193. We highlight the social, economic and environmental benefits of forests to people and the contributions of sustainable forest management to the themes and objective of the Conference. We support cross-sectoral and cross-institutional policies promoting sustainable forest management. We reaffirm that the wide range of products and services that forests provide creates opportunities to address many of the most pressing sustainable development challenges. We call for enhanced efforts to achieve the sustainable management of forests, reforestation, restoration and afforestation, and we support all efforts that effectively slow, halt and reverse deforestation and forest degradation, including, inter alia, promoting trade in legally harvested forest products. We note the importance of such ongoing initiatives as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries. We call for increased efforts to strengthen forest governance frameworks and means of implementation, in accordance with the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests, in order to achieve sustainable forest management. To this end, we commit to improving the livelihoods of people and communities by creating the conditions needed for them to sustainably manage forests, including through strengthening cooperation arrangements in the areas of finance, trade, transfer of environmentally sound technologies, capacity-building and governance, as well as by promoting secure land tenure, particularly decision-making and benefit-sharing, in accordance with national legislation and priorities.
194. We call for urgent implementation of the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests and the Ministerial Declaration of the high-level segment of the ninth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests on the occasion of the launch of the International Year of Forests.
195. We recognize that the United Nations Forum on Forests, with its universal membership and comprehensive mandate, plays a vital role in addressing forest-related issues in a holistic and integrated manner and promoting international policy coordination and cooperation to achieve sustainable forest management. We invite the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to continue its support to the Forum and encourage stakeholders to remain actively engaged in the work of the Forum.
196. We stress the importance of integrating sustainable forest management objectives and practices into the mainstream of economic policy and decision-making, and to that end we commit to working through the governing bodies of member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to integrate, as appropriate, the sustainable management of all types of forests into their strategies and programmes.
Report of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests on its fourth session
The Commission on Sustainable Development:
(a) Welcomes the report of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests on its fourth session and endorses the conclusions and proposals for action contained therein;
(b) Invites the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, as appropriate, to take action on the proposed terms of reference for an international arrangement on forests, as recommended by the Forum and contained in the appendix to chapter III of the report of the Forum on its fourth session, and as reproduced in the annex to the present decision;
(c) Invites the President of the Economic and Social Council to initiate, before the substantive session of 2000 of the Council, informal consultations on options for placing the United Nations Forum on Forests within the intergovernmental machinery of the United Nations system.
International arrangement on forests
1. The main objective of this international arrangement on forests is to promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end. The purpose of such an international arrangement would be to promote the implementation of internationally agreed actions on forests, at the national, regional and global levels, to provide a coherent, transparent and participatory global framework for policy implementation, coordination and development, and to carry out principal functions, based on the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Non-legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests (Forest Principles), chapter 11 of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF)/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) process, in a manner consistent with and complementary to existing international legally binding instruments relevant to forests.
II. Principal functions
2. To achieve the objective, this international arrangement on forests will perform the following functions:
(a) Facilitate and promote the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action as well as other actions that may be agreed upon, inter alia, through national forest programmes and other integrated programmes relevant to forests; catalyse, mobilize and generate financial resources; and mobilize and channel technical and scientific resources to this end, including by taking steps towards the broadening and development of mechanisms and/or further initiatives to enhance international cooperation;
(b) Provide a forum for continued policy development and dialogue among Governments, which would involve international organizations and other interested parties, including major groups, as identified in Agenda 21, to foster a common understanding on sustainable forest management and to address forest issues and emerging areas of priority concern in a holistic, comprehensive and integrated manner;
(c) Enhance cooperation as well as policy and programme coordination on forest-related issues among relevant international and regional organizations, institutions and instruments, as well as contribute to synergies among them, including coordination among donors;
(d) Foster international cooperation, including North-South and public-private partnerships, as well as cross-sectoral cooperation at the national, regional and global levels;
(e) Monitor and assess progress at the national, regional and global levels through reporting by Governments, as well as by regional and international organizations, institutions and instruments, and on this basis consider future actions needed;
(f) Strengthen political commitment to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests through: ministerial engagement; developing ways to liaise with the governing bodies of international and regional organizations, institutions and instruments; and the promotion of action-oriented dialogue and policy formulation related to forests.
3. To achieve the objective and to carry out the functions outlined above, the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly would:
(a) Establish an intergovernmental body which may be called the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF);
(b) Invite the executive heads of relevant organizations of the United Nations system and heads of other relevant international and regional organizations, institutions and instruments to form a collaborative partnership on forests to support the work of UNFF and to enhance cooperation and coordination among participants;
(c) Within five years, on the basis of the assessment referred to in paragraph 2 (e) above, consider with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests. This process could develop the financial provisions to implement any future agreed legal framework. The process could also consider recommendations made by expert groups (see para. 8 below) on the establishment of mechanisms on finance, technology transfer and trade;
(d) Take steps to devise approaches towards appropriate financial and technology transfer support to enable the implementation of sustainable forest management, as recommended under the IPF and IFF processes.
IV. Working modalities of UNFF
4. UNFF should be open to all States and operate in a transparent and participatory manner. Relevant international and regional organizations, including regional economic integration organizations, institutions and instruments, as well as major groups, as identified in Agenda 21, should also be involved.
5. UNFF would initially meet annually, for a period of up to two weeks, subject to the review referred to below. UNFF would have a high-level ministerial segment for two to three days, as required. The high-level segment could include a one-day policy dialogue with the heads of organizations participating in the collaborative partnership, as well as other forest-related international and regional organizations, institutions and instruments. UNFF should ensure the opportunity to receive and consider inputs from representatives of major groups as identified in Agenda 21, in particular through the organization of multi-stakeholder dialogues.
6. UNFF would work on the basis of a multi-year programme of work, drawing on the elements reflected in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Forest Principles, chapter 11 of Agenda 21 and the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
7. At its first meeting UNFF will adopt its multi-year programme of work and develop a plan of action for the implementation of IPF/IFF proposals for action, which will address financial provisions.
8. UNFF may recommend, as appropriate, the convening of ad hoc expert groups of limited duration, involving experts from developed and developing countries, for scientific and technical advice, as well as to consider mechanisms and strategies for the finance and transfer of environmentally sound technologies; and encourage country-sponsored initiatives, such as international expert meetings.
V. Institutional coordination and cooperation for implementation
9. The collaborative partnership referred to in paragraph 3 (b) above could build on a high-level informal group, such as the Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests, which would receive guidance from UNFF; facilitate and promote coordinated and cooperative action, including joint programming and submissions of coordinated proposals to the respective governing bodies; and facilitate donor coordination. Such a partnership would submit coordinated inputs and progress reports to UNFF, operate in an open, transparent and flexible manner, and undertake periodic reviews of its effectiveness.
10. A compact secretariat, comprised of highly qualified staff, constituted in accordance with established rules and procedures of the United Nations and strengthened through staff from secretariats of international and regional organizations, institutions and instruments, should be established to support the work described above.
VII. Financial support
11. The funding for the functioning of the arrangement should be mobilized from the regular budget of the United Nations, within existing resources, resources of organizations participating in the partnership and extrabudgetary resources provided by interested donors. Specific modalities would be determined by relevant bodies of the United Nations and the governing bodies of the other organizations concerned.
12. The international arrangement on forests should be dynamic and adapt to evolving conditions. Accordingly, the effectiveness of this arrangement would be reviewed in five years.