6 May 2015
Eleventh Session, 5th Meeting (AM)

Forest Forum Heads into Negotiations on Draft Declaration, Resolution Setting Out Elements for Post-2015 Arrangement, Possible Global Fund, Technical Advice Body

The Chair of the United Nations Forum on Forests today described the contours of the draft ministerial declaration and draft resolution that the policy body planned to send to the Economic and Social Council for adoption, following the close of its eleventh session on 15 May. 

“The declaration and the resolution are complementary outcomes, which, together, set the stage for a strong and effective International Arrangement on Forests beyond 2015”, said Chair Noel Nelson Messone (Gabon).  “They should be mutually reinforcing, but distinct outcomes,” he said, telling Member States it was now up to them to engage in negotiations on the drafts and arrive at a successful outcome.  The bureau, he added, had worked to address all States’ concerns and had made efforts to build on areas of convergence.

Describing the elements of the draft ministerial declaration, he said its first section outlined a shared vision on the benefits of forests and their contribution to sustainable development.  It recognized the Forum’s role in addressing those issues and integrating forests into the post-2015 agenda.  The second section outlined ministerial commitments to, among other things, develop a strategic plan for the International Arrangement on Forests from 2017 to 2030, enhance major groups’ participation in that framework and strengthen countries’ monitoring, assessment and reporting.

The third section, he said, was a “call to action” for the parties to the Rio Conventions — especially the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – which should consider the Forest Instrument as the integrated reference framework for related climate-change mitigation and adaptation. Likewise, participants in the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity were called on to strengthen the Forum’s involvement in forest-related work.

Describing the 13-part draft resolution, the Chair explained that section I would extend the International Arrangement on Forests to 2030 and outline the Arrangement’s objectives and define its components.  “This is the first time that the components of the [International Arrangement on Forests] are being defined.”  Section II would define the future modalities of the Forum — it would remain a Council subsidiary body and still meet biennially, but for one week in the “even years”. It also contained proposals for strengthening the Forum, notably by establishing a committee on implementation and technical advice, which, among other things, would provide guidance on funding.

He said section III dealt with the non-legally binding instrument on forests beyond 2015, by which the Council would extend the Global Objectives on Forests to 2030, rename the Instrument and replace references to the Millennium Development Goals with sustainable development goals.  Section IV — catalysing implementation and financing — would have the Council establish either a Global Forest Fund under the Forum’s auspices, or a voluntary strategic trust fund, to support the “upgraded facilitated process” and implementation of a strategic plan.

By section V — monitoring assessment and reporting — the Council would designate the Forum as the primary body to contribute to the follow-up of forest-related sustainable development goals.  The Forum secretariat would be requested to submit a quadrennial global publication on implementation of the non-legally binding instrument.  The Forum would establish a “global forest indicators partnership”. 

Section VI suggested ways to strengthen its secretariat, he said, including through additional responsibilities, while section VII contained proposals for enhancing the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.  Section VIII offered ways to strengthen the Forum’s collaboration with regional and subregional organizations.  By Section IX, he said, the Council would strengthen major groups’ participation in the Forum, and by section X, decide that the Forum should develop a strategic plan for the 2017 to 2030 period and ensure it was carried out through quadrennial work programmes.  The content of that plan would be adopted at a special session in 2016.

Rounding out the resolution, he said, section XI proposed a mid-term review of the International Arrangement on Forests in 2024 and a final review in 2030.  Section XII would have the Council establish a body that, for one year, would propose ways to follow up on issues referred to it by the Forum’s eleventh session.  It would meet up to three times in 2016.  Section XIII addressed the provision of adequate resources for the resolution’s implementation beyond 2015.

Following his remarks, the representatives of Peru and Iran spoke.

The United Nations Forum on Forests will reconvene at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, 8 May, to continue its eleventh session.

For information media. Not an official record.