Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Hiroyuki Konuma

FAO Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

WELCOME ADDRESS

by

He Changchui
Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific

Delivered at the

Tripartite Mid-term Review Meeting on the Project:
Strengthening Monitoring, Assessment, and Reporting (MAR)
on Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)
in Asia (GCP/INT/988/JPN)

Bangkok, Thailand
16 September 2008




Distinguished experts,
Friends and colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,


On behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, I am pleased to welcome all of you to this important Tripartite Mid-term Review Meeting on the FAO Project: Strengthening Monitoring, Assessment, and Reporting on Sustainable Forest Management in Asia or the MAR Project.

The project was inaugurated in April 2006 to support national governments in the Asia- Pacific region for development and harmonization of national forest monitoring, assessment, and reporting systems (MAR) for the purpose of improving forest management regimes. The government of Japan has provided funds to implement the project until December 2010.

Since its inception, the project has collaborated with a number of Asian and Pacific countries and international or regional organizations, including the Secretariat of the Pacific Community whose representative is present at this meeting. National focal points have worked actively to develop harmonized national mechanisms for forest monitoring, assessment and reporting through consultations with various stakeholders.

Sustainable forest management is a high priority and an essential element of sound economic development and environmental protection in the Asia-Pacific region. In order to achieve sustainable forest management successfully, it is crucial to develop effective national forest MAR systems linked to national policy development processes. I am convinced that our collaboration under the MAR Project will contribute significantly to the improvement of forest management in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ladies and gentlemen,

FAO has long-standing and excellent partnerships with countries and international organizations to support national MAR efforts in the region. Under the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 (FRA 2010), FAO is working with national governments to collect and report comprehensive information on the extent and conditions of forests and other wooded land. As an example, I should like to mention the global remote sensing survey carried out under the FRA 2010 to improve knowledge of land-use change over time. In addition, FAO’s National Forest Monitoring and Assessment Programme aims at strengthening national capacities and facilitating knowledge-based policy dialogue based on sound forest-related data. I also should like to refer to the Global Land Cover Network which is developing a global map and database with a fully harmonized approach to make baseline land cover data accessible and reliable to national and international initiatives.

In these efforts, FAO is actively spearheading collaboration with international organizations to strengthen sustainable forest management as well as MAR processes in the region with a wide range of partners such as the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Environment Programme/World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP/WCMC), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR). On the donor side, I should like to recognize the Republic of Korea which has joined Japan to support the project with complementary financial and technical resources. All in all, the MAR project is building synergies with international initiatives and the donor community to coherently support Asian and Pacific countries in developing national forest MAR systems.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The present meeting will review progress and achievements, issues of project implementation from 2006 until now, and elaborate on activities planned for the remaining period. I trust that you all will participate actively in the discussions and offer guidance for further improved collaboration among the countries, partner organizations and FAO.

Before I complete my welcome address, I would like to express once more, appreciation for the important financial contributions by the government of Japan in making this project possible. I would also like to thank all collaborating countries and organizations for their continued and active participation in the MAR project.

I am looking forward to the outcome of your meeting, and learning from your suggestions on how we can move forward together to further enhance important aspects of forest monitoring, assessment and reporting in the Asia-Pacific region. I am convinced that the result of your consultation will ensure a successful outcome for both the meeting and the project. Allow me thus to wish you a productive and enjoyable meeting. I also sincerely hope that you enjoy your stay and work in Bangkok during this week. Thank you.