Concerned about Forest Degradation, Ministers in Forum Commit to Sustainable Management of Woodlands to Reap Rewards of Poverty Reduction, Food Security

ENV/DEV/1519
14 May 2015
Eleventh Session, 8th & 9th Meetings (AM & PM)

Concerned about Forest Degradation, Ministers in Forum Commit to Sustainable Management of Woodlands to Reap Rewards of Poverty Reduction, Food Security

Capping two days of high-level debate, ministers in the Forum on Forests today pledged to promote the significance of forests in the post-2015 development agenda, reaffirming that the sustainable management of the world’s woodlands was vital to addressing other global challenges — from poverty eradication and economic growth to food security, gender equality and climate change.

“We underscore that forests and sustainable forest management provide multiple benefits for the lives and well-being of people across the planet,” stated ministers gathered from around the world in a four-page declaration adopted at the end of the Forum’s high-level segment.  “We are deeply concerned about the continued deforestation and degradation of forests in many regions and underscore the need to reverse this trend.”

By the text, entitled “International arrangement on ‘The forests we want:  beyond 2015’”, ministers responsible for forests pledged to cooperate internationally and bilaterally to address the drivers of deforestation and degradation, including by promoting secure land tenure rights and stakeholder participation.

By other terms, they committed to implement sustainable forest management, taking into account different visions, approaches, models and tools, and to integrate commitments contained in the non-legally-binding instrument on all types of forests into poverty reduction strategies, national sustainable development plans and sectoral policies.  To address the drivers of deforestation and degradation, they would adopt cross-sectoral approaches and foster collaboration, with a view to increasing the valuation and recognition of the full value of forest goods and services.

Further, they would review and, as needed, improve forest-related legislation, strengthen forest law enforcement and promote good governance, creating an enabling environment for forest investment as well as to eradicate illegal practices.

Looking ahead, they invited the Third International Conference on Financing for Development to consider funding for sustainable forest management as a priority.  They asked the Forum, finance institutions and the private sector to ensure that investments considered the role of forests in poverty eradication and sustainable development.  Similarly, they proposed that the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) consider forests’ importance in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

“We resolve to meet again to further strengthen the Forum, to review progress on the implementation of the post-2015 international arrangement on forests and to explore options to further strengthen sustainable forest management at all levels,” they declared.

The Declaration’s adoption was part of a busy day, which featured two round table discussions.  During the first, on “The integration of forests in the post-2015 development agenda”, speakers highlighted the importance of forests to this year’s major conferences:  the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, the United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference.  In the second panel, on “Renewed commitments to the implementation of the international arrangement on forests beyond 2015”, speakers stressed the need for more cooperation in ensuring sustainable forest management.  Many urged the Forum to seek new partners to achieve progress on the ground.

In the afternoon, the Forum held a high-level dialogue on “Transformative Partnerships for Forests, beyond 2015” with the heads of the member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), heads of the regional organizations and senior representatives of major groups. 

Delegates also concluded their general debate on the theme “The future international arrangement on forests we want”, with speakers identifying opportunities for protecting and preserving the environment and reaffirming the principles outlined in the 1992 Rio Declaration, from which the Forum traced its roots.

The Forum will reconvene at 11 a.m. Friday, 15 May, to conclude its eleventh session.

Round Table I

The Forum started the day with two round table discussions.  The first, on “Integration of forests in the post-2015 development agenda”, was co-chaired by Noel Nelson Messone (Gabon), Forum Chair, and Christian Schmidt, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture of Germany. 

Opening the discussion, Mr. MESSONE said the issue of forests had not been fully included in the new development agenda, which was concerning in light of their economic, social, cultural and environmental role.  “It is very important that, on the eve of the adoption of the post-2015 agenda, we mobilize so that the question of forests is properly taken into account,” he said.  Forests were equally important for the new climate change agreement.

In the ensuing interactive discussion, ministers and other senior officials agreed that forests were crucial for effectively implementing the sustainable development goals currently being negotiated, especially draft goal 15, which some said required both North-North and South-South collaboration in areas of capacity building and technology transfer.

Findings from the Forum’s eleventh session should feed discussions on the goals’ forest-related targets.  A comprehensive approach highlighting forests’ role in reducing poverty, improving human health and fostering sustainable livelihoods would elevate the status of all types of forests in the broader development processes. 

Many emphasized the decisive nature of 2015, with “transformative” outcomes expected in July, September, and December from, respectively: the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, the United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference.  The Forum’s eleventh session must send strong message to the post-2015 agenda process, making clear forests’ importance to the major outcomes.

In that context, Lithuania’s delegate advocated the integration of sustainable forest management — as related to forest resources, forest health and forests’ protective, social, cultural and economic roles — into sustainable development, which could create coherence among forest-related endeavours.  Those issues must be properly addressed in the Forum’s ministerial declaration and resolution.

Others said the integration of forests into global development processes was linked to doing so in national development plans.  For example, said South Africa’s delegate, his Government’s 2020 plan outlined opportunities for rural communities to participate in the economy, as well as in social and cultural life.

The representative of the Netherlands urged a focus on the drivers of deforestation:  the nexus between agriculture and deforestation and that between forests and climate change.  Collaborative and well-financed partnerships should be forged with the private sector and non-governmental organizations.

Along with charting its own agenda, the International Arrangement on Forests should be aligned with the post-2015 processes, said Indonesia’s delegate, so it could better advance sustainable forest management.  Goals and actions must be deliverable.  The Third International Conference on Financing for Development should address means of implementation for financing, technology transfer and capacity-building, while the Climate Change Conference should yield more political commitment. 

The future International Arrangement on Forests, others said, should contribute to the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the forest-related components of the new agenda.  With that in mind, China’s representative pressed States to ensure that the forest instrument was used to implement the forest-related sustainable development goals.

Many others advocated strengthening the Forum’s mandate and scope.  Raising the persistent issue of financing, the representative of Fiji asked whether the Forum secretariat would have the resources needed to take advantage of its central role and “make things happen” beyond 2015.

“We cannot end extreme poverty without addressing deforestation and desertification,” said the representative of the United States.  The international community must better advocate the links between forests and safe water, food and human health.  It also must find ways to better integrate sustainable forest management into economic policy.  “We have the responsibility to ensure that our communities have the framework they need to take action.”

Summing up the discussion, Mr. SCHMIDT said participants had underlined that forests were multifunctional and must be included comprehensively in the sustainable development agenda, especially as they related to climate change.  Other calls were made for the Forum to be aligned with post-2015 process and to cooperate with other institutions.

Also speaking today were representatives of Malaysia, Iran, Guinea, Gabon, Senegal, Venezuela, France, Argentina, Congo, Zambia, Ghana, Cameroon and Mauritania.

A representative of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora also addressed the Forum.

Round Table 2

The second round table, on “Renewed commitments to the implementation of the international arrangement on forests beyond 2015”, was co-chaired by Mr. MESSONE and IVAN VALENTIK, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Environment and Head of the Federal Agency for Forestry of the Russian Federation.

Opening the discussion, Mr. VALENTIK described the Forum’s eleventh session as having the potential to contribute significantly to advancing the integration of forests in the broader context of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.  It had been repeatedly confirmed in recent years that the future International Arrangement should be able to better ensure sustainable management of forests, a task that would require political commitment and action on financing and coordination with other sectors.

Mr. MESSONE said that while the first round table considered the “hows” and the Forum’s role, the second would complement the deliberations by focusing on what commitments could be offered in support of a more effective, influential and proactive post-2015 International Arrangement.

During the interactive discussion, several speakers stressed the need for accelerating international cooperation in ensuring sustainable forest management.  The representative of Zambia stressed the importance of such cooperation in scientific and technological matters, especially in the context of emerging challenges of climate change and their impact on forests.

The speaker from Switzerland, stressing the need to strengthen coordination and mainstream activities and approaches, said national delegations that came to the Forum with a single voice on forest issues should be able to leave with a single voice.

The issues of indicators and financing also featured prominently during the discussion.  The representative of Malaysia said eco-tourism had emerged as an important economic sector around the world, which should merit inclusion as a criterion and indicator in the context of sustainable forest management.

Fiji’s delegate said the broadening of global commitments on forests in the context of the post-2015 agenda would require new resources.  The establishment of a global forest fund would be an important step in that regard.

Some speakers urged the Forum to seek new partners to achieve progress on the ground.  The representative of the Netherlands stressed the need for more active involvement of the private sector and non-governmental organizations, which had emerged as key drivers in other sectors.

Sweden’s representative, agreeing that greater involvement of major stakeholder groups would ensure smarter implementation and integration of the Forum’s objectives and goals, said the new International Arrangement should also address important issues like gender equality, land tenure and job creation.

The speaker from Venezuela said sustainable forest management should be strengthened through South-South cooperation, which, however, did not mean a diminution of the commitment of developed countries.  Calling for greater participation of indigenous people in all processes of protecting and preserving forests, she said indicators needed to be appropriate to the contexts and realities of developing countries.

Also speaking today were the representatives of China, Spain, Canada, Guinea, Czech Republic, Norway, Gabon, South Africa, Cameroon, Cambodia and Jamaica.

Representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization, Central African Forest Commission, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan also spoke.

Statements

FABIOLA MUNOZ DODERO, Executive Director of the National Forest and Wildlife Service of Peru, speaking for the Organization of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty, supported the full sovereignty of countries over their resources and collective action of local communities in order to ensure harmonious and integrated development.  The sustainable development of Amazon communities was central to mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.  There must be a mobilization of additional resources and the creation of local capacity to use them.  The organization was a model of effective cooperation, she pointed out, emphasizing the need to include the role played by regional and subregional organizations in the resolution that was being adopted.

NOEL NELSON MESSONE, Minister for Forest, Environment and the Protection of Natural Resources of Gabon, spoke for the “Forest 11 Group” of countries which hold the largest tropical forest basins (Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Peru and Suriname) and associated with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China.  He said the debate centred on the multiple values attached to forests, whose vast potential had yet to be realized, and the creation of economic opportunities was “far from optimal”.  The future arrangement should address the drivers of deforestation and degradation.  He supported renewed political commitment on sustainable forest management, urging the Forum to address its seven thematic elements.  Existing, new and emerging forest financing should be explored, and obstacles to mobilizing and accessing those funds tackled.  The arrangement must also reflect the various development and capacity levels among countries, in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

The representative of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan said that the benefit of those two products was well-recognized in many countries, but their full potential had not yet been tapped.  Many of the direct beneficiaries of bamboo economies were the millions of people now living in the world’s least developed countries, especially in the global South.  Those economies created new jobs, boosted household income in rural areas, and helped communities adapt to pressures of climate change.  They were also used to rapidly restore severely degraded lands.  The Network hoped that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Forest Resource Assessment would facilitate a knowledge base, stimulate inter-country learning, and provide policy advice.  Apart from ecosystem services, bamboo’s ability to rapidly reduce soil erosion had “vast commodities”, and could provide village-level energy and raw material for many small households.  The Forum should take note of the benefits of bamboo and rattan, and the Network and its members stood ready to help.

Ms. MULLER, Food and Agriculture Organization, said that in order to remain relevant, activities aimed at sustainable forest management needed to establish stronger links with other sectors and include a broader range of stakeholders, putting people at the centre.  Forests were explicitly considered in two draft goals and were closely related to the others, she said, stressing that the global objectives should be responsive to new developments on the ground.  FAO’s new cross-cutting framework enhanced its ability to contribute to the development of a new and effective International Arrangement.  Measuring progress would require reliable data, which the organization was developing by building on the knowledge base it had already acquired.

Mr. LASCANO (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that as custodians of a region rich in diversity, the group’s member States had identified synergies and opportunities for environmental protection and preservation, reaffirming the principles established in the Rio Declaration.  The Community firmly believed that the International Arrangement had the potential to play an important role in ensuring humanity’s existence in harmony with nature.  Furthermore, the Community believed collective action of local people to be at the core of conservation efforts.

The Forum should be maintained as a unique venue to partake, learn and share practical measures, he said.  However, the uncertain budget of the Secretariat created uncertainty.  Sustainable development would be strengthened through effective resource mobilization via North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.  The Forum and its decisions had an important role in that regard.

FEH MOUSSA GONE (Côte d’Ivoire), associating with the Group of 77 and China, said that his country had worked to protect forests through innovative projects, education and awareness campaigns, sustainable policies, and legal safeguards.  Negotiations on a voluntary partnership with the European Union formed part of the country’s engagement with the international community.  Accordingly, it had revised its national forest code to integrate it better with international and regional processes.  That revision was also aimed at ensuring better knowledge of causes of degradation and better solutions.  He underscored Côte d’Ivoire’s commitment to put at least 20 per cent of the land under forest cover.  He stressed the need to ensure proper mobilization of resources and improve existing mechanisms in order to make real progress on the ground and expressed hope that the meeting would adopt a declaration of considerable political scope.

Mr. DEUSDARA (Brazil) said the Forum’s comprehensive mandate and universal membership provided the basis for more effective action on the protection and preservation of forests.  Fifty-four per cent of Brazil was covered by forests, which provided a multiplicity of benefits and also presented key challenges.  The country’s national forest inventory provided information required to craft proper public policies, which were buttressed by appropriate legal measures.  Through sustainable management, forests could help balance economic as well as environmental imperatives in a holistic manner for the present and future generations.

CHRISTIAN FRIIS BACH, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, said the region’s forest area was increasing and sustainable management was expanding fast.  The Commission had been working jointly with the FAO for 60 years in a partnership to help member States monitor the situation of forests and their sustainable management, and to implement the integrated work programme for forestry and timber.  The shared goal was to develop the forest sector in a green economy which contributed to the improvement of human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities and ensuring efficient resource use.

MILENA SOSA SCHMIDT, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, said the treaty helped States achieve sustainability in their forest use.  Today, international trade in 600 tree species fell under the Convention’s control, with more than 400 of them traded for their valuable timber and non-timber forest products.  The Convention’s work with the International Tropical Timber Organization had delivered results for people living in forest regions, individual species and entire forest ecosystems.  To date, it had supported nearly 80 activities in 15 countries.  Those projects included help towards achieving sustainability with the harvest and export of mahogany from Peru, the African cherry from Cameroon and ramin and agarwood from Indonesia and Malaysia.  Unfortunately, illicit trade in plants and animals was occurring at an industrial scale through well-organized transnational criminal networks.  Combating them required a more coordinated international response.

EMMANUEL ZE MEKA, Executive Director, International Tropical Timber Organization, said people’s livelihoods and forests were closely linked, with many of the 1.6 billion relying on forests living in the tropics.  The majority of terrestrial biodiversity depended on tropical forests.  They were a high priority in addressing global challenges.  His organization was developing policy tools and had implemented more than 1,000 projects in the tropics.  Sustainable forest management required a participatory and adaptive approach with “landscape” perspectives.  “This is the IAF I want,” he said.  Sustainable forest management required an enhanced facilitative process, strengthened collaborative partnership, and participation of more major groups and other stakeholders in the Forum.

MOSTAFA JAFARI, Secretariat of the Tehran Process for Low Forest Cover Countries, said dry land forest and forestry, mainly located in arid and semi-arid regions, were important vegetation types that must be properly addressed in the future International Arrangement.  Low forest-cover countries had a range of lands, holding the potential for afforestation, tree plantation and “tree-out-of-forest” efforts.  Least developed countries, low forest-cover countries and small island developing States were most vulnerable to climate change and required support in order to implement adaptation and mitigation programmes.  The Forum was a good platform for concluding negotiations on the future International Arrangement, based on the Forum’s proposals and prior outcomes.

Right of Reply

Exercising his right of reply, the representative of Israel cited concerns about a “deeply political” statement made yesterday by the Palestinian representative.  In a discussion on deforestation, he had exposed the core reason why the conflict had not been solved:  Palestinians’ lack of willingness to recognize Israel’s existence since 1948.  In a meeting on environmental protection, he should have mentioned the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas, which had caused forest fires and damaged grazing fields and fauna.  Blazes set by Palestinian terrorists had consumed acres of forestation.  Making trees a target for terror affected the lives of everyone in the area.  Palestinians should promote good governance and live by the rule of law.

The observer of the State of Palestine said Israel’s main task was to defend the most insolent phenomenon:  occupation.  Yesterday, he had not dwelled on political aspects.  Rather, he had spoken of his peoples’ intention to protect forests and the earth and the challenges they faced.  Settlers were the reason behind the destruction of Palestinian lands and the limits set on resources — violations that had been documented by international organizations.  The fires set by settlers on the mountain of Suleiman in Nablus Governorate were still ablaze, he added, showing that once again, Palestinian forests were suffering under Israeli occupation.

Action on Ministerial Declaration

To a burst of applause, the Forum then adopted the Ministerial Declaration entitled “International arrangement on ‘The forests we want: beyond 2015’”.

Dialogue

Also this afternoon, the Forum held a high-level dialogue on “Transformative Partnerships for Forests, beyond 2015” with the heads of the member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), heads of the regional organizations and senior representatives of major groups. 

Opening the dialogue, Mr. MESSONE said working in partnership was critical to realizing a stronger International Arrangement.  The success of the post-2015 agenda would require mobilizing essential actors, key constituencies and the broader global citizenry.  When it came to forests, an integrated approach that involved all three pillars of sustainable development was needed.  What was envisioned was a future in which economies benefited people and forests, where forest-based services underpinned green economics, and where forest-dependent communities benefited from social systems that reinforced human rights, equality and sustainability.  The future Arrangement was achievable, as the international community recognized the challenges and possessed proven solutions.  With willing and committed partners, forests could be sustainably managed for the well-being of all everywhere.

THOMAS GASS, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that during the two-year preparatory process for the Forum, there were consistent calls for greater seriousness about forests, which transcended boundaries in terms of economic and social benefits.  Similarly, institutional boundaries must be surpassed, as collective action created transformative change.  Building a strengthened International Arrangement on Forests was a shared responsibility and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs worked in close cooperation with the institutions represented at the high-level dialogue.

BRAULIO F. DE SOUZA DIAS, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said the exceptionally high biodiversity of forests made them critical to the parties’ work.  Communication on biodiversity had improved in recent years, he said, adding that forest-related targets were explicit parts of international sustainable development commitments.  The next Conference of Parties meeting would review strategic actions on national implementation, in particular mainstreaming activities across critical sectors, to avoid further loss of biodiversity.  Also important was policy coherence across the relevant groups.

EMMANUEL ZE MEKA, Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization, said the role and support of Collaborative Partnership would be crucial in the psot-2015 agenda.  His organization endorsed called for a stronger funding mechanism.  The post-2015 sustainable development goals should explicitly recognize the role of sustainable forest management, especially the value of healthy timber production and trade.  It was essential that criteria and indicators be widely agreed in order to achieve efficient reporting.

ELLIOT HARRIS, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said open and adaptable partnerships were essential for the follow-up to the International Arrangement.  UNEP was part of the “UN-REDD” programme, providing technical support to 60 partner countries.  It was working with the Global Environmental Facility to promote the restoration of more than 100 million hectares in the so-called “Bonn Challenge”, as well as with the Climate Change Convention’s Standing Committee to attract more private investment in forests.  Further, UNEP had been invited by Governments to analyse private-sector incentives pertaining to forests.  Restoring 15 per cent of degraded lands could reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 1 gigatonne per year.  UNEP’s mandate on forests had been recently strengthened at the United Nations environment assembly, which mandated it to reinforce awareness-raising about the trade in illegal wildlife products and, among others, timber.

GUSTAVO FONSECA, Director of Programmes at the Global Environmental Facility, said forest loss and degradation, combined with the impacts of climate change and desertification, highlighted the mismatch between development trajectories and the capacity of the world’s ecosystems.  The Forum was uniquely placed to highlight forests’ relevance in the sustainable development goals.  As such, it must work to strengthen forests’ role in national development schemes.  Also, “forest silos” must be broken down, with agriculture and finance actors playing a stronger role.  Noting that the Fund had supported forests since its inception, he said that since 2009, it had responded to the Forum’s invitations with support for sustainable forest management.  It would provide $750 million to help countries manage all types of forests over the next four years.  As a financing mechanism for the Rio outcomes, the Fund was a ready-made platform to support the future International Arrangement.

EVA MULLER, Director of the Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division of FAO, said her organization, as chair of the Collaborative Partnership, had carried out its activities based on its comparative advantages in a variety of areas.  The initiatives on streamlining and harmonizing reporting had helped reduce the burden on countries and ensured the quality of data.  FAO was committed to continue its constructive work in the Partnership, which had the potential to become a major instrument in developing the post-2015 agenda.

JOHN PARROTTA, Vice President for Task Forces, Special Programmes, Projects and IUFRO-led Initiatives of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, stressed the need to incorporate forests more explicitly in the post-2015 agenda.  Development of forests would need holistic and synergistic approaches based on cooperation and collaboration with other sectors.  Through its global and regional network of scientists, his organization was well-placed to provide high-quality information and advice to the Forum.

STAN NKWAIN, Deputy Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said deforestation and degradation threatened 1.6 billion people who depended on healthy forests for their livelihoods.  He welcomed the inclusion of targets on the sustainable use of forests among the new development goals, as well as the near-universal recognition that climate change would not be limited to 2° C without action to restore the world’s forests.  Through various partnerships, including with the REDD programme, UNDP had promoted the sustainable management of forests, delivering $700 million in programming, which helped to strengthen forest governance, include indigenous peoples in decision-making, and provide grants to forest-dependent communities, as well as engage in advocacy to address forest issues.

NARINDER KAKAR, Permanent Observer of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) to the United Nations, said the organization had collaborated on forest landscape restoration and the generation of forest-related tools.  For example, its partnership with the Center for International Forestry Research was improving the way that forest knowledge was understood and used to inform policy and practice.  It was working with UN-REDD to assess landscape restoration potential.  With the Convention on Biological Diversity secretariat, the Union was building the capacity of parties to support the “Bonne Challenge”.  The Union’s 1,269 State and non-governmental members, and its network of 45 offices, could be leveraged to support the International Arrangement and help countries implement forest-related targets.

NANDHINI IYER KRISHNA, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Liaison Office, New York, said the land and forest agendas were twin faces of the same coin.  Forests preceded civilization and deserts followed them, she said, pointing to the range of challenges in the post-2015 agenda.  Climate change was exacerbating land degradation, plunging millions into poverty, while demand for food was increasing.  “Land degradation neutrality” could be achieved through collective partnerships in a cost-effective way.  Dry forests could hold the key to food security and advance the post-2015 agenda.  Parties to the Convention could reach out to other organizations on developing more relevant indicators on land use.

TIFFANY HODGSON, Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said the Paris agreement, to be reached later this year, was poised to provide a global compass for a stable and secure future.  Developed countries needed to scale up partnership by providing greater resources and complement the work done by their developing counterparts.  Coherence and coordination were needed across processes, including the green climate fund.

JOSEPH COBBINAH, Forestry Research Network for Sub-Saharan Africa, speaking for the major groups, said those stakeholders represented diverse perspectives, including voices that had been marginalized at the national level.  They created awareness of the implications of policy decisions.  There was a pressing need to raise the profile of forests in the international arena and ensure that Governments were accountable in their commitments to sustainable forest management.  Highlighting three areas critical to the future Arrangement, he advocated a mechanism that supported implementation on the ground.  On the issue of financing, he said the facilitative process must be made more effective. Strengthening stakeholder engagement was also important.  Major groups were well-placed to address the link between ground realities and the sustainable development agenda, as their local networks had the expertise to carry out sustainable forest management.  The future International Arrangement should apply the modalities of the High-Level Political Forum as they related to the involvement of major groups.

Interactive Discussion

In the ensuing interactive discussion, the representative of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora requested that the draft resolution on the International Arrangement include her organization in the list of international stakeholders.

The representative of the Montreal Process, an intergovernmental informal working group for sustainable management of forests comprising 12 countries, highlighted the activities of her organization.

The speaker from Malaysia, stressing the need to strengthen global financing for forests, expressed appreciation for the role the Collaborative Partnership had played on forest conservation in his country.

The representative of Fiji said the broad nature of the sustainable development goals required a new mode of addressing national capacity and expanding the role of stakeholders.

For information media. Not an official record.