Proposals for action to strengthen financial assistance
The Panel recalled the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and relevant chapters of Agenda 21, as well as paragraph 10 of the Forest Principles, which states that new and additional financial resources should be provided to developing countries to enable them to sustainably manage, conserve and develop their forest resources, including through afforestation, reforestation and combating deforestation and forest and land degradation;
The Panel urged recipient countries to prioritize forest activities or national resources development strategies that would favour sustainable forest management and related activities in programming the ODA available to them, and also urged donor countries and international organizations to increase the proportion and availability of their ODA contribution to programmes supporting the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests in order to respond to increased priorities for sustainable forest management in recipient countries;
The Panel requested the relevant United Nations organizations, international financial institutions, other international organizations and the donor community to work with developing countries, on the basis of national forest programmes, to identify their needs for sustainable forest management, estimate the resources required to finance such needs and identify the resources available to them for such purposes, including ODA;
The Panel urged international organizations and international financial institutions to use national forest programmes, as appropriate, as a framework for the support and coordination of forest-related activities;
The Panel encouraged countries, through appropriate channels, to support increased and improved programmes promoting the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests and related activities in international organizations and international financial institutions, whose programmes should consider further concessional lending for the forest sector;
The Panel invited UNDP and the Bretton Woods institutions, together with other relevant international organizations, to explore innovative ways to both use existing financial mechanisms more effectively and generate new and additional public and private financial resources at the domestic and international levels in order to support activities for the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests;
The Panel recognized the importance of increasing resources available to developing countries for promoting the management, conservation, and sustainable development of all types of forests, welcomed the progress that has been made in devising and implementing debt relief initiatives, and bearing in mind General Assembly resolution 50/92, urged the international community, particularly the creditor countries and international financial institutions, as well as commercial banks and other lending institutions, to continue the implementation of various measures aimed at effective, equitable, development-oriented and durable solutions to the external debt and debt-servicing problems of developing countries, particularly the poorest and heavily indebted countries, including exploring the opportunities for innovative mechanisms, such as debt-for-nature swaps related to forests and other environmentally oriented debt reduction programmes.
The Panel also discussed the proposal that an international fund be established to support activities for the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, particularly in developing countries. The following options for action were discussed, without a consensus being reached on those or other possible procedures:
To urge the establishment of such a fund;
To invite the international community to discuss the proposal;
To pursue action to enhance funding in other ways, inter alia, as proposed in paragraph 67 (f) above.
Proposals for action to enhance private-sector investment
The Panel urged all countries, within their respective legal frameworks, to encourage efforts by the private sector to formulate, in consultation with interested parties, and implement voluntary codes of conduct aimed at promoting sustainable forest management through private-sector actions, including through management practices, technology transfer, education and investment;
The Panel urged countries to explore mechanisms, within their respective legal frameworks, to encourage their private sector to act consistently with sustainable forest management and to invest financial resources generated from forest-based activities in actions that support sustainable forest management;
The Panel urged countries to explore mechanisms, within their respective legal frameworks, to encourage the reinvestment of revenues generated from forest goods and services back into the forests where those revenues were generated;
The Panel invited developing countries to promote policies and regulations aimed at creating a favourable environment to attract the domestic and foreign private sectors, as well as local community investment, for sustainable forest management, environmentally sound forest-based industries, reforestation, afforestation, non-wood forest product industries, and conservation and protection of forests;
The Panel urged developed countries to formulate and create incentives, such as loan and investment guarantees, to encourage their private sector to invest in sustainable forest management in developing countries, as well as in countries with economies in transition.
Proposals for action to enhance national capacity and national coordination
The Panel urged recipient countries to establish country-driven national forest programmes that include priority needs and that serve as an overall framework for forest-related policies and actions, including the coordination of financing and international cooperation, and urged donor countries and international organizations to support national initiatives to create national forest programmes and policy framework in developing countries;
The Panel encouraged countries in a position to do so to continue to develop and employ appropriate market-based and other economic instruments and incentives to increase rent capture and mobilize domestic financial resources in support of sustainable forest management, as well as to reduce social costs and negative environmental impacts due to unsustainable forest and land management practices;
The Panel encouraged countries, within their respective legal frameworks, international organizations and financial institutions, to enhance, subject to national legislation, community financing as an important strategy to promote sustainable forest management, and to establish policy and programmatic mechanisms and instruments that facilitate local investments in sustainable forest management by, inter alia, indigenous groups and forest owners;
The Panel suggested that recipient countries, where appropriate, identify a national authority responsible for in-country coordination in the deployment of financial resources, including ODA, and in requests for external assistance;
The Panel urged developed countries, international organizations and international financial institutions to support the efforts of developing countries in capacity-building in the management, conservation and sustainable development of their forests.
Proposals for action to enhance international cooperation
The Panel called for enhanced coordination, collaboration and complementarity of activities among bilateral and multilateral donors and among international instruments related to forests, notably the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention to Combat Desertification and the International Tropical Timber Agreement;
The Panel urged recipient and donor countries to jointly explore, as a priority activity, appropriate indicators for monitoring and evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of forest programmes and projects at the national and local levels, supported by international cooperation in financial assistance and technology transfer;
The Panel encouraged countries to explore the feasibility of innovative financial initiatives to support the implementation of national forest programmes.
Proposals for action to enhance technology transfer and capacity-building
The Panel urged developed countries to promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, access to and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies and corresponding know-how to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed, taking into account chapter 34 of Agenda 21 and paragraph 11 of the Forest Principles;
The Panel encouraged countries, where needed, to assess and identify their national technological requirements and capabilities in order to achieve the management, conservation and sustainable development of their forests. The assessment and identification of specific technology needs should be consistent with priorities in national forest programmes;
The Panel called for the strengthening of North-South cooperation and the promotion of South-South as well as trilateral North-South-South cooperation in forest-related technology transfer, through public and private-sector investment and partnerships, joint ventures, exchange of information and greater networking among forest-related institutions, taking due note of related work being conducted in other international forums, including the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;
The Panel called upon countries to formulate policies and incentives that encourage all concerned to develop and use environmentally sound technologies;
The Panel called for greater emphasis on national and local capacity-building in the development and implementation of national forest programmes and in international cooperation programmes, as well as in the development of mechanisms for the dissemination and adaptation of technologies to national and local conditions;
The Panel invited Governments, within their respective legal frameworks, and international organizations, in consultation with countries, to consider supporting indigenous people, local communities, other inhabitants of forests, small-scale forest owners and forest-dependent communities by funding sustainable forest management projects, capacity-building and information dissemination, and by supporting direct participation of all interested parties in forest policy discussions and planning;
The Panel urged United Nations organizations, with the support of the international financial institutions, to prepare inventories of the most appropriate forest-related technologies, as well as the most effective methods of transfer of those technologies to developing countries among Governments, between Governments and private sector, and within the private sector.
Proposals for action to improve information systems
The Panel invited relevant international organizations and international financial institutions to review and initiate the development of improved forest information systems with a view to enhancing coordination and data-sharing among interested parties regarding the implementation of national forest programmes, ODA programming, the provision of new and additional financial resources, increased private-sector investment, efficient development and transfer of technology;
The Panel urged developed countries and appropriate international organizations to establish mechanisms to assist the interpretation and dissemination of information relevant to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests to countries and interested parties who have difficulties in accessing internationally available information, including dissemination through electronic means;
The Panel invited members of the informal high-level Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests, including FAO, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), UNDP, the World Bank, the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other relevant international bodies to facilitate the provision of a better flow to both the policy and operational levels of synthesized information on programme progress, policy development, best management practices and financial strategies for forest sector, for both the public and private sectors, including through the establishment of specialized databases.