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Daily report for 4 May 2004

4th Session of the UNFF

On Tuesday morning, delegates gave more country statements, resumed discussion on the status of the UNFF Secretariat, considered a presentation on national reporting and presentations on enhanced cooperation with the Rio conventions. In the afternoon, Working Group I heard the results of the ad hoc expert group on finance and transfer of environmentally sound technologies (AHEG FINTEST), while Working Group II continued work on enhanced cooperation.


COUNTRY STATEMENTS: BENIN thanked donor countries for supporting forest policies in African countries. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said it harmonized its national forest programme (NFP) with the IPF/IFF proposals for action and stressed the importance of regional cooperation. GUYANA underscored the importance of creating an economic climate appropriate for linking forestry to poverty eradication. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC reported on progress in forest-related conflict management and educational programs, and noted limited achievements in encouraging participation. LESOTHO recounted its efforts at managing forests sustainably and incorporating forestry into land use systems. MALAWI stressed its need to develop suitable institutional frameworks and involve the private sector and NGOs in forest management. TANZANIA described its NFP and underscored the importance of local communities, NGOs and the private sector in forest management. THE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS highlighted the need to link forestry to poverty alleviation, share information and strengthen cooperation.

STATUS OF THE SECRETARIAT: IRELAND, on behalf of the EU, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, welcomed the Secretariat's status report, emphasizing its role in fostering cooperation in SFM and keeping stakeholders informed.

FOREST TRENDS BASED ON NATIONAL REPORTS: The UNFF Secretariat presented the results of national reports submitted by 16 developed countries, 11 developing countries and 7 countries with economies in transition. He reminded participants that, while national reporting is fundamental to improving UNFF work, current reporting provides an incomplete vision of the forest situation and that most countries have no mechanisms for assessing the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action.

GUATEMALA, supported by the US and NEW ZEALAND, cautioned against duplicate reporting. The US underscored the voluntary nature of UNFF-reporting and said that countries could selectively report on those IPF/IFF proposals for action that are of national priority. GERMANY requested an overview of the implementation of all IPF/IFF proposals for action and called for feedback from international agencies regarding submitted reports.

MALAYSIA, INDIA and NIGERIA said each had recently submitted their reports. CHILE and EL SALVADOR said that their national reports had helped them analyze their progress in implementation.

CONGO, supported by the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC of CONGO, GHANA and NIGERIA, noted that few African countries had submitted reports due to a lack of capacity. GHANA recommended reducing the cost of data collection. NIGERIA called for strengthening national forest information systems. BURKINA FASO asked that indicators be better defined. The PHILIPPINES encouraged local government and community involvement. FIJI noted that no small island developing state had submitted a report and called for capacity building.

ENHANCED COOPERATION: Pekka Patosaari, Coordinator and Head of the UNFF Secretariat, presented on enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination (E/CN.18/2004/13). He suggested that UNFF, inter alia: further improve major groups' involvement; facilitate the creation of partnerships; invite CPF members to prepare a contribution on the role of forests in implementing the Millennium Declaration; consider the impacts that implementing the Monterrey Consensus will have on SFM; and strengthen regional cooperation and identify regional focal points for the UNFF.

The UNFF Secretariat presented an overview of views of Member States and CPF members on collaboration between UNFF and the CBD, highlighting that many respondents agreed on, inter alia: similarities between the ecosystem approach and SFM; and the high degree of correspondence and potential complementarity between the IPF/IFF proposals for action and the CBD expanded programme of work on forest biodiversity.

Hosny El-Lakany, Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), reported on the CPF's progress since UNFF-3 (E/CN.18/2004/INF.1), highlighting: the CPF Sourcebook on Financing for SFM; the task force on streamlining forest-related financing; work on definitions; and support to all UNFF country- and organization-led initiatives and input to the UNFF-4 reports.

Henning Wuester, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), alerted delegates to a recently adopted common framework for reporting greenhouse gas emissions and removals from forests, noting that the resulting information will be freely available and useful to UNFF participants. He also informed delegates about new modalities for afforestation and reforestation projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the UNFCCC.

Manuel Guariguata, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), stressed the value of cooperation between the CBD and UNFF, and noted the development of a CBD forest-related information service as well as recent CBD decisions on mountain biodiversity and protected areas.

Rui Zheng, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), reported on activities undertaken by the UNCCD in relation to forests and ecosystems, including the recent Viterbo workshop on synergies among the Rio conventions and projects under the UNFCCC CDM. He explained that poverty alleviation is a major UNCCD objective and stressed the importance of ensuring affordability of projects during the project design phase.

Kanta Kumari, Global Environment Facility (GEF), presented the scope of various GEF modalities that support the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action, including the Forest and the Sustainable Land Management Operational Programs. She stressed its focus on strengthening enabling environments, and concluded that there is scope for the GEF to provide complementary support to the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action.

BRAZIL asked the GEF how increased capacity building financing would help combat climate change and desertification. PAKISTAN called for synergies among international initiatives on forests. NORWAY said the CPF was one of the more significant outcomes of the international arrangement on forests and asked if specific IPF/IFF proposals for action had been operationalized. Recalling the recent inclusion of forest monitoring and assessment, sustainable harvesting, invasive alien species, community forestry, forest rehabilitation and forest health in a GEF operational programme, the US noted that these inclusions were not reflected in the implementation report currently before the GEF Council. She urged delegates to contact their GEF council representatives to ensure their inclusion.

GUATEMALA called for reviewing policies of financial institutions and increasing their knowledge on UNFF. CONGO recommended cooperating with sub-regional organizations and considering the ecosystem approach. MEXICO called for increased coordination in order to rationalization resources.

On the relationship between the ecosystem approach and SFM, CHINA said that both concepts have similar objectives, but different emphases, with the latter attributing equal importance to environmental, social and economic impacts.

MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE PROTECTION OF FORESTS IN EUROPE reported on its recent Ministerial Conference in Vienna, which adopted the Pan-European Indicators for SFM, and on the first session of the ad hoc working group on the development of a pan-European understanding of the linkage between the ecosystem approach and SFM. FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO) welcomed the GEF's support for forest activities and suggested that the GEF focus its commitment on the land degradation operational programme.


Knut Oistad (Norway), AHEG FINTEST Chair, presented the recommendations of the AHEG FINTEST (E/CN.18/2004/5). PERU, on behalf of G-77/China, stressed the urgent need for concrete efforts toward achieving official development assistance (ODA) targets. Noting that the AHEG FINTEST report "appears to have less than adequate" focus on the need for support from international community to developing countries, he recommended further developing and implementing specific recommendations. Commending the AHEG FINTEST report, the US suggested selecting a set of recommendations regarding areas where both Member Countries and the CPF can catalyze action on the ground. Citing relevant ongoing US initiatives, she remarked on the recommendations of the AHEG FINTEST and underscored, inter alia: the need for integrating SFM policy into ODA strategies; the importance of microfinancing; and the existence of many vehicles for the transfer of EST.

IRELAND, on behalf of the EU and accession countries, supported by AUSTRALIA, CONGO and NORWAY, suggested that an informal group with balanced representation consider the linkages among the recommendations of the AHEG FINTEST, AHEG MAR, and the Global Workshop on the Transfer of EST and Capacity Building for SFM, and guide the UNFF Bureau and Secretariat in producing a draft resolution on this issue. He also called for, inter alia: incorporating the transfer of EST in overarching processes, including NFPs and poverty reduction strategies; more applied research; and utilizing existing resources in a more effective way.

INDIA remarked that the proposed focus on national governments requires substantive financing, requested preferential terms for EST transfer to developing countries and, with COSTA RICA, highlighted the role of private sector contributions.


Working Group II (WG II) convened in the afternoon to continue discussing enhanced cooperation with the CBD, UNFCCC, UNCCD, and the GEF.

QATAR, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, stressed cooperation between UNFF and the three Rio conventions and emphasized voluntary reporting to UNFF. IRELAND, on behalf of the EU, underscored linkages between SFM and the ecosystem approach, and, supported by SWITZERLAND, expressed regret that initiatives on forest-related synergies among the three Rio conventions occur outside the CPF network. JAPAN said coordinating the activities of CPF members reduces policy costs. INDONESIA emphasized linkages between forest policy and poverty eradication. UGANDA stressed the need for synergies among the Rio conventions and proposed holding joint meetings on crosscutting issues. PORTUGAL, supported by PERU, emphasized cooperation between countries in sharing national experiences and improving national focal points. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC stressed the need for intrastate cooperation among social actors. COLOMBIA called for cooperation to strengthen national capacities in developing countries. INDIA said each country should choose its own SFM approach. SWITZERLAND called for enhancing communication between UNFF and various bodies and processes.

NIGERIA highlighted the need for domestic synergies for implementing UN instruments and conventions. The US, supported by NEW ZEALAND, stressed the importance of the private sector and regional and country-led initiatives.

MALAYSIA announced the creation of a new natural resources ministry and described the incorporation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action into their NFP, and called for FAO support on minimum standards on certification and forest-related reporting.

In response, GABON described national pilot programs for land use planning and management and national efforts for conservation undertaken with the help of international support.

The CPF noted a meeting held with FAO and other members for preliminary discussions on voluntary certification, and reminded delegates that this is a difficult matter, which requires careful consideration.

WG II Chair Ngurah Swajaya (Indonesia) announced that a draft decision will be circulated before the end of this week.


Notwithstanding the uncertainty surrounding the post-UNFF international arrangement, some suggest that national reporting will be among the most significant issues facing UNFF in the coming year. For some this is important, since reporting could be seen as a litmus test for UNFF efficacy. Some delegates have even suggested that, given the recent emphasis on efforts to combat illegal logging, now may be the time to include taxation and investment flows in national reports. Regarding the discussion on the relationship between the CBD and UNFF, some are prepared to resist the possible inclusion of the ecosystem approach into UNFF work, since doing so may come at the expense of the social and economic dimensions of the SFM debate.


PLENARY: Delegates will convene from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm in Salle XVIII to hear country experiences and lessons learned with an emphasis on Africa.

WORKING GROUP I: Delegates will convene in Salle XVIII from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm to discuss the social and cultural aspects of forests.

WORKING GROUP II: Delegates will convene in Salle XVII from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm to hear the results of the AHEG MAR.

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