Bonn Negotiations Make Progress Toward Legally Binding Agreement on Forests
9 September 2012: The Second Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe (INC-Forests 2) concluded a first reading and much of a second reading on the text of a draft multilateral legally binding agreement (LBA) on forests.
INC-Forests 2 took place in Bonn, Germany, from 3-7 September 2012, with the participation of 38 European governments and the EU, as well as an observer from the Government of Japan and 18 organizations, including UN bodies, European organizations, producer associations and NGOs.
INC-Forests was launched by the 2011 FOREST EUROPE Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, which took place held from 14-16 June 2011, in Oslo, Norway. FOREST EUROPE is a high-level political initiative for the protection and sustainable management of forests throughout Europe.
The session worked from a draft negotiating text (DNT) of the LBA prepared by the Committee's Bureau for all areas except compliance, which INC-Forests 2 was asked to provide inputs on for negotiation at INC-Forests 3.
Areas receiving particular focus were the restructuring and fleshing out of the General Provisions Section, and compliance. On the former, it was decided to restructure the section to thematically follow the six pan-European criteria for sustainable forest management (SFM) adopted at FOREST EUROPE's 1994 Helsinki Ministerial Conference (“Helsinki Criteria”). On compliance, the EU and Norway made detailed text proposals, and the Committee decided to invite other such proposals from delegations and use them as the basis for negotiation at INC-Forests 3, rather than invite the Bureau to draft text.
INC-Forests 2 also discussed an issue assigned to it by the FOREST EUROPE Oslo Ministerial that launched the LBA negotiations: whether to adopt the LBA as a FOREST EUROPE treaty, or for the FOREST EUROPE to endorse that the agreement be "brought under the UN umbrella" by being serviced by a UN organ. The issue is tied into the desire by many delegations to have the LBA open to signature and ratification by non-FOREST EUROPE countries and not to be considered applicable to European forests only. Ultimately, the Committee asked its secretariat to produce for discussion at INC-Forests 3 a detailed analysis of the options, their tradeoffs and cost and financial implications.
The Committee accepted the invitation of the Government of Turkey to hold INC-Forests 3 in Antalya, Turkey, from 28 January-1 February 2013. [IISD RS Meeting Coverage]