UNFF Adopts Decision on Forest Financing

Unff30 October 2009: Member States to the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) adopted a decision on means of implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM) during a special session of the ninth session of UNFF held at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 30 October 2009.

Jomo Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said the decision would send a strong signal to climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, as forests play a pivotal role in any climate change mitigation and adaptation measure. The decision launches two initiatives to catalyze funding for SFM. The Forum will establish an intergovernmental ad hoc expert group, which will analyze existing financing strategies for SFM and explore ways to improve access to funds, including the option of establishing a voluntary global forest fund. The second initiative is a “facilitative process” on forest financing to assist countries to mobilize funding from all sources.

Although considerable attention has focused on the development of climate change-related financing mechanisms for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), Jan McAlpine, UNFF Director, pointed out that while climate change funding presents new financing opportunities, these mechanisms are unlikely to address the full scope of financing for sustainably managed forests. McAlpine said the facilitative process will develop innovative solutions by bringing together all actors including donors, governments, stakeholders and the private sector, and that 90% of the value of the process will be in the dialogue generated by this initiative. The facilitative process addresses the special needs of countries that have faced a 20-year decline in forest financing. Specifically, these include least developed countries, low forest cover countries (LFCCs), high forest cover countries with low deforestation, low to medium income countries, small island developing States (SIDS), and low income countries in Africa. The facilitative process has received immediate support, including for a first project on “Facilitating Financing for SFM in SIDS and LFCCs” from the UK Government. The immediate objective is to strengthen the capacity development of SIDS and LFCCs to better address the main obstacles and challenges in financing SFM and associated global, national and local environmental public goods, and to improve the governance frameworks to secure a conducive policy environment for SFM. A special session of UNFF 9 was convened for the purpose of adopting this decision, after informal consultations had resulted in agreed text on means of implementation, an issue that had remained unresolved at the last UNFF session in April 2009.

[UN press Release] [IISD coverage of the special session]