On its fourth day the 18th session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF18) reviewed preparations for the Midterm Review (MTR) of the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF), the state of the UNFF Trust Fund, and integrated policies on forests and energy in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the pros and cons of bioenergy.
On the MTR, many delegations urged that the two expert group meetings be held in hybrid mode to enhance participation. The Secretariat confirmed that this was possible for the June 2023 expert group meeting (EGM), but not for the October 2023 open-ended intergovernmental ad hoc expert group (AHEG) due to the costs of interpretation services. Many delegations also urged the Secretariat to provide more detailed information and post documents for meetings early, so that they can prepare and coordinate better. Asked about what happens between the AHEG and UNFF19 where the MTR will be considered, the Secretariat explained that the chairs’ summaries of the EGM and AHEG will inform the UNFF Bureau, which will prepare a “zero draft” of the MTR resolution for UNFF19 consideration.
The Forum considered the status of the UNFF Trust Fund and delegations sought clarifications about Secretariat staffing and operational needs.
A panel discussed the forests, energy and livelihoods nexus, including the pros and cons for forests of bioenergy development. Summarizing discussions, the moderator said the keys to unlock the nexus include:
- technology, innovation and science with financing and investments;
- consumer awareness and communicating by reaching out to communities such as the urban development community;
- capacity building;
- South-South cooperation; and
- the UNFF Secretariat engaging on this and other forestry nexuses with other constituencies, such as the Rio Conventions.