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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Opening session

Agenda Item 3 – Assessment of Progress made in the Implementation of the NLBI and towards the achievement of the 4 GOFs

Agenda item 4 – Regional and sub regional inputs

Agenda Item 5 – Forests and Economic Development

Agenda Item 6 – Emerging issues, combined with

Agenda Item 9 – Means of Implementation for Sustainable Forest Management

Agenda Item 8 – Enhanced Cooperation and cross-sectoral policy and programme coordination, including the provision of further guidance to the CPF

Agenda Item 8 – Trust fund

Closing session 

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Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States 

By

H.E. Mr. Béla Szombati,

Delegation of the European Union to Turkey  

Tenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests

Istanbul, 8 April 2013

 Opening Session  

Mister Chairman, Under Secretary General, President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.

The acceding country Croatia aligns itself to this statement  

1.      Mr. Chairman, the EU and its Member States congratulate you on being elected as Chairman of the tenth session of UNFF and express their conviction that the two weeks of work ahead of us will benefit from your leadership. The EU and its Member States thank the Government of Turkey for its generous offer to host the tenth session of UNFF in the historic city of Istanbul. We recognise the importance that Turkey attaches to forests and sustainable development and also its commitment and contribution to effective and inclusive multilateralism, including in forestry, which the EU and its Member States fully support.

2.                   We also thank the UNFF Bureau and Secretariat and the members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, for their preparatory work for this important session of UNFF on forests and economic development. Indeed, based on an innovative preparatory process at different levels, we now have in front of us outcomes of expert meetings, quality background documentation and a rich programme of events over the coming weeks. These constitute a solid basis for our deliberations over the next two weeks.

3.                  Mr. Chairman, the EU and its Member States wish to underscore the importance of the main theme of UNFF10 which is “Forests and Economic Development”. The contribution that the forestry sector makes to national GDP and the employment and income benefits that accrue for people and organisations engaged in forest-based enterprises is significant and is increasingly recognised. Forests and sustainable forest management can make a significant contribution to the transition to a green economy in support of sustainable development and poverty eradication. This contribution goes beyond the traditional cash value of forest based industries.

4.                  Forest products and forest ecosystem services provide informal, non-cash benefits which play a central role in the livelihoods of many men and women living in rural areas. Forests and trees outside of forests contribute to low-income households and they provide wider societal benefits in the form of inter alia; access to clean water, protection from natural disasters, carbon storage and biodiversity conservation.

5.                  The EU and its Member States would like to stress that in order to allow governments to better manage the challenges, opportunities and trade-offs that arise from the growing and competing demand for a range of goods and services, there is a strong need to maintain efforts towards better forest governance, including through the adoption of integrated landscape/land use approaches, better reflection of the multiple benefits of forests and wide stakeholder participation. These competing demands include raw materials, food, land,  bio-energy and water.

6.                  The EU and its Member States see the forest instrument as a key tool in order to assist governments to coordinate national and international efforts to this effect. The EU welcomes the opportunity at this session to discuss the implementation of this Instrument and to share experiences on progress made and best practices in its implementation.

7.                  Mr Chairman, in 2015 the Forum will review the effectiveness of the International Arrangement on Forests. That same year, we expect to agree on several other international processes with far reaching implications on forests such as the Rio+20 follow up, the post-2015 Development Agenda, the anticipated new climate change agreement etc. We look forward to discussing and considering a clear roadmap that will ensure that the next session of the Forum can make an informed decision in accordance with its mandate. The review process and its timetable should be fully consistent and coherent with the other major global processes and should seek to benefit from the synergies which clearly exist with them.

8.                  The EU and its Member States would also like to reiterate the continued need to strengthen international cooperation and action on forests at all levels, inter alia by taking advantage of synergies and facilitating policy coherence, active cooperation and coordination with other forest-related conventions, agreements and processes. The EU and its Member States see this as a core function of the Forum and also of the CPF. We welcome the on-going collaboration between the UNFF secretariat and the other secretariats of the Rio Conventions and with international organizations such as the FAO, the Global Environmental Facility and the ITTO.

9.                  We welcome the initiatives for and the outcomes from the various intersessional activities which have taken place in support of UNFF over recent years. We hope that, subject to the availability of resources, this will continue in the post UNFF10 intersessional period; as such initiatives remain important.

10.              On forest financing, the EU and its Member States would like to highlight the successful work carried out by the Facilitative Process and we would like to see its work continuing for the next intersessional period. We would also like to acknowledge the important work already undertaken especially through the AHEG meetings and we would like to further thank all CPF organizations for the support that they have provided to this process. The work of the AHEG, which it is worth noting was called for by this Forum by consensus, has demonstrated that there is no easy, single solution to the existing problems of forest financing. Gaps and barriers continue to impact on the effective mobilisation of resources particularly from domestic sources and from the private sector. The EU and its Member States consider that financing for sustainable forest management should continue to come from a range of complementary sources; public and private, domestic and foreign, bilateral and multilateral. We note that the outcome of the work of the AHEG does not provide us with sufficient, conclusive evidence that the establishment of new forest-specific financing mechanisms, such as a global forest fund, can at this stage help us in addressing the multiple challenges of financing for SFM. The EU and its Member States look forward to a constructive discussion on means of implementation, aiming at a meaningful and balanced decision which is acceptable to all Parties.

11.              Mr. Chairman in conclusion, let me assure you that the EU and its Member States look forward to contributing constructively to the deliberations of this session. ???? 

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Tenth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests

Istanbul, 8 – 19 April 2013 

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States 

Agenda Item 3 – Assessment of Progress made in the Implementation of the NLBI and towards the achievement of the 4 GOFs 

 

Mr Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.

The acceding country Croatia aligns itself to this statement. 

1.                  The EU and its Member States appreciate the report of the Secretary-General and the information it contains (E/CN.18/2013/2). We thank those countries and regional and sub-regional entities which submitted detailed reports in the new reporting format.

2.                  We would like to thank the Secretariat, the FAO and other members of the CPF for their work on the development of a streamlined reporting format which provides for greater clarity of information and targeted reporting by concentrating on key issues. This work should continue towards the further improvement of the reporting format.

3.                  Mr Chairman, the EU and its Member States continue to see the Forest Instrument as an important tool to promote comprehensive approaches to SFM and a notable milestone in the international forest policy dialogue. In this respect, we welcome the strong efforts of those countries engaged in pilot projects and wish to thank FAO and the donors who supported them. The experiences gained through the pilot cases are very promising and provide valuable guidance to other countries. They have demonstrated that using the Forest Instrument can help countries to systematically analyse their forest related policies and enables them to make decisions on priority actions.

4.  Mr Chairman, forest policy developments in EU Member States are substantially in line with the provisions of the Forest Instrument. In this regard, EU Member States’ implementation measures include national forest programmes (NFPs) or equivalent policy processes which are regularly updated and monitored. The EU and its Member States are also currently negotiating with other countries in the Pan-European region a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe, which will potentially contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Forest Instrument in the region.

5.  The EU and its Member States welcome the reduction in the global rate of deforestation in the last decade, as documented by the FAO (FRA 2010). We welcome the continued increase of forests in protected areas and in sustainably managed forests. However, we remain concerned that the rate of deforestation still remains at a high level. Therefore, the achievement of the first Global Objective on Forests is far from being reached. The continued loss of primary forests due to over-exploitation and/or conversion to other land uses remains a major concern which also undermines progress on the 3rd Global Objective on Forests. Unfortunately, significant differences remain in the observed trends across regions and type of forests. In this respect, we welcome the actions taken by the vast majority of reporting countries and regional and sub-regional entities towards strengthening their institutional, legislative and policy framework for SFM, and we once again would like to underline the usefulness of the Forest Instrument in promoting comprehensive and cross-sectoral approaches to this end.

6.  While there is an ever increasing recognition of the role of forests in contributing to economic development and poverty eradication objectives, further efforts need to be made towards better valuing the multiple social and environmental benefits of forests and promoting a strengthened role for forests in achieving the MDGs and in enhancing livelihoods of forest dependent people in accordance with the Global Objectives on Forests.

7.  Concerning the 4th Global Objective on Forests, the EU and its Member States take note that the 2012 Study on Forest Financing prepared by the Advisory Group on Finance (AGF) of the CPF showed a significant increase in ODA disbursement for SFM, but we are aware that gaps and challenges in this area remain, particularly for LDCs, SIDS and African countries, and these issues need to be addressed. In this context, we stress that domestic public funding remains by far the most important source of funding for the forest sector and further effort is required at the national level to establish adequate frameworks for supporting SFM. There still remains a vast untapped potential for further mobilization of resources from the private sector and for improving synergies between already existing finance mechanisms. We look forward to discussing this subject in greater detail during this session under the agenda item 9 on Means of Implementation.

8.  Mr Chairman, let me conclude by reiterating that the EU and its Member States see the reporting on the implementation of the Forest Instrument as an important monitoring tool and that continued efforts should be made by the UNFF secretariat towards further streamlining of the reporting format, in collaboration with countries, international and regional organizations, and the CPF. Lessons learned from the reporting process should feed into the review of the effectiveness of the International Arrangement on Forests. We encourage countries to continue to engage in activities related to the implementation of the Forest Instrument and invite CPF organization and donors to support further pilot projects and capacity building activities on the implementation and reporting of the Forest Instrument.

Thank you for your attention. 

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Tenth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests

Istanbul, Turkey, 8-19 April 2013 

Statement of behalf of the European Union and its Member States 

Agenda item 4 – Regional and sub regional inputs

 

 

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.  The acceding country Croatia aligns itself to this statement. 

1.                  Mr. Chairman, the EU and its Member States thank the UNFF Secretariat for the preparation of this important agenda item.

2.                  At regional level, the European Union and its Members States have been working on a range of activities aimed at further strengthening sustainable forest management. One of these activities is related to the evaluation and the review of the European Union Forest Strategy. This strategy serves as a vehicle for collaboration and further development of policies at European level related to and affecting forests and, when reviewed, will be implemented through a Forest Action Plan.

3.                  This year we also celebrate the tenth anniversary of the European FLEGT Action Plan, which sets out a programme of actions that serve as the European Union´s and its Member States´ response to the issue of illegal harvesting and trade in associated timber products. The Action Plan aims to provide financial and technical support and advice to timber-producing countries through the development of bilateral partnership agreements to improve and enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits of these countries.

4.                  The most recent development is the entry into force of the European Union Timber Regulation, EUTR, which prohibits the placing of illegally harvested timber on the EU market. With this new legal requirement, the European Union and its Member States aim to ensure that only legally sourced timber, based on the laws of the country of harvest, is placed on the European market. We also recognize the progress made thus far on FLEGT throughout different regions and countries. We are open to exploring possibilities and options for fostering FLEGT and related actions and approaches at global level.

5.                  It is worth noting that on the basis of the Forest Europe regional process, an intergovernmental negotiation process on a future legally binding agreement on forests in Europe was launched in Oslo in 2011. The negotiation process is expected to conclude in June of this year. The results of these negotiations will be presented to an extraordinary Forest Europe Ministerial Conference to be held in Spain later this year. With this draft agreement, Europe aims to strengthen multifunctional and sustainable forest management implementation across the region in order to work against fragmentation of forest-related issues.

6.                  The EU and its Member States very much look forward to finalising these regional negotiations, which will eventually contribute to the implementation of the forest instrument and towards the achievement of the four Global Objectives on Forests, in order to provide inputs for the review and possible options for an international forest arrangement by 2015.

7.                  The countries and the European Commission have been engaged, on a voluntary basis, with the Forest Europe process, which has until now been providing a regional policy framework on forests in Europe. Under this regional process, we and our regional partners follow a shared vision, related goals and 2020 targets, inter alia through the Forest Europe work programme. In addition, we are happy to note the successful cooperation between the European Forestry Commission of FAO and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. In this respect, we welcome the ongoing preparation of the UNECE/FAO Green Economy Action Plan.

8.                  The EU and its Member States welcome south-south cooperation; an example of which is that which has been positively demonstrated within the Facilitative Process. Also in Europe we have many platforms for sub-regional cooperation which address sustainable forest management such as the Nordic Council of Ministers, Barents cooperation as well as within EU several macro-regional strategies have been developed in recent years. EU and its Member States welcome more active involvement of sub-regional cooperation engagement in global forest policy dialogue, in particular in preparation for UNFF11.

9.                  Mr. Chairman, we look forward to a fruitful exchange on this matter and to learning and deepening our understanding of activities in other regions. 

Thank you very much for your attention.

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Tenth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests

Istanbul, 8 – 19 April 2013 

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States 

Agenda Item 5 – Forests and Economic Development

 

 

Mr Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,           

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.

The acceding country Croatia aligns itself to this statement. 

1.                  The European Union and its Member States thank the secretariat for the quality of the documents provided under this agenda item. The main theme of this 10th session of the UNFF, “Forests and economic development”, covers a fundamental component of sustainable forest management (SFM) and highlights the fact that, as amply recognized in the Rio+20 outcome document, forests are an important pillar of the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The EU and its Member States wish to underline the importance of national strategies which aim to  utilise the full potential of forests. This should also take account of innovation and job creation opportunities arising from new wood-based product developments in renewable energy, textiles, packaging and the processing of composite materials.

2.                  Mr Chairman, it is increasingly recognized that the significant contribution that the forestry sector makes to national GDP and national economies represents just the tip of the iceberg of the contribution of forests to economic development.

3.                  While the cash value of forests is easily quantifiable when looking at traded goods such as wood, pulp and paper, the picture becomes much more complex when it comes to calculating the cash value of forest activities in the informal sector and/or non-wood forest products, for which systematic data is often not available. Policies tend to be focused towards maximising the well-known cashable functions of forests while they often undervalue other important forest goods and services. This needs to be addressed.

4.                  Forests also provide a range of ecosystem services that guarantee access to clean water, protection from natural disasters, carbon storage and climate regulation, biodiversity conservation, etc. For millions of forest-dependent people, forests provide a safety net and a pathway out of poverty, and this should be fully recognized.

5.                  In a world in which climate change is expected to dramatically increase the frequency and intensity of extreme events, sustainable forest management can contribute both to climate change adaptation – by increasing resilience and reducing the vulnerability of communities – and to climate change mitigation by enhancing carbon stocks, by sequestering CO2 in sustainably harvested wood products and by substituting fossil fuel usage.

6.                  The EU and its Member States would also like to highlight the importance of urban forests and trees, in the context of their protective functions, energy supply, clean air, and the general need to maintain green spaces for social and recreational purposes. Greater recognition of these issues is increasingly important, particularly considering that half of the world population is urban-based and this proportion will increase rapidly in the future. A challenge for forest policy makers, communities and urban planners is to link forest governance with the governance of cities and to address the loss and fragmentation of natural spaces resulting from urban extension. At international level, programmes to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and provide support to such processes could be initiated.

7.                  Based on the report and further considerations, the EU and its Member States would like to especially highlight the following: 

a)      The multiple values of forests need to be better reflected in national accounts, as well as in national, regional and international policy-making. To this end, further efforts should be made by all stakeholders and at all levels to improve data collection, communication and exchange of information, and valuation methodologies to build a more solid knowledge base on the full range of economic benefits of forests to inform policy making. 

b)      This cannot be achieved in the absence of continued efforts towards a strengthened enabling environment. Adequate policy, legislative and institutional frameworks, aimed at improving governance and law enforcement remain a pre-requisite to the full realization of the potential of forests to contribute to local and national economic development.

c)      Inclusive and participatory governance models that allow for gender equality and the active participation of all relevant stakeholders should be promoted at all levels in sustainable forest management and its related policy processes, particularly in the case of local people. 

d)      Gender equality is an important aspect of forests in economic development at all levels. The EU and its MS call upon countries to further develop national gender equality strategies which promote application of the same conditions, rights and opportunities for women and men to work and be active in the forest sector. 

e)      In order to fully address the challenges, opportunities and trade-offs that the growing demand for raw materials, food, land, bio-energy and water is posing on the world’s forests, governments need to fully recognize that SFM cannot be achieved by addressing forests in isolation. Integrated approaches should be widely promoted and the potential for national forest programmes and equivalents to serve as a platform to foster multi-sectoral and cross-institutional collaboration should be further recognized. High-quality information and knowledge need to be made available to the full range of actors involved in national forest programmes processes. Effective mechanisms for this often still remain lacking. The EU and its Member States see the Forest Instrument as another key tool in order to assist governments to coordinate national and international efforts to this effect. 

8.      Mr Chairman, let me conclude by saying that the EU and its Member States are looking forward, at this session, to considering the development of a Resolution on forests and economic development which takes account of the follow-up to Rio+20. We also propose that the Resolution should include the following important points:

a)      recognise the contribution of forests and the forest sector in economic development and the opportunities that forests and the forest sector can play in a green bio-based economy; and

b)      encourage further work on the economic dimension of sustainable forest management by countries, organisations and stakeholders. In particular, our wish is that such further work should consider

      (i) the multiple products and services provided by forests,

      (ii) whole value chain including value added products and services,

      (iii) ecosystem services (valuation and payments),

      (iv) innovation of new bio-based products and services,

      (v) opportunities for employment and rural development,

      (vi) good governance and cross-sectoral cooperation,

      (vii) the importance of the private sector in the context of increased investments,

      (viii) integration of forests into urban planning and related investments.

 9.      The Resolution should provide clear policy guidance and direction to UN members, member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, as well as other relevant international organisations and stakeholders. 

Thank you for your attention.

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Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States

At the

Tenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests

Istanbul, 8-19 April 2013 

Agenda Item 6 – Emerging issues

 and

Agenda Item 9 – Means of Implementation for Sustainable Forest Management

______________________________________________ 

 

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.

The acceding country Croatia aligns itself with this statement. 

The EU and its Member States thank the Secretariat for the comprehensive background documents prepared for these crucial agenda items. We believe that those are among the most important agenda items at this session and look forward to constructive discussions with others. 

Considerations on agenda item 6): Emerging issues 

1.                  Rio+20 has put in place several parallel processes that, in combination with the on-going work on the definition of a post-2015 UN Development Agenda, will contribute to form by 2015 a new overarching institutional and policy framework for sustainable development. We are also witnessing some important developments on forest-related matters in the context of other fora, such as the climate change, biodiversity and desertification conventions. This new, emerging institutional and policy landscape will have significant implications on international forest policy and to the future of UNFF. It will be important to ensure that sustainable forest management continues to be adequately considered in this landscape.

2.                  At UNFF11, member states are scheduled to review the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests and they will decide on its future. We need to take note of interconnections as they apply to this broader policy framework on sustainable development; and we need to ensure that future arrangements on forests will be coherent with the broader post-2015 overarching framework. Such an approach will provide for new challenges and opportunities for international forest policy.

3.                  The EU and its Member States consider it to be vital that concrete, transparent and inclusive steps clearly emerge from this session in order to ensure that UNFF11 can make an informed decision in accordance to its mandate.

4.                  We support the proposal to establish an ad hoc expert group and other inter-sessional activities to review the various aspects, components and options for any future international arrangement on forests and we look forward to discussing its mandate and plan of work with others. In our view, the two-year review process could include the following steps and elements:

  •     Analysis of international arrangement on forests facilitated by the CPF members.
  •     An ad hoc expert group at global level to include an analysis of the current international arrangement on forests by country and by major group representatives as well as to identify possible options and implications for the future.
  •     Preparation of background papers and facilitation by the Forum secretariat.

Possible country-led-initiatives (CLIs), region-led-initiatives (RLI) and organization-led (OLIs) could also be considered in order to complement the process.

5.                  In light of the outcome of Rio+20, we encourage Member States to consider the importance of including the sustainable management of natural resources, including forests, as an important principal for Sustainable Development Goals and for the post-2015 UN development agenda. We also see the need for the UNFF Secretariat and the CPF to follow-up these considerations, in close cooperation with other UN actors, and for them to regularly provide information and updates to UNFF National Focal Points on relevant matters throughout the inter-sessional period between UNFF10 and UNFF11.

Mr Chairman,

6.                  The EU and its Member States see as another important emerging issue the on-going work by the World Bank on natural capital accounting and by the UN Statistical Commission on “beyond GDP”. We find the concept of “natural resources accounting” interesting, in particular when promoting renewable natural resources such as forests and wood. Our wish is to engage in open discussions at this session in order to explore ways and means by which the member states, with the support of CPF organizations, can directly benefit from such initiatives. We would like to see a request from this session to the UNFF Secretariat to provide us with additional information on planned work scheduled over the next two years on this emerging matter and its relationship to forests.

We look forward hearing views from other partners and for fruitful discussions on this important agenda point.

Considerations on agenda item 9): Means of Implementation for Sustainable Forest Management

1.                  The EU and its Member States would like to thank the Secretariat for its valuable preparatory work for this agenda item. We would also like to thank the co-chairs and all members of the Ad-Hoc Expert Group on Forest Finance (AHEG) for their excellent work and the FAO and other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forest (CPF) for arranging the Organization-Led Initiative (OLI) on forest financing. The EU and its Member States feel that the comprehensive reports before us offer a good basis for further work at this Session. Mr. Chairman, over the past years, the international community has made great progress in recognising the global role of forests in contributing to economic development and poverty reduction, as well as in delivering a range of ecosystem services such as mitigation of and adaption to climate change, biodiversity conservation and combating desertification. Consequently, new policies and programmes have emerged which provide new opportunities for financing investments and additional revenues for sustainable forest management, the achievement of the Global Objectives on Forests and the implementation of the Forest Instrument.

2.                  The SFM/REDD+ programme of the GEF provides broad access to funding for all eligible countries and all types of forest for all thematic elements of SFM.  In addition, a number of global forest finance instruments have been established in recent years in the context of climate finance (the Green Climate Fund, the FCPF, the FIP, REDD+, and the UN REDD programme). Parties to the CBD have also committed to double by 2020 resources for biodiversity conservation (including on Forests). The recently launched Forest & Farm Facility (FFF) hosted by the FAO will support not only national and sub-national governments, but also directly work with smallholders, communities and indigenous peoples. Several international institutions, instruments and organizations, including members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, have improved their forest-related work and resource mobilization. International cooperation on forest governance and law enforcement with the objective to eliminate illegal harvesting and related trade and improve revenues from sustainable forestry has been strengthened. Promoting coherence and synergies across these different programmes and instruments addressing various aspects of Sustainable Forest Management remain the priority for the EU and its Member States.

3.                  The landscape for forest financing has evolved considerably since previous UNFF sessions, and it should also now be considered in the light of other major international processes such as the follow-up to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development and to the International Conference on Financing for Development. In line with what has been agreed by the international community in these processes, the EU and its Member States would like to stress the need to reinforce coherence and to avoid a duplication of efforts through an integrated approach to the various Means of Implementation aspects of the Rio+20, the post-2015 development agenda and other relevant processes.

4.                  Mr Chairman, the European Union and its Member States have engaged actively in the inter-sessional work of the Forum on the issue of Means of Implementation not only by contributing to the AHEG, but also by participating and providing financial support for the Facilitative Process. This work has contributed to strengthening our knowledge on ways and means of improving financing for forests. Nonetheless, significant gaps in knowledge remain concerning domestic public funding and private investments towards SFM. Given that both of these sources play a predominant role in forest financing, further work may be needed to better understand these crucial financial flows.

5.                  The EU welcomes the significant increase in the overall amount of ODA resources available for SFM documented in the 2012 Study on Forest Financing of the Advisory Group on Finance of the CPF. At the same time, we take note that, notwithstanding the progress made to date, gaps and barriers to financing for SFM still exist, particularly for certain groups of countries. Limited capacity, inadequate institutional and policy frameworks, persistent difficulties in including forests as a priority in national development plans and poverty reduction strategies continue to hinder the ability of many countries to fully take advantage of available resources and existing mechanisms. The EU and its MS are already investing significant amounts to assist developing countries in SFM implementation through a number of bilateral and multilateral instruments with an increased focus on LDCs, Africa, and SIDS, and remain committed to do so in the future.

6.                  Nonetheless, The European Union and its Member States are of the opinion that financing for SFM should continue to come from a range of complementary sources; public and private, domestic and foreign, bilateral and multilateral. We would like to emphasize that the role of ODA can only be catalytic and that ODA is most effective when delivered in accordance with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in support of the objectives set in recipient countries’ poverty reduction strategies and other national development plans and sectoral policies.

7.                  The importance of establishing an adequate enabling environment at the national level in order to scale up financing for SFM can hardly be over-emphasized. In particular, there is a great potential for mobilizing new and additional financing in the private sector through an enabling regulatory and investment-friendly environment (including good governance, efficient law enforcement and secure tenure and user rights). To this end, the European Union and its Member States are supporting partner countries in their efforts to improve enabling conditions through the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan.

8.                  At international level, existing financial mechanisms should be encouraged, through their governing bodies, in order to aim for greater coherence and to make further efforts towards simplified access and reduced reporting and administrative burden. Opportunities from other relevant sectors should be fully tapped into through integrated approaches.

9.                  Mr Chairman, the work of the AHEG has demonstrated that there is no easy, single solution to existing problems of forest financing. Addressing effectively the problems of forest financing requires engaging in a wide range of activities that includes both the mobilisation, access and effective use of funds for investments, as well as the generation of additional revenue streams based on the payment of forest goods and services. The expert groups have identified a range of proposals and recommendations on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of existing international and national instruments. However, there is a need to streamline the set of recommendations that are before us and prioritize those that have the greater potential and can be easily implemented between now and UNFF11. In this respect, we note that the work of the expert group does not provide us with sufficient, conclusive evidence that the establishment of new forest-specific financing mechanisms, such as a global forest fund, can at this stage help us in addressing the multiple challenges of financing for SFM.

10.              Mr Chairman, let me conclude by saying that the European Union and its Member States welcome the positive review of the role of the Facilitative Process reflected in the Secretary General’s report and acknowledge its potential significant contribution to address many of the existing gaps and barriers to SFM financing. Enhancing countries’ access to finance and investment opportunities via capacity building activities and resource mobilization platforms could be some of the activities to be further elaborated within the Facilitative process over the next biennium.

11.              The European Union and its Member States will continue to engage constructively during this Session in the work on means of implementation, aiming at a meaningful decision that should be acceptable to all Parties. 

Thank you for your attention.

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Tenth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests

Istanbul, 8 – 19 April 2013 

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States 

Agenda Item 8 – Enhanced Cooperation and cross-sectoral policy and programme coordination, including the provision of further guidance to the CPF

 

Mr Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.

The acceding country Croatia aligns itself to this statement.

1.      The European Union and its Member States welcome the Report of the Secretary General on the matter of “Enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination, including further guidance to the Collaborative Partnership on Forests”, as well as the report by the secretariat of the Forum on the activities carried out by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests since the 9th session of UNFF. We would also like to thank the secretariat for the note on the International Year of Forests, 2011 and on the related lessons learned.

2.      The EU and its Member States would like to emphasise the importance of the role of the Forum in addressing forests-related issues and promoting international cooperation on sustainable forest management and other forest-related items of the different programmes, processes, institutions, organisations and instruments. We recognize and appreciate the active role of the Secretariat of the Forum in this respect, as well as the continued efforts of the other member organizations of the CPF to enhance cooperation and coordination on forests.

3.      We would like to acknowledge in particular the active engagement of the Forum Secretariat and of the CPF in the context of fundamental processes such as the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development and the work on the post-2015 UN Development Agenda. We welcome the fact that the Rio+20 outcome document, The Future We Want, fully recognized the significance of forests for addressing the challenges of sustainable development. It also underlined the role of the forest instrument, the role of the UNFF and that of the CPF. The EU and its MS urge the UNFF secretariat, in cooperation with other CPF organizations, to continue to follow closely these important processes which after all will determine the overall global framework for sustainable development and the UN development agenda with a view to ensuring that forests are adequately taken into consideration.

4.      We also welcome the on-going collaboration of the UNFF secretariat with secretariats of the Rio Conventions on integration of SFM in their respective programmes of work, the active engagement with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the organisation of Forest Days during the UNFCCC COPs, and the close cooperation with the FAO on a range of issues, particularly support to the implementation of the forest instrument and reporting. The importance of this work for an effective implementation of the forest instrument and the strengthening of forests’ role in the achievement of global development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, is beyond any doubt.

5.      The EU and its Member States would also like to highlight the important contribution of country, region and organisation led initiatives to support the work of the UNFF. We would like to thank the countries and organisations that have recently hosted or funded such initiatives. The outputs of these initiatives will allow the Forum to make informed decisions on the main theme of this session.

6.      We welcome the collaborative work undertaken by the UNFF secretariat, CPF organizations, member states, regional processes and major groups which contributed to making the International Year of Forests 2011 a powerful platform to strengthen awareness of the multiple roles of forests with policy makers and the general public. We would like to invite the member states, stakeholders and partnerships that mobilized themselves around the IYF to continue their outreach activities to promote SFM worldwide and to support the yearly celebrations for the International Day of Forests on 21 March, as recently declared by the UN General Assembly.

7.      We believe that the Collaborative Partnership on Forests is an important element of the international arrangement on forests and it plays a key role in supporting the work of the Forum through enhanced cooperation and coordination among its member organisations. We welcome the significant increase in the number of outputs delivered by the Partnership in the past 2 years.

8.      Strengthening capacities for reporting on the forest instrument is of high importance in order to help understand and promote the role of forests and sustainable forest management worldwide. We welcome the work undertaken by the CPF on this matter and also the increased number of submitted national reports. We also invite the CPF to continue its work on streamlining reporting formats taking into account recent forest-related decisions adopted at different international fora, in particular the decisions adopted by the COP11 of the CBD which set a target for increased reporting on biodiversity financial flows. We invite the FAO to take into account the indicative list of indicators for the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, when carrying out future global forest resources assessments.

9.       We also would like to express our appreciation to the CPF for its fundamental contribution through its Advisory Group on Finance, to the work of the Ad Hoc Expert Group on Forest Finance and for arranging the organisation led initiative meeting in September 2012 in Rome. We invite CPF member organizations to continue to support the UNFF process and in particular to engage pro-actively in the preparations for the 2015 review of the effectiveness of the international arrangement on forests, taking into full consideration the broader and changing international environmental governance architecture. We count on the CPF member organizations to continue exploring opportunities for further cooperation in advancing sustainable forest management in relation to the work of the individual CPF members and potential needs or demands for further collaborative action to further strengthen synergies. 

Thank you for your attention Mr Chairman.

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Check against delivery 

Tenth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests

Istanbul, 8 – 19 April 2013 

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States

on agenda item 10 Trust Fund

 

Mister Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States.

The acceding country Croatia aligns itself to this statement. 

The EU and its Member States welcome the report on the Forum Trust Fund, which makes the actions financed by the Trust Fund transparent to the wider Forum.

It reflects the importance of securing adequate resources to meet the instructions of the Forum. We note, through this report, that the Trust Fund has contributed significantly to the programme of work preparing for UNFF10. The EU and its Member States have been a major contributor, and we appreciate the commitments already made by others. At the same time, the EU and its Member States would seek to encourage additional support from other countries. 

Future reports could better make the link in reporting on the actions tasked by the Forum Resolutions as well as identifying resource gaps to make the reports more strategic. The report should also provide a better understanding of how the Trust Fund complements the core actions of the Secretariat and the associated link to the prioritization of its future work plans. 

However, in the future we need a clear plan which outlines expected results and which reports on efficiency and cost effectiveness. Such a plan will facilitate attracting additional resources to the Trust Fund. 

Mr Chairman, on a matter related to the Trust Fund, we do need an early indication of the financial implications of the envisaged actions and tasks to be assigned to the secretariat in the UNFF10 resolutions. We would therefore welcome clarification from the budget officer on these important matters during the plenary. 

Finally, we thank the Executive Director for addressing in her presentation some of these matters such as the identification of resource gaps and other strategic issues. We are grateful for this information. 

Thank you for your attention.

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Check against delivery

Tenth Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests

Istanbul, 8 – 19 April 2013 

Closing statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States 

 

Mr Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States. The acceding country Croatia aligns itself with this statement. 

Let me first thank you Mr Chairman as well as the members of the bureau, who guided us with knowledge and wisdom, and great patience, throughout the last two weeks. 

I would also like to warmly thank the UN Secretariat in general, and of course the UNFF in particular, for their tireless involvement in support of our deliberations. Our special appreciation goes directly to Director Mc Alpine for her contribution to the UNFF, and to her very able team.  

Our sincerest expression of gratitude must of course go to the government and people of Turkey for hosting this session and welcoming us so warmly in this historic city of Istanbul.  The facilities afforded to this session have been splendid and for that we are deeply grateful. 

Mr Chairman, 

From the outset and over the past two weeks, the EU and its Member States have consistently sought to engage in this process in a positive and constructive manner, which we hope was clearly reflected in our statements last week as well as during the negotiations this week, and we thank all negotiation partners for their flexibility and spirit of compromise. 

Mr Chairman, 

Our deliberations were comprehensive, sometimes passionate, never easy, but overall they were effective and proved that we can reach a successful outcome in UNFF when all parties are ready to compromise for the common good.

1-                 We now have a meaningful text on the importance of forests for economic development, on their market and non market values, and overall on their contribution to the green economy.

2-                 We also now have a well anticipated agreement on means of implementation, that was long overdue and we are happy that delegations were flexible enough to reach agreement on this critical issue, recognizing the different roles of different actors in implementing SFM, and ensuring an enabling environment to allow finance for forests and SFM.  

3-                 Finally, we have an inclusive and ambitious roadmap for UNFF11 which contains clear milestones and processes, from the review and assessment at the outset to the provision of options to be decided at UNFF11 for the future of the international arrangement on forests. At all times during this process we will remain mindful of the overall framework to be decided in 2015 regarding the post 2015 UN development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Chairman,

One point we would like to highlight in this closing statement is the need to improve the interaction with the Major Groups in future sessions of the forum. A half day of multi stakeholder dialogue is a good step, but not enough to fully take advantage of the participation of Major Groups. Perhaps, we should aim to better fulfil at the global level our collective commitment to principle 10 of Rio.

In conclusion Mr Chairman, we are committed to start implementing the decisions of UNFF10 and look forward to continuing our discussions in the lead up to UNFF11and also in the framework of the review and future of the international arrangement on forests.  Although this task is challenging, we want to assure you Mr Chairman that the EU and its Member States for their part will adopt a positive and constructive approach and will work proactively with the incoming chair and bureau in this regard.

Thank you for your attention.

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