UNITED NATIONS MOVES FORWARD ON NEW INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT ON FORESTS

18 December 2006
ENV/DEV/906

UNITED NATIONS MOVES FORWARD ON NEW INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT ON FORESTS

18 December 2006
Economic and Social Council
ENV/DEV/906
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

UNITED NATIONS MOVES FORWARD ON NEW INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT ON FORESTS

 

NEW YORK, 15 December -- More than 300 forestry experts from Governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society gathered at a United Nations Forum on Forests expert group meeting here this week, to begin drafting a new international agreement on all types of forests.

During the one-week meeting, which concluded today, there was general acknowledgement that forest problems are diversified, and that different issues take precedence because of varying environmental, economic and political contexts.  Experts stressed that sustainable forest management is a dynamic process.

“The value added of this instrument,” said Pekka Patosaari, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat, “is that it puts everyone on the same page by providing a clearly articulated and practical framework for sustainable forest management at all levels.”

Francisco Rezek, former Judge of the International Court of Justice, stressed that effectiveness of international instruments is largely dependant on political commitment.  He hailed the instrument on forests as both “timely” and “appropriate” to the issue.

Charles di Leva, Chief Counsel of the World Bank’s Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development and International Law Practice Group, pointed out that effective non-legally binding instruments have certain common characteristics, the so-called “four C’s” for success, being clarity, credibility, commitment and continuity.

Those “four C’s” were frequently referred to as experts worked towards crafting a concise and credible agreement.  Substantial progress was made as participants completed a first reading of the draft agreement.  Strong support emerged on certain issues within the agreement, which included: strengthening national level policies and measures related to forests, the importance of international trade in forest products and the need for a strengthened scientific basis for forest policy.  An issue that gained increased prominence for the first time in the deliberations was the need for public awareness and education on forests.

The meeting ended on a high note, with experts observing that the continued widespread political commitment for the agreement, along with the positive and constructive tone of the week’s discussions, were clear indicators that the instrument was well on track to being adopted at the next United Nations Forum on Forests session in April 2007.  Hans Hoogeveen, Chair of the meeting, declared that “great strides” had been made, and that the meeting was a “major step in the long march towards sustainable forest management”.

For more information or interviews, please contact Dan Shepard, UN Department of Public Information, tel: 1 212 963 9495, e-mail: shepard@un.org; or Mita Sen, UN Forum on Forests Secretariat, tel: 1 917 367 5069, e-mail: sen@un.org.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.