The final decisions included the provisional agenda for UNFF16, the dates and venue of UNFF16, and a request to the UN Secretary-General to expedite the recruitment and appointment process for the post of UNFF Director.
The UNFF also requested the Secretariat to continue to develop the Forum’s flagship publication on progress towards achieving the Global Forest Goals and targets, and to propose refinements to the format for reporting on voluntary national contributions based on lessons learned.
The fifteenth session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF15) had been expected to adopt a resolution on several important issues including the UNFF Quadrennial Programme of Work (4POW) for 2021-2024.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum conducted virtual informal consultations that concluded with the adoption of an omnibus resolution.
With the cancellation of in-person meetings at UN Headquarters in New York, the UNFF15 Bureau prepared a draft resolution following the submission of inputs by members and stakeholders and circulation of three revisions by email. UNFF Member States also held two virtual informal consultations. The meeting was originally scheduled to convene from 4-8 May 2020.
On 25 June 2020, UNFF15 Chair Boris Greguška (Slovakia) put the resulting decisions under the silence procedure until 4:00 pm New York time, on 30 June 2020. The final decisions included the provisional agenda for UNFF16, the dates and venue of UNFF16, the UNFF15 draft report, and a decision to appoint Khalid Cherki (Morocco) to serve as Rapporteur for UNFF15.
Included in the UNFF15 omnibus resolution, which covers six out of the 13 UNFF15 agenda items, were the following provisions:
- adopts the programme of work for UNFF16 in 2021, and requests the Forum to decide on the programme of work for 2022-2024;
- requests the Secretariat to continue to develop the Forum’s concise flagship publication on progress towards achieving the Global Forest Goals and targets;
- requests the Secretariat to propose refinements to the format for reporting on voluntary national contributions based on lessons learned;
- requests the Secretariat to continue work on designing the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network clearing house, and report progress at UNFF17;
- welcomes the adoption of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests strategic vision towards 2030;
- invites the Forum to provide concise targeted inputs to annual sessions of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF);
- welcomes the agreement of the General Assembly to retain the sub-programme on sustainable forest management of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and maintain the classification of the post of Director of UNFF; and
- requests the UN Secretary-General to expedite the recruitment and appointment process for the post of UNFF Director.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary of the outcome from UNFF15 notes that, following the adoption of the omnibus resolution, “Chair Greguška commented that the successful UNFF15 outcome was the result of a three-month long intensive consultative process…, which demonstrates the effectiveness, importance, and relevance of the work of the Forum and its Secretariat, and the solid commitment of Member States in this regard.”