CL 123/INF/14


Hundred and Twenty-third Session

Rome, 28 October – 2 November 2002

Progress Report on the XII World Forestry Congress, Canada, 2003

Table of Contents


1. Guidelines for the function and organisation of World Forestry Congresses and the procedure for selecting the host country were agreed by the FAO Council at its 115th session in 1998. This note draws largely on those guidelines.

2. At its 116th session, the FAO Council accepted Canada’s offer to host the XII World Forestry Congress. It will be held from 21 to 28 September 2003 in Québec City, Canada.

3. World Forestry Congresses serve as a forum to exchange views and experiences and to discuss matters concerning all aspects of forestry that might lead to the formulation of recommendations applicable on a regional or global basis. Congresses are not intergovernmental meetings and have no formal constituencies or country delegations. As a key international forestry event, efforts are made during preparations to foster a sense of ownership from all constituencies in all geographic regions.

4. Since Congresses are advisory rather than executive in nature, recommendations contained in declarations are non-binding. Nevertheless, the Congress Guidelines state that the outcome ...should be brought to the attention of the FAO Conference ... which may wish to consider for possible endorsement, through a resolution, the Declaration emanating from the Congress.

5. The responsibilities of FAO for World Forestry Congresses include, in collaboration with the host country, the selection of the theme (based on proposals from a wide range of countries, organizations and individuals), the structuring of the Technical Programme and the identification of invited speakers. FAO provides an Associate Secretary-General to work with the Canadian Secretary-General, and Associate Technical Secretaries to collaborate with the Technical Secretaries on matters related to the technical programme, including the review of invited and voluntary papers and the servicing of technical sessions during the Congress.

6. The main theme of the Congress is “Forests, Source of Life”.

7. A total of 15 topics, divided among the three areas, have been identified. They are as follows:

Area A - Forests for People

Addresses the many expectations that people place on forests and focus on how different socio-cultural values influence the way forests are perceived and managed.

Area B - Forests for the Planet

Examines the state of the world's forests and their capacity to provide a wide range of goods and services and fulfil essential functions.

Area C - People and Forests in Harmony

Identifies improvements to institutions and policies necessary to move forward.

8. The Congress will be organized in plenary sessions, working groups, and exhibition and poster sessions, aiming to keep groups as small as possible in order to encourage productive discussions. Activities before and during the Congress will be accessible by electronic means to allow those in remote areas to participate and contribute to the discussions should they so desire.

9. FAO and Canada are giving special attention to encouraging high quality voluntary papers and posters from the full range of interested parties throughout the global forestry community. These contributions should enrich the exchange of scientific information; increase understanding of the role that traditional knowledge plays in sustainable forest management; and promote greater awareness of specific conditions that exist at regional and sub-regional levels.

Main activities achieved to date for the organization of the Congress

10.Canada has appointed a Secretary-General and has established a team which will coordinate Congress organization and logistics. FAO has appointed an Associate Secretary-General and has established external and internal advisory groups to advise on the programme and technical aspects of the Congress.

11.A First Announcement of the Congress, containing a pre-registration form and the first call for voluntary papers and posters, was issued in early 2002. A number of voluntary papers have been received.

12. The Second Announcement is scheduled to be issued in September 2002.

13. A call for exhibition and side-events was launched in July 2002. The registration forms can be found on the web site of the Congress:

14. A list of prominent persons to be invited to deliver keynote and plenary speeches has been prepared. Attention has been given to gender balance, geographic coverage and area of expertise.

15. Preparations are on schedule and the Congress promises to be highly successful.