The year 2016 witnessed major developments in connection with forestry issues. (1) United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) (A) Open-Ended Intergovernmental Ad-hoc Expert Group (AHEG) on the International Arrangement on Forests The AHEG was established by the UN Economic and Social Council pursuant to paragraph 48 of Resolution 2015/33. It was decided then to establish an open-ended, intergovernmental, ad hoc expert group to conduct two meetings in 2016 to develop proposals on issues mentioned under paragraph 44 of said resolution. The mandate includes: (1) the replacement of the reference to the Millennium Development Goals in paragraph 1(b) of the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests with an appropriate reference to the Sustainable Development Goals and targets and (2) the strategic plan for the period 2017–30 and the quadrennial program of work for the period 2017–20, consistent with section XI of the resolution. The first meeting of the expert group was held in New York on 25–7 April. Gholamhossein Dehghani (Iran) and Hans Hoogeveen (Netherlands) were elected as co-chairs. The meeting was attended by 101 government-designated experts from fifty-six countries, twenty-five experts designated by member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, other international and regional organizations, regional processes and major groups, and independent experts. The expert group adopted its agenda and program of work. It was noted that there would be no negotiated outcome and that the co-chairs would prepare a summary of the discussions. In fulfilling its mandate, it would take into consideration the views of, and proposals submitted by, member states and relevant stakeholders and the relevant provisions of the third International Conference on Financing for Development, the United Nations (UN) summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, and the twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The second meeting of the expert group was held in Bangkok on 24–8 October. It was decided in regard to the strategic plan that it should be called the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017–30. It should reflect holistically the forest-related work within the UN system. It should be clear, concise, workable, high-level, strategic, aspirational, and user-friendly, have enduring relevance through 2030, and provide an effective framework for the implementation of sustainable forest management by actors at all levels. It should address the fragmentation in global forest governance. The concept of voluntary planned contributions akin to nationally determined contributions under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement was also discussed. The group should seek to achieve the objectives of the international arrangement on forests and the global objectives on forests. It should avoid creating any extra reporting burden on member states. Targets should be time-bound, global, meaningful, ambitious, and balanced and enhance value with respect to existing internationally agreed targets. (2) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (A) Committee on Forestry (COFO) The twenty-third session of COFO was held on 18–22 July. It was attended by delegates from 125 countries and one member organization, representatives of fifteen UN agencies, and programs and observers from nineteen intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations. It welcomed and endorsed the publication of State of the World’s Forests 2016, whose theme was ‘Forests and Agriculture: Land Use Challenges and Opportunities.’ The report underscores the need for coherent policies on land-use change between forest and agriculture in light of recent international agreements, such as the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. In regard to food security, this can be achieved through agricultural intensification and other measures such as social protection rather than through the expansion of agricultural areas. In order to meet global priorities, there is an urgent need to accelerate progress towards achieving sustainable agriculture, food security, and sustainable forest management. Laws and regulations on land-use change should be clear and consistent with policy objectives. It requires good governance entailing effective institutions as well as a sound policy and legal framework. The institutional framework should encompass local communities, civil society organizations, and responsible private sector interests as well as government departments and agencies. The committee discussed the need for employing tools and techniques for forest-related indicators to strengthen forest data collection and to monitor progress towards sustainable development goals targets. The meeting also discussed the FAO’s Climate Change Strategy to consider a focus on forests in the nationally determined contributions and national adaptation plans. Furthermore, it endorsed the voluntary guidelines on national forest monitoring. It also formed a Working Group on Dryland Forests and Agrosilvopastoral Systems. Other issues that were discussed include funding opportunities for forests, forest landscape restoration mechanism, strengthening capacity building in forest education, conservation, and sustainable use of forest genetic resources, and reviewing progress made by the Regional Forestry Commissions and International Poplar Commission. The next meeting will take place in 2018. (3) International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) (A) International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) The fifty-second session of the ITTC and associated sessions of the committees (ITTC-52) was held in Yokohama, Japan, on 7–12 November. It adopted Decision 3(XVI), according to which the ITTO Secretariat is requested to notify members of any proposal to list internationally traded tropical timber species in the appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and to provide all relevant information regarding the proposal and the species concerned to members. The participants sought to review progress made in the 2015–16 Biennial Work Programme (BWP), as approved in Council Decision 2(L). This includes fifty-one activities grouped in accordance with the strategic priorities identified in the 2013–18 ITTO strategic action plan as well as routine administrative and financial activities. The total funding sought under the 2015–16 BWP is US $9,495,509. This is divided into US $7,698,159 sought in voluntary contributions and US $1,797,350 approved under the core budget. They further discussed the funding status of BWP activities seeking voluntary contributions by strategic priority. They sought to promote good governance and enable policy frameworks for strengthening sustainable forest management; increase the contribution of tropical forests to national and local economies; enhance the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in tropical timber producing forests; reduce tropical deforestation and forest degradation and enhance the provision of environmental services; improve the quality and availability of information on tropical forests, forest product markets, and trade; and build and develop human resource capacity to implement sustainable forest management and increase trade in forest goods and services from sustainably managed forests. The fifty-third session of the ITTC will take place in 2017 in Lima, Peru. (4) Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) (A) First Meeting of the UN-REDD Programme Executive Board This meeting was held on 28–9 June at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. This is the new main body of oversight, operational guidance, and decision making for the program. Its mandate includes the endorsement of the 2016–20 UN-REDD Programme Results Framework. The plan includes the selection of countries that will be supported through the different funding mechanisms of the new phase of the UN-REDD Programme and monitoring and reporting on progress in the countries. It consists of eight members, representing all stakeholders of the UN-REDD Programme. Official board members include three donor representatives, three UN-REDD Programme partner country representatives, one representative of the collaborating UN agencies, as well as one representative of the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office. In addition, one representative from indigenous peoples and one civil society representative serve as permanent observers. The main agenda item of the meeting was the program’s proposed multi-year work plan in support of the 2016–20 UN-REDD Programme Strategic Framework. Participants also discussed options for strengthening coordination and complementarity with other global initiatives supporting REDD+ and forest countries. (5) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (A) Thirteenth Conference of the Parties COP-13 to the CBD took place on 4–17 December in Cancun, Mexico. Thirty-four decisions were adopted. In particular, Decision XIII/7 deals with forest biodiversity and the role of international organizations in supporting the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. It takes into consideration the convergence among the forest-related Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the four Global Objectives on Forests, the forest-related provisions under the Paris Agreement, and the forest-related sustainable development goals, particularly Goals 6 and 15, as well as the International Arrangement on Forests. It is important for the implementation of the 2050 vision of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, as well as for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to bring more coherence, cooperation, and synergies among forest-related agreements. The need to take other initiatives to reduce forest loss and encourages parties, other governments, and all relevant organizations and stakeholders to take part, as appropriate, in their implementation, as a contribution to the achievement of the forest-related Aichi Biodiversity Targets, was underscored. It also encouraged other international forums, such as the UNFF and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, to take into account the Aichi Biodiversity Targets while preparing their work plans. Furthermore, state parties are encouraged, when developing and implementing their forest policy in the context of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and other forest-related multilateral commitments and goals, to take into account, as appropriate: (1) other land uses, including agriculture, green areas in urban spaces, livestock, and tourism; (2) climate change mitigation and adaptation; (3) disaster risk reduction; and (4) the impact of the unsustainable use of forests and to give due consideration to the conservation and sustainable use of natural forests and native vegetation and avoiding the potential negative impacts of afforestation of non-forest biomes. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yearbook of International Environmental Law – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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