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Fifth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests
United Nations Headquarters, New York | 16-27 May 2005 

Earth Negotiations Bulletin - ENB
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16 May
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Wangari Maathai Addresses UNFF 5
A Tree Grows In Manhattan

On Tuesday, delegates reconvened in Plenary to hear remarks from Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai (Kenya) and to discuss future actions, review of the effectiveness, and parameters as well as preparations for the high-level segment and Multi-stakeholder Dialogue.

During the lunch break, Dr. Maathai was joined in the garden at the north lawn by Rachel A. Arungah, Permanent Secretary of Kenya's Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources, DESA Assistant Secretary-General Jomo Kwame Sundaram, and Professor Judith Mbula Bahemuka, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations, as well as numerous other dignitaries and delegates, for the ceremonial planting of a Dogwood tree.

Tuesday, 17 May
Address by Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai

Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai, UNFF Secretariat Coordinator and Head Pekka Patosaari, and Bureau Chair Manuel Rodriguez Becerra.

Dr. Maathai stated that the foundations of a secure state are a sustainably managed environment, democracy and a culture of peace.

Javad Amin-Mansour of Iran asked Dr. Maathai about the root causes of deforestation and forest degradation in her region.

Speaking for Indigenous People, Esther Camac asked Dr. Maathai for guidance in addressing the gap between indigenous and economic interests.
Morning Plenary

Jorge Illueca of UNFF, and UNFF 5 Vice-Chair-cum-Rapporteur Rezlan Ishar Jenie of Indonesia.

Linda Mossop-Rousseau of South Africa recommended accessing existing structures and strategies.

Wahjudi Wardojo of Indonesia called for institutional capacity, financial resources and human capital to meet the challenges of sustainable forest management.

Claudio Gutierrez of Argentina noted that a legal system should respect national sovereigty and reflect common but differentiated respnsibilities.

Hadil Da Rocha Vianna of Brazil rejected proposals for a legally binding instrument, quantifiable targets and a voluntary code of conduct.

Ricardo Ulate Cachón of Costa Rica emphasized that payments for ecological services should be viewed as an investment.

G.K. Prasad of India stated that food security and health take precedence over funding of national forest programs, and recommended a focus on capacity building.
Afternoon Plenary

Yukihiro Takeya of Japan stated that promotion of regional initiatives, such as the Asia Forest Partnership, is essential for achieving sustainable forest management.

Ndiawar Dieng of Senegal supported the Africa Group's view that social, economic and environmental interests must be balanced.

Tim Rollinson of the United Kingdom encouraged developing clear objectives and building upon existing instruments.

Joseph Hailwa of Namibia noted that adoption of obligatory responsibilities need to be matched by a financial mechanism.

George Talbot of Guyana stated that any future IAF must address social issues and acknowledge regional initiatives.

Speaking for the European Union, Frank Wolter of Luxembourg called for agreement on a limited number of clear objectives and quantifiable targets linked to existing Millennium Development Goals.

Frank Perrez of Switzerland stated that a political declaration should be developed after a clear decision is made on strengthening the IAF.

Ralph Roberts of Canada expressed concern that decreased demand for SFM funding reflects a neglect of forests in national development agendas.

Trinidad and Tobago suggested that a ministerial declaration should attempt to assign monetary value to intangible ecosystem services.
Major Groups and IGOs

Piotr Borkowski of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe said that global efforts should be translated to regional, national and local levels.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues advocated strengthening the relationship between UNPFII and UNFF.

Tina Vähänen of the FAO highlighted recently released documents pertaining to strengthening the CPF, regional forestry commissions and linkages with the MDGs.

Mostafa Jafari of the Tehran Process Secretariat for Low Forest Cover Countries called for greater attention to LFCCs and rehabilitation strategies.

Inviolata Chinyangarara of the International Federation of Building and Wood Workers pointed out that forests will remain at risk as long as social justice issues are ignored.

Dr. Atse Yapi of the International Union of Forestry Research Organization noted constraints in stopping forest degradation due to lack of knowledge, research capacity and human resources.

Speaking for Youth and Children, Pierre Andipatin called for transfer of forest knowledge to the younger generation as a theme for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

Speaking for NGOs, Leontien Krul of FERN criticized UNFF's promotion of monoculture forest plantations, including genetically modified species.

Speaking for Women, Jeannette Gurung of WOCAN said that mainstreaming gender equity in the environmental sector has been fragmented, superficial and inconsistent.

Relevant weblinks

United Nations Forum on Forests
UNFF 5 Provisional Agenda
UNFF 5 Organization of Work (PDF)
UNFF 5 Background Documents
UNFF 5 Official Documents

ENB's coverage of recent Forestry sessions

FAO Committee on Forestry: 14-19 March 2005
ITTC-37: 13-18 December 2004
UNFF Experts Group: 7-10 September 2004
ITTC-36: 20-23 July 2004
UNFF4: 3-14 May 2004