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Pekka's Corner

PatosaariThe historic outcomes of the seventh session represent a unique call to action for the international forest community, to ensure that these decisions reached through internationally-agreed consensus are fully implemented, through collective action imbued yet with a sense of individual responsibility.

One of the areas upon which the Secretariat will be increasingly focusing its attention is the timely issue of climate change. The contribution of forests to addressing climate change, as well as the impact of climate change on forests and sustainable forest management, has been well-recognized, world-over. The discussions taking place under the UNFCCC on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation are of great interest and relevance to the work of the Forum. Discussions are currently underway with the UNFCCC Secretariat, and I believe that we have made big strides in our mutual understanding on the need for enhanced cooperation between our two Secretariats.

Moreover, I strongly believe that well-managed forests are the best solution to complement a balanced set of actions toward combating climate change. On the widely-publicized issue of "avoided deforestation", the forest sector has much to offer in assessing and monitoring deforestation levels. In addition, as discussions at the Forum have highlighted, the topics of forest-dependant livelihoods and the contributions of good forest management practices are most worthy of a place in the current international debate on climate change.

Our new multi-year programme of work maps out a clear and ambitious agenda through the year 2015. This new and strengthened mandate of the Forum has, therefore, direct implications on the UNFF Secretariat. Consequently, I call upon and invite our respected international forest policy community to lend their support to strengthen the Secretariat and help us continue to meet the challenges ahead, as you have so often and well done in the past, and as we work together toward a most exciting future.

UNFF8 Preparations
The eighth session of the Forum is scheduled to take place from 20 April - 1 May 2009 at UN Headquarters in New York. The themes of the session are:
  • "Forests in a changing environment", which includes the sub-themes of Forests and climate change; Reversing the loss of forest cover, preventing forest degradation in all types of forests and combating desertification, including low forest cover countries; and Forests and biodiversity conservation, including protected areas
  • "Means of implementation for sustainable forest management", which will involve deciding upon a voluntary global financial mechanism/portfolio approach/forest financing framework to support the implementation of sustainable forest management, the achievement of the Global Objectives on Forests and the implementation of the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests
A provisional agenda for the session is available on the UNFF website.

UNFF8 Bureau
Dr. Modesto Fernandez Diaz-Silveira (Cuba), Dr. Boen M. Purnama (Indonesia), Mr. Arvids Ozols (Latvia) and Mr. Abdellah Benmellouk (Morocco) have been nominated to the UNFF8 Bureau. The nomination from the Western Europe and Other States (WEOG) to the Bureau is currently pending. The first meeting of the UNFF8 Bureau is scheduled to take place from 6-7 Sept 2007. The meeting will discuss the outcome of UNFF7 and preparations for UNFF8.

For more information on the UNFF8 Bureau, please refer to the UNFF website.

UNFF7 Outcome

The seventh session of the Forum, which took place at UN Headquarters, New York, from 16-27 April 2007, was, by all accounts, a milestone in international forest policy. The adoption of the non-legally binding instrument is expected to have a major impact on international cooperation and national action to reduce deforestation, prevent forest degradation, promote sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty for all forest-dependent peoples. The adoption of the new multi-year programme of work for 2007 -2015 reflects the clear mandate of the Forum through 2015. The session also decided that the Forum should develop a voluntary global funding mechanism/portfolio approach/forest financing framework for consideration at the eighth session. The text of the non-legally binding instrument and multi-year programme of work are contained in the report of the session that is available on the UNFF website, in all official UN languages.

The meeting was attended by member States, members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, other international organizations and major group organizations. The detailed List of Delegations to UNFF7 is also available on the UNFF website.

Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) Meeting
The Collaborative Partnership on Forests held its twentieth meeting on 15 April 2007 in New York, chaired by Mr. Jan Heino, Assistant Director-General for the FAO Forestry Department. Members discussed final preparations for UNFF7, including the joint CPF statement to be presented, the panel discussion of heads of CPF member governing bodies and side-events hosted by CPF members. Members also discussed progress in ongoing joint initiatives, in particular, the launch of the Science and Technology Initiative, the World Bank-Profor paper on means of implementation, the new website of the Global Forest Information Service (GFIS) and updates to the Financing Sourcebook. The Global Mechanism of the UNCCD also presented a concept note for consideration, on a new initiative entitled, "A Forest Management Affirmative Action Programme".

A full report of the meeting can be found on the CPF website Documents Section.

Joint CPF Initiative on Science and Technology launched at UNFF7
This new CPF Initiative aims to support UNFF and other forest-related intergovernmental processes by assessing available scientific information and producing reports on forest-related issues of high concern, including emerging issues. The initiative will bring together leading scientists from all regions, to provide validated and independent scientific information relating to forests, to governments, policy makers, and stakeholders. The Steering Committee of the initiative currently includes six CPF Members (CBD Secretariat, CIFOR, FAO, ICRAF, IUFRO, and UNFF Secretariat), and is chaired by IUFRO.

For more information on the joint initiative on S&T, please refer to the IUFRO website.

PROFOR paper on Means of Implementation
PROFOR presented a paper on Means of Implementation as background information for the discussions at UNFF-7. The paper reviewed current and emerging financial resources for sustainable forest management or 'financial architecture' for forestry, and discussed a range of financial or incentive instruments to mobilize new and additional financial resources for SFM that could contribute to the achievement of the Global Objectives on Forests. The background paper was prepared by a team of independent experts commissioned by PROFOR.

For more information on the paper, please refer to the PROFOR website.

Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration consultation
At a consultation held at UNFF7, partners discussed the need for a contribution to the climate change and forests debate, specifically on what Forest Landscape Restoration brings to the forests and climate change issue. Other issues discussed included the organization of global policy/practice events and plans for updating the communication media, including the website and brochure. Partner updates included WBCSD members identifying learning network sites; identification of two learning sites in the Netherlands; FAO's publication of guidelines on planted forests; ITTO and IUCN's publication of "The Forest Landscape Restoration Handbook" and a UNFF publication on "Enabling Sustainable Forest Management", which includes a chapter on local and landscape level governance.

For more information, please refer to the partnership's website.

Major Groups consultations
The UNFF Secretariat held several consultations with Major Groups Focal Points during UNFF7. Focal points discussed preparations for the two-part Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue sessions; joint statements to be presented during the working group sessions and side events organized by Major Groups' partner organizations. A Chairman's summary of the multi-stakeholder dialogue is included as an annex to the report of the session.

For more information on the Major Groups Focal Points, please refer to the major groups section of the UNFF website.

Recent Forest-related Meetings

ASEAN forest experts focus on strengthening regional cooperation towards SFM
The eighth ASEAN Seminar on current International Issues affecting Forestry and Forest Products took place on 11 July 2007 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The theme of this year's discussion was strengthening the regional interface to support implementation of the global forest objectives. The meeting explored strategies to bridge the gaps between national/regional and international forest dialogue and strengthening regional cooperation towards sustainable forest management. Based on the discussion, participants prepared a set of recommendations to the 10th ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF) meeting for its consideration.

A copy of the presentation made by the UNFF Secretariat is available on the UNFF website.

ECOSOC Ministerial Breakfast discusses Sustainable Forest Management strategies
The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat and the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) hosted a Ministerial Breakfast entitled, "Promoting pro-poor generation of wealth, food security and peace through sustainable forest management: Global Realities and Regional Innovations" on 4 July 2007 in Geneva Switzerland. The event was organized to highlight the critical role of forests in rural development and pro-poor growth, and foster dialogue on priority issues related to sustainable forest management. The discussion touched upon a range of issues, from reversing the loss of forest cover worldwide and links between forests and climate change; to the contributions of forest resources to economically sustainable livelihoods and the need to combat illegal logging.

A concept note and brief summary of the discussion are available on the UNFF website.

European Forest Experts prepare for 5th Ministerial Conference
The MCPFE Expert Level Meeting to discuss draft documents for the 5th Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) took place on 5-6 June 2007 in Warsaw, Poland. Deliberations focused on the content for ministerial commitments in the draft texts of the Ministerial Declaration and the Warsaw Resolutions. The Ministerial Conference, with the theme, "Forests for quality for life", is scheduled to take place from 5-7 November 2007 in Warsaw, Poland. The next steps in the lead-up to the 5th Ministerial Conference will be taken at the Expert Level Meeting on 3-4 September 2007.

More information on preparations for the 5th Ministerial Conference is available on the MCPFE website.

G8 Summit welcomes NLBI and calls for reducing deforestation
The annual summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations (G8) took place from 6-8 June 2007 in Heiligendamm, Germany. The Summit's declaration on Growth and Responsibility in the World Economy welcomed the UNFF agreement on the non-legally binding instrument, and urged the international community to strengthen cooperation and the sharing of sustainable forest management best practices at all levels. The declaration called for action to address climate change by reducing emissions from deforestation, stressing that reducing and eventually halting deforestation would provide a significant and cost-effective contribution toward mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, conserving biological diversity, promoting sustainable forest management and enhancing security of livelihoods.

More information on the G8 Summit declarations is available on the Summit website.

CBD expert group reviews implementation of Forest Biological Diversity Work Programme
The fourth meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on the Review of the Implementation of the Programme of Work on Forest Biological Diversity took place from 28 May - 1 June 2007 in Rome, Italy. The AHTEG provides technical advice and input to the CBD Executive Secretary and SBSTTA, including scientific and technical information on successes, challenges and obstacles to implementation;and information on the effects of the types of scientific and technical measures taken and tools used. The review process seeks to identify:

  • Whether the forest work programme been a helpful tool in reducing loss of forest biodiversity;
  • How the forest work programme has helped in addressing the three objectives of the Convention; and
  • Future priorities, opportunities and challenges for further implementation
More information on the programme of work on forest biological diversity is available on the CBD website.

African Forest Forum members share priority needs and challenges with Nordic partners
A workshop on African-Nordic collaboration on Sustainable Forest Management was held on 21 May 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden. Nordic countries are currently involved in a variety of collaborative efforts with African partners on many aspects of sustainable forest management. The event was organized to enhance links among individuals and institutions in Africa and in Nordic countries; to suggest mechanisms for future interactions and consultations; and to suggest activities to be included in the future agenda, including possible funding mechanisms. More information on the workshop is available on the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry website.

A copy of the presentation made by the UNFF Secretariat is available on the UNFF website.

Forum on Indigenous Issues calls for recognition of Indigenous land tenure systems
The sixth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was held from 14-25 May 2007, and focused on the special theme of "Territories, lands and natural resources". The Forum stressed that Indigenous Peoples are being disenfranchised from their lands and territories by policies that do not recognize indigenous peoples' land tenure systems. The annual meeting provides a platform for indigenous peoples to voice their concerns and dialogue with governments and the UN system. The next session in 2008 will focus on climate change, including research on mitigation measures being taken, and how these affect Indigenous Peoples. More information on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is available on the Forum website.

A copy of the statement made by the UNFF Secretariat is available on the UNFF website.

China's Forestry Administration calls for more tree-planting in urban areas
The 4th China City Forest Forum took place from 8-11 May 2007 in Chengdu City in Sichuan Province. This high-level governmental forum was organized to promote urban forestry in China, and to strengthen international cooperation on urban forestry issues. The main themes of discussion focused on advancing scientific development in urban forestry and promoting harmony between urban and rural communities and environments. Four cities: Chengdu in Sichuan Province, Baotou in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Xuchang in Henan Province and Lin'an in Zhejiang Province were awarded "national forest city" certificates.

A copy of the presentation made by the UNFF Secretariat is available on the UNFF website.

Upcoming Forest-related Events


19 - 23 August 2007 (Queensland, Australia)
International Symposium on Forest Soils and Ecosystem Health: Linking Local Management to Global Change Challenges, organized by Griffith University

27 - 28 August 2007 (Göttingen, Germany)
Scientific framework of environmental and forest governance - The role of discourses and expertise, organized by IUFRO

27 - 30 August 2007 (Quito, Ecuador)
VI Congreso Latinoamericano de Derecho Forestal, organized by Red Latino Americana de Derecho Forestal/ IUFRO

28 - 30 August 2007 (Accra, Ghana)
West and Central Africa tropical forest investment forum: issues and opportunities for investment in natural tropical forests, organized by ITTO, World Bank, African Development Bank and Forestry Commission of Ghana

29 - 30 August 2007 (San Salvador, El Salvador)
VI Congreso Forestal Centroamericano, organized by Ministerio de Agricultura, El Salvador


3 - 4 September 2007 (Warsaw, Poland)
MCPFE Expert Meeting, organized by MCPFE Liaison Unit

3 - 7 September 2007 (Bangkok, Thailand)
International Conference on Poverty Reduction and Forests: Tenure, Market and Policy Reforms, organized by Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)

3 - 14 September 2007 (Madrid, Spain)
8th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (COP-8), organized by the UNCCD Secretariat

5 - 7 September 2007 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Workshop on Strategies for the Sustainable Use and Management of Timber Tree Species Subject to International Trade, organized by UNEP-WCMC

6 - 7 September 2007 (Warsaw, Poland)
Forests and Forestry in the Context of Rural Development: IUFRO European Congress, organized by IUFRO, Warsaw Agricultural University and European Forest Institute

18 - 21 September 2007 (Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Plantation Certification Symposium 2007, organized by Stellenbosch University, Southern African Institute of Forestry, Yale University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Tasmania and IUFRO

19-20 September 2007 (Beijing, China)
EU-China Conference, Forest Law Enforcement and Governance, organized by State Forestry Administration, China

23-28 September 2007 (Beijing, China)
International conference to promote the development of tropical non-timber forest products and services, organized by ITTO

25 - 27 September 2007 (Nairobi, Kenya)
First Global Workshop on Improving Agroforestry Education, organized by ICRAF, AFORNET, Silva Network, FAO, Govt. of Kenya and Finnish Embassy, Kenya and International Partnership for Forestry Education (IPFE)

30 September - 6 October 2007 (Bariloche, Argentina)
II Congreso Latinoamericano de Parques Nacionales y Otras Áreas Protegidas, organized by FAO, UNEP, IUCN and the Government of Argentina

30 September - 3 October 2007 (Toronto, Canada)
Global Vision of Forestry in the 21st Century, organized by University of Toronto
UNFF Staff Update

We recently bid farewell to Mr. Antonio Carlos do Prado, who left the Secretariat in July 2007 to resume his duties at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA). Mr. do Prado was seconded to the Secretariat by ITTO three years ago, and his contributions in the areas of forest economics and trade were greatly appreciated. His enthusiasm and sense of humour will be greatly missed. We wish him all the best, and look forward to seeing him at future sessions of the UNFF.

We would like to express our appreciation to Ms. Marie Luderer, Programme Assistant, who recently left the UNFF Secretariat to join the UN Department for General Assembly and Conference Management. Ms. Luderer joined the Secretariat six years ago, and was instrumental in providing logistical and conference management support for the UNFF sessions. She was a valuable asset to our team, and her warm demeanor and efficiency will be greatly missed. We wish her all the best in her new position.

We would like to welcome Mr. Peter Csoka back to the UNFF Secretariat. Mr. Csoka previously spent two years in the UNFF Secretariat, and most recently served as the Head of the Department of Natural Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Hungary. We are delighted to have him back in our team.

We would also like to welcome Mr. Daphnis Novoa to the UNFF Secretariat. Mr. Novoa joins us from the UN Department of Management's Capital Master Plan office. He will be providing support to the Secretariat's communication and outreach activities. We are confident that he will make an excellent addition to our team.

Update National Focal Points Information

We would like to invite all member States to review the national focal point name and contact information currently listed on our website to ensure that the information is correct and up to date.  Please send any corrections to the UNFF Secretariat via email.

New nominations of national focal points should be sent in hard copy through mail or fax (+1 917 367 3186).  Please contact us if you require templates of nomination letters or copies of past communications regarding this matter.