UNITED NATIONS FORUM HOLDS PANEL WITH COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIP ON FORESTS; NEW WORLD BANK FOREST ALLIANCE, CARBON TRADING AMONG ISSUES

18 April 2007
ENV/DEV/922

UNITED NATIONS FORUM HOLDS PANEL WITH COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIP ON FORESTS; NEW WORLD BANK FOREST ALLIANCE, CARBON TRADING AMONG ISSUES

18 April 2007
Economic and Social Council
ENV/DEV/922
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

United Nations Forum on Forests

Seventh Session

5th Meeting (AM)

UNITED NATIONS FORUM HOLDS PANEL WITH COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIP ON FORESTS;

NEW WORLD BANK FOREST ALLIANCE, CARBON TRADING AMONG ISSUES

 

Also Hears Presentations by Major Groups

The World Bank and many of its interested partners were developing a new Global Forest Alliance to address challenges facing the forest sector, Warren Evans, Director of that institution’s Environment Department told the United Nations Forum on Forests this morning.

During a panel discussion with the chairpersons of the member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, he said the Alliance would help to align the Forum’s global objectives with the climate change agenda, while still tackling the issue of forest governance and matters of equity.  It would aim to achieve, by 2015, a range of stretch targets related to poverty reduction, sustainable management of production forestry, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.  To complement the Alliance, a Bank-administered Forest Carbon Partnerships Facility would pilot instruments for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, with the aim of generating payment to developing countries related to sustainable forest management.

The Collaborative Partnership is made up of 14 major forest-related organizations, institutions and convention secretariats, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility and the World Conservation Union.  It was established in 2001 to support the work of the Forum on Forests and enhance cooperation and coordination on forest issues through technical assistance to countries, mobilizing resources and strengthening political support for sustainable forest management.

Fellow panellist Andrew Bennet, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees at the Centre for International Forestry Research, noted that, while relatively wealthy countries seemed able to do more to help their forests, some of the world’s most important forest assets were found in countries facing many challenges.  Carbon trading might add to the resources available to those wishing to better manage their forests, but the question was, who would benefit from carbon trading and how would carbon financial flows work for the benefit of poor people?  It was not just a question of burning wood, but whether cellulose could be turned into starches and sugar.

He said collaborative partnerships between forest research and development institutions were possible, but they would only be useful if given a clear agenda.  The sustainability of institutions was tied up with the issue of income and revenue.  Partnerships needed to be purposeful, recognizing their differences and building trust.  To keep them working, a clear customer statement was needed.  After 20 years of worrying about forests, it was possible for groups of people to deliver.

Mark Zimsky, speaking on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility Council, said that, since its inception in 2005, the Facility had funded more than 230 project interventions in sustainable forest management, totalling more than $1.2 billion, which had leveraged an additional $3.45 billion in co-financing.  Within those country-driven projects, the Facility provided, as per the non-legally binding instrument, new and additional grant and concessional funding to meet the agreed incremental costs of measures to achieve global environmental benefits.

He said the Facility was working to improve its responsiveness in facilitating country efforts to implement sustainable forest management.  The Facility, which had been replenished in 2006 for $1.3 billion, was instituting a series of reforms that were part of a sustainability compact that included measures to make the Facility more strategic, innovative, equitable, accessible and focused.

Jan Heino, Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department, said many private companies and countries were adjusting their forestry strategies in an effort to remain competitive.  Those changes would affect forestry at the national level, as well as the international forest dialogue.  FAO would respond by carrying out a strategic review of its forestry priorities and work activities by March 2009.  The FAO forestry programme’s current priority was the implementation of sustainable forest management -– the same objective as the proposed non-legally binding instrument.

Regarding cooperation, he said its monitoring, assessment and reporting on forests continued as a priority, notably through the State of the World’s Forests series, the global Forest Resources Assessment, forest product statistics and regional outlook studies.  The agency had recently facilitated two multi-stakeholder processes on guidelines for planted forests and fire management, and best practices on forest law enforcement.  FAO worked with all members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to maximize synergies.

As the Forum heard presentations by major groups, the representative of the workers and trade unions pointed out that the draft non-legally binding instrument failed to mention the role of labour and International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions, though members of the Forum also belonged to that agency’s governing body.  While labour standards were absent, demands for equitable benefits featured prominently, giving calls for sustainable forest management a somewhat hollow ring.  Moreover, when private investors sought to undermine and evade their commitments by outsourcing their work and converting workers into independent contractors, there could be no reduction of poverty, equitable sharing of benefits or meeting of development goals.

Other panellists addressing the Forum were the Chairperson of the International Tropical Timber Council, the Chairperson of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council and the former President of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.

Delegates speaking during today’s meeting were the representatives of Croatia, Dominican Republic, United States, Germany (on behalf of the European Union), Uruguay, United Republic of Tanzania, Senegal, Panama, Australia, Switzerland and Malaysia.

Representatives of the following major groups also made presentations: children and youth; women; farmers and small forest landowners; non-governmental organizations; indigenous peoples; and the scientific and technological community.

Background

The Forum on Forests met this morning to hold a panel discussion with the chairpersons of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and a multi-stakeholder dialogue.

Statements

HANS HOOGEVEN (Netherlands), Chairman of the seventh session of the United Nations Forum on Forests, said the Forum had started a new initiative -- inviting the chairs of the governing bodies of forest-related intergovernmental and international organizations to offer them a chance to better assess opportunities and challenges, contribute to inter-agency coordination and ensure that existing forest-related programmes and priorities mutually supported the Forum’s work.  Today was the first opportunity to bring together the chairpersons of the member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.

As a part of the International Arrangement on Forests, he said, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests was a unique and innovative body formed to support the Forum’s work and to strengthen cooperation and coordination among its members on forest-related issues.  The Forum was mandated to seek guidance and receive progress reports from the Partnership to facilitate the implementation of the Forum’s decisions at the ground level.  Within the Forum’s new and ambitious mandate, set by last year’s session and Economic and Social Council resolution 2006/49, there was a much more pressing need for coordination and collaboration among the forest-related and intergovernmental organizations.

JAN HEINO, Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, said Partnership members had noted statements regarding the under-used potential within that body.  Many member organizations were already working individually and in partnership on several issues proposed in the non-legally binding instrument and the multi-year programme of work.  He hoped the Forum would indicate what kind of input it wanted from the Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, including areas for increased cooperation and specific inputs to the dialogue.  With guidance, the Partnership would be in a position to develop a programme of work that covered the range of sustainable forest management issues.  At the same time, increased support for the Collaborative Partnership was essential, as it would be in a better position to meet members’ expectations with greater resources.

Guidance from the Forum must be reinforced by consistent messages by its members, he said.  Guidance to individual Partnership organizations came through their own governing bodies, which differed from each other.  The Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests supported the actions that were to be implemented by countries themselves.  Inspired by the interest in a greater contribution by the Partnership, he proposed that future United Nations Forum on Forests sessions include an opportunity for dialogue on the Partnership’s role and expectations.  A voluntary partnership was not only about organizations, but also about people working together in a spirit of encouragement. 

PEKKA PATOSAARI, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat, noted that the annual ministerial review and the Development Cooperation Forum had the potential to revitalize the role assigned by the Charter to the Economic and Social Council as the body for policy coherence.  The annual ministerial review would serve as an important platform for promoting unified implementation by building on existing reviews.  The Development Cooperation Forum would provide the first global platform where all had an opportunity to dialogue on key factors affecting development cooperation.  He said it was also useful to look at what the Economic and Social Council had decided on regarding the Forum’s role with regard to the Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests governing bodies, including that it should seek ways and means of strengthening synergies and coordination in policy development on forest-related activities.  Based on the agreement of the Forum’s sixth session, Economic and Social Council had re-emphasized the importance of the United Nations Forum on Forests as an intergovernmental body on forests within the United Nations, as well as the continued supporting role of the Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and the need for the Forum to provide the Partnership with clear guidance.  The Council had also urged members of the governing bodies of partnership member organizations to help ensure that their forest-related priorities and programmes were integrated, mutually supportive and consistent with their mandates.

LUIS MACCHIAVELLO AMOROZ, Chairperson, International Tropical Timber Council, said the organization had deployed nearly $300 million to implement projects and support policies to ensure the sustainable management of tropical forests, including the fact that many of them were in developing countries where people were more concerned with basic needs.  The whole topic of tropical timber would, therefore, not be a top priority, and it would be much less attractive in financial terms than using that land for other purposes.  In the near future, the Council would continue to concentrate on promoting sustainable forest management to improve its ability to face up to the future and to concentrate on policies dealing with legal and illegal logging, diversification of forest products and protection of forest-dependent communities.  The present session might be the ideal opportunity to deal with issues affecting tropical forests, including deforestation and degradation.

JORGE RODRIGUEZ, Vice-Minister for Environment and Energy of Costa Rica,speaking on behalf of Minister Roberto Dobles in his capacity as Chairperson of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council, said the Partnership had become a good example of cooperation and, for that reason, UNEP was ready to continue strengthening its actions towards the attainment of the global objectives that the Forum had set itself and the reorientation of partnership in the new phase, during which, it was to be hoped, the non-legally binding instrument and the multi-year programme of work would be adopted.  It was also important not to lose sight of the necessity to strengthen UNEP and create policies to tackle future challenges.

ANDREW BENNET, Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Centre for International Forestry Research, noted that, while forests had been at the top of the international agenda for nearly 20 years, many new issues had come into play.  The demands for forest goods and services would increase.  The news had been good in some parts of the world, with forest assets reviving and, in some cases, increasing.  In other parts of the world, however, that was not happening.  Relatively wealthy countries seemed to be able to do more to help their forests.  Some of the world’s most important forest assets were found in countries with many challenges. 

He said climate change had focused on the roles that forests could play in mitigating emissions.  Carbon trading might add to the resources available to those who wished to better manage forests.  The question was who would benefit from carbon trading and how carbon financial flows would work for the benefit of poor people.  It was not just a question of burning wood, but whether cellulose could be turned into starches and sugar.  Oil palm and forestry occupied similar ecological niches.  The question was who would win. 

Created in 1993, the Centre was a research institute providing knowledge, information and policy, he said.  While collaborative partnerships between forest research and development institutions were possible, they would only be useful if they were given a clear agenda.  The Centre was now reviewing its own strategy.  The sustainability of institutions was tied up with the issue of income and revenue.  Partnerships needed to be purposeful.  They also needed to recognize the differences and build trust.  To keep the partnerships working, a clear customer statement was needed.  After 20 years of worrying about forests, it was possible for groups of people to deliver.

WARREN EVANS, Director, Environment Department, World Bank, said the global objectives agreed by the Forum were closely aligned with the pillars of the World Bank’s forests strategy, harnessing the potential of forests to reduce poverty, integrating forests into sustainable economic development, and protecting environmental services and values.  The Bank was engaged with several forest partnerships, most notably the Global Environment Facility, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, World Bank/World Wildlife Foundation Alliance, Forest Law Enforcement and Governance initiative and the Program on Forests.

Noting that traditional official development assistance (ODA) was not enough to meet the challenge faced by the forest sector, he stressed the need to find ways to leverage other forms of financial support.  Moreover, it had long been recognized that forests provided a range of environmental services and global benefits that remained undervalued in the market, a failure that contributed to unsustainable forest practice and large-scale land conversion for short-term profits.  However, recognition of the value of forests was growing and their role in mitigating climate change had taken on new importance with the release of the Stern Review and the fourth assessment of the Intergovernmental Forum Panel on Climate Change.  Deforestation and land-use change were the second leading cause of global warming, accounting for about 20 per cent of global carbon emissions.

In many developing countries, deforestation and forest degradation accounted for a majority of emissions, and that issue had, therefore, emerged recently as an important component of climate policy discussions, he said, adding that the World Bank and many of its interested partners were developing a new Global Forest Alliance that would address challenges facing the forest sector.  The Alliance would help to align the Forum’s global objectives with the climate change agenda, while still tackling the issue of forest governance and matters of equity.  The Alliance would aim to achieve, by 2015, a range of stretch targets related to poverty reduction, sustainable management of production forestry, biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.  To complement the Alliance, a Bank-administered Forest Carbon Partnerships Facility would pilot instruments for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation with the aim of generating payment to developing countries related to sustainable forest management.

Mr. HEINO, speaking as Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the forest sector continued to be affected by the rapid pace of global changes, including globalization, climate change and global communications.  Many private companies and countries were adjusting their forestry strategies in an effort to remain competitive.  The United Nations and its programmes and agencies, including FAO, were in reform.  Those changes would affect forestry at the national level and the international forest dialogue.  FAO would respond by carrying a strategic review of its forestry priorities and work activities by March 2009.  The FAO forestry programme’s current priority was the implementation of sustainable forest management -– the same objective as the proposed non-legally binding instrument.  According to the FAO Council, FAO should play a central role in the International Arrangement on Forests.  The Council had also requested FAO to strengthen the Regional Forestry Commission in order to boost national implementation of sustainable forest management through action-oriented dialogue and regional cooperation.

Regarding cooperation, he said FAO needed to boost collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) on forest funding.  Monitoring, assessment and reporting on forests continued as a priority, notably through the series of the State of the World’s Forests, the global Forest Resources Assessment, forest product statistics and the regional outlook studies.  Another core work area was the voluntary guidelines and best practices.  FAO had recently facilitated two multi-stakeholder processes on guidelines for planted forests and fire management, and best practices on forest law enforcement.  FAO’s work had contributed significantly to and reflected largely the outcomes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests and the United Nations Forest Forum.  The agency was fully engaged in the United Nations system-wide efforts to enhance coherence and cooperation.  FAO worked with all Collaborative Partnership of Forests members, at different levels and intensity, maximizing synergies and best possible support to members, she continued.  Indeed, the Partnership was the main mechanism to enhance cooperation and coordinated approaches on forest activities.  While cooperation among many forest-related organizations had never been higher than today, fragmentation of forest issues was a reality, reflecting national challenges in coordination and delegation of responsibility.  Working in partnerships in real activities could turn the fragmentation into mutual benefits and advance sustainable forest management worldwide.

RISTO SEPPALA, former President, International Union of Forest Research Organizations, said the Union had organized scientific meetings and conferences in support of the activities of other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, and would hold another next month in Seoul.  The Union had supported the Forum’s work in the past, yet the seventh session provided an opportunity to strengthen that support.

MARK ZIMSKY, speaking on behalf of Monique Barbut, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility Council, said that body served as the financial mechanism for three international environmental Conventions that had direct involvement with forest management issues: the United Nations Conventions on biodiversity, climate change and desertification.  All three emphasized the importance of conservation, sustainable use and management of forests.  As such, the Global Environment Facility Council received guidelines from those three Conventions on the aspects of sustainable forest management that it should support to generate global environmental benefits.

He said the Climate Change Convention emphasized the need for comprehensive policies and measures to address issues related to the sources, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases, taking into account different socio-economic interests.  The work programmes of the Climate Change Convention took note of the role of conservation and sustainable forest management in carbon sequestration and carbon dioxide emissions.  The Desertification Convention focused on combating forest degradation and mitigating the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa, supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.

The importance that countries placed in investing in the elements of sustainable forest management through the facility focal areas of biodiversity and land degradation was manifested in its project portfolio, he said.  Since its inception in 2005, the Facility had funded more than 230 project interventions in sustainable forest management, totalling more than $1.2 billion in resources, which had leveraged an additional $3.45 billion in co-financing.  Within those country-driven projects, the facility provided, as per the non-legally binding instrument, new and additional grant and concessional funding to meet the agreed incremental costs of measures to achieve global environmental benefits.

Looking at the numerous proposals for action in sustainable forest management that formed the basis for the multi-year programme of work, he said there was considerable overlap with the guidance that the Facility formally received from the three Conventions.  While there was clearly no lack of guidance on what to do, the challenge was to set priorities and figure out how to do the most important task in the most cost-effective way possible.  The Facility was working to improve its responsiveness in facilitating country efforts to implement sustainable forest management.  The Facility, which had been replenished in 2006 for $1.3 billion, was instituting a series of reforms that were part of a sustainability compact, which the entire Facility partnership was in the process of deploying.  The compact included measures to make the Facility more strategic, innovative, equitable, accessible and focused.

Following the panellists’ presentations, speakers welcomed the idea of strengthened partnership, stressing also the need for greater dialogue between the Forum and Partnership members.  The time had come to harmonize forest-related work at the country, regional and global levels.  In that regard, one speaker stressed the need for fair and transparent procedures for financing.  Such procedures should be reviewed to avoid duplication of effort between Partnership members.  While red tape and bureaucracy had increased, funding had not.  It was necessary to take a long, hard look at the process.  Finances, whether technical or financial, needed to be used as efficiently as possible, another speaker said. 

Concerning the issue of cooperation, another speaker stressed the need for regional machinery and approaches to be harmonized at the local and other levels.  The Collaborative Partnership on Forests should be used as a model.  Proper cooperation with the Partnership had not really gotten off the ground, and there was much room for development, another participant added.  Emphasizing the need for a reporting mechanism, a speaker stressed the need for feedback on cooperation between the Forum and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. 

Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue

Opening the multi-stakeholder dialogue, Mr. PATOSAARI, introduced the Forum Secretariat’s note on enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination (document E/CN.18/2007/5).

PIETER VAN MIDWOUD, representing the children and youth major group, said that, in order to adequately meet the needs of future generations, the Forum should include children, so they could learn how to make sustainable decisions.  Each country could take action to increase the capacity of young people.  Sustainable forest management could only succeed when it was a positive outcome for all stakeholders.  In addition, criteria and indicators reflecting education should be strongly emphasized.

JEANNETE GURUNG, representing the women’s major group, said that, while the group had succeeded in ensuring that their voice was heard, there was a need for structural changes in forestry institutions to reflect gender perspectives.  There was also a need for greater commitment, in that regard, on the part of Governments, members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and multilateral bodies.  There were too few women in forestry institutions, which lacked the capacity to monitor gender responses, and insecure land tenure was the factor underlying so many common problems affecting women.  The next phase of the non-legally binding instrument and the multi-year programme of work must have enough resources to address gender perspectives.

JANNE NARAKKA, representing the farmers and small forest landowners major group, said its members were valuable in managing their holdings and fostering sustainable forest management, which required a long-term commitment in order to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits.  Forest ownership and sustainable forest management were closely linked and should be taken into account in implementing the non-legally binding instrument, which should also include a mechanism to enable private-public partnerships.  Sound implementation of the non-legally binding instrument would require close collaboration between the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and the major groups.

The non-governmental organizations and the indigenous people’s major groups then presented a joint statement.

ANDREI LALETIN, speaking on behalf of non-governmental organizations, noted that despite 10 years of dialogue on the subject, the global forest crisis continued unabated.  Much of the forest policy dialogue had been dominated by discussion of the need for a non-legally binding instrument to the detriment of Government action to halt the crisis.  A number of already existing agreements provided sufficient guidance on the necessary steps to halt the crisis.  Among the main constraints blocking effective action was the vested interest of those controlling forest resources and Governments’ lack of political will regarding forest conservation.  The solution to the crisis lay in implementing existing commitments.  In the past, non-governmental organizations had expressed concern that negotiation on a forest convention would mean another lost decade for forests.  The new non-legally binding instrument would not contribute to the current situation unless it addressed the underlying causes of forest degradation, including unsustainable financial and timber trade flows.  Non-governmental organizations and indigenous groups were also concerned by lack of action on the part of Governments and the private sector to curb the alarming rate of forest degradation. 

Speaking on behalf of the indigenous groups, HUBERTUS SAMANGUN also stressed the need to halt the alarming destruction of forests worldwide.  Actions in that regard must be consistent with international human rights norms and support the rights of local peoples who depended on forests.  It was also necessary to address the underlying causes of forest degradation and promote forest governance that empowered forest people.  The proposed non-legally binding instrument was far removed from the forests principles and Agenda 21.  It was also ambiguous and weak regarding the right of forest-dependent people.  The draft text, moreover, totally ignored traditional knowledge, failing to mention the vital role of indigenous people.  The instrument should at least recognize that major group. 

ATSE YAPI, speaking on behalf of the scientific and technological communities, said the crucial role of science and technology had been recognized and highlighted in United Nations proceedings since 2002.  The early stages of forest development in developed countries had not been different from what was currently being experienced by developing countries.  Deforestation and land degradation had also been rampant in many developed nations before the advent of fossil fuels as a source of energy.  Developed countries had been able to turn their forest sectors into viable sectors.  The situation was not so hopeful in much of the developing world, where deforestation was increasing without much financial reward or hope for turnaround. 

He said he was delighted to see in the draft text that Member States had resolved to address the situation by strengthening the contribution of science and research in advancing sustainable forest management.  He was also delighted to note that Member States had resolved to advance research in forest-related capacities with potential technical and financial support from developed countries.  The science and technology major group hoped the resolution could be translated into concrete actions in the multi-year programme of work, and that innovative and field-level initiatives could be considered as fundamental building blocks on which further programmes could be built.  He also urged international donors, Governments and financial institutions to follow-up on the resolution by making the much-awaited trust fund a reality.

BILL STREET, representing the workers and trade unions major group, pointed out that the non-legally binding instrument draft omitted the role of labour, implying that trees planted and harvested themselves, without any reference to workers.  Not surprisingly, it also did not mention International Labour Organization conventions, though members of the Forum also belonged to that agency’s governing body.  While labour standards were absent, demands for equitable benefit featured prominently, giving calls for sustainable forest management a somewhat hollow ring.

He said that, when private investors sought to undermine and evade their commitments by outsourcing their work and converting workers into independent contractors, poverty would not be reduced, benefits would not be shared equitably and development goals would not be met.  What benefits could accrue if workers were unable to send their children to public schools or to provide them with health care?  Several portions of the text implied that trade was more important than the work that went into it, while the social pillar of sustainable forest management seemed to be less important than the other pillars.  The presence of free and independent social institutions like unions could act as a countervailing power against unregulated business interests.

Delegations’ Responses

The representative of the United States welcomed the views of the major groups and their involvement, not only in the Forum, but also at the regional and international levels.

The representative of Germany, on behalf of the European Union, also welcomed their involvement, but said there should be no expectation of negotiations on the basis of the presentations by the major groups.

The representative of Uruguay said he would take into account the presentation by the workers and trade unions, because his delegation had held discussions in similar terms.  Part of the problem was how to refer to the major groups, which were sometimes described as stakeholders in terms of Agenda 21, or as “certain stakeholders”.  The non-legally binding instrument should include the issues raised by the workers and trade unions.

The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania said additional mechanisms would be required regarding the question of financing, noting that various project promoters in his country needed to know how to deal with funding other than donor aid.

The representative of Senegal acknowledged that there was a great deal to be done in terms of taking into account the interests of all stakeholders.  However, one major group -- local authorities -- were never mentioned; although, in some countries they had the legal power to manage their own affairs.  They should also have their say in the Forum.

The representative of Panama said his country was mainly occupied by indigenous groups and much of its efforts went towards enabling them to share the benefits of their own forests.  Panama’s forestry policy was currently being reviewed by indigenous groups and a dialogue would be held on how to manage them.

The representative of Australia noted the absence of business and the private sector, adding that someone from that sector would be joining his delegation for the next stakeholder dialogue.  There had been considerable variation in how groups made their presentation, particularly that of the workers and trade unions, which did not include specific recommendations.

The representative of Switzerland agreed on the need for more precise recommendations and expressed the hope that the major groups would participate in the working group negotiations.  The major groups should be integrated into deliberations, and the dialogue with them included in the report.

The representative of Malaysia asked how much participation the major groups should have in the negotiations.  Perhaps delegations could engage them at home, since there were too many subjects to be included in the non-legally binding instrument draft.  Regarding traditional knowledge, it should be discussed in the context of the multi-year programme of work.

Responding to the discussion, Mr. SAMANGUN said it was important for non-governmental organizations and indigenous peoples that their concerns be taken seriously and reflected in the non-legally binding instrument.  Many of his colleagues were unsatisfied with the Forest Forum and did not support its work.  A strong instrument would be the best argument for involving non-governmental organizations and indigenous peoples in the Forum’s work.

Mr. STREET referred delegates to the original draft of the ad hoc expert group, which recognized that forestry had a legacy of abusing both natural and human resources.  It was important for the Forum to address those issues also.  Addressing the issue of timber certification systems, he said the Malaysian timber certification system led the world, in that it codified critical International Labour Organization conventions in its entire chain of custody.

Mr. YAPI said the science and technology major group was not calling for additional text.  He had, however, encouraged Member States to act to solve the situation for them.  The Forum was on the right track.  He hoped the resolution would be translated into action on the ground. 

The representative of the Dominican Republic supported Switzerland’s proposal, saying it was important to rescue the values of equity and social justice with relation to forest workers.

Croatia’s representative stressed the importance of inputs from major groups, noting also that the discussion on different certification systems should continue in the future.

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