Report of main proceedings for 10 September 1996

3rd Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests of the Commission on Sustainable Development

Working Groups I and II convened morning and afternoon meetings on the second day ofthe third session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests. Working Group I heardstatements on national forest programmes and land use plans, traditional forest-relatedknowledge and forest assessments. Working Group II continued consideration ofinternational cooperation in financial assistance and technology transfer.


Working Group I began with further discussion of programme element I.1 on nationalforest and land use plans (E/CN.17/IPF/ 1996/14). BRAZIL noted the relationship of C&Iand NFP to other programme elements such as resource and technology transfer. WithCOSTA RICA, COLOMBIA and MOROCCO, he called for flexibility in the concept ofNFPs. With SWITZERLAND, he opposed prescription of activities. He emphasized themarket and commercial context, and, with SWITZERLAND, MOROCCO and ITALY, acontinuing forum for forest dialogue. COSTA RICA noted historical deforestation indeveloped countries, and said public fora on implementation must evolve out of the NFPprocess.

SWITZERLAND emphasized essential proposals for action and coordination at thenational and international levels. COLOMBIA highlighted private sector financingresponsibilities, and, with MOROCCO, called for water and soil conservation references.MOROCCO highlighted forest threats from other sectors and inappropriate exploitation,alternative national sources of financing, terms of trade and land tenure security, and,with PORTUGAL, attention to increasing civil society’s role. ITALY emphasizedcoordination between all UN bodies. DENMARK questioned the US call for a holisticecosystem approach while opposing the concept of NFPs.

Co-Chair Holdgate introduced programme element I.3 on traditional forest relatedknowledge (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/16). Beatrice Torres, Secretariat of the Convention onBiological Diversity, reported on traditional forest-related knowledge (TFRK) under theCBD. She urged wider application of TFRK and equitable sharing of benefits. COICAsaid TFRK should be the exclusive property of those who develop it. States shouldregulate the use and dissemination of TFRK with indigenous peoples’ involvement.COLOMBIA said any forest strategy should be based on TRFK with full prior knowledgeand consent; rights should be determined at the state and international levels. The EU saidbenefits of TFRK should be shared equitably and indigenous peoples should be consultedin the development of land use plans and SFM programs. UNESCO said the culturaldimension of natural resource management must be properly addressed. The UKRAINEsaid experiences of local communities should be taken into account, particularlycommunities inhabiting protected lands. NORWAY supported a comprehensive approachto IPR for TFRK.

JAPAN, supported by AUSTRALIA, CANADA and COSTA RICA, highlighted theCBD’s major responsibility on this issue. GERMANY sought delineation of traditional,local and contemporary knowledge. The NETHERLANDS said indigenous peoplesshould be involved in any change to information-sharing schemes. TheINTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF THE INDIGENOUS-TRIBAL PEOPLES called forthe recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights to their knowledge, territories andsustainable self-development. She recommended that TFRK be protected by nationallegislation. DENMARK highlighted the need for social equity in participation in thedevelopment of forest and land use plans. GABON urged a study on equitable sharing ofprofits derived from TFRK.

MALAYSIA said rights from TFRK should be determined within the context of nationallaws and jurisdictions. BRAZIL sought a sui generis type of protection for TFRK,the compilation of existing legal instruments and country-specific inventories. WWF saidany action to protect TFRK should be based on indigenous peoples’ fundamental rights toland, resources and cultural property. PAPUA NEW GUINEA said rights to TFRKshould be addressed on a piecemeal basis. Incentives should be established forcontributions. AUSTRALIA noted that agreements on indigenous knowledge are possiblewithout government intervention. CANADA called for collaboration with the CBD onbiodiversity prospecting. The US questioned any attempt by IPF to facilitate contractsbetween governments and TFRK owners and attempts to establish international IPR forTFRK, and also noted it was premature to incorporate conclusions of COP-3 of CBD.

The G-77/CHINA called attention to trade issues related to TFRK and forest managementpractices. IUCN, supported by the PHILIPPINES and ZIMBABWE, noted that “TFRK”does not recognize all values of community forest systems. The PHILIPPINES called forlocal empowerment, participatory approaches and strengthening of local institutions andnoted an upcoming UNEP/GEF conference on indigenous knowledge. The AD HOCNGO FOREST WORKING GROUP called for an IPF recommendation forinternational legislation on IPR and negotiation capacity building of forest dwellers. JeanClement (FAO) then introduced the Secretary-General’s report on programme elementIII.1 (a) on scientific research, forest assessment and development of criteria andindicators for sustainable forest management (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/20). He highlighted theneed for national assessment capacity and new resources for the FAO’s Forest ResourceAssessment 2000 (FRA2000).

The EU, supported by the US, requested information on the time frame and resourceplanning for the FRA2000, called for utilization of existing data, supported user provisionof resources for data collection and capacity building. The US called on the FAO toconsider ways to improve FRAs beyond 2000, redirect existing resources toward it andcollaborate with UNEP. Collaboration with other forestry and educational organizationswas later echoed by UNESCO. She warned against confusing a “core data” proposal withefforts for global harmonization of C&I for management. AUSTRALIA said nationalforest inventories are an essential tool for planning and decision-making. Clarification isneeded regarding how inventories will match up against C&I. SWEDEN soughtstrengthening of national capacities and institutions for gathering data. He suggestedrolling regional assessments. JAPAN stressed the need to standardize key definitions andclassifications in FRAs. AUSTRIA recommended comprehensive FRAs, incorporatingsocial and cultural aspects. C&I should be used to prioritize data gathering.


Delegates deliberated the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/19), whichdiscusses the role of ODA and, inter alia, proposes a working group on innovativeways to generate financial resources, a code of conduct for forest-based privatecompanies and a set of indicators for evaluating international cooperation. BRAZIL saidIPF should examine ways to direct private investment toward SFM. He supported theproposed working group and recognized the need for a code of conduct. EGYPT said theproblems of countries with low forest cover should be better reflected in the proposals foraction. MOROCCO supported the code of conduct and the working group. MALAYSIAsaid the code of conduct should be private-sector driven. JAPAN questioned the need fora working group and said the code of conduct needs further consideration.

NEW ZEALAND stated that while NFPs are important, they are not a prerequisite forSFM. COSTA RICA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, said that private sector activitieshave not been conducive to SFM so they must be carefully monitored, and alternativemeans of financing must be explored. FINLAND recommended that more emphasis beplaced on creating favorable conditions for long-term private investment in SFM,including incentives for small-scale and micro-enterprises, internalization ofenvironmental costs and appropriate pricing of environmental goods and services.CANADA said that the proposed code of conduct needs to be further specified. It must bevoluntary and not overshadow the need for regulation of foreign investment at thenational level. He also noted that the role of ODA should not be overemphasized. Market-based incentives and private sector activity should not be portrayed as a substitute forODA but as a complement to ODA and national efforts in developing countries.

IRAN said the report shifts the focus on generating new and additional finances from theinternational to the national level. CUBA stated that capacity strengthening should befunded in developing countries and incorporated into deliberations on internationalcooperation. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA recognized the need and potential to mobilizeprivate investment in SFM in developing countries, but noted that a lack of informationand insecurity of investment create obstacles to realizing this potential. GABONquestioned whether the proposed code of conduct would be national or international, andsuggested the former would be more appropriate given differences in countries’circumstances.

On technology transfer, the report calls for, inter alia, using technology needsassessments (TNA) and requests an expert group to propose measures on technologyadaptation. The US said that TNA is one approach among many, supported the expertgroup initiative and questioned the utility of establishing new research institutions. TheUS, supported by AUSTRALIA, also proposed that IPF identify research priorities.SWITZERLAND highlighted the need for mechanisms to extend research findings to thefield level. CAMEROON stressed sub-regional research and ZIMBABWE recognized theneed to build on indigenous technology.

The UK underscored the development of appropriate technologies within developingcountries. CANADA said he does not favor the creation of new institutions, as suggestedin the expert group proposal. He noted that technology can also flow from South toNorth, and that many Canadian forest stakeholders could benefit from improved flows.AUSTRALIA supported trilateral cooperation, where a developed country facilitatestransfers between developing countries. NORWAY supported the use of TNA andcommunication technologies to facilitate access. PAPUA NEW GUINEA stressed theimportance of TNA to developing countries and North/South flows of “high-tech”transfers. INDONESIA described the efforts of the Consultative Group on IndonesianForestry (CEIF) as a forum for information-sharing on SFM. GREENPEACE emphasizedbottom-up approaches and community-based technology transfers. IUCN urged countriesand research organizations to document and inventory traditional SFM technologies, suchas agroforestry practices and traditional soil and water conservation methods.MALAYSIA said that while South-South cooperation has much potential, it should beassisted by donor countries.

BRAZIL said the report fails to mention ideas raised at IPF-2, such as a documentdetailing successful examples, and called for a meeting devoted specifically to technologytransfer issues. MOROCCO highlighted scientific research efforts in the Mediterraneanbasin and noted the importance of traditional local technologies. COLOMBIA called formore active participation by governments to ensure that clean technologies aretransferred. CANADA noted that the CBD is considering a clearinghouse mechanism ontechnology transfer with regard to biodiversity, so the IPF should take advantage of theopportunity for synergy with this endeavor to avoid duplication. CHINA recommendedthe addition of text asserting the need for developed countries to transfer environmentallysound technology to developing countries. CIFOR said the section of the report onresearch and development should recognize the weakness of forest research in Africa andthe need to fund more research initiatives in that region.


NGO reactions were mixed regarding the treatment of traditional forest-relatedknowledge. Some were pleased at the number of ideas put forward, while others weredisappointed at the “truncated” treatment of the subject. Some expressed reservation atsuggestions by number of delegations to defer to the CBD’s primacy on the issue, notingthat the recent SBSTTA meeting could not agree on substantive recommendations onindigenous knowledge. One observer wondered whether the IPF would pass, punt or runwith the issue.


Working Group I will meet at 10:00 am in Room XIX.

Working Group II will meet at 10:00 am in Room XX.

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