The 26th session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO 26) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) spent the morning in a special plenary session, unsuccessfully attempting to forge a compromise between competing proposals by the Russian Federation and the EU, supported by Ukraine, regarding the impact of the conflict in Ukraine. Informal consultations were conducted throughout the day featuring shuttle diplomacy by the Chair, while a drafting committee worked in a closed session producing the draft final report of COFO 26, reflecting the week’s conclusions and recommendations. In the evening the Chair proposed a compromise on the conflict paragraph that won consensus. The breakthrough was quickly followed by adoption of the COFO 26 report en bloc.
The report covers:
- the State of the World’s Forests 2022 report;
- agriculture and forestry linkages;
- forests and sustainable production of wood and non-wood forest products;
- forest solutions for combating climate change;
- the action plan for the implementation of the FAO Strategy on Climate Change 2022-2031;
- forest fires and the Global Fire Management Platform;
- implementation of the FAO Strategy on Mainstreaming Biodiversity across Agricultural Sectors and its 2021-2023 action plan;
- FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) and Remote Sensing Survey 2021-2022;
- dialogue with statutory bodies in forestry;
- restoration and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030;
- finance and investment in forest pathways;
- development of regional action plans for the FAO Science and Innovation Strategy 2022-2025;
- outcomes of the 15th World Forestry Congress;
- implementation of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests (UNSPF) and strengthening FAO's contribution to the International Arrangement on Forests, including the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and the UNSPF midterm review in 2024; and
- FAO's work in forestry under the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031.
Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, FAO, addressing delegates virtually, hailed COFO for its successful conclusion, saying the active involvement of delegates throughout the week was a testimony to their deep commitment and engagement. She highlighted some COFO 26 outcomes and urged Members to take the lead in showing the world how forests can contribute to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.
Several delegations praised the Chair for his outstanding leadership, hard work and perseverance. Chair Hargrove, acknowledging that it takes many people to make a success, thanked the Secretariat, technical and support staff, interpreters, panelists, the Steering Committee and Members.
Chair Hargrove closed the meeting at 8:18 pm CEST.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of COFO 26 will be available on Monday, 10 October 2022.