Delegates from EU Member States and the European Commission have been meeting in Geneva since May 3 for the third session of the United Nations Sustainable Development Commission's Inter-Governmental Forum on Forests (IFF3). The 15 EU countries have been collaborating informally on various issues, most of them highly technical, and are coordinating their position on a daily basis at the conference, due to end on May 14.Set up in 1995 by the UN Sustainable Development Commission, the Inter-Governmental Group on Forests is tasked with assessing current and prospective legal instruments with a view to negotiating a specific International Agreement on Forests. For it to work effectively, any such Agreement would have to be a binding instrument and take the form of something like a framework Convention. This Convention, say the experts, should be:- based on the sovereign laws of states;- non-discriminatory;- based on the principle of sustainable development;- based on internationall-agreed criteria and indicators for sustainable management of forests and on solid follow-up and information...

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