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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d97apr46

Developing countries are at odds over whether to begin negotiations on a binding convention to protect the world's forests. At its fourth and final meeting in February 1997, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) summarized its work over the past two years, which provides the ingredients for an extensive plan of action for world forests. It designated a forest convention as one of three options for future action; the other options are to continue debate in existing U.N. bodies, or to continue discussion in a forum dedicated to that purpose. (See Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 189-190, Mar. 5, 1997.)

The last option is the one favored by the U.S. and many environmental organizations, who feel that negotiating a forest convention at this time is premature and could undermine current international agreements. At an April 1997 meeting of the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development, the U.S. clashed with Canada and the European Union, who want to start negotiations on a treaty and complete them by the year 2000. (See Intl. Environ. Rptr., p. 355, Apr. 16.)

The Web address of the IPF is The World Conservation Union (IUCN) is one of the many environmental groups who oppose the start of treaty negotiations. Contact them for background information at 1400 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20036 (tel: 202 797 5454; fax: 202 797 5461; e-mail:

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