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The Economic and Social Council, in its decision 1995/226, endorsed
the recommendation of the third session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD) to establish an open-ended ad hoc
The first meeting of the CSD's Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) took place in New York from 11-15 September 1995. At this meeting, delegates elected Sir Martin Holdgate (UK) as Co-Chair from developed countries and Mr. N.R. Krishnan (India) and Dr. Manuel Rodriguez (Colombia) as Co-Chairs from the G-77, with Krishnan serving as Co-Chair for the first two sessions and Rodriguez serving as Co-Chair for the final two sessions. Delegates also adopted the IPF programme of work and attempted to set the dates and venues of future meetings. Several of the issues that have typically divided North and South again proved difficult. Members of the G-77 were resistant to any proposal that could foreseeably lead to a loss of national control over forests and forest products. There was also some concern on the subject of criteria and indicators and whether proposed intersessional workshops should constitute an official part of the Panel process. Developed countries questioned the need to extend the length of meetings of the Panel and expressed serious concerns about the work of the Panel.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) held its second session from 11-22 March, 1996 in Geneva. Delegates conducted their first substantive discussions of six programme elements: underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation; fragile ecosystems affected by desertification and the impact of air pollution on forests; needs and requirements of countries with low forest cover; international cooperation in financial assistance and technology transfer for sustainable forest management; assessment of the multiple benefits of all types of forests; and methodologies for proper valuation of the multiple benefits of forests. The substantive discussions were based on Secretary-General's reports prepared by the IPF Secretariat and UN agencies participating in the Interagency Task Force on forests.
Delegates also completed initial consideration of the remaining programme elements: progress through national forest and land use plans; traditional forest-related knowledge; criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management; trade and environment in relation to forest products and services; and international organizations and multilateral institutions and instruments, including appropriate legal mechanisms.
During the final two days of the meeting, delegates considered the Co-Chairs' summaries. They labeled these transitional in nature to signify that the summaries did not represent negotiated text. Delegates agreed to begin negotiations at IPF-3 on items that had received substantive consideration at this session, although another substantive discussion is scheduled on the programme element on financial assistance and technology transfer. Delegates left Geneva satisfied that they had expressed national positions on a range of forest issues, but somewhat frustrated that all of their positions were not reflected in the report of IPF-2.
The official documentation has been posted by the UN on their gopher site. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin published a summary issue as well as daily issues from this meeting.
Here is our summary of this session. The basic documents for this session are: The following is a list of the documents that have been prepared for the second session of the IPF, according to the five categories of issues to be considered by the IPF:
CATEGORY I: Implementation of forest-related decisions of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development at the national and international levels, including an examination of sectoral and cross-sectoral linkages
E/CN.17/IPF/1996/8, Report of the Secretary-General on Programme Element I.1: Progress through national forest and land use plans. This report contains a general overview of the issue, describes the planning context for national forestry programmes, followed by a description of achievements and lessons learned. It mentions the activities planned in preparation for the substantive discussion at the third session of the Panel, and makes suggestions for the initial discussion by the IPF.
E/CN.17/IPF/1996/2Report of the Secretary-General on Programme Element I.2: Underlying Causes of Deforestation and Forest Degradation. This report describes the kinds of change that are now affecting the quantity and condition of all types of forests. It identifies the causes of any detrimental changes, analyzes why it is so difficult to implement sustainable forest management and recommends ways in which all of these may be improved.
E/CN.17/IPF/1996/9, Report of the Secretary-General on Programme Element I.3: Traditional Forest Related Knowledge. This report provides a general overview of the issue, followed by a short update of the current status and a description of the range of considerations involved in preparing for the substantive discussion of this programme element at the third session of the Panel.
E/CN.17/IPF/1996/3, Report of the Secretary-General on Programme Element I.4: Fragile ecosystems affected by desertification; and the impact of air-born pollution on forests. Part one deals with the experience with afforestation, reforestation and the restoration of forest systems, particularly in countries with fragile ecosystems and those affected by desertification and/or drought. Part two presents a synthesis of the impact of air-borne pollutants on forests in particular those in central and eastern Europe. Part three suggests items to be discussed by the Panel.
E/CN.17/IPF/1996/4, Report of the Secretary-General on Programme Element I.5: The needs and requirements of countries with low forest cover. This report considers what is meant by low forest cover, explores the reasons for low forest coverage and attempts to identify low-forested developed and developing countries based on current global statistics. It presents an overview of the current status of forest resources and values, and identifies gaps in the information available and sets out options for promoting the security of forest goods and services in low-forested countries.
CATEGORY II: International cooperation in financial assistance and technology transfer for sustainable forest management
E/CN/17/IPF/1996/5, Report of the Secretary-General on Category II: International Cooperation in financial assistance and technology transfer for sustainable forest management. This report provides updated information and a preliminary analysis of the situation and outlook on financing and technology for forestry development with particular reference to international cooperation. It examines investment in forestry, financing forestry development, acquisition of technology, development assistance, innovations in fund mobilization and options for consideration by the Panel.
E/CN.17/IPF/1996/6, Report of the Secretary-General on Programme Element III.1(a): Assessment of the multiple benefits of all types of forests. The report suggests that high priority be given to capacity building with focus on development of national strategies for the management of forests. Priority should be given to environmental parameters, including biological diversity, soil and water conservation and vegetation degradation; cooperation with other organizations; and efforts to harmonize concepts, terminology, definitions and classifications.
E/CN.17/IPF/1996/7, Report of the Secretary-General on Programme Element III.1(b): Methodologies for proper valuation of the multiple benefits of forests. The report reviews a number of valuation techniques including market prices, efficiency (or shadow) prices, hedonic pricing method, travel cost method, production function approach, related goods approaches, constructed market techniques and cost-based valuation.
E/CN.17/IPF/1996/10, Report of the Secretary-General on Programme Element III.2: Criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. This report examines basic principles, common denominators and comparability of the criteria and indicators presently under development and testing by the ITTO and within the Helsinki, Montreal, Tarapoto and Dry Zone Africa processes. The report underlines the need for increased, inter-sectoral linkages and improved information exchange to clarify and promote issues underlying the emerging, broadened concept of sustainability in forestry development.
E/CN.17/IPF/1996/11, Report of the Secretary-General on Category IV: Trade and environment in relation to forest products and services. This report examines the current status and pattern of international trade in forest products, including: wood and non-wood forest products; forest services; promotion of lesser use species; increasing market transparency; market access; the types of trade-induced environmental impacts; the feasibility of "full cost internalization;" and certification of origin from sustainably managed forests. The second part of the paper addresses financing and technology, including investment patterns and their influence on trade.
E/CN.17/IPF/1996/12, Report of the Secretary-General on Programme Element V.1: International organizations and multilateral institutions and instruments, including appropriate legal mechanisms. This report lists UN organizations, other international organizations and institutions that deal with forests, as well as existing legal instruments and existing reviews. In preparation for the third session of the IPF, the Secretary-General will examine existing instruments and institutions and identify institutional linkages and cooperation, gaps, areas requiring enhancement, as well as any areas of duplication.