August 2000 informal circular letter from the IFF Secretariat
- Forwarding for your information. Zehra Aydin-Sipos
This is the informal circular letter from the Secretariat of the
Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) for August 2000.
The website for the IFF Secretariat is
The official Report of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests on its fourth
session is available at:
The report of the eight session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD) concerning the IFF is available at:
ECOSOC Informal Consultations related to International Arrangement on
Twelve informal consultations concerning the new intergovernmental
arrangement on forests have been held so far in New York, with more than
fifty delegates attending regularly. The consultations have been
facilitated by Ambassador Bagher Asadi (Islamic Republic of Iran). The
latest informal consultation was held on Thursday 27 July 2000.
The consultations have contributed notably to a higher level of
understanding among Governments and to the elimination of several
ambiguities that existed in the language adopted in IFF4 (February 2000).
All delegates have shared the common view to establish the UNFF as soon as
possible, in order to start the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for
action without delay. It was recognised, however, that the placing of the
UNFF within the UN system has many implications that require further
Among the sensitive issues discussed during the consultations is the
membership of the UNFF, that is, limited membership versus universal
membership. Other challenging matters include the location of the future
secretariat of the UNFF as well as issues regarding the financing of the
functioning of the UNFF. Initial offers for hosting the secretariat include
Rome, (offered by FAO), San Jose (offered by Government of Costa Rica) and
Geneva (preliminary offer presented by the Government of Switzerland).
Due to the outstanding issues that require further consultations, the
substantive session of the ECOSOC (5 July - August) could not yet take
decision on the establishment of the UNFF. Delegations, therefore, agreed
to continue with informal consultations, scheduled for 18-22 September,
with a view to clear the outstanding issues before the resumed session of
the ECOSOC (late September 2000), where the ECOSOC resolution could be
Two open briefings (17 and 27 July) have been organised by Ambassador
Asadi, for the purpose of informing, in particular non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), on the status of the negotiations as well as to
receive their inputs. During the informal consultations, Governments have
continuously expressed the view that they are looking forward to close
collaboration with NGOs in the future UNFF. Although delegations decided to
keep the informal consultations closed, they have encouraged NGOs to
approach Governments for further information and dialogue on the
IFF Secretariat News
The IFF Secretariat has continued to service the above described informal
consultations and briefings. The Secretariat has also started preparations
related to the organisational meeting and the first substantive session of
the UNFF (in 2001), and in particular related to the multi-year programme
of work of the UNFF as well as the plan of action for the implementation of
the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
The latest meeting of the informal, high-level Interagency Taskforce on
Forests (ITFF) took place during IFF4. The summary records of the ITFF
meetings are available online at: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/iffiac.htm
An informal meeting is planned during the XXI IUFRO World Congress in Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia (7-12 August 2000) among those ITFF members that attend
the IUFRO Congress.
UPDATE OF CALENDAR OF MEETINGS IN 2000 RELEVANT TO THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL
DIALOGUE ON FORESTS:
7-12 August 2000, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. XXI IUFRO World Congress. Forests
and Society: The Role of Research.
4-8 September 2000, Bogota, Colombia. Twenty-First Session of the Latin
American and Caribbean Forestry Commission (LACFC).
5-8 September 2000, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. International Forest
Communicators Forum. An initiative by the FAO-ECE Team of Public Relations
Specialists in the Forest and Forest Industries Sector.
25-26 September 2000, Vienna, Austria. Third Expert Level Meeting on the
Follow-up of the Lisbon Conference, organised by the Ministerial Conference
on Protection of Forests in Europe - Liaison Unit Vienna.
9-13 October 2000, Rome, Italy. European Forestry Commission (EFC) / ECE
13-24 November 2000, the Hague, Netherlands. Sixth session of the
Conference of the Parties of the FCCC.
22-25 January 2001. International Workshop of Experts on Financing
Sustainable Forest Management (Oslo Workshop). A Government-led initiative
in support of the IPF/IFF/UNFF Processes.
Best regards. Tiina Vähänen
For further information please contact:
Secretariat, Intergovernmental Forum on Forests
Division of Sustainable Development
Department of Social and Economic Affairs
Two UN Plaza, 12th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10017
Tel: + 1 212 963-6208, Fax: +1 212 963-3463