIONAL ARRANGEMENT ON FORESTS
Delegates first discussed criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests on Thursday, 7 March, in Working Group II under consideration of concepts, terminology and definitions. Brazil said discussion on reviewing effectiveness should not overshadow implementation, criteria should be an evolving process, and evaluating implementation cannot proceed if countries do not have the means to implement. Canada recommended measuring performance indices from an agreed base year. The US said countries must set their own goals for progress. Based on this initial discussion, a document was drafted which provided the basis for negotiation for the contact group on review criteria.
On Tuesday, 12 March, Stefan Leiner (European Community) chaired a brief meeting of a contact group on review criteria. Several developing countries stressed that UNFF-2 must first finalize work on the ad hoc expert groups and the ministerial message, which are of higher priority, before discussing criteria. One developing country recalled the UNFF-1 decision that criteria should be considered at UNFF-2 if possible, taking into account that priority should be given to the substantive agenda items. A group of developed countries underscored the importance of making progress on criteria. Delegates did not discuss the document on criteria and the meeting was adjourned. Delegates then reconvened in the contact group from Wednesday to Friday, 13-15 March, and developed a list of criteria in the context of the six principal functions of the international arrangement on forests as specified in ECOSOC Resolution E/2000/35. After considerable discussion, delegates reached agreement on all of the criteria.
Final Text: The final text states that the review criteria will: draw on voluntary reports from countries, organizations and processes and other outcomes of UNFF sessions; and take into consideration, inter alia, the efforts of countries to implement the proposals for action, the outputs of the ad hoc expert groups, intersessional meetings, and country- and organization-led initiatives, and forest-related work sponsored and/or undertaken by CPF members.
The specific criteria related to the implementation of the proposals for action are the extent to which:
- countries, the CPF, and other actors have made progress in implementing the proposals for action;
- countries have developed and started to implement NFPs or equivalent processes;
- participation of stakeholders has been enhanced;
- the international arrangement on forests has facilitated and promoted countries' implementation of the proposals for action, focusing on the means of implementation, as well as the relevant common items; and
- countries have made progress in assessing the proposals for action in order to determine their relevance in their national context.
The specific criteria related to the forum for continued policy development and dialogue includes the extent to which:
- the international arrangement on forests has enhanced forest policy development and dialogue;
- the international arrangement on forests has worked in a transparent and participatory manner, including through the involvement of major groups;
- CPF members have responded to the guidance of the UNFF; and
- progress has been made in reaching a common understanding of forest-related concepts, terminology and definitions.
The specific criteria related to cooperation and policy and programme coordination are the extent to which partnerships relevant to the implementation of the proposals for action have been advanced; and the international arrangement on forests has facilitated and promoted coordination and cooperation among other forest-related organizations, instruments and processes.
The specific criteria related to international cooperation are the extent to which the international community has facilitated the implementation of the proposals for action in developing countries and CEITs; and the international arrangement on forests has promoted efforts by the international community to facilitate implementation of the proposals for action through, in particular, North-South cooperation and public-private partnerships, as well as through South-South and North-North cooperation.
The specific criteria related to monitoring and assessing progress through reporting are the extent to which:
- countries, regions, organizations and processes respond to the call from UNFF and CPF members for voluntary reports, with a focus on implementation of the proposals for action;
- trends, lessons learned, emerging issues and actions are identified and become apparent through these voluntary reports;
- major groups have been encouraged to participate in developing voluntary reports;
- CPF members have worked to strengthen countries' abilities to monitor, assess and report progress in the implementation of proposals for action;
- UNFF sessions provide opportunities to voluntarily report progress and lessons learned; and
- countries make progress in MAR through, inter alia, applying C&I processes or similar tools in their efforts to achieve SFM.
The specific criteria related to strengthening political commitment are the extent to which high-level engagement furthers political commitment to the implementation of the proposals for action by countries; and the international arrangement on forests succeeds in enhancing the positioning of forests on the international agenda.
The final text also states that the UNFF invites:
- the UNFF Secretariat, in cooperation with the CPF and taking into account the work of the ad hoc expert groups, to gather baseline information relevant to the specific criteria;
- countries to voluntarily provide quantifiable benchmarks against the specific criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests at UNFF-5;
- the CPF and its members, as well as forest-related processes, to voluntarily provide quantifiable benchmarks against the specific criteria, relevant to themselves, for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests at UNFF-5;
- major groups to voluntarily present at the multi-stakeholder dialogue at UNFF-5 quantifiable benchmarks against the specific criteria, relevant to themselves; and
- the UNFF Secretariat, in collaboration with the CPF, to identify and propose to UNFF-4 a process to facilitate the carrying out of the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests at UNFF-5.
UNFF-2 was tasked with establishing terms of reference (ToR) for three UNFF ad hoc expert groups, on: approaches and mechanisms for MAR; finance and transfer of ESTs; and consideration with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests (hereafter "parameters" expert group). Delegates considered draft ToR in a Working Group on Monday and Tuesday, 4-5 March, and in informal consultations, chaired by Patricia Chaves (Costa Rica), throughout the second week of UNFF-2. John Talbot (Australia) also chaired informal-informal consultations on Friday afternoon, 15 March.
Nevertheless, delegates were unable to reach agreement on the ToR, and took a decision during the closing Plenary to forward the draft ToR, entirely in brackets, to UNFF-3. The following is a summary of the draft ToR in its current state, highlighting the text that remained in brackets on the final day of UNFF-2.
AD HOC EXPERT GROUP ON APPROACHES AND MECHANISMS FOR MAR: Scope and Work Programme: This section originally stated that the expert group on MAR should focus on the three components of MAR identified by UNFF-1: progress in implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action; progress toward sustainable management of all types of forests; and "review of the effectiveness." Delegates expressed differing views on the third component: the G-77/China preferred the original wording; the EU, with Canada and Switzerland, proposed "the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests," and Brazil preferred that effectiveness be addressed by the parameters expert group. Delegates ultimately agreed not to include the text on the three components, but to incorporate the concepts into the chapeau of the section outlining the group's tasks.
The agreed text of the scope and work programme states that the group shall provide scientific and technical advice to the UNFF on approaches and mechanisms for its work on MAR, and its work should be undertaken within the context of ECOSOC Resolution E/2000/35 and relevant resolutions from UNFF-1 and UNFF-2, and should also consider, inter alia, related IPF/IFF proposals for action and outcomes of UNFF sessions.
Tasks: Delegates debated a task on collaborating with the expert group on finance and EST transfer to develop recommendations on how to build capacity in countries for MAR, with the G-77/China proposing to add "by ensuring availability of financial resources and transfer of technology in this context." The US, Japan and the EU opposed addressing financing within the MAR expert group. The agreed text for this task is to "develop recommendations on how to build capacity in countries for MAR, taking into account the special needs of developing countries."
The Tasks section states that, for MAR on progress in implementing the proposals for action and progress toward SFM, the group will also:
- assess existing reporting requirements, and existing monitoring and assessment procedures related to forests, under relevant international conventions, processes, instruments and organizations to identify strengths, weaknesses and duplication, taking into account relevant work of CPF members;
- propose ways for the UNFF to monitor and assess progress, based on: voluntary reporting by countries, and by CPF members and other relevant organizations, international and regional processes, on implementing the proposals for action; ongoing work on C&I for SFM being undertaken at the national, regional and international levels; and existing data and information, and reporting systems and structures;
- propose an outline for voluntary reporting to the UNFF; and
- recommend options for drawing on reports provided to UNFF sessions to identify trends and lessons learned.
This section further states that, in carrying out these tasks, the expert group should take into account the results of intersessional activities related to MAR led by countries, organizations, international and regional processes. Its reports should be made available as a contribution to discussions of UNFF country- and organization-led initiatives related to these ToR. As relevant, the ad hoc expert groups should take into account the results of CPF members' work on forest-related concepts, terminology and definitions.
Delegates considered a final task, which proved highly contentious. Various proposals and amendments were suggested, but the concept was that the group should propose criteria or procedures for the UNFF to carry out the review the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests. Some countries expressed the view that this task should be undertaken by the parameters expert group and not the MAR group. Other issues included the desire of some developed countries that these procedures be proposed for UNFF-4. Some countries stressed that the task must take into consideration agreements of the UNFF on the specific criteria. On the final day of UNFF-2, the contact group on the review criteria took up the issue, and delegates agreed to delete this task from the MAR expert group's ToR and instead add to the UNFF-2 decision on criteria an invitation to the UNFF Secretariat, in collaboration with the CPF, to identify and propose to UNFF-4 a process to facilitate the carrying out of the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests at UNFF-5.
(Editor's Note: The language and discussion for the following sections were nearly identical in substance for all three ad hoc expert groups. The following summary applies to these sections in all three groups, and will not be repeated in the summary of the other two groups, except where they differ.)
Composition and Participation: The section on composition and participation was the same for all three expert groups. On composition, the EU advocated that the MAR group be composed of 15 government-designated experts, three from each UN region, supplemented by eight CPF and four major group experts. Japan proposed that the group be composed of 30 experts, six from each UN region. The G-77/China proposed that the group should be open-ended to participation of UN Member States and specialized agencies, and that a facilitation group, composed of 25 experts nominated by governments, five from each of the UN regional groups, based on the principle of equitable geographical representation, be established to facilitate the group's work. Delegates agreed that the MAR expert group would be composed of 30 experts designated by governments, six from each of the five UN regional groups, and that the experts should have well-recognized scientific and technical expertise in MAR and knowledge of the intergovernmental forest policy deliberations of the IPF, IFF and UNFF.
With regard to the nature and degree of openness of participation in the ad hoc expert groups, developing countries supported the view that the group should be open-ended and that intergovernmental organizations and "accredited" major groups may participate as observers, in accordance with UN rules and procedures, as well as its established practice. Some developed countries held the view that participation should not be open-ended, as this would change the nature of the groups from ad hoc expert groups to working groups, and the resulting large size of the groups would inhibit their ability to produce focused, expert-driven work. Others advocated stronger language on participation of international organizations and major group representatives, by not restricting them to observer status, inviting them to provide substantive and technical support, and allowing their views to be taken into consideration in the preparation of the groups' reports to be submitted to the UNFF. They also emphasized that allowing only accredited major groups would prevent the expert groups from benefiting from experts who could not make it through the cumbersome accreditation process.
Delegates did agree ultimately to delete the term "accredited," and nearly reached a compromise, by agreeing that experts of UN Member States and specialized organizations could participate in the first few days of the groups' meetings, but they could not agree on whether they could participate for the first two, or the first three days. They also agreed that the CPF would be invited to make scientific and technical contributions to the groups' work and participate in the first few days, but also could not agree whether they could participate for the first two or three days, nor on whether they could remain as observers for the remaining days. Delegates agreed that intergovernmental organizations and major group representatives with relevant expertise may participate in the first few days of the groups' meetings, in accordance with the rules and procedure of ECOSOC functional commissions, as well as practices established by the CSD, IPF and IFF, and would be invited to make scientific and technical contributions. They could not agree, however, on whether they could participate in the first two or three days of the meeting, whether they could remain as observers for the remaining days of the meeting, nor whether their participation should be limited to participation "in the activities of the ad hoc expert group as observers."
Travel Assistance: This section states that travel support and daily subsistence allowance at established UN rates will be provided to each of the government-designated experts, if budget allows, with priority to developing countries, particularly the least developed countries (LDCs).
Officers: This section states that the chairmanship of the group shall be elected from among the government-designated experts at its first meeting.
Duration of Work: This section notes that the group shall initiate its work immediately after UNFF-2 and complete its work at least three months in advance of UNFF-4.
Meetings: This section states that the group will hold up to two meetings for up to five days each. Meetings will be organized at UN venues where meeting facilities are available, taking into account cost-effectiveness.
Proposals and Recommendations for Consideration by the UNFF: This section states that the group's proposals and recommendations should be provided by consensus, and in the absence of consensus, their reports shall fully reflect the diversity of views expressed.
Reports: Delegates could not reach agreement on whether the group should submit an interim report to UNFF-3 and a final report to UNFF-4, or whether simply to submit a final report to UNFF-3, as advocated by some developed countries. They did agree that preparation of the reports should take into consideration the views of all participants and contributions received, and that the reports should inform of major outcomes of the group's work, including proposals and recommendations for further consideration by the UNFF.
Secretariat: Delegates agreed that the UNFF Secretariat will serve as the Secretariat for the expert groups, supported by the CPF.
AD HOC EXPERT GROUP ON FINANCE AND TRANSFER OF ESTs: Scope and Work Programme: With some debate on the context under which this group's work should be conducted, delegates agreed that it should provide scientific and technical advice to the UNFF for its work on finance and EST transfer, and that its work should: be undertaken within the context of ECOSOC Resolution E/ 2000/35 and relevant resolutions from UNFF-1 (E/2001/42/Rev.1) and UNFF-2; and consider, inter alia, related IPF/IFF proposals for action and outcomes of UNFF sessions.
Tasks: This group's tasks are divided into tasks on finance and tasks on EST transfer. A developed country proposed that the group address finance in 2003, and EST transfer in 2004, but others preferred that finance be addressed in 2002 and 2003 and EST transfer in 2003 and 2004. Both options were bracketed. Delegates proposed numerous amendments to a task on reviewing the status of international arrangements related to financing SFM. A group of developing countries proposed, and others opposed, that it recommend increased funding, including new and additional funding.
Delegates ultimately agreed that the group should review the "effectiveness of existing international financing" for SFM, analyze opportunities, country-level gaps, limitations, and donor and recipient priorities, as well as the CPF's contribution toward financing SFM, and propose measures to improve the effectiveness of this financing to enhance the enabling environment at the national and international levels. They could not agree whether these measures to improve effectiveness should also aim to "attract increased financing from all sources," nor whether to specify "including new and additional funds," as proposed by developing countries, and these two phrases remained in brackets.
On a task to suggest new approaches of increasing financing sources for SFM, some developed countries did not support specifying the concept of "Investment Promotion Entity," and others did not support specifying a global forest fund. Delegates ultimately agreed not to specify such approaches, and agreed that the expert group should explore the potential of new and innovative approaches to attract increased financing for SFM, and discuss and make suggestions for their expanded use to address the need for financial resources for financing SFM.
Delegates reached agreement on the other tasks of this group, which are to:
- consider previous initiatives on finance, as well as relevant IPF/ IFF proposals for action, background papers, and strategy documents of CFP members;
- assess the role and status of ODA directed toward SFM and consider ways for enhancing its availability and effectiveness, and in this regard, identify possible means to enhance developed countries' efforts to fulfill their ODA commitments;
- assess country experiences towards mobilization of financial resources to support SFM, identifying gaps, potentials and limitations of current financing sources and financial mechanisms to implement SFM, and propose approaches to enhance and more effectively use and mobilize national and international financial resources; and
- assess and consider the private sector's role in financing SFM, recommending measures to improve the enabling environment for private investment in SFM at the national and international levels, and encourage increased private resource flows to the forest sector, in particular in developing countries and CEITs.
On transfer of ESTs, the expert group is tasked to: review and assess existing initiatives on the transfer of ESTs and knowledge diffusion for the promotion of SFM among countries, sectors and stakeholders, including an analysis of incentives that promote, and obstacles that inhibit, transfer of forest-related ESTs, between and/or within countries, in particular to developing countries and CEITs in both the private and public sectors; and recommend approaches to improve transfer of ESTs, including the role of various policy instruments, research cooperation and capacity building in current and emerging ESTs.
Reports: This section states that the group shall adopt a progress report at its first meeting for submission to UNFF-3 and a final report at its second meeting for submission to UNFF-4, and the reports should inform of major outcomes of the group's work, including proposals and recommendations for further consideration by the UNFF.
AD HOC EXPERT GROUP ON CONSIDERATION WITH A VIEW TO RECOMMENDING THE PARAMETERS OF A LEGAL FRAMEWORK ON ALL TYPES OF FORESTS: Scope and Work Programme: Delegates agreed that this expert group shall provide scientific and technical advice to the UNFF, and that its work should be undertaken within the context of ECOSOC Resolution E/ 2000/35 and resolutions from UNFF-1 (E/2001/42/Rev.1) and UNFF-2, in particular those referring to the creation and scope of the expert groups.
Tasks: Delegates agreed that the ad hoc expert group would assess regional and international binding and non-binding instruments and processes relevant to forests, including, inter alia, analysis of complementarities, gaps and duplications, and take into account the decision on specific criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests. Delegates did not agree on a developed country proposal specifying that the group should undertake this task in 2003. Another task proposed to be undertaken during 2003 – to propose criteria that could be considered at UNFF-5 to review the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests – was debated at length. The contact group on the review criteria addressed this issue on the final day of UNFF-2, and delegates agreed to delete this task here and add it to the former task on assessing existing instruments and processes, that this should also take into account the UNFF-2 decision on the specific criteria for review.
Delegates reached agreement on the following tasks, but not on whether they should be undertaken in 2004:
- consider reports prepared by countries, CPF members and the UNFF Secretariat, and the outcomes of UNFF sessions;
- consider other outcomes of the international arrangement on forests including, inter alia, countries' efforts to implement the IPF/IFF proposals for action, other ad hoc expert groups, UNFF country- and organization-led initiatives and previous relevant initiatives, and work undertaken by CPF members; and
- review the experiences of forest-related organizations and agreements, including multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and regional conventions and processes, focusing on complementarities, gaps and duplications.
Composition and Participation: The composition of this expert group was a matter of considerable debate, with a group of developing countries stressing the need for the group to be open-ended to the participation of UN Member States and specialized agencies, and for financial support from the UNFF Secretariat to ensure full participation of developing country representatives. Some developed countries preferred that participation in the group be limited to government-designated experts, with some participation of representatives from CPF member organizations and major groups.
In Plenary on Friday morning, 15 March, the EU suggested that it would be flexible on the openness of this expert group, provided that others agree that the other two expert groups be more limited in their composition and participation. However, in informal-informal consultations during the final hours of UNFF-2, there was considerable confusion regarding the details of this proposal, and delegates were unable to reach agreement. The text of this section, as forwarded to UNFF-3, contains two bracketed options: (1) the group should be composed of experts from all UN Member States and Member States of its specialized agencies; and (2) the group should be composed of 30 experts designated by governments, six from each of the five UN regional groups. The language regarding the participation of the CPF and intergovernmental organizations and representatives of major groups is the same as summarized above under the expert group on MAR.
Officers: Delegates agreed that this expert group would have two Co-Chairs, to be elected among the government-designated experts at its first meeting, but could not agree to specify "one from a developing country and one from a developed country, taking into account the contribution of countries to the IPF/IFF and UNFF process." The text was bracketed.
Duration of Work: Delegates could not reach consensus on when this group should initiate its work, with developing countries and a developed country advocating that it do so immediately after UNFF-4, and other developed countries preferring it to start immediately after UNFF-3.
Reports: The text for this section, as forwarded to UNFF-3, states that the group will adopt a progress report at its first meeting for submission to UNFF-4, and a final report at its second meeting for submission to UNFF-5, and shall inform of the major outcomes of its work, including proposals and recommendations for further consideration by the UNFF.
MINISTERIAL DECLARATION AND MESSAGE TO THE WSSD
Delegates engaged in discussions on a ministerial statement to be adopted during the High-Level Ministerial Segment in a working group, chaired by Ositaadinma Anaedu (Nigeria), on Tuesday, 5 March, and in a contact group, also chaired by Anaedu, on Friday, 8 March and Monday and Tuesday, 11 and 12 March. The Ministerial Declaration and Message to the WSSD (E/CN.18/2002/L.2) was adopted during the High-Level Ministerial Segment on Thursday, 14 March.
On Tuesday, 5 March, the Working Group discussed possible elements for a ministerial message from UNFF-2 to the WSSD based on an information paper provided by the Secretariat. The EU called for a Ministerial Declaration, which should include a message to the WSSD as well as to other fora, including CBD COP-6. Many delegates called for a strong and inspiring message, said the WSSD provided an opportunity to enhance the position of forests on the international agenda, and called for a message that highlights, inter alia: linkages between forests, sustainable development and poverty eradication; the need for finance, technology transfer and capacity building for developing country implementation; implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action; and partnerships. Japan emphasized good governance and law enforcement, and, with Ghana, said ministers should address illegal logging. Greenpeace and the Global Forest Coalition emphasized the need to address underlying causes of forest degradation and loss, specifically focusing on primary forests, urged the UNFF to support CBD forest decisions, and recommended that the UNFF and the CBD send a strong message to the WSSD regarding the importance of conservation and sustainable use of forests.
During the contact group discussions, delegates agreed that the ministerial statement would be in the form of a Ministerial Declaration and would not be exclusively aimed at, but would include a message to, the WSSD. Contentious issues that arose during the debate included, inter alia, language on: linkages between forests, poverty, governance and law enforcement, with delegates agreeing to include governance at all levels and delete law enforcement; committing to making the UNFF a success in accordance with the criteria to be adopted at UNFF-2, which was deleted; and the UNFF as the "permanent" intergovernmental forum for forest policy deliberations and public-private partnerships to implement, inter alia, forest law enforcement policies.
Delegates also debated language related to the CBD, with some countries opposing reference to the revised CBD work programme on forest biodiversity to be adopted at COP-6, but delegates ultimately agreed to encourage cooperation between the CBD and UNFF Secretariats and to take "note" of the CBD work programme.
Regarding the message to the WSSD, delegates debated issues related to: the WSSD as a unique opportunity to enhance private sector involvement; launching a global initiative to rehabilitate and restore degraded forests, which was not included; voluntary partnerships to assist those suffering from the highest rates of deforestation, which was included; and meeting ODA targets of 0.7% of GNP, as well as ensuring that ODA is used effectively, and acknowledging donors' efforts, which was agreed.
Another point of contention related to language calling for action on forest law enforcement and illegal trade, and delegates agreed not to include references to unsustainable timber harvesting, illegal trade "in wood and non-wood products," and the underlying causes of illegal trade, and to include reference to forest biological resources, and illegal trade in forest products.
Final Text: The final text of the Ministerial Declaration, inter alia:
- reaffirms commitment to the Forest Principles and Agenda 21;
- recognizes contributions made by, and encourages strengthening of, regional processes;
- recognizes that significant progress has been made but much remains to be done;
- commits ministers to the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action;
- recognizes that countries have the primary responsibility for implementation;
- calls for strengthening international cooperation on finance, trade, EST transfer and capacity building to ensure SFM in developing countries and CEITs; and
- stresses the importance of NFPs, the role of C&I for SFM and voluntary certification systems.
The Declaration highlights the link between economic, social and environmental well-being and SFM; commits to work towards reversing deforestation and forest and land degradation trends; reaffirms States' sovereign right to utilize, manage and develop their forests; states that the sustainable management of natural and planted forests is essential to sustainable development; and calls for developing policies and approaches in all sectors taking into consideration their cross-sectoral impacts.
The Declaration notes:
- that one of the challenges in achieving SFM is to make it self-financing;
- the value of the multiple functions, goods and services provided by forests;
- the importance of trade and trade capacity building for SFM;
- complementary roles in achieving SFM of national and international and public and private financial sources; and
- that ODA is required for developing countries to achieve internationally agreed development goals and sustainable development objectives, in particular to foster SFM.
The Declaration also states that linkages between forests, poverty, patterns of production and consumption and international cooperation, as well as governance at all levels, are crucial to addressing underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and underscores SFM's role in eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development.
The Declaration further:
- underlines the unique character of the international arrangement on forests;
- commits ministers to strengthen the UNFF's leading role in international forest policy;
- endorses the UNFF Plan of Action, welcomes the MYPOW and supports the CPF; and
- stresses the need for cross-sectoral cooperation among CPF members, regional processes and governments.
It also stresses the need for the UNFF to promote synergies with related UNCED conventions, exchange country experiences and lessons learned, and engage in dialogue with CPF member organizations and other stakeholders. It calls on the CPF to support the UNFF's work and contribute to implementation of the proposals for action, and invites CPF member countries to ensure that priority areas are addressed by their governing bodies.
- notes that the work of the CBD, CCD, UNFCCC and other relevant conventions complement and support the UNFF Plan of Action, and encourages cooperation and coordination among the Secretariats of the Conventions and of the UNFF;
- invites the parties to those Conventions to support, as appropriate, the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action;
- encourages effective cooperation between the CBD and UNFF secretariats in areas of mutual interest; and
- notes the preparation of a revised action-oriented work programme on forests and biodiversity to be considered at CBD COP-6.
The Declaration also states that the WSSD represents a unique opportunity to strengthen political commitment, promote international cooperation in SFM, and support the implementation of the proposals for action. It calls for initiatives to achieve sustainable development and promote partnerships among governments and stakeholders. The Declaration invites the WSSD to:
- advance SFM as a means to eradicate poverty, reduce land and resource degradation, improve food security as well as access to safe drinking water and affordable energy, and highlight the multiple benefits of natural and planted forests and trees;
- enhance political commitment to achieve SFM by endorsing it as a priority on the international political agenda;
- urge developed countries to make concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7% of GNP for ODA target, encourage developing countries ensure that ODA is used effectively, and acknowledge donor efforts;
- call for immediate action on domestic forest law enforcement and illegal international trade in forest products, including in forest biological resources, with the support of the international community, to provide human and institutional capacity building related to the enforcement of national legislation in those areas;
- call for immediate action to promote and facilitate the means to achieve sustainable timber harvesting;
- call for initiatives to address the needs of areas suffering from poverty and high rates of deforestation;
- create and strengthen partnerships and international cooperation to facilitate the provision of increased financial resources, EST transfer, trade, capacity building, forest law enforcement and governance at all levels, and integrated land and resource management to implement SFM;
- strengthen international cooperation on finance, transfer of EST, trade and capacity building to ensure SFM; and
- call on countries and the CPF to accelerate implementation of the proposals for action and to intensify reporting efforts to the UNFF in order to contribute to an assessment of progress in 2005.
The Declaration also pledges ministers' commitment to the international arrangement on forests and involvement in the UNFF, and notes that ministers will meet again at UNFF-5 to review the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests against the criteria.
The High-Level Segment of UNFF-2 consisted of two parts – a dialogue between ministers and heads of CPF member organizations on Wednesday, 13 March, and a ministerial dialogue on Thursday, 14 March.
MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE WITH HEADS OF CPF MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS: The dialogue between ministers and heads of CPF member organizations was chaired by Colombian Environment Minister Juan Mayr. It focused on: cross-sectoral harmonization; forests and current international political and policy agendas; forest conservation, protection and use; and financing for SFM. Representatives of Major Groups, inter alia: called for increased resources for and recognition of research; supported public-private partnerships; urged the WSSD to launch a global initiative to combat illegal harvesting and trade; and advocated specific target dates to reverse forest degradation. Hosni El-Lakany, Chair of the CPF, explained that the CPF's objectives are to strengthen collaboration and coordination among its members, and support the UNFF's work.
Cross-sectoral Harmonization: Delegates stressed that the multi-functionality of forests requires cross-sectoral approaches, and highlighted the need to coordinate national forest policies with other sectoral policies through, inter alia, integrated land-use policies and programmes. UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer 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. 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 C&I with measurable key indicators for broader implementation.
Forests and Current International Political and Policy Agendas: Delegates highlighted links between forests and human welfare, and stressed that forest degradation can only be addressed by reversing the cycle of poverty in underdeveloped regions. They advocated the need to raise the profile of forests on the international political agenda, through, inter alia, connecting the forest agenda with the broader agenda of sustainable development. The Netherlands stressed the importance of private investment in contributing to SFM, and the UK called for new partnerships between governments, business and civil society, and for combating illegal logging. Nitin Desai noted the "tremendous erosion of public funding for forestry," and Frank Pinto, UNDP, advocated improved design of regulatory frameworks to remove perverse incentives.
Forest Conservation, Protection and Use: Delegates advocated the ecosystem approach, and discussed the need for a balance between conservation and sustainable use. Klaus Töpfer called for discussion on illegal logging, enforcement and labeling, and CBD Executive Secretary Hamdallah Zedan outlined the considerations of the CBD's work programme on forest biological diversity. CCD Executive Secretary Hama Arba Diallo advocated restoration to combat land degradation and poverty. Andrew Deutz, IUCN, highlighted progress in forest landscape restoration. Colombia advocated ethics as a reference point for negotiations at the WSSD, and said illicit crops are a major cause of deforestation. Greenpeace called for conservation of ancient forests.
Financing for SFM: Delegates highlighted the importance of, inter alia: increased ODA; mobilization of domestic and private resources; and debt relief. ITTO Executive Director Manoel Sobral said greater economic value must be attached to SFM, Malaysia and Brazil called for a global forest fund, and the US drew attention to the potential of debt-for-nature swaps. India urged the international donor community to connect the goal of poverty eradication to the sustainable management of all types of forests, and Mexico underscored the need to address forest funding at the upcoming International Conference on Financing for Development. Odin Knudsen, World Bank, said SFM will be funded primarily through the private sector, stressing the importance of attracting socially and environmentally responsible investment. Mohamed El Ashry, CEO of the GEF, stressed the need to leverage private capital, and strengthen policies and institution for implementation IPF/IFF proposals for action.
MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS: On Thursday, 14 March, the second part of the High-Level Segment featured ministerial statements on themes ranging from development assistance, gender and the UNFF, forest certification, and a binding international convention on forests. The G-77/China underscored the importance of forests for sustainable development, particularly for rural and indigenous communities, and South Africa, supported by New Zealand, stated that the challenge for the UNFF is to move from policy discussion to implementation.
On financing for SFM, Norway noted that mainstreaming forest issues into development and poverty reduction strategies could attract increased ODA and other resource flows to forests. Indonesia underscored the importance of improved market access for its forest products. Brazil recommended breaking away from the paralysis in financing for SFM, and said SFM should be a viable economic option. Belgium announced it would increase its ODA commitment by 100 million Euros over eight years. Cuba lamented the lack of resources for activities to achieve SFM, and said private investment is not a substitute for ODA. Poland said the challenge is to make SFM self-financing. Regarding global finance, Pakistan said that GEF financing should be unconditional, while India supported a global forest fund and the earmarking GEF resources for forestry projects.
Finland said secure land tenure and involvement of local communities and forest owners are essential for financing SFM. The EU underscored the importance of the multi-stakeholder dialogue, urging that it be better organized for UNFF-3. The Netherlands highlighted forest community participation in the biodiversity process. Nepal highlighted successes in community-based forest management.
Malaysia and Ghana stressed that certification schemes should not be used as a trade barrier to tropical timber. Germany supported certification and labeling, and setting clear benchmarks to reverse the trend of deforestation. Austria said a strong instrument to secure SFM on a global level is essential.
Angola and Canada supported the drafting of a binding international forest instrument. Switzerland called for a strong message from the UNFF to the WSSD and a reinvigoration of the forest process by the WSSD. Mexico emphasized that forest issues are a matter of national and international security. Colombia said capacity for conservation and sustainable use of forests will be possible through awareness-raising on the ethical dimensions of sustainable development. Australia highlighted the role of women in achieving SFM and said a gender perspective should be reflected in the UNFF. Luxemburg stressed the need to preserve primary forests for their biodiversity and climate benefits. Costa Rica hoped that the Kyoto Protocol would be enhanced as a financing tool to reduce deforestation. Peru called for international support to implement new laws to enhance biodiversity.
Chair Mayr then introduced the Ministerial Declaration and Message to the WSSD (E/CN.18/2002/L.2), which was adopted without amendment. A representative speaking on behalf of indigenous peoples called for the recognition of indigenous peoples' fundamental rights and for financing mechanisms that would ensure the future participation of indigenous peoples in the UNFF process. The Global Forest Policy Project expressed its dissatisfaction with the Ministerial Declaration, saying that it lacked substance, action and excitement, and recommended that governments set their own targets for halting and reversing forest degradation. Chair Mayr concluded the High-Level Segment on an uplifting note, projecting over the audio system a recording of tropical forest music.
FRIDAY, 15 MARCH, MORNING PLENARY
Delegates met in a brief Plenary on Friday morning, 15 March, to hear progress reports from the Chair of Working Group I, informal consultations on the ad hoc expert groups, and the contact group on the review criteria. Chair Øistad proposed that these three groups reconvene to complete their remaining work, suggesting that the contact group on the review criteria take up two paragraphs from the draft ToR for the ad hoc expert groups pertaining to the criteria. The G-77/China said it agreed to work in the three informal groups in order to enable UNFF-2 to complete its work, but stressed that this should not establish a precedent for having more than two informal groups meeting concurrently.
The EU expressed opposed mandating the contact group on review criteria to address issues in the expert groups' ToR. He stressed that there were divergent views on the nature and mandate of the expert groups and that outstanding issues were not a matter of drafting but a matter of political will. He then presented a "package deal": he said the EU would be flexible on the nature and creation of the parameters expert group and the task of the MAR expert group on defining follow-up to consider and evaluate the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests and when it should complete this task, in exchange for flexibility on the nature and work methods of the MAR and finance expert groups. He said that if this package were not acceptable, the resources which the EU would have allocated for the expert groups could be used more effectively, such as to organize intersessional meetings or hire consultants to prepare reports. Chair Øistad then adjourned the Plenary and delegates reconvened in Working Group I, informal consultations on the ad hoc expert groups, and the contact group on the review criteria.
UNFF-2 Chair Øistad convened the closing Plenary shortly before 5:00 pm on Friday, 15 March. He invited John Talbot (Australia) to report on the issues outstanding from the informal-informal consultations on the ToR of the ad hoc expert groups. Vladimir Zelenov, Senior Officer and Deputy Secretary of ECOSOC, then explained that UNFF-2 would have to take a procedural decision on the outstanding issues of the expert groups: it could either decide to transmit the report of UNFF-2 to UNFF-3, with the draft ToR attached in its current bracketed state; or it could request ECOSOC at its next substantive session in July to take a decision on the draft ToR as the UNFF's parent body.
Iran said it was hesitant to postpone the decision to UNFF-3, as the MYPOW mandated that the expert groups be established between UNFF-2 and UNFF-3. The G-77/China said no agreement could be reached on the matter, regretting that UNFF-2 could not fulfill its mandate to create the expert groups. He stressed that this was not simply a procedural question but also one of substance, noting that the MAR and finance/EST transfer expert groups were supposed to meet prior to, and provide input to, UNFF-3. The EU expressed regret that despite its offer of a package, it was not possible to establish the expert groups. He said UNFF-2 must therefore adopt a decision regretting that it was not possible to reach agreement on the ToR for the expert groups, and requesting the Bureau of UNFF-3 to decide on how to create the groups. The US expressed disappointment with the lack of agreement, and appealed to delegates to accept a compromise formulation that allowed the MAR and finance and EST transfer groups to be established and proceed as planned by 2003. Stressing the need for UNFF-2 be a success, she said the failure to advance on the expert groups was a negative development for the UNFF. She announced that the US would hold an intersessional meeting on MAR in early 2003, prior to UNFF-3. Brazil shared the US' concern, but said she could not accept the US proposal. She explained that her delegation had shown flexibility in the negotiations on the MAR and finance and EST transfer groups based on an assumption of an understanding on the composition and participation of the parameters group, but was disappointed to discover that there was no understanding. Canada said it would insist on establishing all three expert groups, and could not accept the US proposal.
Delegates then agreed that UNFF-3 would convene in Geneva from 26 May - 6 June 2003, and approved its provisional agenda. Delegates then adopted the final report of UNFF-2 (E/CN.18/2002/L.1).
Chair Øistad proposed that UNFF-2 take a procedural decision to transmit the existing draft text on the expert groups' ToR to UNFF-3 for further consideration. Jag Maini proposed the following language for a draft decision on this issue: "The Forum regrets that it was not possible to reach a decision on the establishment of three ad hoc groups of experts. The Forum decides that the Bureau of UNFF-3 consider this matter and take action in consultation with countries and CPF member organizations to initiate activities, as appropriate, toward the work of the ad hoc groups of experts, and report accordingly to UNFF-3." Brazil requested Maini to clarify what action was being proposed by this draft decision. The G-77/China requested that the proposal be distributed in writing. Chair Øistad said this would not be possible, and suspended UNFF-2.
Chair Øistad then officially opened UNFF-3, and delegates elected by acclamation Matia Mulumba Semakula Kiwanuka (Uganda), Hossein Moeini (Iran), Peter Csoka (Hungary), Gustavo Ainchil (Argentina), and Conceiçao Ferreira (Portugal) to the Bureau of UNFF-3.
Chair Øistad then resumed UNFF-2, and delegates adopted decisions on: the specific criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests; concepts, terminology and definitions; and the proposed revisions for the medium-term plan for 2002-2005.
The US proposed that the draft ToR of the expert groups be transmitted to UNFF-3, as proposed by the Secretariat. Brazil called a point of order and again requested that the Secretariat clarify its proposal. Jag Maini elaborated the intent of the draft decision, but said if it was not possible to transmit this decision it would be withdrawn. The proposal was withdrawn, and UNFF-2 decided, following a request by the G-77/China, to bracket the entire report of the informal consultations on the ToR of the ad hoc expert groups and forward it to UNFF-3 for future consideration.
UNFF-2 proceeded to adopt decisions on: combating deforestation and forest degradation; forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems; rehabilitation and conservation strategies for LFCCs; rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands and promotion of natural and planted forests; and concepts, terminology and definitions. Regarding a paragraph in the decision on rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands, encouraging provision of financial resources for achieving the CCD's objectives on this matter, Nigeria said he believed it was similar to the decision taken by the GEF Council recommending the GEF as the focal point for land degradation, and said the issue would be taken up again at the WSSD and the GEF Assembly in October.
On other matters, UNFF-2 adopted a decision requesting the Secretariat, in order to assist countries in preparing their voluntary reports, to develop a suggested format to serve as a basis for countries to use. Noting that Jag Maini would be retiring as the Head of the UNFF Secretariat after UNFF-2, Canada, South Africa, the EU, the G-77/ China and the US thanked him for his hard work and dedication to the forest process. At 6:15 pm, the sound system in Conference Room 1 was turned off, and Maini, without use of the microphone, thanked the UNFF Secretariat staff, delegates and all colleagues for their work and support. Delegates gave Maini a standing ovation, and Chair Øistad adjourned UNFF-2 at 6:22 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF UNFF-2
At first glance, UNFF-2 may have seemed like a failure, as delegates did not manage to reach agreement on one of its most important tasks – completing the terms of reference for the three UNFF expert groups. This was coupled with the fact that, due to recent UN budget cuts, the final session on Friday was cut short when the sound system was turned off at 6:15 pm, and the meeting ended on a rather abrupt and disappointing note. However, a closer look at the diversity of outputs of UNFF-2 reveals that the session may have been a more subtle and surprising success as it developed some new and innovative types of outcomes, a comprehensive ministerial declaration and message to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and a strong set of criteria for reviewing the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests. This brief analysis will address the delicate balance between consideration of substantive items and procedural issues, assess the major outcomes of the meeting, and analyze where this leaves UNFF and forest issues on the international sustainable development agenda.
GETTING INTO STEP
To many delegates' disappointment, procedural considerations at UNFF-2 to some extent "stole the spotlight" from reviewing progress in implementation on the substantive items. There was considerable focus on the terms of reference of the expert groups, whereas relatively little time and energy were devoted to addressing implementation of proposals for action to address the problems facing forests on the ground, which many believe should be the primary focus of the international forest policy dialogue.
The UNFF's substantive tasks focused on both developing a replicable format for reviewing progress in implementation, and actually using it. After the first round of discussions on the substantive items, delegates struggled to figure out what the outcomes of these discussions and of UNFF sessions as a whole should be – Chair's summaries, or decisions or recommendations, with many stressing the need to avoid replicating IPF/IFF proposals for action or creating new ones. Delegates stretched their creativity and decided instead to adopt "lessons learned" and "future steps." This innovative terminology seemed to lighten the negotiations significantly compared to the difficult negotiations characterizing the IPF and IFF process, and many expressed satisfaction that the "future steps" would add value to existing proposals for action by mirroring those with countries' practical experiences in implementing them. Some noted that, despite the change in terminology, the "future steps" were in fact new proposals for action, and said that they mainly reflect countries' reporting on their successes in implementation without much reflection of failures or challenges.
NEGOTIATING EXPERT GROUPS
The establishment of three UNFF ad hoc expert groups was the major stumbling block for UNFF-2, and resulted in a sense of disappointment in the UNFF's abilities. The timing of the groups' work and reports recalled all-too-familiar positions on the old convention question, which many had hoped could be avoided for at least a few years. A particularly problematic issue was participation. Many developed countries wanted to limit the size of the groups to a small number of experts with a focused agenda, whereas developing countries wanted them to be open to participation by all countries. Those in the former camp seemed to fear that if participation were expanded, then the groups would no longer be expert groups but mini-UNFFs that would be less likely to provide the UNFF with the focused expert advice that it sorely needs. The issue of participation of major groups also cost the meeting considerable time, as there was an extended debate about the developing countries' position that only accredited groups should be able participate. Some delegates stressed that the cumbersome nature of the accreditation process would limit the range of expertise available to the groups, an issue that had much to do with larger political and UN issues, and little to do with forests.
Despite their failure to reach agreement on the terms of reference for the expert groups and the breakdown in negotiations in the final hour, some felt that this did not mean that the meeting was a failure. It was disappointing, most agreed, but was not a major setback, as other more substantive outcomes were resolved in a satisfactory manner.
SERIES OF MONOLOGUES
For the first time, the forest process convened multi-stakeholder and ministerial dialogues. Despite the higher than expected turnout, the multi-stakeholder dialogue seemed disorganized and devolved into a discussion about how to conduct a dialogue, and a platform for countries to report on their efforts with regard to major group participation. Many felt the dialogue was more like a series of monologues and lacked luster as the session fizzled out and ended nearly two hours early. The UNFF learned much about how not to conduct a multi-stakeholder dialogue, as NGOs and delegates alike called for better and more advanced preparation for future dialogues and for learning from the experiences of the Commission on Sustainable Development's multi-stakeholder dialogues.
The lack of organization in the multi-stakeholder dialogue stood in stark contrast to the dialogues of the ministerial segment, which were highly organized, particularly the dialogue with the CPF members, which had distinct panel discussions on a range of issues. Despite Juan Mayr's efforts to encourage dialogue, and his use of an hourglass to encourage short interventions, countries could not seem to get away from the delivery of extensive, pre-written statements, which left much to be desired in terms of real dialogue.
THE CENTER OF GRAVITY
Looking at UNFF-2 in the context of the broader sustainable development agenda and the lead-up to the WSSD, some felt that the Forum might not accomplish its goal of raising the profile of forests on the international policy agenda through the ministerial declaration prepared for WSSD. At the outset, delegates called for a "short, crisp and pithy" message, but as additions were made and compromises negotiated, the text became lengthy, cumbersome and meandering. Despite the presence of language on illegal trade and forest law enforcement, many observers criticized the declaration's lack of substance and said that it would be unlikely to garner much attention at the WSSD.
It became increasingly clear during the meeting that the UNFF's role is largely a forum for information exchange, which some feel does not give the UNFF much authority, raising the question of where this leaves forests on the international agenda. Some advocate that the Convention on Biological Diversity should "take over" on forest biodiversity, highlighting its deliberations on an action-oriented work programme on this issue. This approach may, to the concern of some, lead to further fragmentation of forest issues, and encourage bodies such as the UNFCCC and the WTO to "take the lead" on issues such as afforestation and restoration, and sustainable trade, respectively.
Given the cross-sectoral nature of forest issues, fragmentation seems like a bad idea. However, given the current absence of strong guidance from the UNFF, it remains unclear whether the world's forests would be better served by this piecemeal, but perhaps more focused, approach to forest issues.
The future success or failure of the UNFF depends on whether the next two meetings will be able to continue and strengthen the exchange of experiences to foster implementation of proposals for action to address forest problems on the ground, or whether it will continue to get bogged down in procedural matters and be overshadowed by the ever-looming convention question.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR BEFORE UNFF-3
ILLEGAL LOGGING IN THE TROPICS - THE ECOLOGY, ECONOMICS AND POLITICS OF RESOURCE MISUSE: This conference will be held from 29-30 March 2002, in New Haven, Connecticut, US. This conference, co-sponsored by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the International Society of Tropical Foresters, will explore the framing of the illegal logging problem, the extent of the problem, its perceived causes and potential solutions. For more information, contact: Barbara Bamberger, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; tel: +1-203-432-5100; fax: +1-203-432-5942; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.yale.edu/istf/
DEFINITIONS AND MODALITIES OF SINKS IN THE CDM: This workshop, organized by the UNFCCC Secretariat, will be held from 7-9 April 2002, in Orvieto, Italy. The workshop will address the terms of reference and an agenda for work relevant to definitions and modalities for including afforestation and reforestation activities under Article 12 in the first commitment period. For more information, contact: Laura Della Rocca, UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.unfccc.int
MANAGEMENT, CONSERVATION AND SUTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF ALL TYPES OF FORESTS: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IPF/IFF PROPOSALS FOR ACTION: This workshop, sponsored by Australia, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and others, will be held in Nadi, Fiji, from 15-17 April 2002. The workshop will, inter alia, assist Pacific Island countries and regional programmes to evaluate their progress toward implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action, and is expected to contribute to the UNFF's work. For more information, contact: Peter Lawrence, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australia; tel: +02-6272-5479; fax: +02-6272-4875; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.affa.gov.au
MCPFE PREPARATORY GROUP ON NATIONAL FOREST PROGRAMMES: This meeting will be held from 24-26 April 2002, in Riga, Latvia. It will be convened by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) and is open to participants and observers of the MCPFE. For more information, contact: Peter Mayer, MCPFE Liaison Unit Vienna; tel: +43-1-710-77-02; fax: +43-1-710-77-02-13; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.mcpfe.org/
FOREST LEADERSHIP FORUM: COLLABORATIVE PATHWAYS TO RESPONSIBLE TRADE: The Forest Leadership Forum: Collaborative Pathways to Responsible Trade will be held from 25-27 April, 2002, in Atlanta, Georgia, US. The Forum will convene environmentalists, the forest products industry and retailers and buyers to highlight shared values and opportunities to promote trade in responsible forest products. For more information, contact: Certified Forest Products Council; tel: +1-503-224-2205; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.forestleadershipforum.org
INTERNATIONAL TROPICAL TIMBER COUNCIL: The 32nd session of the International Tropical Timber Council will take place from 13-18 May 2002, in Bali, Indonesia, and the 33rd session will be held from 4-9 November 2002, in Yokohama, Japan. For more information, contact: International Tropical Timber Organization; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.itto.or.jp
MCPFE EXPERT LEVEL MEETINGS: These meetings will be held from 10-11 June 2002, and 7-8 October 2002 in Vienna, Austria. They are being convened by MCPFE and are open to participants and observers of the MCPFE. For more information contact: Peter Mayer, MCPFE Liaison Unit Vienna; tel: +43-1-710-7702; fax: +43-1-710-7702-13; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.mcpfe.org
CONTRIBUTION OF CRITERIA AND INDICATORS TO SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT: A WAY FORWARD: This international conference on C&I will be held from 22-26 July 2002, in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The conference is being organized as a follow-up to recommendations made by the Expert Meeting on C&I for SFM held in Rome in 2000. For more information, contact: Glenda Lee, Coordinator, Local Organizing Committee; tel: +502-379-9830; fax: +502-475-4407; e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.inab.gob.gt
INTERNATIONAL COLLOQUIUM ON LAND USE MANAGEMENT, EROSION AND CARBON SEQUESTRATION: This colloquium will be held from 24-28 September 2002, in Montpellier, France. Separate sessions on a biological approach to soil and water conservation and soil erosion and carbon sequestration will be convened. For more information, contact: Eric Roose; tel: +33-0-467-41-62-65; fax: +33-0-467-41-62-94; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.ird.fr
BRINGING BACK THE FORESTS: POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR DEGRADED LANDS AND FORESTS: This international conference, which will be held from 7-10 October 2002, will address solutions to rehabilitation challenges in the forests and grasslands of Asia and the Pacific. For more information, contact: Alias Abdul Jalil, Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM); tel: +6-03-6272-2516; fax: +6-03-6277-3249; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.apafri.upm.edu.my/mod/abc.html
HISTORY AND FOREST BIODIVERSITY - CHALLENGES FOR CONSERVATION: This symposium, sponsored by IUFRO, will be held from 13-15 January 2003, at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. The symposium will focus on the effects of history on the species composition and richness of forests. For more information contact: Sofie Bruneel, Laboratory for Forest, Nature and Landscape Research, Catholic University of Leuven; tel: +32-16-32-97-21; fax +32-16-32-97-60; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.agr.kuleuven.ac.be/lbh/lbnl/forestbiodiv/
SECOND INTERNATIONAL EXPERT CONSULTATION ON THE ROLE OF PLANTED FORESTS: The second International Expert Consultation on the role of Planted Forests (ECPF) will be held from 24-30 March 2003, in Wellington, New Zealand. The meeting will aim to, inter alia, promote the role of planted forests and identify ways to maximize their contribution to global SFM. For more information contact: ECPF Secretariat; tel: +64-4-4989847; fax: +64-4-4989891; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/unff-planted-forestry-meeting
FOURTH MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE PROTECTION OF FORESTS IN EUROPE: The fourth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe will be held from 28-30 April 2003, in Vienna, Austria. The European ministers responsible for forests will take further decisions to promote progress toward the protection and sustainable management of forests in Europe. The Conference will be held under the joint chairmanship of Austria and Poland and is open to participants and observers of the MCPFE. For more information contact: Peter Mayer, MCPFE Liaison Unit Vienna; tel: +43-1-710-77-02; fax: +43-1-710-77-02-13; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.mcpfe.org/
INTERSESSIONAL MEETING ON MONITORING, ASSESSMENT AND REPORTING: The US is expected to co-sponsor, with its partners, a meeting on monitoring, assessment and reporting, in February/March 2003. Exact date, location and contact information will be announced at a later date.
THIRD SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS FORUM ON FORESTS: UNFF-3 will be held from 26 May-6 June 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates will discuss, inter alia: means of implementation; progress in implementation, specifically related to economic aspects of forests, forest health and productivity, and maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs; and common items. For more information, contact: Mia Soderlund, UNFF Secretariat; tel: + 1-212-963-3262; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/forests.htm