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UNFF 10 Advance Secretary-General Reports Released

29 January 2013: The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat has released the advance unedited versions of documents, including seven Secretary-General Reports, for its tenth meeting (UNFF 10). UNFF 10 will consider, inter alia, progress made on the implementation of the Non-Legally Binding Instrument on all types of Forests and towards the achievement of the Four Global Objectives on Forests (GOFs). It will also focus on forests and economic development, emerging issues, a multi-stakeholder dialogue, enhanced cooperation and means of implementation for sustainable forest management.

For progress on implementation, the Secretary-General's report titled "Assessment of progress made on the implementation of the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests and towards the achievement of the four global objectives on forests" summarizes the results of 55 country reports. Although globally deforestation still occurs at a rate of approximately 13 million hectares annually, reporting countries noted that forest cover increased by 0.3 per cent between 2005 and 2010. Furthermore, the percentage of forests in protected areas grew to 12.5 per cent. With regard to forest policies, the report stresses improvements in inter-sectoral collaboration for sustainable forest management (SFM), with 50 countries reporting on their mechanisms for cooperation.

For regional and sub-regional support, discussions on enhanced cooperation are supported by the Secretary-General's report titled "Regional and subregional inputs." The report highlights actions by a number of prominent stakeholders and contains information on the Treaty on the Conservation and Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forestry Ministerial Meeting, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe (INC-Forests3), the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) and the Montréal Process.

To support substantive discussions on forests and economic development, which will focus on four themes (forest products and services; national forest programmes and other sectoral policies and strategies; reducing risks and the impacts of disasters on forests; and the benefits of forests and trees to urban communities), the Secretary-General has prepared two reports. The first report, titled "Forests and Economic Development," addresses both the monetized and non-cash contributions of forests to economic development and highlights the role of forests in rural development. The report also explores opportunities and challenges on the topic of forests and economic development, including drivers of change and loss and the role of the landscape approach, restoration and data management.

The second report, titled "Conclusions and recommendations for addressing key challenges of forests and economic development," provides recommendations in support of member States' focus on cross-sectoral and inter-agency collaboration, the mainstreaming of SFM within national economic and development policies, and improved knowledge and information sharing on the multiple values of forests. The publication also suggests actions for members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forest (CPF), donors, relevant organizations and Major Groups on collaboration, capacity building and the provision of financial resources.

With regard to emerging issues, UNFF 10 will consider the potential implications of the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) on forests, as well as the relevance of ongoing discussions on the post-2015 UN Development Agenda. To support this discourse, the Secretary-General's report on "Emerging Issues” recommends the establishment of an ad hoc expert group on options for a future international arrangement on forests and suggests the consideration of a cross-cutting sustainable development goal on natural resources that also includes forests.

UNFF 10 will also consider the report of the second meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) on Forest Financing held 14 to 18 January in Vienna, Austria. Related to this, the Secretary-General prepared a report on "Means of Implementation for Sustainable Forest Management," which suggests: the consideration of recommendations on good governance; stakeholder engagement and partnership building; cross-sectoral collaboration; capacity building; the role of formal and informal markets and the private sector; closure of gaps in SFM knowledge and information; and forests in the post-2015 development agenda, including the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Additional recommendations that are focused on finance include: national forest finance options; finance for the implementation of the forest instrument; official development assistance and multilateral forest financing mechanisms; and new and emerging funds and finance options.

Finally, with regard to enhanced cooperation and coordination, including with the CPF, the Secretary-General prepared a report titled "Enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination, including the provision of further guidance to the Collaborative Partnership on Forests Report of the Secretary-General." This report highlights successful collaboration and emphasizes the important role of the CPF. It further recognizes the efforts of the Forum Secretariat to support collaboration, including through the convening of meetings and workshops, the integration of the views of regional and sub-regional bodies and ongoing dialogues on tools to promote further collaboration.

[Website: UNFF 10] [Publication: Assessment of progress made on the implementation of the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests and towards the achievement of the four global objectives on forests Report of the Secretary-General] [Publication: Regional and subregional inputs Report of the Secretary-General][Publication: Report of the Secretary-General on Forests and Economic Development] [Publication:Conclusions and recommendations for addressing key challenges of forests and economic development Report of the Secretary-General] [Publication: Report of the Secretary-General on Emerging Issues: International Arrangement on Forests, post 2015 United Nations Development Agenda and the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference; the interconnections and implications] [Publication: Enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination, including the provision of further guidance to the Collaborative Partnership on Forests Report of the Secretary-General] [Publication: Means of Implementation for Sustainable Forest Management Report of the Secretary-General]