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Summary report, 9–20 September 1996

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

The Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) held its third session from 9-20 September1996 in Geneva. Delegates undertook substantive discussions on eleven programmeelements: I.1 (national forest and land-use plans); I.2 (underlying causes ofdeforestation); I.3 (traditional forest-related knowledge); I.4 (ecosystems affected bydesertification and pollution); I.5 (needs of countries with low forest cover); II (financialassistance and technology transfer); III.1(a) (forest assessment); III.1(b) (valuation offorest benefits); III.2 (criteria and indicators); IV. (trade and the environment); and V.1(international organizations and multilateral institutions). They also initiated discussionon programme element V.2 (legal mechanisms).

The objective of IPF-3 was to produce a document containing elements to be consideredfor inclusion in the Panel’s final report to the CSD. Delegates did not engage innegotiations or drafting of the elements at IPF-3, but made comments and proposedamendments to be negotiated at IPF-4. While some regard IPF-3 as a success in that itprovided an opportunity for a meaningful exchange of views on the issues, othersexpressed disappointment at the Panel’s inability to reach the negotiating stage on any ofthe programme elements and noted that this task may prove daunting during IPF-4.


The Economic and Social Council, in its decision 1995/226, endorsed therecommendation of the third session of the Commission on Sustainable Development(CSD) to establish an open-ended ad hoc Intergovernmental Panel on Forests(IPF) to pursue consensus and coordinated proposals for action to support themanagement, conservation and sustainable development of forests. In pursuing itsmandate, the IPF is focusing on 12 programme elements clustered into five interrelatedcategories. The IPF will submit final conclusions and policy recommendations to theCSD at its fifth session in April 1997.

The first session of the IPF took place in New York from 11-15 September 1995. At thismeeting, delegates adopted the IPF programme of work and attempted to set the dates andvenues of future meetings. Several issues that have typically divided North and Southagain proved difficult. Members of the G-77 and China were resistant to any proposalthat could foreseeably lead to a loss of national control over forests and forest products.There was also concern about the subject of criteria and indicators (C&I) and whetherproposed intersessional workshops should constitute an official part of the Panel process.Developed countries questioned the need to extend the length of Panel meetings andexpressed serious concerns about the Panel’s work.

The IPF held its second session from 11-22 March 1996 in Geneva. Delegates conductedtheir first substantive discussions on six programme elements and completed initialconsideration of the others. During the final two days of the meeting, delegatesconsidered the Co-Chairs’ summaries. They labeled these transitional in nature to signifythat the summaries did not represent negotiated text. Delegates agreed to beginnegotiations at IPF-3 on items that had received substantive consideration at the secondsession, although another substantive discussion was scheduled on the programmeelement on financial assistance and technology transfer. Delegates left Geneva satisfiedthat they had expressed national positions on a range of forest issues, but were somewhatfrustrated that all of their positions were not always reflected in the report of IPF-2.


Co-Chairs Sir Martin Holdgate (UK) and Manuel Rodriguez (Colombia) opened thesession, emphasizing its importance because delegates must arrive at negotiatedconclusions and recommendations for transmission to the CSD. They applauded the levelof progress made during the intersessional period and encouraged consideration of reportsproduced at intersessional workshops. A workshop on traditional forest-relatedknowledge sponsored by Denmark and Colombia was announced for December.

The Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, Joke Waller-Hunter,highlighted progress made during the intersessional period and encouraged the Panel totake advantage of work accomplished. Common understanding has emerged with regardto several programme elements including land-use planning, national forest plans andforest assessments. Further deliberation on C&I, valuation of forest goods and servicesand underlying causes of deforestation is needed. The IPF should adopt realisticrecommendations and refrain from taking a “wish list” approach.

The provisional agenda (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/13) was then introduced. The proposedagenda of work consisted largely of two parallel working group sessions. Preliminaryconclusions were to be drafted during the first week and negotiated into final text duringthe second week. Programme element V.2 (legal mechanisms) would be discussed inplenary. SWITZERLAND suggested that plenary be extended to facilitate the adoption ofconclusions. The provisional agenda was adopted.

The EU, supported by GABON and SENEGAL, expressed concern regarding theunavailability of certain documents in all working languages, noting that the Panel’s workcould be impeded.

The floor was open for general comments. The EU highlighted the need to formulateclear and appropriate conclusions as well as concrete proposals for action. Cross-sectoralissues must be acknowledged and incorporated. COLOMBIA and the ALLIANCE OFINDIGENOUS PEOPLES emphasized the importance of intersessional activities, such asthe upcoming meeting sponsored by the Colombian and Danish governments ontraditional forest-related knowledge. MEXICO said the Panel should deliver practicalconclusions that spell out means to implement them. FINLAND reported that the Nordicforestry ministers met in July and expressed their support for the IPF’s work and urged itto formulate recommendations for concrete action. He underlined that the Panel’s workshould be holistic and intersectoral, and a policy forum must continue to exist after IPF-4to maintain momentum.

After the opening plenary, the majority of the Panel’s work was conducted in two parallelworking groups. Working Group I, chaired by Sir Martin Holdgate, consideredprogramme elements I.1-I.3 and III. Working Group II, chaired by Manuel Rodriguez,considered programme elements II, IV, I.4 and I.5. Programme elements V.1 and V.2were taken up in plenary and joint working group sessions.

Delegates conducted an initial round of discussions during the first week, based on theSecretary-General’s reports on each programme element. The reports were prepared bythe IPF Secretariat in collaboration with the UN agencies participating in the Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests, governments sponsoring intersessional initiatives andNGOs. The reports reviewed the current status of international work on the programmeelements and provided an appraisal of recent developments, with special reference toissues raised by the Panel during IPF-2.

The Secretariat then prepared “draft negotiating texts” that were based on the first week’sdiscussions. These texts served as the basis for a second round of discussions during thesecond week. The Secretariat then produced revised “draft negotiating texts” for mostprogramme elements. These texts incorporated alternative drafting suggestions fornegotiation during IPF-4, with direct attributions to the proposing delegationsincorporated in the texts.

A third round of discussions was undertaken on several of these revised texts on the finalday of the session, but time did not permit further discussion of all programme elements.The objective of this last round of discussions was to arrive at some preliminary, adreferendum agreement on “easy” parts of the texts and to identify the mostcontroversial parts. This text will be incorporated into a forthcoming document to beentitled “Elements for further negotiations at the Fourth Session of the Panel.” Thisdocument will note that all programme elements are open for further discussion andnegotiation with a view to arriving at a general agreement on conclusions and proposalsfor action that the IPF will submit to the fifth session of the CSD in April 1997. Thereport will also incorporate the findings of upcoming intersessional initiatives.


Working Group I took up initial consideration of programme element I.1 on 9 and 10September. Jean Clement (FAO) introduced the Secretary-General’s report on progressthrough national forest and land use plans (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/14). The report, based onthe outcomes of workshops held in South Africa and Germany, covers definitions ofterms, future challenges and proposals for IPF action. It notes progress made, butidentifies a series of obstacles to overcome, at both the global and national levels, in theareas of: policy and institutional reforms; investment programming and funding; capacitybuilding; and international cooperation. The report urges the adoption of a universalconcept of national forest programmes (NFPs), while recognizing the need to respectnational sovereignty, particularly with regard to implementation. NFPs should considerthe needs of all stakeholders and employ international cooperation.

During the initial debate, GERMANY presented options for action produced by aGerman expert consultation on implementing the Forest Principles, including a code ofconduct. SWEDEN highlighted an upcoming Sweden/Uganda initiative on sustainableforestry and land use. The EU supported the basic principle of NFPs in the report andemphasized public and private investments and capacity-building as an objective.NORWAY, BRAZIL, SWITZERLAND, MOROCCO and ITALY supported some formof a continuing international forum for forest dialogue. SENEGAL, supported by thePHILIPPINES and MALAYSIA, expressed concern regarding this proposal. FINLANDemphasized integration of forest planning into wider land use planning and incorporationof criteria and indicators (C&I) into NFPs. NEW ZEALAND, supported by thePHILIPPINES, CHINA, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, COSTA RICA, COLOMBIA andMOROCCO, stressed flexibility in addressing countries’ different conditions. The USalso supported this, noting countries’ varying land ownership patterns and mechanismsfor public participation. MALI stated that NFPs should reflect established policies. TheNETHERLANDS supported the universal development of NFPs. JAPAN suggested apilot phase. NORWAY sought universal terminology. PAPUA NEW GUINEA supportedforest planning for all countries and international cooperation for capacity building.INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ ORGANIZATIONS noted that land use is closely linked tosocial and cultural issues. CANADA said NFPs are the best way to achieve sustainableforest management (SFM) and should incorporate national-level C&I, views of allstakeholders and biodiversity concerns. BRAZIL noted the relationship between C&I,NFPs and resource and technology transfer. COSTA RICA noted historical deforestationin developed countries.

A draft negotiating text was discussed on 16 September. The G-77/CHINA, supported byUGANDA, proposed new language urging donor countries to provide new and additionalresources for development and implementation of NFPs. With INDIA and the IUCN, heproposed replacing a reference to SFM with “conservation, management, and sustainabledevelopment of all types of forests” from the Rio Statement of Forest Principles. The EUsought a continuing forum for international consultation rather than a consultative body,and, supported by INDIA and the IUCN, encouraged governments to form ForestPartnership Agreements (FPAs). The US urged substituting “SFM” for “NFPs.” INDIAand the IUCN emphasized incorporation of a broad spectrum of forest-dependentcommunities into NFPs. UKRAINE asked for language on capacity building fordeveloping countries and countries with economies in transition. CANADA proposedlanguage stressing linkages to the Convention on Biological Diversity’s work onbiodiversity and forests.

A revised version of the draft negotiating text, with annotations based on earlier textualcomments, was discussed on 20 September. Countries only addressed paragraphs relatingto proposals for action. The G-77/CHINA called for definitions of terminology used inthe text and questioned FINLAND’s proposal calling for land use plans as a means topromote “land use husbandry.” The US agreed with a proposal urging countries to“monitor” NFPs and added “or other forest policy frameworks.” He opposedinternationally acceptable definitions that apply to all forests, but supported definitionsfor key terms and concepts for C&I. He emphasized that participation of interested partiesand major groups in forest use planning and decision-making only applies to publicforests, and stressed the need for recipient countries to make a clear commitment to SFM.He generally supported INDIA’s proposed language stressing community forestry as wellas language on “further exploration of voluntary partnerships” rather than specific FPAs.While the EU supported CANADA’s inclusion of language welcoming the input of theConference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the US and the G-77/CHINA opposed it.

Discussions on this programme element will continue at IPF-4.


Working Group I held initial discussions on programme element I.2 on 12 September.Ralph Schmidt (UNDP) introduced the Secretary-General’s report on underlying causesof deforestation and forest degradation (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/15). The report addressesmethods for judging optimum forest cover and considers the usefulness of a diagnosticframework to assist countries in identifying the causes of deforestation and forestdegradation (D&FD). The report contains conclusions and proposals for action onconsumption and production patterns, a national policy framework and application of thediagnostic framework.

The G-77/CHINA, COLOMBIA, MALI and the PHILIPPINES noted a lack of proposalsfor addressing social and economic factors in D&FD and dissimilarities betweendeforestation and degradation. Along with the EU and BRAZIL, the G-77/CHINAemphasized historical lessons. NORWAY noted that national policy frameworks mustadhere to similar principles in all countries. INDIA noted that deforestation canphysically cross political boundaries. The PHILIPPINES emphasized natural causes offorest destruction. UGANDA and ZIMBABWE called for balanced treatment ofdeveloped and developing countries and said actions can precede studies. TheNETHERLANDS called for determination of desired forest cover.

On the diagnostic framework, SOUTH AFRICA supported its establishment. CHINAcalled for voluntary diagnostic frameworks. KENYA called for a flexible diagnosticframework and capacity-building assistance, and rejected efforts to compare case studyresults. ZIMBABWE called for diagnostic frameworks to address implementationstrategies and financing requirements. ECUADOR encouraged international support fortesting a diagnostic framework.

On consumption and production, MALI, supported by UGANDA and ZIMBABWE,stressed energy needs as a cause of D&FD, and, supported by CAMEROON and INDIA,called for poverty alleviation. ECUADOR and GABON called for increased attention tothe effects of oil prospecting and consumption. The US sought characterization of long-term trends in consumption and production of forests and forest products. The EU,supported by the NETHERLANDS and FINLAND, noted unplanned causes of D&FDand supported further analysis of international causes. FUNDACION NATURA saidinternational causes of deforestation, such as poverty, transboundary pollution andconsumption patterns, must be addressed. NEW ZEALAND noted the role of plantationforests in mitigating forest degradation and encouraged their use.

A draft negotiating text was discussed on 18 September. The G-77/CHINA, supported byCOLOMBIA, emphasized: production and consumption patterns; non-market values offorest goods and services; studies on historical causes of D&FD; and discriminatoryinternational trade practices. COLOMBIA proposed language acknowledging the needfor an international meeting to discuss the underlying causes of D&FD.

The G-77/CHINA proposed Forest Principles language on “management, conservationand sustainable development of all types of forests” for several locations in the text. TheUS proposed using “SFM.” Supported by JAPAN and CANADA, he said a reference toenvironmental impact assessments should be included as an example of mechanisms toimprove policy formulation and coordination rather than as a separate point. The EUspecified language on the “promotion of open and participatory programmes for theimplementation of NFPs, taking into account D&FD.” She also called for: formulation ofmechanisms aimed at the equitable sharing of benefits from the forests; policies forsecuring land tenure for indigenous peoples and local communities; and promptgovernment action when direct or indirect causes have been identified.

On production and consumption patterns, the US called for further study of theconclusions from a recent Norwegian conference on consumption and production patternsas underlying causes of D&FD. The EU deleted a statement that poverty andconsumption patterns have a major influence on deforestation and urged governments,“where relevant,” to prepare strategic studies of the implications of “current”consumption and production patterns for forests. JAPAN proposed deleting language toaddress terms of trade, discriminatory trade practices and unsustainable policies related tosectors such as agriculture and energy.

On diagnostic frameworks, the EU proposed deleting language stating that suchframeworks should not be used as a basis for ODA conditionality. NEW ZEALAND, onbehalf of AUSTRALIA, CHILE, CHINA, SOUTH AFRICA and UGANDA, urgedcountries to actually use the diagnostic framework as an analytical tool in assessingoptions for utilization of forests and forest lands. CANADA called for all countries toundertake case studies using the diagnostic framework, as well as research, technologytransfer and capacity-building activities. Environmental NGOs called for donor assistanceto developing countries for strategic analysis of policies contributing to D&FD.CANADA added assistance for countries with economies in transition.

On plantation forests, NEW ZEALAND, on behalf of AUSTRALIA, CHILE, CHINA,SOUTH AFRICA and UGANDA, noted the role of plantation forests as an importantelement of SFM. JAPAN added language supporting the conversion of plantation forests.NORWAY stressed the need for plantations to meet social, economic and environmentalconditions, including conservation of biodiversity.

A second version of the draft negotiating text, containing annotations based on earliertextual comments, was discussed on 20 September. Countries only addressed paragraphsrelating to proposals for action. Discussions on this programme element will continue atIPF-4.


Delegates undertook the first round of discussion on programme element I.3, traditionalforest-related knowledge (TFRK) on 10 September. Co-Chair Sir Martin Holdgateintroduced the Secretary-General’s report on the issue (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/16). The reportcontains a general overview of the nature of traditional knowledge, its relationship toproperty rights and the distinctions that need to be drawn regarding its integration intoSFM.

In the discussion that followed, the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat urgedwider application of TFRK and, with the EU and GABON, equitable sharing of benefits.JAPAN, supported by AUSTRALIA, CANADA and the G-77/CHINA, emphasized theConvention on Biological Diversity’s major responsibility on the issue. The EU,COLOMBIA, UKRAINE, the NETHERLANDS, the PHILIPPINES and UNESCO saidindigenous peoples should be consulted in the development of land use plans and SFMprogrammes. DENMARK called for social equity in participation regarding thedevelopment of forest and land use plans.

COICA and the INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS TRIBALPEOPLES sought recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights to their intellectual propertyand territories and, with MALAYSIA, urged that TFRK be protected by nationallegislation. COLOMBIA said intellectual property rights (IPR) should be determined atthe State and international levels. Environmental NGOs called for internationallegislation on IPR. PAPUA NEW GUINEA said that TFRK should be addressed on apiecemeal basis and called for the establishment of incentives for contributions. BRAZILand NORWAY sought a sui generis type of protection for TFRK. The USsupported partnership agreements, but questioned IPF attempts to facilitate contractsbetween governments and TFRK owners. GERMANY sought delineation of traditional,local and contemporary knowledge.

Delegates considered revised text on TFRK on 17 September. The US said theConvention on Biological Diversity should complement rather than direct the IPF’s workon TFRK. He added that the introduction of new technologies and economicopportunities could accelerate forest loss and undermine forest communities and TRFK.CANADA encouraged support for capacity building of indigenous people and localcommunities, and their participation as full partners in SFM. JAPAN urged governmentsto identify knowledge, innovations and practices relevant to the practical application ofSFM.

The G-77/CHINA called for heightened protection of indigenous people’s IPR and rightsto patents. The EU sought recognition of the knowledge and rights of forest owners.NORWAY said instruments regarding TFRK should be developed and implemented to bemutually supportive while avoiding duplication of work. A NAPGUANA representativenoted that indigenous peoples could contribute more effectively if the reports wereavailable in languages other than English. He urged that TFRK be viewed as an integralpart of indigenous people’s lives and not just as a marketable commodity. EnvironmentalNGOs called on governments to collaborate with indigenous peoples, concerned groupsand institutions in the compilation of TFRK at national and local levels. TheINTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS TRIBAL PEOPLES reported on anupcoming intersessional meeting on TFRK sponsored by Denmark and Colombia to beheld in Colombia, from 9-13 December 1996.

Delegates briefly revisited TFRK during the final session of Working Group I onSeptember 20. The US supported a sui generis regime for the protection andequitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of TFRK. The G-77/CHINA supportedparticipatory approaches and management of TFRK but called for inclusion of languageemanating from the Rio Declaration and Forest Principles rather than that proposed bythe EU referring to “community forest management, land-use resource management,research training and extension, the formulation of criteria and indicators and conflictresolution.” The EU supported JAPAN’s proposal inviting governments to work towardidentifying knowledge, innovations and practices that are relevant to the practicalattainment of SFM. Discussions on this programme element will continue at IPF-4.


Working Group II considered programme element I.4, fragile ecosystems affected bydesertification, and the impact of airborne pollution on forests on 12 September. JeanClement (FAO) introduced the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/17). Thereport is divided into two parts. The first part addresses progress related to afforestation,reforestation and the restoration of forest systems, particularly in countries with fragileecosystems and those affected by desertification and drought, and focuses on nationaldryland programmes, capacity-building, land tenure, periodic assessment, preventive andrestorative measures and coordination. The second part addresses progress related to theimpact of airborne pollution on forests, focusing on emission reduction, periodicassessment, research and rehabilitation of affected areas. Based on delegates’ comments,a draft negotiating text was produced by the Secretariat. Delegates considered this text on18 September and, based on the comments, a revised draft negotiating text was producedfor consideration on the final day.

During the course of these discussions, delegates offered the following comments. Ondesertification and drought, environmental NGOs asserted that poor resourcemanagement may be caused by a lack of alternatives as opposed to a lack of education,and recommended new language regarding support for participatory research withindigenous people and local communities in resource management. GERMANYrecommended that strategies on desertification should be integrated within existing forestand land use programmes. CANADA said national forestry action programmes providethe best framework for addressing reforestation and afforestation by providing cross-sectoral linkages, participation of stakeholders, policy and legislative reviews andinstitutional strengthening. DENMARK noted that the provision of financial means andincentives for private owners will not ensure successful afforestation efforts. The IUCNsuggested that bilateral and multilateral agencies and government planners shiftinvestment emphasis away from plantations toward improving communities’ tenurerights.

The US added language encouraging countries to undertake the obligations contained inArticle 5 of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) and emphasized the need toavoid duplication with the CCD. He said the proposed formulation of guidelines forconservation and environmental management of plantations is premature. Supported byJAPAN and the G-77/CHINA, he proposed deleting a reference to long-term institutionaland legal arrangements in a proposal on strengthening partnerships. The G-77/CHINAemphasized the need for financial resources and technology transfer to promote forestland rehabilitation. He added language on: the positive and cost-effective results fromplantations of fast-growth trees in terms of soil protection; the use of protected areas as anin-situ conservation strategy for ecosystems affected by drought anddesertification; and the promotion of protected areas in arid and semi-arid regions,including preservation of water resources and traditional and historical uses. The EUcalled for new language on: the important role of education, training and extensionsystems aimed at specific groups; institutional and land tenure reform; coordination andharmonization of national forest and land use plans at the regional level; andconsideration of dryland issues in NFPs and promotion of stakeholder education andtraining in drylands management.

On the impact of air-borne pollution on forests, TURKEY called for promotion oftechnical cooperation to encourage capacity building in research. The US called forfurther work under existing monitoring systems on ways to assess and monitor nationallevel C&I for SFM on air-borne pollutants. JAPAN emphasized the need for region-wideforest monitoring systems and testing and application of the critical loads approach, andproposed language encouraging governments to adopt a preventive approach for reducingtransboundary air pollution in the context of national sustainable development strategies.The G-77/CHINA recommended deleting proposals to incorporate reduction of airpollution into national sustainable development strategies and to encourage regions toenter into binding agreements to reduce the impact of air-borne pollutants.

Discussions on this programme element will continue at IPF-4.


Working Group II considered programme element I.5, needs and requirements ofcountries with low forest cover. Bai-Mass Taal (UNEP) presented the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/18), which was discussed on 12 September. Thereport acknowledges the strong dependence on forest goods and services for subsistence;major problems of countries with low forest cover (poorly protected watersheds,decreasing number of endemic species and scarcity of forest products); concentration ofinvestment in countries with abundant forest cover; and the need for special attention tothe needs and requirements of countries with low forest cover. It contains proposals foraction on NFPs; forest plantations; importation and substitution; participatorymechanisms; information collection and dissemination; capacity building; andcoordination mechanisms.

On 19 September, delegates conducted a second round of discussions on a revisednegotiating text that contains conclusions and proposals for action on the definition oflow forest cover; NFPs; and international cooperation. The text calls for a more precisecategorization of countries with low forest cover as the FAO’s global Forest ResourceAssessment 2000 (FRA 2000) currently defines such countries as those having 20% and10% and of minimum crown cover for developed and developing countries, respectively,and has no scientific foundation or opportunity for global comparability.

The US recommended a universal definition of 10% be adopted for all countries. SOUTHAFRICA recommended expanding the definition of countries to include countries inwhich the lack of forests has resulted in an unfulfilled national demand for forestproducts.

INDONESIA called for increased assistance and technology transfer for low forest covercountries. AUSTRALIA noted that low forest cover is only a crude criterion forallocating forest funding. Environmental NGOs called for: special care to avoid replacingnatural species with large-scale tree plantations; assessment of financial, socio-culturaland environmental costs associated with increasing plantation cover; and exploration ofmeans to reduce demand for pulp and paper, particularly in northern countries. The EUcalled for: special attention to the needs of least developed countries with low forestcover; close coordination with Convention on Biological Diversity activities to establishnetworks of protected areas; and the retention of natural species where appropriate. Withthe US, he noted that official development assistance (ODA) is “an important,” ratherthan “the most important,” source of funding to countries with low forest cover.UKRAINE added references to buffer zones and ecological corridors to conservebiodiversity and to support countries with economies in transition with low forest cover.The US, supported by JAPAN, proposed deleting paragraphs on permanent forest estates,non-wood substitutes and Forest Partnership Agreements (FPAs).

The G-77/CHINA proposed language on the need to emphasize natural regeneration ofdegraded forest areas by involving communities and indigenous people in their protectionand management. He called for: national and international measures to protect distinctiveor rare forest types in countries with low forest cover; financial assistance, transfer oftechnology and know-how; provision of new and additional resources; and assistance todeveloping countries in data gathering and analysis. Discussions on this programmeelement will continue at IPF-4.


Working Group II considered programme element II (international cooperation andtechnology transfer) on 10 September. Co-Chair Manuel Rodriguez introduced theSecretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/19) and a document containing asummary of the report and the proposals for action (E.CN.17/IPF/CRP.1). The reportrecognizes that there are limited opportunities to increase funds from international publicresources other than official development assistance (ODA) to finance SFM. Several casestudies quoted in the report highlight the potential for raising additional financialresources at the domestic level in developing countries, although most of these countrieshave limited ability to raise sufficient funds to finance SFM activities. The report alsodiscusses: public finance; market-based instruments; private sector investment; policyreform to attract investments; and establishment of information systems to speed upinvestments. It also proposes: a working group on innovative ways to generate financialresources; a code of conduct for forest-based private companies; and a set of indicatorsfor evaluating international cooperation.

On technology transfer, the report notes that the majority of technologies for forestmanagement required by developing countries are well-known and are already beingutilized in some countries. The proposed measures to encourage effective transferinclude: using technology needs assessment as a tool for analyzing requirements;strengthening research and development institutions; exploring the possibility for newinternational research institutions for SFM; and developing global databases. The reporthighlights the need to optimize existing available funds. The report also states that in-country coordination and coordination among donors are crucial, and NFPs are a goodbasis for setting priorities on cooperation.

Delegates first discussed the report on 10 September. Based on the comments ofdelegations, the Secretariat produced a draft negotiating text, which delegates consideredon 19 September. Based on further comments from delegates, the Secretariat produced arevised draft negotiating text, which was considered on the final day of the session.During the course of these discussions, delegates offered the following comments,proposals and suggestions.

On public finance, delegates offered a number of recommendations for inclusion. The G-77/CHINA recommended provision of predictable levels of funding to support long-termobjectives in the conservation, management and sustainable development of forests, ascalled for in Agenda 21. He also sought substantial new and additional financing, andnoted that ODA for forests is insufficient and declining. The G-77/CHINA also proposedreplacing all references in the text to “SFM” with “management, conservation andsustainable development of forests” from the Forest Principles. The US said references tothe Forest Principles should only be included as needed and proposed recognizing theneed to increase the absorptive capacity of markets. He noted that SFM is not givensufficient priority in ODA and highlighted community-based enterprises. The EUproposed noting that ODA has been insufficient to achieve SFM and called for donoragencies to finance national initiatives aimed at developing NFPs in developingcountries. NORWAY recognized that ODA will continue to be important to supportSFM, but to maximize effectiveness, these funds should be combined with other sources.

On private sector investment, delegates disagreed on the proposed code of conduct andthe proposed working group on innovative ways to generate financial resources. BRAZILsupported the proposed working group and recognized the need for a code of conduct.MALAYSIA, COLOMBIA, SWITZERLAND and MOROCCO supported the code ofconduct and the working group. JAPAN questioned the need for a working group andsaid the code of conduct requires further consideration. NEW ZEALAND, supported bythe G-77/CHINA, JAPAN and CANADA, suggested removing the brackets from“voluntary” codes of conduct. CANADA said the code must not overshadow the need forregulation of foreign investment at the national level. GABON questioned whether theproposed code of conduct would be national or international and suggested the formerwould be more appropriate given differences in countries’ circumstances. The US said itis premature to include voluntary codes of conduct, but their potential should be explored.

Delegates offered other comments on private sector investment. The G-77/CHINAproposed adding: fair and even distribution of private capital flows among developingcountries; strengthening of national regulations and enforcement; and cooperation withmajor groups. The EU, supported by AUSTRALIA, proposed including the negativesocial and environmental aspects of policies and regulations. GERMANY highlighted theneed for closer involvement of the private sector in development of NFPs. FINLANDemphasized favorable conditions for long-term private investment in SFM, includingincentives for small-scale and micro-enterprises, internalization of environmental costs,and appropriate pricing of environmental goods and services. The REPUBLIC OFKOREA recognized the need and potential to mobilize private investment in SFM indeveloping countries, but noted that a lack of information and insecurity of investmentcreate obstacles to realizing this potential. CHINA noted an overemphasis on national andprivate investment at the expense of international financing and technology transfer fromNorth to South.

On technology transfer, the US proposed noting that technology needs assessment is oneapproach among many and questioned the utility of establishing new researchinstitutions. Supported by AUSTRALIA, the US proposed that the IPF identify researchpriorities. Supported by the UK, the US proposed that bilateral and multilateral donorsgive priority in financing technology development, exchange and transfer to eachcountry’s assessment of its technological requirements. JAPAN called for references toNorth-South, South-South and trilateral cooperation. CANADA recommended areference to related work on cooperation being conducted under the Convention onBiological Diversity. The G-77/CHINA proposed noting that technology mainly residesin the North, in particular technologies in the private domain, therefore considerablepotential exists for North-South cooperation in technology transfer under favorableconditions. SWITZERLAND called for improved knowledge sharing and extensionmechanisms.

On coordination, the G-77/CHINA called for development of indicators for monitoringthe “adequacy” as well as the effectiveness of international cooperation. She proposeddeleting references to an external agency to support in-country donor coordination andmandatory coordination among UN organizations, and proposed changing the name ofthe section from “coordination” to “cooperation.” AUSTRALIA called for a shared visionof SFM toward common objectives. The EU noted that NFPs should provide the basicframework for national and international cooperation including priority setting. The USproposed that NFPs provide a good basis for priority setting “in many countries,” and fornational level coordination “in recipient countries.” The US also invited countries to givepriority to SFM in programming the ODA available to them. CANADA proposed areference to international instruments related to forests, particularly the Convention onBiological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

On information systems, the G-77/CHINA deleted a reference to Internet-basedinformation systems, noting that many developing countries do not have Internet access.GERMANY proposed a reference to effective implementation of NFPs through improvedinformation systems. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION proposed inviting the FAO todevelop a global “depository box” for information on available technologies and potentialfunding sources for SFM.

Working Group II met on the final day to consider a revised draft text on this programmeelement. The G-77/CHINA noted that language from the Forest Principles on“conservation, management and sustainable development” of forests did not need to beused throughout the document, but noted that some agreed terms were needed. Sheproposed that specific references to the Convention on Biological Diversity should bereplaced with more general language. The EU proposed deleting a list that describedpriorities for technology transfer and capacity building. CANADA noted that aclearinghouse for technology transfer was under consideration by the Conference of theParties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity and expressed hope that COP-3would provide clarification. The US called for clear references to developing, recipient orother types of countries throughout the text. UGANDA said that the text’s references toNFPs in a section on coordination appeared to impose an element of conditionality.JAPAN questioned a reference to the development of indicators for internationalcooperation. Discussions on this programme element will continue at IPF-4.


Working Group I conducted the first round of discussions on programme element III.1(a),assessment of the multiple benefits of all types of forests, on 10 and 11 September. JeanClement (FAO) introduced the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/20). Thereport addresses: the need to make primary forest data widely accessible; forest resourceassessment processes, such as FAO’s FRA 2000; and country capacity building.AUSTRIA, supported by CANADA and PORTUGAL, called for comprehensive FRAsincorporating social and cultural aspects. He said C&I should be used to prioritize datagathering. JAPAN emphasized the need to standardize key definitions and classificationsused in FRAs. NORWAY and VENEZUELA called for prioritization of data collectionand recognized the importance of capacity building. AUSTRALIA said national forestinventories are an essential tool for planning and decision-making and urged clarificationregarding how inventories will match up against C&I.

The EU and the US requested information on the time frame and resource planning forFRA 2000 and called for utilization of existing data. The US urged FAO to consider waysto improve FRAs beyond the year 2000, redirect existing resources toward it andcollaborate with UNEP. SWEDEN, supported by SWITZERLAND, suggested “rolling”resource assessments rather than assessments every ten years. He sought strengthening ofnational capacities and institutions for data collection.

UNESCO warned against confusing a proposal for the collection of “core data” withthose for a global harmonization of C&I. UNESCO, COLOMBIA and UNEP called forcollaboration with other forestry and educational organizations. CHINA emphasized theneed for transparency in funding FRA 2000. The US supported user payment for resourceuse, data collection and capacity building. FINLAND, the US and the EU supported auser-pays approach to garnering funds for FRA 2000. GERMANY expressed concernregarding the FAO’s ability to financially and technically complete FRA 2000 at thistime. He called on the FAO to prepare a detailed analysis of progress and availableresources for review at IPF-4. FAO acknowledged the funding shortage for FRA 2000,stating that the problem goes beyond the simple transfer of resources from oneprogramme to another.

Delegates began the second round of discussion on forest assessments on 17 September.In reviewing the revised text, the EU highlighted regular data updates, accessibility toassessment programmes, comparability of data collection methodologies and liaison withthe Convention on Biological Diversity to ensure that gaps in knowledge are quicklyaddressed. The G-77/CHINA called for use of national forest assessments, whereappropriate, in the development of NFPs. The G-77, supported by CANADA andenvironmental NGOs, sought the assessment of a broad range of values, including non-timber values, in FRA 2000. The G-77 also supported JAPAN’s proposal calling for thestandardization of terms and definitions used in assessments. The US called for: thedevelopment of plans for implementation of assessments; the deletion of language fromthe Forest Principles on “sustainable use, conservation and equitable sharing of benefits;”and the need for capacity building. Environmental NGOs urged the use of an ecosystemapproach in assessments and consultations with all stakeholders to identify the range offorest benefits.

A revised draft negotiating text was produced but not discussed due to time constraints.


Working Group I conducted the first round of discussions on programme element III.1(b),forest resource valuation, on 11 September. David Cassels (World Bank) introduced theSecretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/25). The report acknowledges the need to:identify and measure the various values of forests; develop methodologies to measureforest values; and determine how valuation will contribute to the attainment of SFM.

Many countries noted overlapping responsibilities with the Climate Change andBiodiversity Conventions. MEXICO, supported by JAPAN, the EU, COLOMBIA,CANADA, MALAYSIA and environmental NGOs, called for assessment of the non-economic benefits of forests. The US and NORWAY differentiated between research ontechnical aspects of valuation and policy recommendations, noting limitations to “acrossthe board” solutions. BRAZIL and the US recommended that the IPF encourage otherorganizations to conduct research on methodologies. NORWAY highlighted thedevelopment of appropriate policies and regulations to control rent-seeking.

TURKEY noted the Forest Principles’ emphasis on the promotion of public awarenessand, with NEW ZEALAND, stressed difficulties with recommending that governmentsseek to control pricing. The NETHERLANDS highlighted the need to recognize the valueof soil conservation and carbon sequestration, particularly in swamp forests. TheWORLD BANK noted the need to differentiate between quantifying values and settingprices.

AUSTRALIA supported economic rent for wood products to cover management costs,national resource accounting plans and user fees as a means of supporting conservation.NEW ZEALAND called for ways to internalize externalities related to non-timber valuesin order to determine appropriate economic rents. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called forpractical means to incorporate natural resource accounting into SFM. UNESCO soughtpilot projects to test valuation methodologies and economic rent for non-timber values.The EU and the UK noted that application of appropriate valuation methodologies willjustify forest management economically. KENYA, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA andNEW ZEALAND called for capacity building for valuation programmes. CANADA,UGANDA and INDIA emphasized participation by all interested parties in identifyingvalues and developing methodologies.

Delegates addressed the draft negotiating text on forest valuation on 17 September. TheEU stressed the need to address the values of forest owners. She noted that while avariety of valuation methodologies have been developed, governments should beencouraged to develop methodologies addressing their own legal and politicalcircumstances. The US said the report exceeds the mandate of the CSD and urged furtherdiscussion within the context of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions. Headded that references to the religious values of forests should be omitted.

The G-77/CHINA called for methodologies to assess the cultural, social and economicvalues of forest degradation and for matrices matching available forest valuationmethodologies with required data sets for all forest goods and services. NORWAY calledfor analysis of costs associated with changes in forest quality.

A revised draft negotiating text was produced but not discussed due to time constraints.


Working Group I held initial discussions on programme element III.2 on 11 and 12September. David Harcharik (FAO) introduced the Secretary-General’s report on criteriaand indicators (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/21). He encouraged wider country participation in thedevelopment of criteria and indicators (C&I), harmonization of terminology andidentification of a core set of common indicators at the international level. FINLANDsaid C&I should be incorporated into NFPs and contribute to policy formulation. JAPANcalled for multiple stakeholder participation.

On harmonization of C&I, AUSTRALIA, supported by NORWAY and INDONESIA,sought harmonization of terms, definitions, methodologies and measurement standardsused in developing national C&I. GERMANY stressed harmonization between C&I andother concepts such as codes of practice or performance standards. SWITZERLAND andMALAYSIA also sought consensus on key concepts and mutual recognition of initiativessuch as FAO’s FRA 2000. DENMARK supported inclusion of C&I in NFPs and, withTURKEY, supported a core set of global criteria. NEW ZEALAND emphasized the needto maintain momentum on C&I and sought consensus on terms. He stressed that C&Itogether define SFM and selectively removing elements lessens their effectiveness.AUSTRIA stressed the indivisibility of SFM and C&I and recalled IPF-2’s unanimoussupport for expanding C&I. UGANDA emphasized the importance of harmonization andconvergence of C&I developed nationally.

CIFOR noted that only a small set of C&I are universally applicable. The EU andPOLAND supported C&I at the national level. The US supported efforts toward nationalC&I and expressed reservations about global C&I. ITALY, supported by GERMANYand CUBA, called for flexibility in the formulation of C&I for SFM. The UK, supportedby POLAND, called for flexibility in application to account for diverging needs. The UKalso said C&I should be implemented without waiting for further refinement. INDIA saidC&I should be more specific for application at the national and forest management unitlevels. PAPUA NEW GUINEA said sufficient guidelines exist for governments todevelop and apply their own C&I. The G-77/CHINA said specificity should not be tradedfor universality, and called for diffusion of information on C&I. The GLOBAL FORESTPOLICY PROJECT distinguished national level C&I from certification of individualforest management units and said harmonization of C&I is premature. CANADA saididentification of a comprehensive set of C&I at the global level would be premature andhighlighted the importance, measurability and comparability of cultural and social C&I.The RUSSIAN FEDERATION noted difficulties associated with harmonizing criteria.

BRAZIL said the report fails to emphasize the international cooperation needed to allowall developing countries to participate in C&I initiatives. TURKEY noted difficulties inthe implementation of C&I and called for cooperation on technology transfer. CHINA,supported by MEXICO, called for assistance to developing countries for developmentand implementation of C&I. MEXICO called for prioritization of proposed actions.

A draft negotiating text was discussed on 17 and 18 September. The EU highlighted: theimportance of C&I implementation at all levels; descriptive criteria; land use plans;mutual recognition, consistency and convergence of C&I; and, with the US, forest ownerand land tenure issues. JAPAN requested recognition of levels equivalent tomanagement-level units and, with the US, voiced concerns over what criteria should helpto assess. The US expressed concern over language on: benefit apportionment; forestmanagement unit C&I; and C&I as a basis for trade restrictions. FINLAND, supported bythe EU, suggested language from its recent C&I seminar on, inter alia: actions forpoverty alleviation; institutional strengthening; human resources development and publicparticipation; consensus on terms; and research on C&I for measuring biodiversity, non-wood forest products, non-market benefits and human and cross-sectoral impacts onforests. Environmental NGOs stressed language on sub-national level C&I for largecountries and Convention on Biological Diversity assistance on C&I for forest qualityand biodiversity. CANADA said the work of the Convention on Biological Diversityshould complement existing C&I frameworks. The G-77/CHINA called for: criteria thatreflect components of SFM; a global set of C&I; and contributions from donor countriesand multilateral organizations for the development and implementation of C&I. GABON,citing the Rio Declaration and Forest Principles, stated the need for the internationalcommunity to mobilize the financial resources and technology required for C&Iformulation and SFM in developing countries.

A revised draft negotiating text was produced but not discussed due to time constraints.


Working Group II considered programme element IV, trade and environment relating toforest goods and services, on 11 September. J.E.K. Aggrey-Orleans (ITTO) introducedthe Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/22), which delegates considered alongwith a summary document (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/CRP.2) containing only the conclusionsand proposals for action. The report addresses market access and trade barriers to forestproducts; relative competitiveness of forest products; promotion of less used species;certification and labelling; full cost internalization of environmental impacts; and markettransparency. The report proposes that the IPF call on relevant international organizationsto: support developing country efforts to increase productivity and efficiency ofdownstream processing activities; conduct analyses of the costs and benefits as well asthe potential substitution effects resulting from a transition to SFM; form a workinggroup on procedures for country certification schemes; undertake efforts to promoteharmonization and mutual recognition of standards among certification schemes; andcreate a global database to improve market transparency.

Delegates discussed the report on 11 September. From these discussions the Secretariatproduced a draft negotiating text that delegates considered on 16 September. TheSecretariat then produced a revised draft negotiating text that was discussed on the finalday. During the course of these rounds of discussions, delegates submitted a wide rangeof comments.

On general conclusions on trade and environment, the EU emphasized that trade-relatedmechanisms must be compatible with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. The G-77/CHINA noted the need to consider both market and non-market values of forest-related goods and services and recommended greater emphasis on the mutuallysupportive roles of trade and environment. He proposed deleting text suggesting thattrade restrictions may be necessary to achieve environmental objectives in specialcircumstances. The US, the EU and CANADA objected to the possible need to explore anagreement on trade in forest products, while the G-77/CHINA, BRAZIL, COLOMBIAand environmental NGOs supported the idea. ZIMBABWE recommended further studieson non-wood forest products and on domestic trade in forest products. UGANDA statedthat the report overemphasizes international trade at the expense of domestic and regionaltrade.

On market access, COLOMBIA said the reduction of non-tariff and tariff barriers shouldtake place in the context of instruments that seek to control multinationals. IRAN saidmeasures that affect trade in forest goods should not decrease the purchasing power ofdeveloping countries. To a proposal requesting the WTO to further reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in forest products, NORWAY added a reference to the WTOCommittee on Trade and Environment’s work to ensure mutually supportive roles oftrade and environment. UGANDA expressed concern that unilateral tariffs were notconsidered. Environmental NGOs called for “adjustment” of tariff and non-tariff barriersto ensure consistency with efforts to promote SFM. They proposed language on thepossibility that non-tariff barriers may promote SFM and on the exceptions to WTO rulescontained in the Uruguay Round agreements. The G-77/CHINA recommended newproposals for: assessment of the effectiveness and trade impacts of subsidies; removal ofall unilateral bans and boycotts; and exploration of the possible need for an agreement ontrade in forest products and for voluntary codes of conduct. Timber industry NGOssuggested including the potential negative effects of trade restrictions in forest products.

On relative competitiveness of forest products, GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL saidthe IPF should not cast substitution of forest products (with non-wood forest products orwith forest products produced with more efficient technology) in a negative light, as itcan serve to reduce pressures on the world’s forests. The US and environmental NGOscalled for further studies on how best to use markets and economic instruments topromote SFM. Regarding efforts to promote downstream processing industries andexports of processed products, industry NGOs emphasized that these efforts should nottake the form of tariff and non-tariff barriers, and environmental NGOs stressed that theybe consistent with wider environmental and social considerations. The G-77/CHINAsuggested a new proposal regarding mechanisms for community-based processing andmarketing of wood and non-timber forest products.

On promotion of less used species, AUSTRALIA said ITTO should continue its work inthis regard, provided it is within the context of SFM principles. The US, supported byenvironmental NGOs, proposed a reference to community-level efforts in technologydevelopment. Environmental NGOs proposed promotion of non-timber forest products.

On certification, the EU proposed adding “and labelling” to the title of the section andlanguage noting that voluntary certification and labelling are not considered to be non-tariff barriers. CAMEROON said schemes must be developed according to specificnational conditions. PERU said certification should include its own system of C&I toassess SFM. SWITZERLAND emphasized the need to distinguish governmentalmeasures from voluntary private sector measures. The NETHERLANDS stressed theneed to focus on all forests rather than strictly tropical forests. AUSTRALIA stated thatcertification at the regional and provincial levels should also be explored. FRANCE notedthat market demand for certified products and its consequences for SFM have yet to beproved.

The US said certification is not a “magic bullet” that will bring about SFM, but is oneuseful tool that can complement other beneficial policy instruments. A proliferation ofschemes will likely help rather than hamper certification, and competition amongschemes is a positive development. The EU said proliferation of different schemes withdifferent criteria could damage the credibility and effectiveness of certification andlabelling. The G-77/CHINA supported a proposal calling on trade agencies to promoteinternational harmonization and mutual recognition of standards among schemes.CANADA contested the conclusion that there is a proliferation of schemes but noted theirsmall number and limited experience in certification. He said the proposal to promoteinternational harmonization is premature at this stage, and several other delegationsechoed this sentiment.

The GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT said that because certification schemes areprivate and voluntary, governments should play no significant role in enforcingharmonization among them. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION highlighted the importantroles of governments in providing information, support and monitoring of certification.The G-77/CHINA emphasized the role of governments in ensuring transparency, fullparticipation, nondiscrimination and open access of schemes. He also highlighted thatcertification should observe sovereignty.

The US stressed the need to involve exporters in the development of schemes.GERMANY called upon relevant agencies to promote information exchange. The EUadded references to the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, including applicationof credibility, non-deceptiveness, cost-effectiveness and encouragement of mutualrecognition and equivalence to certification schemes. AUSTRALIA proposed newlanguage regarding performance standards and environmental management systems asimportant components of SFM.

The GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT said that country certification is extremelycontroversial and could trigger a consumer backlash and renew country bans and boycottsof forest products. Environmental NGOs, supported by AUSTRALIA, recommendeddeleting the reference to feasibility of country certification. Regarding an initial proposalfor the formation of a working group to consider the formulation of procedures forcountry certification schemes, UGANDA, MALAYSIA, NEW ZEALAND, PAPUANEW GUINEA and INDONESIA supported it, while the US, FRANCE, CANADA, theEU, NORWAY and environmental NGOs argued that it is premature to do so at thisstage. The G-77/CHINA proposed language noting that the Panel did not endorse theconcept of country certification.

On full cost internalization, NORWAY noted that the treatment of this issueoveremphasizes the increased costs incurred in the transition to SFM. He added languagestating that without full cost internalization, socioeconomic and environmental costs maynot be reflected in the market. CANADA said studies must address subsidies and thedistribution of impacts. Industry NGOs noted that only limited consensus exists ondefinitions, measurements and techniques to introduce environmental costs into pricingmechanisms. Environmental NGOs added language noting that reallocation of costs andbenefits is likely to result, and a reference to environmental and social implications.

On market transparency, CANADA stated that more work is needed on information gapson trade barriers before work begins on a new global database. The ENVIRONMENTALINVESTIGATION AGENCY called for the formation of an inter-agency task force toassess the extent of illegal logging, timber smuggling and transfer pricing, especially withrespect to the activities of transnational corporations. The EU and environmental NGOscalled for an independent global assessment of the illegal forest products trade.Discussions on this programme element will continue at IPF-4.


Programme element V.1 was considered by a joint Working Group session on 13September. Based on these discussions, the Secretariat produced a draft negotiating text,which was considered by the Plenary on 19 September. A revised text, based oncomments from these two sessions, was distributed but not discussed on the final day ofIPF-4.

Jag Maini (IPF Secretariat) introduced the Secretary-General’s report(E/CN.17/IPF/1996/23). The report includes: an examination of the anticipated functionsand activities required from international organizations and institutions and instrumentsto support internationally-agreed future priorities; the establishment of a structured bodyto coordinate intergovernmental agencies; NGO and government activities; the value ofNGO contributions; the need to evaluate the operational capacity of existing instruments;and the need to develop a high-level forum for continued dialogue. The report proposesseveral options for action, including: a high-level forum for international policy; strategicdata collection; regional and global projects; additional funding for research anddevelopment; and improved mechanisms for coordination.

Most delegations noted the need for better coordination. The G-77/CHINA, supported bythe PHILIPPINES, BRAZIL, PERU and MALAYSIA, said more work is needed todevelop a clear view of the work being undertaken by international and regionalinstitutions. Gaps and overlaps should be identified and coordination among agenciesenhanced. The EU, supported by the UK, noted that the issue will lay the groundwork forthe international community’s support of all other IPF issues. He sought to accelerate theimplementation of UNCED decisions, enhance government and private sector financingand strengthen inter-agency coordination. A number of delegations, including theRUSSIAN FEDERATION, NORWAY and the US, supported increasing the efficiencyand coordination of existing institutions rather than establishing new ones.

Delegates offered differing levels of support for a continued high-level forum to addressforest-related issues. INDONESIA and MALAYSIA supported its establishment, whileCANADA called for a new legally-binding instrument rather than just a continuation ofthe IPF. PAPUA NEW GUINEA, supported by SOUTH AFRICA and PERU, favored aninformal forum for discussion, and recommended maintaining the IPF as an open-endedintergovernmental umbrella. SWITZERLAND called for a report on options, and the USand JAPAN said the proposal for a high-level forum for forest policy debate requiresfurther elaboration. INDIA rejected any global policy for forests and called for a study ofthe effects on forests from farming marginal land. Environmental NGOs voiced severalconcerns, including: increased clarity regarding the roles and activities of existinginstitutions and instruments; the merit of a potential forest protocol under the Conventionon Biological Diversity; increased attention by international organizations to land tenureissues and agrarian reform; and establishment of a mechanism to monitor the relationshipbetween deforestation patterns and national social and political changes.

On 19 September, the Plenary considered a draft negotiating text. The EU called forimproved efforts to integrate and clarify the mandate and task of UN agencies and tostrengthen their coordination. He proposed replacing a reference to national forestdevelopment with NFPs. The G-77/CHINA proposed language inviting governments tocontribute to this process in order to improve the work of forest-related institutions. Heproposed replacing several references to “SFM” in the text with “management,conservation and sustainable development of forests” from the Forest Principles. Onproposals for action, he deleted references to “regional” and “global” data collection andprojects and to specific agencies for research and development. The US proposed notingthat there is significant potential for better coordination and collaboration, rather thanfurther enhancement, of existing international structures. He called for improvedparticipation of major groups in forest fora to promote SFM, and suggested focusing,rather than strengthening, relevant international organizations.

CANADA proposed replacing “sub-regional” with “sub-national” action toward SFMand deleting a reference to building consensus on standards. He called for theestablishment of a high-level forum for international policy debate on forests. Hesupported the proposal for further study of the institutions and instruments relevant toforests and highlighted the need to identify the institutional capacity to implement theUNCED agreements. SWITZERLAND agreed that further study of forest-relatedinstitutions and instruments is very important and called for an independent review of theforthcoming proposals of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests. JAPAN suggested thatcountries, rather than international organizations, facilitate international consultations onSFM, and proposed that these consultations develop, rather than implement, principlesand content of NFPs. He recommended deleting a proposal to assign forest programmesincreased priority in bilateral ODA.

A revised negotiating text was distributed, but not discussed on the final day of the IPF-4.It notes that the elements for further negotiation under this programme element arepreliminary in nature. The Panel felt that further information and study would be neededin order to achieve a more accurate diagnosis and to formulate proposals for action. Thetext also notes that a number of delegations stated that final conclusions and proposals foraction would need to take into account conclusions and proposals under programmeelement V.2, which will be the subject of substantive discussions at IPF-4.


Programme element V.2 was considered by a joint Working Group session on 13September and by the plenary on 19 September. Jag Maini (IPF Secretariat) introducedthe Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/24). The report describes the relevanceof existing legal instruments and attempts to define gaps and overlaps with respect toforest-related issues in these instruments.

A number of delegations, including the G-77/CHINA, MALAYSIA, COLOMBIA andthe PHILIPPINES, supported the development of an international forum for policycoordination and dialogue on all types of forests and continuation of the Inter-AgencyTask Force on Forests. Several delegations supported the commencement of negotiationson a convention or other legally-binding instrument on forests, including the EU, ITALY,FRANCE, POLAND, CANADA and INDIA. The CANADIAN PULP AND PAPERASSOCIATION also advocated an international convention on forests. Other delegationsdid not favor a convention at the present time or noted that additional factors must beconsidered. The US said the report introduces a new way of classifying the ForestPrinciples and the work of the IPF. He questioned the report’s gap analysis and called foran extended IPF or similar forum to continue the international dialogue on forests.BRAZIL said a case has not been made for a new convention and suggested better use ofexisting instruments. NEW ZEALAND stated that the time is not yet ripe for a forestconvention and more progress should first be achieved through existing mechanisms.SWITZERLAND said that concentrating all efforts on negotiating a convention mightresult in a loss of momentum, so consensus-building on forest issues should continuesimultaneously. The PHILIPPINES highlighted the energy function of forests andproposed an analysis of the linkages to related work within the Climate ChangeConvention. Financial implications of a convention would need to be studied.

Many delegations, such as AUSTRALIA, the EU and FRANCE, supported thedevelopment of an inter-agency task force and an intergovernmental mechanism tomaintain momentum. MEXICO supported the continuation of a high-level policydialogue on forests. NORWAY noted that there is a wide range of views on how to attainSFM, and cautioned against allowing the format to hinder progress. COLOMBIA said thereport should highlight the establishment of protected areas and the just and equitabledistribution of benefits. She called for strengthening existing instruments and leaving thedoor open for a political dialogue on forests. PERU recommended a short-termcommitment to continuing high-level intergovernmental dialogue on forests to meet twicea year, and called any proposal for a convention premature and inopportune.Environmental NGOs recommended using regional agreements as a model anddeveloping an analysis of existing initiatives. They warned against jeopardizing theimplementation of existing instruments by focusing on a new one and called forimplementation of current agreements with local participation.

On 19 September, the plenary considered a draft negotiating text on programme elementV.2. The G-77/CHINA, supported by MALAYSIA, argued for a holistic andcomprehensive treatment of existing legal mechanisms and their relation to conservation,management and sustainable development of forests. Supported by the PHILIPPINESand MALAYSIA, the G-77/CHINA called for clear identification of existing gaps, suchas on trade and environment and on financing of technology.

The US noted there is no consensus on gaps and overlaps nor on what existingorganizations can accomplish. Supported by NEW ZEALAND, he called for an extensionof the IPF with a more focused mandate. He called for a report from the Secretariat forIPF-4. Such a document would examine continuation of the IPF’s ad hoc inter-agency mechanism as well as alternative mechanisms for continuing the forest dialogueusing existing structures such as FAO and ad hoc temporary organizations. Thereport should also consider duration of meetings and of the Panel. The EU emphasizedthat the Panel should send a clear message to the Special Session of the UN GeneralAssembly in 1997 to engage a high-level commitment and guidance on worldwide forestmanagement and its successful implementation.

SWITZERLAND supported a report for IPF-4 and called for negotiations on a frameworkconvention that would: provide a holistic programme for SFM; facilitate coordination andimplementation of existing programmes and instruments; and foster negotiation ofregional instruments. JAPAN said all proposals for action made at IPF-3 should beconsidered simply as conclusions, leaving deliberations of actions for IPF-4. Hesupported the need for continued international consultation on forest issues, but called forlanguage stressing the general need for a holistic and comprehensive approach rather thana specific continuation and enhancement of the current exercise. The PHILIPPINESrecommended stronger language on the need for a high-level intergovernmentalmechanism and sought one holistic instrument on forests rather than a separateconvention on trade in forest products.

MALAYSIA called for recognition that existing instruments collectively imposesignificant responsibilities and commitments on tropical producers but not on temperateand boreal producers. He said that proposed protocols to existing conventions would giveunbalanced treatment to forest issues rather than the required holistic approach, notinggaps in the handling of certain issues such as financing, technology and resource transferand capacity building under existing instruments. With MEXICO, he called for a set timeframe for actions to ensure definite progress. MEXICO supported calls for preparation ofa document for IPF-4 and said it should address the existing gap on economic issues suchas the comprehensive need for technology and resource transfer and international policiesthat have an impact on SFM. ARGENTINA urged that options remain open and calledfor a study devising a comprehensive programme on SFM at the international level.INDIA sought the establishment of a mechanism similar to the IPF, with somerefinement, and suggested that a new legal instrument may not be necessary. BRAZILnoted the Panel has the option to maintain the status quo, modify it or adopt newinstruments and/or arrangements. He highlighted the need to take the onus offgovernments and increase private sector involvement.

A revised negotiating text incorporates the preliminary proposals and will serve as basisfor discussion at IPF-4. The text contains the specific proposals for action that emergedduring IPF-3. At the intergovernmental level, proposals include a high-level forum forpolicy coordination or continuation of IPF, and at the inter-agency level, a continuation ofthe informal Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests or a merging of the functions of existinginstitutions into a new institution. Proposals for legal mechanisms include: improvedcoordination; establishment of a forum of existing institutions to review the need for anew instrument; and initiation of negotiations on a convention. The proposals on aconvention contain many courses of action, such as a convention on the Forest Principlesand forest-related provisions of Agenda 21, a convention covering all aspects of forestryneeded for SFM and a convention on forest product trade covering all types of forests.


The Plenary convened in the afternoon on 20 September to adopt the report of the Panelon its third session (E/CN.17/IPF/1996/L.3). In addition, the Co-Chairs presenteddelegates with an informal paper containing a draft introduction to the report. The papernotes that the objective of IPF-3 was to produce a document containing elements for useat IPF-4, and states that all elements are open for further discussion and negotiation witha view to achieving general agreement on all conclusions and proposals for action. Thepaper empowers the Secretariat to prepare a document for IPF-4 that will integrateadditional proposals and inputs from intersessional activities. The Co-Chairs alsoproposed that the Panel welcome contributions from the Convention on BiologicalDiversity and that the IPF Secretariat provide the information on progress made by thePanel to Convention’s Conference of the Parties so as to continue the dialogue betweenthe Panel and the Convention. The US suggested amending the final portion of theproposal to “continue an exchange of information between the Parties.”

The paper notes that the Panel expressed concern that most reports were not translated inall official UN languages by the commencement of the session and that some were neveravailable in all languages. SWITZERLAND, supported by the US, proposed a request tothe Secretary-General to make available the necessary resources to reproduce thedocuments in all languages in due time.

In his closing remarks, Co-Chair Holdgate noted that the Panel has a diversity of viewson the table for consideration between now and IPF-4, and suggested the Panel was rightnot to hurry the process. IPF-4 will produce a valuable statement to the world communityand the IPF has already contributed to the advancement of an understanding on forestsmatters.

Co-Chair Rodriquez noted there was considerable disagreement that must be dealt with inthe future. He said it was clear that governments want specific results, and delegates willhave to be imaginative to devise viable methods to achieve the IPF’s goals. The meetingadjourned at 4:30 pm.


Many arrived at IPF-3 anticipating that the Panel would reach the negotiating stage on atleast some of the less divisive programme elements. Their hopes were extinguished whenthe session concluded with the adoption of a report that simply notes delegations’ statedviews on the issues. The reasons behind the Panel’s apparent lack of action are diverse:the vastness of the agenda, which comprised twelve separate programme elements; thetime needed to consolidate regional groups’ positions; delays stemming from theunavailability of documents in languages other than English; and the amount of time thePanel devoted to modifying its programme of work for the session, rather than discussingprogramme elements. IPF-3 left the distinct impression that delegates had much to sayand barely enough time in which to say it, let alone negotiate.

Nonetheless, the most positive product of IPF-3 was a thorough airing of views,providing an opportunity for the presentation of many innovative ideas and creativesuggestions from delegates, intergovernmental agencies and NGOs who participated.Delegates were quick to note that the IPF and related intersessional initiatives havesparked a renewed interest in forests at the national level and helped increase themomentum of the international dialogue on forests.

NATIONAL FOREST PROGRAMMES (NFPs): NFPs, a new idea for manydelegations, proved problematic for countries that fear impingement on private propertyrights. Difficulties over national control of forests were witnessed in the process offormulating a “Consumer Statement” on achieving sustainable forest management (SFM)by the year 2000 during the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA) 1994negotiations. There the phrase “national” forests was inserted specifically to limit thecommitment made to encompass only forests under direct national government control,which for some countries comprises only a small percentage of total forest cover. Privateownership of forest land is also problematic for public participation: one country calledfor language specifying that increasing public participation in decision-making for SFMonly applies to public forests.

It is ironic that some countries calling for recognition of a country’s “uniquecircumstances” push developing countries, through their aid programmes, toward moreprivate land ownership and less state control. This may ultimately undermine the abilityof countries that now have the “unique circumstance” of national control over forests tobe able to formulate NFPs and maintain a holistic approach into the future.

VALUATION: Valuation of forest benefits appears to be a sensitive issue bothfor countries with strong interests in protecting private property rights and those withinterests in ensuring full capture of the economic benefits of their forests. This wasexemplified by the fact that several delegations expressed concern regarding theSecretary-General’s report, many claiming some non-timber related elements of this issueare outside the mandate of the CSD and more appropriate for consideration by theConvention on Biological Diversity or the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Countries interested in protecting property rights could well view valuation as aneconomic impediment to conducting “business as usual.” Countries rich in forestresources, however, may fear being exploited by other countries. A common sentiment onthe issue did emerge during the discussions. Virtually all countries were in agreement thatadditional methodologies should be developed and tested.

TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT: Trade and environment relating to forestproducts, and certification in particular, continues to generate interesting debate. Manydeveloping country producers remain concerned that certification will be used as a tradebarrier, and disagreement remains as to whether harmonization or country certificationshould be promoted at this stage. However, delegates from all camps seem more open toexploring transparent, participatory and non-discriminatory certification as a tool to maketrade and environment mutually supportive. The IPF has brought together the oftendivergent interests of developing and developed countries and industry and environmentalNGOs to conduct substantive discussions on certification. Where other fora under whichthis issue has been discussed have been less transparent and participatory, this open anditerated dialogue has been unfolding at the same time that certification has been maturingas a practicable tool in the marketplace. These two developments have contributed toforging consensus on the usefulness of certification as a tool to promote SFM.

FOREST CONVENTION: Discussions on a possible convention or otherlegally-binding instrument finally emerged from backstage onto the UN floor at IPF-3,but met with mixed reviews. UNCED produced the Forest Principles but no legally-binding agreement. Some observers applauded the several delegations that favored aforest convention. Other delegations offered more cautious support, but welcomed theopportunity to continue discussions on the topic. Two major timber-producing countries,however, were solidly against any form of legally-binding agreement at the present time.

Some observers questioned whether IPF-3 discussions on a possible forest conventionwould stall the Panel’s momentum on other issues. One observer noted that the number ofdelegations favoring a code of conduct for private companies provided a good indicationof future support. Others cautioned that a convention may be a placebo rather than apanacea for the problems facing forests. They expressed concern that the motivation formany delegations springs from fear of lost markets rather than lost forests. While lack ofsupport from all timber producers effectively eliminates the possibility of immediateinitiation of a convention, many observers will be watching closely as the issue moves tocenter stage at IPF-4.

NGO PARTICIPATION: NGOs today have achieved an unprecedented level ofparticipation in UN fora. Many observers point to the CSD’s vanguard role in expandingthe range of actors participating in the international policy-making process and this hasunquestionably carried over into the IPF. The participation of NGOs in the IPF hascontinued to push the limits of official UN rules on participation. During IPF-3 NGOswere permitted not only to make interventions on the floor during official negotiations,but also to make direct comments on the texts and on other delegations’ proposals. NGOcomments were even incorporated into the revised draft negotiating texts alongsidegovernment proposals to which many delegations objected. As the IPF moves closer tonegotiating text, it is possible that NGOs may not have the high degree of latitude thatthey have been given thus far. While the IPF’s expansion of UN rules on NGOparticipation is welcomed by many as much-needed and long overdue, some feel thatNGOs should not engage in such negotiations because they do not represent a knownconstituency and, therefore, their accountability may be in question.

While the degree to which NGOs will be able to participate in IPF-4 remains to be seen,their participation in this forum has provided invaluable contributions to a broadconsensus-building process on forest issues and has blazed the trail for NGOs to makesimilar inroads in other policy-making fora.

TOWARD IPF-4: Considering the state of affairs after IPF-3, it becomes clearthat both the Bureau and the delegates have their work cut out for them during theintersessional period, if IPF-4 is to be a success. Several issues will require attention, notthe least of which is the present state of the document emanating from IPF-3. Heavilybracketed and annotated text will remain alive until IPF-4 to allow the Secretariat todistill the broad range of views and incorporate the findings of intersessional activities.The resulting document to be used for negotiation should be produced by the Secretariatin a timely fashion, to allow sufficient time for translation. The report’s timely translationcould effect not only the speed with which delegates are able to digest and discuss thedocument, but also attitudes toward the process in general. Some observers wonder, inlight of the onerous work load and the truncated time available, whether the IPF will beable to produce any substantive recommendations for the CSD.


FOURTH SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ONFORESTS: The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests isscheduled from 11-14 February 1997 in New York. The meeting may be extended until21 February, if resources are available. For information contact: Elizabeth Barsk-Rundquist, tel: +1-212-963-3263; fax: +1-212- 963-1795; e-mail: For information on the IPF, try the UN Department for PolicyCoordination and Sustainable Development (DPCSD) Home Page at

WORLD COMMISSION ON FORESTS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT(WCFSD): The independent WCFSD will convene hearings to provide andopportunity for stakeholders to present their differing perceptions on the role of forestsand to work toward consensus on integrate developmental and conservation objectives.The second regional public hearing will hosted by the International Institute forSustainable Development (IISD) in Winnipeg, Canada, from 30 September-2 October1996. For more information contact: WCFSD Secretariat, Geneva Executive Center, C.P.51, 1219 Chtelaine, Geneva, Switzerland, tel: +41 22 979 9165/69; fax: +41 22 9799060; e-mail:; Internet: .

<C5,5,0,0,0,0>WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS: The meeting ofIUCN members, partners, and other conservationists, will take place at the Palais deCongress, Montreal, Canada from 12-24 October 1996. The three-and-a-half dayworkshop programme aims to find new and innovative ways to tackle the challenges thatface the Earth, to harmonize views and action plans and to formulate tangible ways tomove ahead and make a difference. Contact Ricardo Bayon, Special Assistant to theDirector General, 28 Rue de Mauverney, 1196, Gland, Switzerland, tel: +41 22 999-0001,fax: +41 22 999-0002; e-mail: Also try or

EXPERT MEETING ON SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY AND LAND USE: THEPROCESS OF CONSENSUS BUILDING: Sweden and Uganda will host thisseminar from 14-18 October 1996 in Stockholm, Sweden as a follow-up to the Germanseminar. The workshop will consist of presentation and discussion of country casestudies, discussion of some identified key issues and plenary sessions. For moreinformation contact: David Harcharik, Assistant Director-General, FAO, Via delle Termedi Carcalla, 00100 Rome, Italy, tel: +39 6/5225-3550; fax: +39 6/5225-5137;

<C5,5,0,0,0,0>THIRD CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THECONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: COP-3 is scheduled for 4-15November 1996 in Buenos Aires with a Ministerial Segment from 13-14 November 1996.For more information contact: CBD Secretariat, World Trade Centre, 413 St. JacquesStreet, Office 630, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1N9, tel: +1 (514) 288 22 20; fax: +1(514) 288 65 88; e-mail:

<C5,5,0,0,0,0>FIFTH GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FORUM: GBF-5 isscheduled for the weekend before COP-3, from 2-3 November 1996 in Buenos Aires,Argentina. For information on submitting abstracts or attending the forum contact:Jeffrey McNeely, Chief Scientist, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, 28 RueMauverney, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland, tel: +41 22 999-0001; fax: +41 22 999-0025;e-mail:

INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON INTEGRATED APPLICATION OFSUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES: Canada, Japan, Mexico,Malaysia, FAO and ITTO will jointly host this workshop from 22-25 November 1996 inKochi, Japan. The workshop will discuss practical applications of policy dialogueconducted within IPF, with particular emphasis on SFM practices at the field level, andwill consist of presentations in plenary by experts, discussions in sub-groups and plenarydiscussion on the range of possible practical applications. For information contact:Takeshi Goto, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 1-2-1 Kasumigaseki,Chiyoda-Ku Tokyo 100, Japan, tel: +81-3-3502- 8111 (6212) or +81-3-3591-8449; fax:+81-3-3593-9565; or David Drake, Natural Resources Canada, 351 St. Joseph Blvd.,Hull, Quebec, K1A 1G5, Canada, tel: +1-819- 997-1107, ext. 1947; fax: +1-819-994-3461; e-mail:

<$TSpInterLn=1373>INTERNATIONAL MEETING ON INDIGENOUSCOMMUNITIES AND FOREST DWELLER COMMUNITIES AND SUSTAINABLEMANAGEMENT OF FORESTS: This initiative, led by Consejo Indigena de laCuenea Amazonica (COICA) and sponsored by Denmark and Colombia, will be held inLeticia, Colombia from 9-13 December 1996. The workshop will address concerns raisedunder IPF programme element I.3, traditional forest-related knowledge. For informationcontact: Antonio Villa, General Forest Director, Ministry of the Environment ofColombia, tel: +(571) 284-7026; fax: +(571) 283 9141; or Bjoern Blau, Ministry ofForeign Affairs, Denmark, tel: +(33) 92 16 89; fax: +(33) 92 16 89.

COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The Intersessionalmeeting for the CSD, which will address preparations for the Special Session of the UNGeneral Assembly, is scheduled 24 February-7 March 1997. The fifth session of CSD-5is scheduled for 7-25 April 1997. The Special Session of the UN General Assembly isscheduled for 9-13 June 1997. For information on the CSD contact: Andrey Vasilyev,UN Division for Sustainable Development, tel: +1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212- 963-4260; e-mail: Also try the UN Department for Policy Coordination andSustainable Development (DPCSD) Home Page at .

ELEVENTH WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS: <M>The Congress, with thetheme “Forestry for Sustainable Development: Towards the 21st Century,” is scheduledfor 13-22 October 1997 in Antalya, Turkey. The Congress will consider: position papersprepared by specialists; special papers that correspond to each one of the topics of theCongress and voluntary papers. For more information contact: Luis Santiago Botero,FAO, Forestry Department, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy, tel: +396/5225 5088; fax: +39 6/5225 5137; e-mail: Also try the ConferenceHome Page at

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