I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
The European Union takes this occasion to, yet again, reiterate its strong commitment to the remarkable results achieved at the 7th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-7), namely the conclusion and adoption of a Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests and the adoption of the Multi-Year Programme of Work (MYPOW) for 2007-2015. These documents, which have come before the consideration of the Economic and Social Council today at its resumed substantive session, are indeed a significant milestone in the context of international forest policy and cooperation.
Both the Report of the Forum on its 7th session and the draft resolutions contained in it, that incorporate the two additional paragraphs negotiated in informal consultations under the aegis of the Council, are acceptable to the European Union.
Concerning the request to strengthen the Forums Secretariat with appropriate human resources, the European Union not only considers that this is to be done within existing resources from within DESA, and thus not generate additional programme budget implications for the biennium 2008-2009, but also, that this cannot jeopardize the existing institutional arrangements and needs to preserve the current efficiency of the Forums Secretariat, as well as respect the specificity of its tasks.
At the same time, and conscious of the new tasks now committed to the UNFF, the European Union takes this opportunity to reinforce the invitation to the member organisations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) to continue to provide adequate secondments to the Forums Secretariat and substantive support to the Forum. It is only through constructive cooperation among all partners and interested stakeholders, allowing beneficial exploration of each others expertise and avoiding duplication of efforts, that we will succeed in accomplishing the detailed and holistic implementation of the NLBI and the MYPOW.
I would also like to profit from this occasion to thank Mr. Hans Hoogeveen for his facilitation of the final stage of informal informal negotiations on this agenda item, which enabled us, the Council Members, to achieve consensus.
This laudable result would not have been possible, however, without the painstaking and timely contributions of the Budget Division, DESA and the Forums Secretariat, as well as, last but not the least, the ECOSOC Secretariat. To all involved in this process, we pay our well-deserved tribute and appreciation.
In addition, Mr. Chairman, the European Union would like to convey, through you, our gratitude to Mr. Pekka Patosaari, on the occasion of his retirement, not only for his commitment to the UNFF work, which he has led for the last 5 years, but also for his significant contribution to the international and Pan-European forest policy processes. We wish him all the best in this new phase of his life.
As a consequence of Mr. Patosaaris retirement, the European Union finds it very important to have the selection process for this post concluded as soon as possible, in order not to delay the implementation of the decisions to be taken in relation to the UNFF, and therefore invites the Secretary General to take this dully into consideration.
Finally, and looking forward to the adoption of the Non-legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests by the General Assembly, the European Union would like to ask the Secretariat to consider the possibility of promoting a special public event, during the adoption, with view to increasing public awareness of this landmark as well as to further contribute to strengthening political commitment and action, at all levels, around the shared global objectives on forests.
* The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.