Concluding Current Session, Forest Forum Approves Draft Resolution to Strengthen International Arrangement on Forest

27 Feb 2006


Concluding its sixth session, the United Nations Forum on Forests approved a draft resolution late Friday night to strengthen the international arrangement on forests.

By the terms of that text, the Economic and Social Council would agree that the international arrangement on forests would enhance the contribution of forests to implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, the Johannesburg Declaration and Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, bearing in mind the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development, as well as the achievement of other international development goals.

Also under that provision, the international arrangement would encourage and assist countries with low forest cover to develop and implement conservation and rehabilitation strategies, increase the area of forests under sustainable management, and reduce forest degradation and the loss of forest cover, in order to maintain and improve their forest resources with a view to enhancing the benefits of forests to meet present and future needs, particularly those of indigenous peoples and local communities, whose livelihoods depended on forests. Under the draft's terms, the arrangement would also strengthen interaction between the Forum and relevant regional and subregional forest-related bodies, instruments and processes, with participation of major groups, as identified in Agenda 21 and relevant stakeholders, to facilitate enhanced cooperation and effective implementation of sustainable forest management, as well as to contribute to the Forum's work.

The Chair's draft text listed four global objectives on forests: to reverse the loss of forest cover worldwide through sustainable forest management, including protection, restoration, afforestation and reforestation, and increase efforts to prevent degradation; to enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits, including by improving the livelihoods of forest-dependent people; to increase significantly the area of protected forests worldwide and other areas of sustainably managed forests, and increase the proportion of forest products from sustainably managed forests; and to reverse the decline in official development assistance for sustainable forest management and mobilize significantly increased new and additional financial resources for the implementation of sustainable forest management.

By other terms of the text, the Economic and Social Council would agree that countries, taking into account national sovereignty, practices and conditions, should make all efforts to contribute to the global objectives through the development or indication of voluntary national measures, policies, actions or specific goals.

The Council would also urge countries to make concerted efforts to secure sustained high-level political commitment to strengthen the means of implementation, including financial resources, to provide support in particular for developing countries, including least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States, and countries with economies in transition in order to achieve the global objectives. Countries were urged to promote sustainable forest management by reversing the decline in official development assistance (ODA) and by mobilizing and providing significant new and additional resources from private, public, domestic and international sources.

Prior to the Forum's approval of the draft text, the representatives of the United States, Venezuela and the Russian Federation made statements in explanation of position.

Following approval of the text, the Forum heard statements by the representatives of Austria (on behalf of the European Union), Chile, Cameroon (on behalf of the African Group), Mexico, Brazil (on behalf of the Amazon countries), Costa Rica (on behalf of the Central American Integration System), Canada, Cambodia (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations), Indonesia (on behalf of the Asian Group), India and Malaysia.

In a separate action, the Forum approved for adoption by the Economic and Social Council a draft decision recommending that the General Assembly's sixty-first session proclaim 2010 as the International Year of Forests.

The Forum also adopted the report on its sixth session and the provisional agenda for its seventh session, which it decided would meet from 16 to 27 April 2007.

Holding the first meeting of its seventh session, the Forum elected Cristian Maquieira, Director of the Environment, Law of the Sea and Antarctic Affairs in Chile's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Hamidon Ali, Malaysia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as Vice-Chairmen of that session.