27 April 2017
Seventy-first Session, 79th Meeting (AM)

General Assembly Adopts 2 Resolutions Establishing Six-Point Framework for Halting Deforestation, Forest Degradation

Meeting Also Designates 21 April as ‘World Creativity and Innovation Day’

The General Assembly today adopted the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030, a wide-reaching six-point framework aimed at halting deforestation and forest degradation, while also designating 21 April “World Creativity and Innovation Day”.

Acting without a vote on the recommendation of the Economic and Social Council and its Forum on Forests, the Assembly adopted a draft resolution titled “United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030” (document A/71/L.63), as well as a related text titled “United Nations forest instrument” (document A/71/L.64).  In addition, it adopted a draft resolution on “World Creativity and Innovation Day” (document A/71/L.61/Rev.1), also without a vote.

“Forests are essential for poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation, food security, sustainable economic opportunity and much more,” said Marc-André Blanchard (Canada), as he introduced the text on the Strategic Plan for Forests.  Speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Bureau of the United Nations Forum on Forests, as well as the representative of a country whose economic, social and cultural fabric was closely linked to forests, he said the Strategic Plan represented a “major milestone”.  It launched a new business model for the Forum which would now be mandated to support the Global Goals on Forests.  Indeed, today’s adoption would send a strong and positive signal about the powerful role forests could and must play in humans’ collective future.

Peng Youdong, Vice-Minister for State Forestry Administration of China, explained his delegation’s position following the adoption, emphasizing that the Strategic Plan represented a new political commitment on the part of the international community on and laid out “new and historic responsibilities” for global sustainable forest management.  Describing his country’s efforts towards that end, he said the global forest mechanism should be further strengthened to provide new and additional financial resources for the Strategic Plan’s implementation, especially by developing countries.  Countries should announce voluntary contributions and take concrete actions to achieve the global forest goals, he added, also calling for enhanced cooperation among the forest-related United Nations bodies, conventions and other international organizations.

Russel Singer (United States), reiterating his delegation’s position as stated at the Strategic Plan’s adoption in both the United Nations Forum on Forests and the recent Economic and Social Council session, emphasized that all actions outlined in the Plan were voluntary and did not alter rights enjoyed under international law.  On goal 2.2 of the Plan — which sought to increase the access of small-scale forest enterprises, particularly in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets — he stressed that the World Trade Organization (WTO) was the appropriate forum to deliberate such matters.  The Strategic Plan did not alter any aspects of WTO commitments, including on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights.  The United States also disassociated itself with the Strategic Plan’s language on the transfer of technology, including in paragraphs 15 and 56(b), he said.

Inga Rhonda King (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) introduced L/61/Rev.1 on World Creativity and Innovation Day, declaring:  “Few attributes of human performance have as much impact on our lives, and our world, as creativity.”   Outlining recent research exploring the role of creativity in problem-solving and innovation, she said both developed and developing countries were now embracing the idea that creative capital was humankind’s most valuable asset.  Calling for the deployment of creativity in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she voiced her delegation’s solidarity with the more than 80 other co-sponsors supporting the designation of 21 April as World Creativity and Innovation Day.

The Assembly will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.

For information media. Not an official record.