stocks, whale watching, and the newly designated IWC Southern Ocean Whale and Ecosystem Research Programme were also considered by the IWC.
The Council of the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO) held its sixth meeting in Tromso, Norway, 27-28 March, and adopted the Joint NAMMCO Control Scheme for Hunting of Marine Mammals. The Scheme is to ensure a common standard in the control systems of the member countries of NAMMCO and to provide NAMMCO with the opportunity to monitor the extent to which national regulations for the management of marine mammals are complied with.
Annick Van Houtte Blaise S. Kuemlangan
The most important events this year concerning forests were the second and third sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development's Inter- Governmental Panel on Forests (IPF). Over the course of the year these meetings spawned a number of inter-sessional workshops sponsored by various governments to support the Panel's work, leading some countries to question whether they constituted an official part of the IPF process. The most pressing questions, concerning the legal form and content of any agreement on forests and the institutional machinery necessary to support this, continued to generate controversy, although consensus appeared to be emerging on one issue--the need for an international forum to continue the policy dialogue and coordination the IPF has set in motion.
At its third session in 1995, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) had decided to establish the IPF to pursue consensus and coordinate proposals for action (see the 6 YbIEL ( 1995). The IPF held its second session in Geneva, 11-22 March 1996. The Panel discussed six programme elements substantively: underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation; fragile ecosystems affected by desertification and the impact of airborne pollution on forests; needs and requirements of countries with low forest cover; international cooperation in financial assistance and technology transfer for sustainable forest management; assessment of the multiple benefits of all types of forest; and methodologies for proper evaluation of the multiple benefits of forests.