UNITED NATIONS FORUM ON FORESTS
NEW YORK, 18 March (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations Forum on Forests on Friday, 15 March, concluded its second session, which began on 4 March, by adopting the report of its session and eight draft decisions.
The Forum also decided that its third session would be held in Geneva from 26 May to 6 June 2003, and approved its provisional agenda for that session.
The Forum is the focus of global efforts to promote sustainable forest management. During this session it reviewed current trends and practices to determine what was working, what could be done differently, and how additional resources could be mobilized to stave off further deforestation and forest degradation. One of the Forum's primary goals is to increase the political commitment of countries to forest issues.
Adopted this afternoon were draft decisions on: combatting deforestation; forest conservation and protection of unique types of forests and fragile ecosystems; rehabilitation and conservation strategies for countries with low forest cover: rehabilitation and restoration of degraded lands and the promotion of natural planted forests, as orally amended; concepts, terminology and definitions; proposed revision for medium-term plans; and specific criteria for the review of the effectiveness of the international arrangements on forests.
Under other matters, in another draft decision, the Forum's Secretariat was asked to assist countries in preparing their voluntary reports, by developing a suggested format that would serve as a basis for countries to use, and report on the implementation of the relevant proposals for action at the third session of the Forum.
Also this afternoon, the Forum decided to transmit the report on the draft terms of reference for the three ad hoc expert groups to its third session.
Hossein Meybodi, Chair of Working Group I, and Patricia Chavez (Costa Rica), Chair of deliberations on the establishment of ad hoc expert groups, made statements today. Stefan Leiner (European Community) briefed the Forum on the outcome of negotiations on specific criteria for the review of effectiveness of the international arrangements on forests.
The representatives of Australia, Iran, Venezuela (on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China), Spain (on behalf of the European Union), United States, Brazil, Canada and South Africa also spoke.
In a second meeting this afternoon the Forum elected the following four officers for its third session: Matia Mulumba Semakula Kiwanuka (Uganda), on behalf of the African Group; Hossein Meybodi (Iran), on behalf of the Asian Group; Peter Choca (Hungary), on behalf of the Eastern European Group; and Conceicao Ferreira (Brazil), on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group.
At the opening of the two-week session, the Chairman, Knut Ølstad (Norway), and Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), made opening statements, as did the Chairman of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), Hosny El-Lakany. The partnership was established in April 2001 in response to a request of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to enhance cooperation and coordination of activities. Ivan Šimonovic (Croatia), President of the Economic and Social Council, and Jagmohan Maini, head of the Secretariat of the United Nations Forum on Forests, made statements, as well.
In addition, from 13 to 14 March, a ministerial segment was held, chaired by Juan Mayr Maldonado, Colombia's Minister of the Environment, which included a dialogue session with heads of member organizations of the CPF.
During the last two weeks the Forum deliberated on the following issues: multi-stakeholder dialogue; enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination; country experience and lessons; emerging issues; relevant country implementation; inter-sessional work; monitoring, assessment and reporting; promoting public participation; national forest programmes; trade; and enabling environments.
Other officers of the second session were Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria), Ana Patricia Chavez (Costa Rica) and Alexey Kornienko (Russian Federation).
Ms. Chavez also served as Vice-Chair/Rapporteur. In addition, Moeini Meybodi (Iran), the candidate of the Asian Group, was elected to the Bureau. Mr. Meybodi and Mr. Anaedu were the Chairs of Working Groups I and II respectively.
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