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New UN body on forests begins first session

New UN body on forests begins first session

As the new Forum on Forests began its first session at Headquarters today, its Chairman said the United Nations was embarking on a new phase of international commitment to sustainable forest management.

The Chairman, Ambassador Mubarak Hussein Rahmtalla of the Sudan, said the Forum's establishment was among the most concrete legacies of "Agenda 21," the global action plan for sustainable development adopted at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro. The Forum took on particular significance in the run-up to the 10-year review of that conference, to be held in Johannesburg in September 2002, he added.

Patrizio Civili, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs, said the Rio Summit had sparked the international community's broad concern on forest issues. Much attention had been paid to the importance of sustaining national forests and the Rio Declaration remained a landmark achievement for forests.

The current session of the Forum, which was established by the UN Economic and Social Commission in October 2000, will focus on setting the global forest agenda for the next five years. It will also develop a platform to advance the implementation of agreed actions on forests and set in motion the Forum's work with the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, including forest-related international organizations and instruments.