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IN THIS ISSUE:
 

These last few months, the Secretariat has been focused on efforts to raise awareness on the NLBI and the new MYPOW, strengthen existing institutional arrangements, and gather inputs on the various issues up for discussion at the upcoming eighth session of the Forum in April next year. We believe these activities will prove critical in ensuring that the priorities and ambitious goals in the UNFF7 outcome come to fruition.

In the recent months, various meetings and events have been convened by Member States, CPF members and our other institutional partners on issues that are directly relevant to the UNFF agenda. CPF members met for a strategic dialogue and instituted two processes related to climate change: an expert panel on adaptation, as well as an inter-agency response to the broader issue of forests and climate change; CBD SBSTTA 13 reviewed the convention's forest biodiversity work program; FAO launched the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010; and three regional Forestry Commissions held their annual meetings. Each of these meetings provided an excellent opportunity for the Secretariat to exchange information and raise awareness on the various avenues for input to the Forum.

There have also been a number of timely meetings initiated in support of UNFF, specifically: the first-ever Region-Led Initiative (RLI) on the issue of regional input to UNFF in January; the Country-Led Initiative (CLI) on the issues of forest governance and decentralization in in April; and preparations are currently underway for a Country-Led Initiative (CLI) on financing SFM in September. The Advisory Group on Finance has already met twice, and preparations are also underway for the UNFF Ad Hoc Expert Group on finance, the dates for which will be finalized at the UNFF8 Bureau meeting next week.

As part of our ongoing preparations for UNFF8, we are also gathering information, data and perspectives to help enrich the Reports of the Secretary-General on forests and desertification and land degradation, forests and biodiversity, and forests and climate change. To enable open discussion and inputs on these issues, we will be hosting a series of web-forums on these three issues. The first web forum on "Reversing loss of forest cover, preventing forest degradation and combating desertification" will be open from 5-30 May 2008. We hope that all stakeholders will take advantage of this opportunity to voice their opinions and share their valuable experiences.

Preparations for UNFF8

3rd meeting of the UNFF8 Bureau
The UNFF8 Bureau will hold its third meeting on 6 May 2008, at UN Headquarters, New York, under the chairmanship of Dr. Boen M. Purnama. Bureau members will review preparations for the Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) meeting to develop proposals for a voluntary global financial mechanism/portfolio approach/forest financing framework as well as preparations for the eighth session of the UN Forum on Forests. In particular, the Bureau is expected to decide upon the dates, venue and working modality of the AHEG meeting. The minutes of the Bureau meeting will be made available on the UNFF website, as has been the practice.

2nd meeting of the Advisory Group on Finance (AGF) for SFM
The Advisory Group, consisting of a number of Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) members with robust experience in finance for sustainable forest management, held its second meeting on 13 February 2008 at the UNFCCC Secretariat offices in Bonn, Germany. Key issues discussed included general preparations for the upcoming AHEG meeting on forest finance and the documents being prepared for consideration at the AHEG. Advisory Group members agreed that while the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (NLBI) should serve as an umbrella framework under which to consider financial issues, an analytical mapping of needs and available sources and mechanisms for funding for sustainable forest management will need to be conducted. The outcome of this mapping exercise will be presented at the Country-led Initiative (CLI) on finance and will be made available as a background document for the AHEG.

Country-Led Initiative (CLI) on Financing SFM
The Governments of Suriname, the Netherlands and the United States recently announced their intent to organize the International Dialogue on Financing Sustainable Forest Management; a Country-Led Initiative (CLI) in Support of the United Nations Forum on Forests from 8 - 12 September 2008 in Paramaribo, Suriname. The first meeting of the CLI Advisory Committee will take place on 5 May 2008, in New York, USA. More information on the meeting and links to the CLI website will be made available on the UNFF website as they become available.

Recent Forest-related Meetings

cpf CPF Strategic Dialogue
The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) Strategic Dialogue took place from 14 to 15 February 2008, in Bonn, Germany, hosted by the UNFCCC Secretariat. Key issues discussed included: advancing forest finance and recognition of forests as a multi-value, multi-functional resource; further co-operation and coordination on forests and climate change; revitalizing the work on the CPF Joint Initiative on streamlining reporting; strengthening CPF support to forest law enforcement and governance (FLEG) and promoting effective use of science and technology in international forest-related processes. A summary report of the meeting is available on the CPF website.

faoJoint Sessions of the Near East Forestry and African Forestry and Wildlife Commissions
The 16th session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) and 18th session of the Near East Forestry Commission (NEFC) took place from 18 - 21 February 2008 in Khartoum, Sudan. The main theme of both meetings was "Forests and Wildlife in a Changing Environment". Both commissions made recommendations on forests and climate change; forests and energy; forests and wildfire and forests and water. The NEFC also addressed the issues of management of forests and rangelands, forest policies, laws and institutions, participatory approaches and intersectoral linkages and mobilization of domestic resources for forestry development in the region. The UNFF Secretariat informed participants on recent developments related to the Forum and regional cooperation activities; a copy of the presentation is available on the UNFF website.

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Expert Panel on Adaptation of Forests to Climate Change
The first meeting of the Expert Panel on Adaptation of Forests to Climate Change took place from 11 to 12 February 2008, at UNHQ, New York. Established by the Steering Committee of the Joint CPF Initiative on Science and Technology, the Expert Panel is carrying out a comprehensive assessment of available scientific information on adaptation of forests and the forest sector to climate change. The Panel will produce an assessment report which will provide input to UNFF8, as well as UNFCCC and CBD. The Expert Panel agreed on a draft thematic outline, working modalities and time schedule for the assessment report. In addressing the main thematic areas, it was agreed that particular emphasis would be placed on recognizing different spatial and temporal scales. It is expected that drafted sections of the assessment report will be discussed at the Second Meeting of the Expert Panel to take place from 13 to 15 May 2008 at FAO HQ in Rome, Italy.

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CBD SBSTTA 13
The thirteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 13) took place from 18 - 22 February 2008 in Rome, Italy. The meeting included an in-depth review of the programme of work on forest biodiversity. Specific issues discussed included the potential environmental, cultural and socio-economic impacts of genetically modified trees and cross-sectoral approaches for the conservation and sustainable use of forest biological diversity. The SBSTTA 13 report to the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 9) includes a recommendation XIII/2 on the review of implementation of the programme of work on forest biodiversity. The UNFF Secretariat presented statements on UNFF 7 outcomes and contributions to the review on forest biological diversity, as well as on strengthening regional interaction for sustainable forest management; copies of these statements are available on the UNFF website.

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FRA 2010: Technical Meeting of the National Correspondents
The Technical Meeting of the National Correspondents to the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 (FRA 2010) took place from 3 to 7 March 2008 at FAO HQ in Rome, Italy. The meeting marked the official launch of FRA 2010, and was attended by 265 forest assessment specialists including representatives from 154 countries and 14 key forest related organizations. FRA 2010 will include a number of new initiatives including a remote sensing survey using satellite data to produce global and regional tree-cover maps. The UNFF Secretariat presentation at the meeting highlighted the reporting requirements related to the Global Objectives on Forests and the existing and potential linkages of these reporting requirements with the FRA process. A copy of the UNFFS presentation is available on the UNFF website.

unodc

Expert group meeting on International Trafficking in Forest Products
The expert group meeting on "International cooperation in preventing and combating illicit international trafficking in forest products, including timber, wildlife and other forest biological resources" took place from 26 to 28 March 2008, in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting was organized by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with the Government of Indonesia as a follow up to the sixteenth session of United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) in April 2007. The Commission adopted Resolution 16/1 specifically requesting the secretariats of the CCPCJ and the UNFF to exchange relevant information on matters related to forest law enforcement and governance and explore ways to increase synergies. Key issues discussed included information exchange on illicit international trafficking in forest products, forest law enforcement and technical assistance required to enhance national capabilities to prevent and combat such trafficking. The UNFF Secretariat was invited to participate in this expert group to inform the meeting on work undertaken by the Forum related to forest law enforcement and governance; a copy of the UNFFS statement is available on the UNFF website. The report of the expert group meeting was submitted to the 17th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held from 14 to 18 April 2008 in Vienna, Austria.

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CPF Initiates a Coordinated Inter-Agency Response on Climate Change
As a follow up to the CPF Strategic Dialogue meeting of March 2008 (for details, see above), on the invitation of FAO senior representatives of the partnership met on 17 April 2008 at FAO HQ, Rome, Italy to begin developing a coherent inter-agency response from the forest sector to the climate change agenda. In this regard, the preparation of a CPF "strategic framework" document was proposed, which would outline plans to move towards a long-term strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation for all types of forests. It was stressed that the framework would be broad in scope, consider adaptation and mitigation aspects, including REDD, and various types of on-the-ground actions needed. Such a framework could facilitate preparations for negotiations and implementation of decisions at UNFCCC, UNFF, CBD and UNCCD, enhance coordinated action on the ground and help strengthen mutual cooperation among CPF members in their response to the climate agenda.

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CLI on Forest Governance and Decentralization in Africa
The Workshop on Forest Governance and Decentralization in Africa, a South African-Swiss Country-Led Initiative (CLI) in support of UNFF was convened from 8-11 April 2008 in Durban South Africa. The meeting was organized by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry of South Africa and the Federal Office for the Environment of the Swiss Confederation. Key issues discussed at the workshop included: the concept and practice of decentralization of forest management and livelihoods as well as governance structures needed; conservation, sustainable forest management and governance; international trade, finance and forest governance reform. The UNFF Secretariat's participation in the workshop included a statement presented during the opening panel and the organization of an information session on the Non-legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (NLBI) and the UNFF Multi-Year Programme of Work (2007-2015). The CLI report will be submitted as input to UNFF8 in 2009.

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Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission and Asia-Pacific Forestry Week
The 22nd Session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) took place from 21-26 April 2008 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The APFC session was organized in conjunction with the first-ever Asia-Pacific Forestry Week, and both events had a central theme of "Forestry in a Changing World". Key issues discussed included: addressing poverty through forestry; adaptation and mitigation of climate change; trade, timber certification, FLEG, and opportunities and implications of institutional arrangements and international agreements on the region. The UNFF Secretariat informed APFC participants on recent developments related to the Forum and encouraged the commission to provide inputs to UNFF8. The Forestry week event was organized to engage diverse stakeholders, and facilitate sharing perspectives and solutions on challenging forest issues. The week included special plenary sessions on forests and poverty; forests and climate change; and trade, timber certification, FLEG, and forestry investment; essay and photo contests; and an "Information Market" session featuring displays and posters.

Upcoming Forest-related Events

May

1 - 2 May 2008 (Yokohama, Japan)
International Expert Meeting on Addressing Climate Change through Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests, organized by ITTO

7 - 8 May 2008 (Oslo, Norway)
MCPFE (Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe) Expert Level Meeting, organized by MCPFE Liaison Unit Oslo

5 - 16 May 2008 (UNHQ, New York, USA)
16th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, organized by UN DESA/ DSD

19 - 30 May 2008 (Bonn, Germany)
Ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 9), organized by CBD Secretariat

27 May 2008 (Bonn, Germany)
High-level Policy Dialogue on Coping with Today's Global Challenges in the Context of the UNCCD Strategy, organized by UNCCD Secretariat

June

3 - 5 June 2008 (FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy)
High-Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, organized by FAO

3 - 6 June 2008 (Koli, North Karelia, Finland)
Wood Energy Solutions 2008, organized by Wood Energy Net (Wenet), European Regional Development Fund and Regional Council of North Karelia

4 - 13 June 2008 (Bonn, Germany)
28th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) of the UNFCCC, organized by UNFCCC Secretariat

9 - 12 June 2008 (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
North American Forest Commission - 24th Session, organized by FAO

25 - 27 June 2008 (Tokyo, Japan)
Workshop on Methodological Issues relating to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, organized by UNFCCC Secretariat

July

15 - 17 July 2008 (Accra, Ghana)
FAO/ITTO Regional Workshop on Improving Forest Law Compliance and Governance in Tropical West Africa, organized by FAO & ITTO
Information Requests

Update your 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.

NLBI translation in languages other than official UN languages?
We would like to request all member States who may have translated the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests (NLBI) into their official languages to inform the UNFF Secretariat as this would greatly facilitate our efforts to widely disseminate the instrument.