Report of main proceedings for 14 February 1997

4th Session of the CSD Intergovernmental Panel on Forests

Delegates continued negotiations in two working groups and contact groups on thefourth day and interim weekend of IPF-4. Working Group I completed review of actionsunder underlying causes of deforestation, traditional forest-related knowledge,ecosystems affected by desertification and pollution and countries with low forest cover.Working Group II completed its initial discussion of international cooperation,technology transfer and capacity-building and information systems under financialassistance and technology transfer and began reviewing trade and environment. Contactgroups on finance and nomenclature met over the weekend.


NATIONAL FOREST AND LAND-USE PLANS: The paragraph on nationalforest programmes (NFPs) was amended with language on NFPs as “important policyframeworks” with a “wide range of be applied to national and subnationallevels.” Paragraphs on valuation, intersectoral NFPs and cooperation were agreed.

UNDERLYING CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION: CANADA inserted textregarding transboundary pollution into a paragraph on international causes. The USreplaced “must not” with “should not” delay action in the subparagraph on the diagnosticframework. In the subparagraph on forest cover and in the related action proposalparagraph, plantations as an “important element of SFM” and “as a complement tonatural forests” replaced “by taking pressure off natural forests.” The US, supported byCOLOMBIA, replaced “finance” with “support” in text on convening a global workshop.

TRADITIONAL FOREST-RELATED KNOWLEDGE: The US recommendedsubstituting “indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles” forreferences to “indigenous people, forest dwellers, forest owners and local communities”in subparagraphs on identifying TFRK, participation, enhancing capacity, and digitalmapping. The EU urged retaining forest owners. A contact group recommended “forest-related indigenous people and other forest-dependent people embodying traditionallifestyles,” which was accepted. The ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLESdisagreed with categorizing indigenous peoples. The UKRAINE added rehabilitation tothe subparagraph on implementing forest programmes. Delegates incorporated asuggestion by the ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES that the integrity andcultural survival of forest-dependent peoples is essential.

The G-77/CHINA inserted language on experience of practical approaches to credit,rewards and benefits-sharing in text on technical guidelines on TFRK application. In asubparagraph on enhancing capacity, delegates removed “partnership.” CANADA andthe G-77/CHINA added “including, if appropriate” before a reference to new instrumentsand mechanisms in the subparagraph on incorporating TFRK.

Delegates, at BRAZIL’s suggestion, requested a compilation of legislation on TFRK andbenefits-sharing from the UN Secretary General, in collaboration with the Convention onBiological Diversity (CBD) secretariat. A contact group led by AUSTRALIA proposedadding relevant international bodies, especially the CBD, to collaborate with indigenousand forest-dependent people in the subparagraph on forest biodiversity. CANADA addeda subparagraph including text on decisions made in the third Conference of Parties (COP)of the CBD, particularly on Article 8(j). The G-77/CHINA added language on illegalinternational trafficking to a subparagraph on TFRK and intellectual property rights(IPR), which CANADA amended to refer to CBD work.

SWITZERLAND added a subparagraph encouraging pilot studies of national IPR andTFRK regimes. In the subparagraph on policy and legal frameworks, the US added“and/or other protection regimes” after IPR. The EU changed “international and national”to “appropriate” levels, and the G-77/CHINA added “equitable sharing of benefits.” WithGABON’s support, the ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ language on the“free and informed consent of holders of TFRK” was added to the subparagraph on waysto inventory TFRK. All subparagraphs including one linking traditional knowledge andnational SFM systems were agreed.

ECOSYSTEMS AFFECTED BY DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT: To asubparagraph on national and international action, the US added dryland programmes andJAPAN added reference to an integrated approach in adopting SFM. ECUADORextended language urging establishment of protected areas to all areas affected bydrought, and the US added a reference to dry subhumid areas. TURKEY added extensionsystems to text urging support for education, training and research. In a subparagraph onstrengthening partnerships, SWITZERLAND substituted “sustainable management andregeneration of natural vegetation” for action on desertification and drought. To asubparagraph inviting the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) to researchdryland trees, the G-77/CHINA added water management and delegates substituted plantsfor trees. All of the subparagraphs, including those on past experiences and internationalcooperation, were agreed.

AIR POLLUTION: The G-77/CHINA added language on strengtheninginternational cooperation in subparagraphs on preventative approaches and pollutionimpacts. “Binding” was deleted from the subparagraph on binding agreements.

COUNTRIES WITH LOW FOREST COVER: The US added “workabledefinitions” of low forest cover to the FAO subparagraph. Many delegations rejected theUS proposal to delete a reference to national forest estate requirements in the clause ongoods and services. The EU added text on native species and avoiding natural ecosystemreplacement in the clause on plantations. The G-77/CHINA inserted language onreforestation and interested parties in the clause on natural regeneration and added areference to other international agreements in the subparagraph on protected areas. Theclause on capacity-building was broadened to include “subnational levels.”

The subparagraph on greening the world was agreed after insertion of US language onexpanding forest cover. The subparagraph on forest partnerships was deleted. The G-77/CHINA added text on the “provision of financial resources” in the subparagraph oninternational cooperation.


INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: On coordination of activities andinstruments, the G-77/CHINA and CANADA rejected a US proposal to delete the entiresubparagraph. JAPAN and the US added the CCD and the ITTO, respectively, to the listof organizations. The subparagraph was accepted.

On provision of information, the US and the G-77/CHINA requested clarification of whoshould provide information and to whom. This paragraph was left pending research intothe text’s origins.

On indicators for evaluating programmes supported by international cooperation, therewas discussion of the “adequacy” of programmes and whether exploration of indicators is“a priority activity.” This wording was eventually accepted. GABON recommendedlanguage from IPF-3 on the adequacy of resources mobilized, or alternatively, with theUS, deletion of the subparagraph. The language was referred to the G-77/CHINA forconsultations.

As proposed by the G-77/CHINA, delegates transferred a subparagraph on mandatorycoordination among UN organizations to programme element V.1.

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND CAPACITY- BUILDING: The G-77/CHINA proposed new language on promoting, facilitating and financing access to andtransfer of environmentally sound technologies on favorable terms, including onconcessional and preferential terms. BRAZIL preferred similar language taken from theForest Principles. The text was referred to the G-77/CHINA for further consultations.

To a subparagraph on identification of national technological requirements, the G-77/CHINA added “capabilities.” On cooperation in technology transfer, the US added“partnerships” to a list of avenues for cooperation and requested deletion of a generalreference to related work being conducted by the CBD COP. CANADA suggestedspecifying the clearinghouse mechanism of the CBD. With a minor amendment, thegeneral reference was retained. The PHILIPPINES proposed “strengthening” North-South cooperation.

On national capacity-building, SWITZERLAND added language on adaptingtechnologies to national and local conditions and on their dissemination. PAPUA NEWGUINEA added “implementation” to capacity-building in development of NFPs.

Based on a suggestion by the ALLIANCE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, the EUproposed a new subparagraph on supporting indigenous people, local communities andother forest-dependent communities by funding SFM projects and capacity-building andsupporting their participation in forest policy dialogue and planning. This proposal wasaccepted after minor amendments by the US, VENEZUELA and the G-77/CHINA.Delegates accepted a G-77/CHINA proposal on inventories of most appropriatetechnologies and most effective methods in technology transfer. Proposals by MEXICOon benefit-sharing and compensation to local and indigenous communities fortechnologies developed by these groups and by the G-77/CHINA on regional researchand extension centers were agreed but referred to Working Group I.

INFORMATION SYSTEMS: The EU proposed replacing a reference to “newand additional financial resources” with “domestic and external public funding.” The G-77/CHINA supported the EU’s proposal only as an addition to “new and additional.” Thissubparagraph was deferred to the contact group.

MARKET ACCESS: On effects of trade measures, the EU opposed JAPAN’sproposed language on environmental measures’ effects on trade. The G-77/CHINA added“economic” to the “impacts” affecting “forest goods and services.” SWITZERLANDchanged “trade” to “trade-related” measures.

JAPAN recommended adding measures to improve transparency in text on improvingmarket access. The EU, supported by JAPAN, proposed reducing barriers to trade ratherthan specifying “tariff and non-tariff” barriers. With the support of several delegations,the US recommended not restricting the proposed action to WTO members. The US alsoproposed replacing references to mutually supportive trade and environment policies andto conflict between forest-product trade measures and WTO rules with “assistingcountries to generate resources to support SFM,” but many countries objected. The G-77/CHINA recommended language “ensuring that environmental concerns do not lead todisguised non-tariff barriers to trade.” The subparagraph was submitted to the contactgroup. Discussion of voluntary codes of conduct was deferred pending a Secretariat’s texton a related subparagraph.

SWITZERLAND, the EU, the US and others proposed considering a subparagraph on anagreement on trade in forest products under programme element V and deleting thesubparagraph on bans and boycotts. On bans and boycotts, the G-77/CHINA proposedadding reference to the Forest Principles. On the agreement on trade in forest products,the G-77/CHINA, with BRAZIL, added language on extending the ITTA’s Objective2000. Discussion on these subparagraphs was referred to a contact group.


Two contact groups met over the weekend. One group, chaired by Australia, focused onnomenclature for: defining national forest programmes; references to groups included inlanguage on participation; and whether to replace “management, conservation andsustainable development of all types of forests” with “SFM.” A second group, chaired byCanada, considered several subparagraphs on financial assistance and also were expectedto address unresolved issues on market access under programme element IV (trade andenvironment).


WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will meet in Conference Room 1 toconsider conclusions under programme elements I.4 (ecosystems affected bydesertification and pollution) and I.5 (countries with low forest cover) and beginnegotiating programme element III (assessment, research, valuation and criteria andindicators).

WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II will meet in Conference Room 2 toresume discussion of programme element IV (trade and environment).

Look for the Contact Groups’ conclusions and revised proposals for action on a numberof issues.

Further information