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Daily report for 7 May 2004

4th Session of the UNFF

On Friday, delegates reconvened in working groups in the morning to continue the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue (MSD), and in the afternoon to continue work on traditional forest-related knowledge (TFRK) and begin work on the process for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests (REIAF).


The MSD proceeded in parallel discussions: partnerships and capacity building.

PARTNERSHIPS: SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY highlighted the value and challenges of establishing research networks. Cautioning against partnerships driven by self-interest, the NGOs called on the UN to set up criteria for evaluating partnerships. NATIONAL ABORIGINAL FORESTRY ASSOCIATION noted the importance of social indicators in partnership evaluation.WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS called for certification standards to include worker safety and job security as a measure of sustainable forest management (SFM). INDIGENOUS PEOPLES said partnerships must recognize indigenous peoples' rights and values.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY stressed the need for predictable working environments and recommended flexible partnership-based approaches for forest law enforcement and governance. CHILDREN AND YOUTH underlined the importance of mentoring support for youth participation in policy development. SMALL FOREST LANDOWNERS said that partnerships can change traditional role models and improve gender balance. WOMEN said successful partnership models include partnerships between professional and rural women in forestry and a trilateral agreement between the global network of women forestry professionals, governments and UNFF.

CANADA described how model forests help resolve conflicts over resource management. YOUTH AND CHILDREN recommended increasing youth representation in official country delegations. NEW ZEALAND said an indigenous chamber was added to its national Forest Stewardship Council working group. On experience sharing in partnerships, participatory policy-making and decentralization, including community-based and joint forest management, many delegates highlighted, inter alia, the importance of government facilitation, equity, trust, transparency, empowerment, and the importance of inclusive partnerships on certification.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES stressed the need for including the indigenous peoples' point of view in monitoring, review and evaluation processes. NGOs presented on collaboration between the government of Cameroon and international NGOs to support law enforcement. MADAGASCAR said local communities prioritize recognition of their rights over research. CONGO said the Congo Basin Partnership includes creditors, forest enterprises and communities.

CAPACITY BUILDING: BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY stressed stable institutions and improved scientific knowledge as requirements for capacity building. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS emphasized building capacity for combating drought and poverty. FARMERS AND SMALL LANDOWNERS underscored the potential contribution from small landowners to policy development and the importance of supporting producers' associations.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES said information should be understandable, timely, well translated and widely disseminated. NGOs highlighted strong partnerships to address illegal logging.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY noted insufficient research collaboration and advocated establishing sustainable research networks, especially in Africa. CHILDREN AND YOUTH proposed that planning, negotiation and conflict management be included in curricula. WOMEN stressed that women need room to manoeuvre in order to adapt policy to their needs.

The EU identified graduate research programs as useful for international information exchange. PHILIPPINES stressed local community training. JAPAN called for matching particular expertise with demands for particular types of capacity building. NIGERIA highlighted the need for technological capacity. GAMBIA called for information sharing. BURKINA FASO stressed the need for technical training of managers. FINLAND emphasized increasing children and youth's forestry know-how. ITALY reiterated the role of women as reproducers of social life and values.

WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS highlighted the short-term, conditional nature of financial support. CHILDREN AND YOUTH said students and youth are disseminators of knowledge. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES called for networks that safeguard traditional knowledge (TK). SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY stressed the importance of research that attends to the needs of local people in the context of decentralization.

NIGER stressed synergies between the private sector and government research. WOMEN emphasized increasing women's participation in natural resource management. CHILDREN AND YOUTH said capacity building requires a holistic approach, not simply funding. NGOs said local communities should prioritize their own needs for capacity building.

On recommendations to UNFF, various major groups suggested, inter alia: developing a common understanding of concepts and definitions; promoting valuation of forest environmental services; building information collection and dissemination capacity; extending family ownership of forests; building private managers' self-reliance; creating a transnational professional foresters society; and improving youth's knowledge of SFM criteria and indicators (C&I). Other recommendations included: investment in national research developments; increased participation of indigenous peoples; changes at the institutional level to accommodate gender equity; linking SFM to poverty reduction strategies and recognition of TK; and supporting regional initiatives.


TRADITIONAL FOREST-RELATED KNOWLEDGE: Manuel Guariguata, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), presented a report on TRFK (E/CN.18/2004/7). Many delegations support working with the CBD. Stressing the sovereign rights of states over natural resources, G-77/CHINA said the CBD is best qualified to develop of an international regime on access and benefit sharing, and recommended that technology transfer of TK follow national legislation. He called for identifying national rights of origin and developing an international regime for the protection of TK. The EU said TK of family foresters in Europe and indigenous peoples varies significantly and called for recognizing indigenous territories and rights and capacity building for self-determination.

Several delegates stressed the need to consider relevant work in other international fora and avoid duplication of efforts.

MALAYSIA said sui generis systems are most appropriate for the protection of TK. SOUTH AFRICA lamented the predominance of scientific knowledge over more holistic TFRK and, with the US, called for exchange of national experiences. NEW ZEALAND recommended that UNFF consider TFRK in relation to work on TK under the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the CBD, and encompass both intellectual and non-IPR measures. AUSTRALIA supported regional strategies for TK protection, and cautioned against restating the relevant Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IPF/IFF) proposals for action. INDONESIA supported the need for scaling-up TFRK application, but said standardized approaches need further consideration. FIJI underscored the need for resources to apply TFRK for SFM. BRAZIL criticized the report for, inter alia, excessive emphasis on cataloguing TFRK and references to patents without mentioning their dangers and limitations, and promoting transfer of technologies without taking into account the rights of traditional communities and national legislation. He recommended that UNFF urge countries to develop national legislation on this issue and the CPF to respect traditional regimes and national laws where TFRK holders reside when strengthening the dialogue between scientific and TK holders. CANADA said TFRK went beyond genetic resources to ecosystems knowledge, which should be integrated into forest management.

CHINA noted the importance of TFRK to SFM and poverty reduction and, with AUSTRALIA, said its protection should accord with national conditions and social development needs. NORWAY called for recognition of the rights of forest-dependent communities and Akwé:Kon Guidelines on impact assessments for any developments on indigenous territories.

JAPAN requested that work on IPRs be consistent with the WTO Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of IPRs and WIPO. The PHILIPPINES, ECUADOR and INDIGENOUS PEOPLES stressed the importance of prior informed consent. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC requested that scientists respect the IPRs of indigenous peoples. The US said where TFRK did not qualify as IPRs other instruments should be developed, and recommended that registries be compiled and managed by indigenous peoples themselves. SWITZERLAND said the report should have paid equal attention to loss and the protection of TFRK. CONGO recommended cooperating with WIPO, and raising awareness and training of local populations. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES said that TK of indigenous peoples had to be protected through sui generis systems under the CBD, and not WIPO.


PROPOSAL ON THE REVIEW PROCESS: Pekka Patosaari, UNFF, introduced the proposal on a process to facilitate the REIAF (E/CN.18/2004/12). The proposed process involves: submission of voluntary reports by countries, CPF members and major groups; a meeting of the ad hoc expert group on consideration with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests; informal meetings; and preparation of a synthesis report on the work of the international arrangement on forests (IAF) prior to UNFF-5. He noted that the UNFF-5 agenda also includes a review of progress toward SFM and the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action.

A number of delegations stressed the need for a transparent and universally participatory review process, and asked the Secretariat for more detailed modalities of the REIAF. G-77/CHINA stressed reviewing progress on means of implementation. The EU, with Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, said the review of SFM progress and the REIAF are closely related, and said the REIAF should utilize CPF expertise. SWITZERLAND, supported by AUSTRALIA, stated the REIAF should exclude reviewing progress toward SFM and should focus on the particular contributions of IAF to SFM.

CANADA proposed that: the CPF conduct the REIAF, with attention to regions and forest types; informal meetings consider the resulting CPF report; and UNFF-4 decide upon the terms of reference for REIAF. AUSTRALIA noted lack of clarity on the format of the final review report. JAPAN said identifying quantifiable benchmarks should facilitate country reporting for the REIAF. CHINA, supported by SAUDI ARABIA, proposed that the Secretariat prepare a questionnaire based on review criteria agreed at UNFF-2.

GUATEMALA, with CHILE, called for taking into account countries' priorities and policies. NIGERIA urged timely submissions of country reports that focus on the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action. CHILE said the REIAF should include a cost-benefit analysis. NEW ZEALAND urged the inclusion of qualitative information in addition to quantified benchmarks.

The US said the REIAF is an inherently political function to be undertaken by the UNFF and not by the CPF and, supported by SAUDI ARABIA, asserted that the REIAF should cover not only UNFF but also the work of the CPF and the UNFF Secretariat. Patosaari replied that the Secretariat is not part of the IAF and is accountable to the Secretary-General. CPF Coordinator Hosny El-Lakany said the CPF is willing to be evaluated, but will not undertake the REIAF.


In the aftermath of the MSD, some have said that civil society has a very important role to play in articulating what the objectives of the post-UNFF arrangement should be. Exactly what form this engagement will take is anyone's guess, though some have suggested that a coordinated, civil society-driven, global discussion, outside the UN system, might provide just the right context. But for now, several delegates have said that with several decisions pending negotiation this week, week two of UNFF-4 should heat up, particularly with regards to the REIAF and TFRK decisions.


WORKING GROUP I: Delegates will convene in Salle XVIII from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm to continue their work on SCAF, and from 3:00 – 6:00 pm to discuss FRSK.

WORKING GROUP II: Delegates will convene in Salle XVII from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm to continue their work on enhanced cooperation, and from 3:00 – 6:00 pm to work on MAR/C&I.

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