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Fourth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests 
Geneva, Switzerland, 3- 14 May 2004

 Earth Negotiations Bulletin - ENB
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Thursday, 13 May

On Thursday, delegates met in parallel working groups to continue negotiating Vice-Chair's text on forest-related scientific knowledge (FRSK), traditional forest-related knowledge (TRFK), monitoring, assessment and reporting (MAR) and criteria and indicators (C&I), and the process for facilitating the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests (REIAF). At various times in the day, delegates also convened informal-informal negotiations on the social and cultural aspects of forests (SCAF), among other topics.


"La Famille" Statue at the Palais des Nations.
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Participants to Working Group 1 refined the Vice-Chair's Text during the morning session.


 Working Group 1: Forest-related Scientific Knowledge (FRSK)

Delegates agreed to open the relevant paragraphs on lessons learned with "in spite of lessons learned, experience has shown that." Noting the decline of public funding for research in both developed and developing countries, delegates agreed to state that this limited the potential contribution of forest research to the advancement of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IPF/IFF) proposals for action.

Working Group 1 Chair Xolisa Mabhongo.

Delegates agreed to modify the EU proposal on strengthening linkages between science and policy.


Tony Bartlett, Australia, asked to restructure the lessons learned part of the text.

On lessons learned, the G77/China noted that some were not formulated in terms of past experiences, but future actions.

Members of the Secretariat updating the draft text.

Safiya Samman and John Parrotta, US, agreed to delete a reference to broader development goals.

Delegate from Senegal taking in the negotiations.


Alexander Buck and Peter Mayer of IUFRO brightening up working group 1 with their smiles.

Knut Øistad and colleage (Norway) said that not only developing but also developed countries are experiencing decreased funding for forest-related research.

Representative of Indigenous peoples said its input was of utmost importance and welcomed "collaboration with indigenous peoples."


Traditional Forest-related Knowledge (TFRK):

In the afternoon Chair Xolisa Mabhongo (South Africa) reopened discussions on the revised Vice-Chair's Text on TFRK.

The G-77 proposed a single operative paragraph but expressed willingness to negotiate the initial text.

Ronald Barnes, Indigenous World Association, questioned the minimal involvement of indigenous peoples at this stage of the debate and said their input must be taken into account throughout the text.

The US said its concerns were access to TFRK and recognition that TFRK adds to SFM and poverty reduction.

G77/China explained its concerns over facilitation of access, use of mainstream intellectual property instruments and prejudicing the work of other fora.

Janice Coombs, New Zealand, suggested to delete both "traditional" and "original" TFRK holders, noting the difficulty identifying a traditional holder.

Teresa Moreira (above left) and Mitzi Valente da Costa (above, right)Brazil, on behalf of the G77/China, asked that a paragraph on the CPF supporting national actions refer to "traditional" holders of the knowledge and to the "preservation" and protection of TFRK.

Christian Küchli, Switzerland.

Before working group 2 convened in the afternoon, some delegates held an informal meeting in the plenary hall, led by Australian Mike Macnamara.

Working Group 2:
Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting (MAR) and Criteria and Indicators (C&I)

Working Group II continued discussions on a Vice-Chair's draft text on MAR and C&I. In the preamble and lessons learned proposed by the Vice-Chair, the EU suggested referring to MAR and C&I in separate paragraphs. On using C&I for MAR progress to sustainable forest management (SFM), the US, with the G-77/CHINA, proposed adding reference to IPF/IFF proposals for action. The preamble was then accepted.

Delegates adopted a paragraph encouraging states to invite stakeholder participation in C&I development and implementation.

AM Working Group 2 Chair Stephanie Caswell announces that the meeting (scheduled to start at 10 am) will start at 12:30pm.

Mark Fullerton (Canada) and Mike Macnamara (Australia) biding time before the delayed start of the session.

Ingwald Gschwandtl (Austria) and Knut Øistad (Norway) with colleagues, taking advantage of the time to review some documents.

Review Process:

Working Group II continued discussions on a revised Vice-Chair's draft text on REIAF. Delegates agreed to invite the CPF and other relevant organizations to report on implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action and on the 21 Specific Criteria, and to voluntarily provide quantifiable benchmarks against the criteria "within their mandate." Delegates also discussed a possible deadline for the Secretariat to prepare and distribute a report in advance of UNFF-5, as well as the development of a questionaire.


Delegates of Working Group 2 decided to gather together in the center of the room in effort to facilitate the negotiations text revision.

Working Group 2 Chair Ngurah Swajaya.


Susan Braatz, UNFF Secretariat.

Participants of Working Group 2.

The EU repeatedly stressed the need for a questionnaire, noting it would raise the reporting rate and facilitate REIAF by making reports comparable.

Mexico (second from left in above photo) stressed the importance of having translated versions of the report for consideration by member states at least a month in advance.

Regarding the questionaire, Japan suggested limiting the number of questions and requesting simple information relevant only to REIAF.


Delegate from Belgium participating in the discussions.

Eva Pizano, Mexico, participating in Working Group 2 discussions.

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