24 April 2009
Economic and Social Council

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

United Nations Forum on Forests

Eighth Session

7th Meeting (PM)




Midway through its two-week session, the United Nations Forum on Forests took stock this afternoon of the progress made by its two working groups and considered plans for the second week’s discussion.

Briefing members on the deliberations of Working Group 1, dealing with the issue of forests in a changing environment, enhanced cooperation and regional and subregional processes, Co-Chair Arvids Ozols noted the positive and creative attitude of the delegates and said the Group was trying to do its best within the time available.  Together with the Secretariat, the Working Group had produced a compilation of its recommendations and the ideas presented during its sessions.  Delegates were invited to make comments and suggestions, based on the Working Group’s draft resolution, which had been circulated.  Its members would continue their work on Monday.

Glen Kile, Co-Chair of Working Group 2, dealing with the means of implementation, cross-cutting issues of forest law enforcement and financial support for implementation of the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests, said some important issues remained to be discussed, particularly with regard to reporting.  The Working Group looked forward to members’ understanding and mutual flexibility during next week’s deliberations so as to ensure a successful conclusion to the proceedings.  A draft resolution would be made available to serve as the basis for further discussions.

As the floor was opened for comments, the Forum heard from representatives of the Sudan (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Australia, Brazil, Serbia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Cuba, Chile and Argentina, as well as a representative of the children and youth major group, who addressed the organization of work and points of discussion for next week, including the questions of interpretation, the venue of Working Group 2 and other administrative arrangements.

On the basis of a proposal by the Sudan, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and supported by several other speakers, the Forum decided that negotiations would proceed on Monday in a working-group setting which would be open and transparent.

The Group of 77 and China also expressed appreciation for the draft of a negotiated text on finance, noting the need for a balanced approach and stressing its readiness to engage constructively on the basis of that text.

Representatives of Australia and New Zealand expressed concern about the balance of the finance text with the former stating that his delegation had indicated its preferences for a facilitated mechanism, which was still the position.  New Zealand looked forward to a constructive discussion next week and decisions that were meaningful to all groups.

Also in connection with the financing text, Serbia pointed out that the large group of countries with economies in transition should be part of the financial arrangements.

The representative of the children and youth major group spoke in favour of a sustainable forest management fund and suggested that a quota should be directed, as a percentage or fixed amount, towards formal and informal forest education in Africa.

In other business this afternoon, the Forum elected, by acclamation, Modest Mero (United Republic of Tanzania) to replace Vice-Chair Abdellah Benmellouk ( Morocco), following his reassignment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 28 April, the Forum is scheduled to continue the multi-stakeholder dialogue it began this week.

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For information media • not an official record