17 October 2007
Economic and Social Council

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Economic and Social Council

2007 Substantive Session

49th Meeting (AM)

Economic and Social Council to recommend General Assembly’s adoption

of non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests


Members Also Approve Report of Women’s Anti-Discrimination Committee

The Economic and Social Council met this morning to take action on issues relating to the United Nations Forum on Forests, and to take note of a report by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Meeting as part of its resumed substantive session, the Council approved a draft resolution by which it recommended that the General Assembly adopt the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests, as contained in a report on the seventh session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (document E/2007/24), which took place on 24 February 2006 and 16 to 27 April 2007.

An amendment (document E/2007/L.39) to the draft resolution included two operative paragraphs by which the Council would reiterate the need to strengthen the Forum’s secretariat and invite the Collaborative Partnerships on Forests to support developing countries and economies in transition in relation to forestry issues.

By terms of the non-legally binding instrument, the General Assembly would invite member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to support the instrument’s implementation, consistent with their mandates, and, to that end, invite the United Nations Forum on Forests to provide guidance to the Collaborative Partnership.

Further, the Assembly would decide that the Forum would review the effectiveness of the non-legally binding instrument as part of the overall review of the international arrangements on forests decided upon by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 2006/49 of 28 July 2006.

Also according to the non-legally binding instrument, Member States would reaffirm the four global objectives on forests:  to reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide; enhance the economic, social and environmental benefits of forests; increase the area of protected forests; and mobilize financial resources for sustainable forest management.

The representative of Brazil said that while his country strongly supported the full global objectives of the United Nations Forum on Forests, the Forum’s seventh report generated financial obligations beyond the current budgetary scheme and, regrettably, the Forum had not generated adequate budgetary support.

In other action, the Council took note of the Forum’s report as a whole, and approved the provisional agenda for its next session, scheduled for 2009.  The session would have as its themes “Forests in a changing environment” and “Means of implementation for sustainable forest management” (document E/2007/24, draft resolution III).

The representative of Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that actions to strengthen the Forum’s secretariat should be accomplished using existing resources, while not jeopardizing existing institutional arrangements.

Taking up the question of support to the Bureau of the United Nations Forum on Forests in preparing for its future sessions (document E/2007/L.41), the Council adopted the related draft decision.

The representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, encouraged donor countries to increase their contributions to the Trust Fund, which would finance the full participation of developing countries and those with economies in transition.

Also making a statement was the representative of Indonesia.

The Council Secretary said the resolution and related decisions did not entail additional programme budget requirements.

Turning to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Council took note of the report on its thirty-seventh, thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth sessions (document A/62/38), which would now be open for the General Assembly’s consideration.

Also before the Council was a statement of programme budget implications (document E/2007/L.42) relating to the more than $14 million in estimated costs of additional Committee meetings expected in the 2008-2009 biennium.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record