The eighteenth session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF18) convened briefly for its final day on Friday, 12 May 2023. Delegates reviewed for factual corrections the Chair's draft summary of the week’s technical discussions on the implementation of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests under three themes:
- enhancing forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits;
- increasing significantly the area of protected forests worldwide and other areas of sustainably managed forests, as well as the proportion of forest products from sustainably managed forests; and
- mobilizing financial resources and strengthening scientific and technical cooperation; promoting governance frameworks to advance implementation; and enhancing cooperation, coordination and coherence for sustainable forest management.
The summary also included the Chair’s proposals for transmission to UNFF19. The Chair explained his summary of input to the 2023 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will be appended to the session summary. The Chair stressed that he would also accept written submissions regarding the session summary until Friday, 19 May 2023.
Delegates noted the accidental omission of a section on the Midterm Review (MTR) of the International Arrangement on Forests to be conducted at UNFF19 in 2024. The Chair agreed to circulate to Members via email a new paragraph on the MTR to be added to the summary.
Other issues raised by delegates for possible adjustments in the text included: references to forest certification; stress on reciprocal linkages between forests, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Global Biodiversity Framework; whether to include references to calls for a dedicated forest fund or technology facilitation mechanism; changing references to “forests fires” to “wildfires”; what details to include about the proposed Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network office in Beijing, China; and how to refer to impacts on forests due to the conflict in the Ukraine.
Delegates then addressed the remaining agenda items, including the dates, venue and provisional agenda for UNFF19, and the adoption of the report of UNFF18.
In closing remarks, Director Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo thanked delegates for the opportunity to share with them her vision and said their contributions will improve the effectiveness of the Secretariat.
UNFF18 Chair Zéphyrin Maniratanga commended UNFF18 for the positive discussions among all participants on forests, energy and livelihoods as emerging issues, and suggested it will serve to bolster collaboration and coordination of Member States, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, regional partners, other organizations, industry and Major Groups. He underscored that resolving forestry challenges will offer solutions to impacts of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss, and urged Members to address the drivers of deforestation to make UNFF more effective.
The Chair gaveled UNFF18 closed at 11:09 am EDT.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of UNFF18 will be available on Monday, 15 May 2023 at https://enb.iisd.org/un-forum-forests-unff18.