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Bureau Meeting Minutes

Member States & Bureau
UNFF3 Meeting Summary - 20 September 2002

Minutes of the Second meeting of the UNFF3 Bureau
UNFF Secretariat, DC-2 Building, New York
Friday, 20 September 2002
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Attendees

Bureau Members: Mr. Hossein Moeini Meybodi (Chairperson-designate, Iran), Mr. Gustavo Eduardo Ainchil (Argentina), Mr. Peter Csoka (Hungary), and Ms. Conceição Ferreira (Portugal).

Regrets: H.E. Mr. Matia Mulumba Semakula Kiwanuka (Uganda)

UNFF Secretariat: Pekka Patosaari (special attendance as Coordinator and Head-designate), Jorge Illueca, Mahendra Joshi, Susan Braatz and Mia Soderlund. Catalina Santamaria, Abigail Sarmac, Emilie Maubert and Omar Vidal.

ECOSOC Secretariat: Mr. Vladimir Zelenov and Ms. June Chesney

The second meeting of the Bureau considered the following agenda items:

  1. The outcomes of WSSD and their implications to UNFF work
  2. Preparations for UNFF 3
    2.1. Provisional agenda for UNFF 3 as revised by ECOSOC
    2.2. Status of documentation
    2.3. Organization of work of UNFF 3
    2.4. Ad hoc expert groups
    2.5. Multi-stakeholder dialogue
  3. Follow-up to the CBD's COP 6 decisions on forest biological diversity
  4. CPF-related matters
  5. Other Business
    5.1. Secretariat staff recruitment status
    5.2. UNFF Website and logo
    5.3. National focal points
    5.4. Coordination with ECOSOC and other functional commissions
    5.5. Country-led initiatives in support of UNFF
    5.6. Next Bureau meeting

Opening of the meeting

Mr. Hossein Moeini Meybodi chaired the meeting. He welcomed Mr. Pekka Patosaari and congratulated him for his appointment as the new Coordinator and Head of the UNFF Secretariat. While still in the process of his recruitment by the UN, Mr. Patosaari took the opportunity to attend the meeting and meet the Bureau. He expressed his appreciation to the Bureau for allowing him to participate in the meeting and looks forward to working together in the coming days.


1. The outcomes of WSSD and their implications to UNFF work

The Bureau noted with satisfaction that “forests” received good prominence at the Summit, and that its “Plan of Implementation” contained a whole section on forest and UNFF. Furthermore, the interlinkage of forest with other sectors particularly with climate change, biological diversity and combating desertification as highlighted in the “Plan” emphasized its significance to sustainable development. The Bureau also noted that three forest-related and several other partnerships were launched at the Summit, which could advance the cooperation and coordination efforts at regional and global levels to promote sustainable forest management.

The Bureau suggested the Secretariat to provide:

(i) a brief overview of the forest-related outcomes of WSSD, to be included in it’s next issue of the UNFF Newsletter; and
(ii) a review of the WSSD outcomes and their implications to UNFF work to be included in the document, to be prepared for UNFF 3 under the agenda item “4(b): Enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination”.

2. Preparations for UNFF 3

2.1. Provisional agenda for UNFF 3 as revised by ECOSOC

The Bureau noted with satisfaction that the provisional agenda for UNFF 3 as revised by ECOSOC, was consistent with the MYPOW and POA. According to the revised provisional agenda, in paragraph 3, the order of the sub-paragraphs 3(a) and 3(b) had been reversed. The original sub-paragraph (b) now became (a) and (a) became (b) with the following words added at the end of (b), “as a cross-cutting issue considered in the context of items 3(a)(i)(ii) and (iii)”. In paragraph 4(e), the words “review of the reports of” were replaced by the words “further discussion on”.

2.2 Status of documentation

The Secretariat briefed the Bureau about the preparation process for documentation to address the provisional agenda for UNFF 3. The briefing included the titles and types of documents, preparation of guidelines and annotated outlines, and initiation of work by concerned CPF member organizations. In addition, the Secretariat had begun drafting a suggested format for the countries to report their progress at UNFF 3.

The Bureau endorsed the Secretariat’s proposal to prepare the following documents:

No. Title of the document
1 Report of the Secretary-General on economic aspects of forests
2 Report of the Secretary-General on forest health and productivity
3 Report of the Secretary-General on maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs
4 Note by the Secretary-General on multi-stakeholder dialogue, transmitting discussion papers from stakeholders
5 Note by the Secretary-General on enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination
6 Note by the Secretariat on intersessional work, including further discussion on the ad hoc expert groups (transmitting the bracketed text from UNFF 2)
7 Note by the Secretariat on the format for voluntary reporting by countries for UNFF 3

The Bureau suggested that the primary purpose of the reports by the Secretary-General on the three “elements” (documents 1-3) should be to facilitate discussion on the implementation of the related IPF/IFF proposals for action, and that care should be taken to avoid creating new proposals for action. These reports would highlight related “emerging issues”, which are not specifically covered by any IPF/IFF proposals for action. Information on developments related to the emerging issues would be given, but no new proposals for action should be indicated. Thus, the final chapters of those reports should propose] decision texts rather than new proposals. The reports also should have separate sections for “means of implementation” and relevant “common items”.

The Bureau welcomed the work on the reporting format by countries. The reports from countries would be one of the main bases in the preparation of the SG’s reports. The Bureau, however, advised the Secretariat to keep such a format flexible and simple in structure, and to provide reasonable deadline for countries to report. It was acknowledged that the deadline of 15 November 2002 would be difficult to meet for many countries and, therefore, it was decided to set the deadline after consultation with the CPF focal points on the impacts of postponing that deadline on the preparation of the SG’s reports.

The Bureau members would consult among themselves and provide their comments on the draft of the reporting format to the Secretariat early next week (i.e. the week of 23 September).

2.3. Organization of work of UNFF 3

The Secretariat briefed the Bureau about the workload of and suggested outputs from UNFF 3. It also presented its initial proposal for the daily organization of work for the period of two weeks during UNFF 3.

The Bureau advised the Secretariat to include the following while revising the draft organization of work:

(i) Schedule the presentation of official reports (SG’s reports, notes, etc.) and substantive discussions on three elements and other key issues on the first week in plenary sessions;
(ii) Consider providing opportunities for the presentation of selective country reports to supplement the SG’s reports and/or notes and to enrich the substantive discussions;
(iii) Allocate the second week only for negotiations and drafting decisions in two working groups. Start informal consultations with delegations on how to proceed with negotiations on the first week.

The Bureau decided to divide the substantive work of UNFF 3 in two working groups. Working Group I will deal with “Economic aspects of forests” and “Enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination”, and Working Group II will address “Forest health and productivity” and “Maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs”.

Mr. Moeini would consult with the members to make decisions on the chairperson of the Working Groups and the rapporteur of the session.

Whether to schedule the start of the negotiations on the ad hoc expert groups in the first week or the second week of UNFF3, would be decided by the Bureau, based on progress on the outstanding issues.

2.4. Ad hoc expert groups

The Bureau reiterated that on the issue of ad hoc expert groups it did not have flexibility to undertake any consultative activities prior to UNFF 3.

The Secretariat briefed the Bureau that, as a follow-up to the guidance by the Bureau at its first meeting, it had been exploring the possibility of country-led initiatives on transfer of environmentally sound technologies, which could provide some technical input to the related ad-hoc expert group. The Secretariat reported that the Government of Nicaragua was planning on holding a regional workshop on technologies related to sustainable management of mangrove forests in February 2003. In addition, some countries have indicated some preliminary interest in organizing an international meeting of experts on transfer of environmentally sound technologies for all types of forests after the workshop in Nicaragua. The Bureau welcomed the initiatives and hoped that together with other initiatives under consideration by some countries, such initiatives could be useful to the concerned ad hoc expert group when established. It also advised the Secretariat to be supportive of such initiatives by countries.


2.5. Multi-stakeholder dialogue

The Secretariat briefed the Bureau of its activities to organize a more effective multi-stakeholder dialogue at UNFF 3, including the update and enhancement of its database on participation by particular the major groups (as identified in Agenda 21), identification of focal points for each of the major groups, planning of consultation meetings, etc. Bureau appreciated the briefing and hoped that the next MSD would be more participatory and productive.

An issue of accreditation of forest-related major groups was discussed and it was concluded that UNFF should follow its mandate and continue to follow the CSD practice. In this regard, the Bureau suggested, to mention in the invitation letter to the Member States, the possibility of participation of representatives of the major groups in their delegations to UNFF 3.


3. Follow-up to the CBD’s COP 6 decisions on forest biological diversity

The Secretariat briefed the Bureau on its meeting with the Secretariat of the CBD on 11-12 July to discuss the implications of the CBD’s COP 6 decisions on forest biological diversity on the UNFF and CPF. The UNFF and CBD Secretariats developed a work programme for joint activities, and are currently undertaking two activities: (i) a comparative study of the ecosystem approach of CBD and sustainable forest management of UNFF; and (ii) an analysis of the relationship between the activities of the expanded work programme of CBD and the IPF/IFF proposals for action. The Secretariat noted that CPF planned to discuss the implications of the CBD decisions on CPF members, in general, at its forthcoming meeting in New York (3-4 October 2002), and, at a greater depth, in a later meeting to be held in Montreal.

It was noted that certain decisions of COP 6 were outside the scope of the UNFF MYPOW (such as submitting several reports related to forest biological diversity to UNFF 4). The Bureau advised the Secretariat to include this matter under agenda item 4(b) Enhanced cooperation…” for the discussion and decision at UNFF 3.

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4. CPF-related matters

The Secretariat conveyed the message from Mr. Hosny El-Lakany, Chairman of CPF, and briefed the Bureau about the activities of CPF, which included:

(i) A planned CPF meeting in New York on 3-4 October 2002. As has been the practice, the Chairman of the Bureau is cordially invited to participate in the meeting;
(ii) CPF has been engaged in a number of activities in support of UNFF such as:
a. Sourcebook for funding SFM
b. CPF Taskforce on Harmonizing and Streamlining Forest-related Reporting (meeting to be held in November 2002 in Bonn)
c. Preparation of SG’s reports
d. Finalization of CPF Policy Document
e. Updated CPF Framework for UNFF 3, including a report of progress in implementing decisions made at UNFF sessions related to CPF

(iii) Secondment of a staff member from ITTO for three months. UNEP and FAO have already provided their staff members on long-term secondments.
(iv) CPF Website.

The Bureau expressed its satisfaction and appreciation to the works being done by the members of CPF, both collectively and individually and for the secondments of staff. It encouraged CPF to continue to provide such support to UNFF. The Bureau also asked the CPF, in its report to the UNFF-3, incorporate the progress report on the implementation of the decisions of the UNFF including those of the second session.


5. Other business

5.1. Secretariat staff recruitment status

The Secretariat briefed the Bureau about the current status of the staffing and recruitment process. Mr. Patosaari would join the Secretariat as the Coordinator and Head as soon as the recruitment process were concluded by the OHRM. The application deadlines for the P-5 and P-4 positions have been closed and the applicants were under screening process. The P-3 position was now being processed for external advertisement. A JPO from Finland would join the Secretariat in early January of 2003.

5.2. UNFF Website and logo

The Secretariat briefed the Bureau about the new UNFF Website, which will be launched shortly as an independent site separate from that of the Division for Sustainable Development.

The Secretariat presented its proposed new logo, which the UN Publication Board is currently reviewing. The Secretariat also briefed on the proposed outreach programmes including the publication of an IPF/IFF Proposals for Action reference booklet, UNFF/CPF brochure, flier and UNFF technical paper series.

5.3. National focal points

The Bureau expressed satisfaction to the briefing by the Secretariat that the number of countries that have provided the details of their national focal points have increased significantly in the recent days, totalling 37. It hoped that more countries would soon provide such information.

5.4. Coordination with ECOSOC and other functional commissions

The Secretariat briefed the Bureau about the following recently held two events:

(i) Panel discussion on gender mainstreaming (11 June 2002) where UNFF Bureau was among the four Functional Commissions that were invited; and
(ii) Meeting between the ECOSOC Bureau and Chairmen of the Functional Commissions (23 July 2002).

The Bureau expressed a need for further cooperation, collaboration and exchange of information with other functional commissions in the future. It suggested the Secretariat to remain actively engaged in planning and establishing contacts, and welcomed the idea of inviting the chairpersons of relevant Commissions to the UNFF sessions.


5.5. Country-led initiatives in support of UNFF

The Secretariat briefed the Bureau about the status of the country-led initiatives in support of UNFF. So far there are seven initiatives announced.

5.6. Next Bureau meeting

The Bureau set tentatively to hold its third meeting in the second half of February 2003. The exact date would be determined later after consultations.

Closing of the meeting

Mr. Moeini expressed satisfaction with the issues considered by the Bureau and concluded the meeting.

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