2. SYNTHESIS OF THE WORKSHOP
2.1 Context of the workshop
Following recommendations from the biannual meeting of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) in Dakar (1998), FAO has initiated the Outlook Study for the Forestry Sector in Africa (FOSA). This initiative commenced in 1999 with a series of sub-regional workshops (Congo Basin, West Africa, North Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa). For linguistic reasons and because of the typical problems facing island states a separate and smaller sub-regional workshop was organized for the countries of the Indian Ocean. The one week workshop took place from the 15th to the 18th of March 2000 in the small town of Andasibe, Madagascar.
This workshop organized in Andasibe is part of:
_ the activities planned by the EC-FAO partnership project (GCP/INT/679/EC) for the improvement of forestry data gathering and analysis in the ACP countries; and
_ the series of planification meetings of FOSA (Forestry Outlook Workshop for Africa).
In October 1999, Madagascar was already invited to a launching workshop organized for the Central African countries in Lambaréné, Gabon. French was the working language of that meeting and this made it easier for Madagascar to participate outside its natural geographic area which is mainly anglophone. It appeared, however, that the issues and problems related to forestry in the countries of the Indian Ocean (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles) deserved more specific attention. Therefore it was decided to organize another workshop for the countries of that region.
2.2 The organization of the workshop
The workshop took place in the town of Andasibe, about 120 km east of Antananarivo, the capital. The facilities in the Vakona Forest Lodge Hotel, where the workshop took place, were excellent. Logistical support for the workshop was given by the Forestry Department of Madagascar and by the FAO Representation in Madagascar. The European Commission financed the event through Project GCP/INT/679/EC (Tropical forestry Budget Line). The African Development Bank (ADB) financed travel and board for the three FOSA Focal Points present at the meeting.
The plenary sessions were presided by the Director General of the Forestry Department of Madagascar (Mrs Fleurette Andriantsilavo), accompanied by a strong delegation from her Department composed of senior staff in charge of planning and forestry statistics. The FOSA Focal Point for Mauritius was the Chief Forestry Conservator (Mr. S. Paupiah), and for Comoros the Director of the Forestry Development (Mr. A. Ben Houssen). The Representative of the Seychelles was unfortunately unable to participate in the workshop due to personal circumstances. Three Egos were represented: Conservation International, PACT-Madagascar and PAGE-IRG. The Office National pour I'environnement (ONE) sent one observer. The ADB was represented by Mr Charles Omoluabi. The FAO Representative (Mr Jean Clément, former director of FAO Forest Resources Division), who recently arrived in Madagascar, actively took part in the last sessions of the workshop. The workshop was attended by 18 participants.
2.3 The workshop
The workshop followed the established agenda which included a field visit to the pine forestry plantations of FANALAMANGA (see annex II and III).
The first working day started with introductory statements and remarks, presentations of the participants, and discussions on gathering forestry information in different countries. Each country's delegation presented his country report placing emphasis on the methodology of data collection and the function of data for forest management. Topics like forest resources, non-wood forest products and woodfuels were also presented and discussed. The presentations given by participating countries were of great interest to all present. Even though there are commercial exchanges between Madagascar and Mauritius, the islands have little cooperation regarding forestry. The difficulty of collecting reliable forestry information was generally recognized and propositions were formulated and discussed.
The second day was entirely dedicated to FOSA. After a general presentation of the organization of the study, the expected results were discussed together with the terms of reference for the FOSA Focal Points. Discussions were centred towards the current barriers to sound forest development in the respective islands and the main lessons to be retained from past forestry development activities. After an explanation on some theoretical principles related to outlook studies, the participants of the workshop prioritized the "engines of change" which will likely guide the development of the forestry sector in their countries.
The third day started with a visit to the FANALAMANGA plantations (65,000 hectares of pines financed by the World Bank). The field trip was lead by the General Director and the Exploitation Manager of FANALAMANGA. The problems encountered by this company were useful to illustrate in a very relevant and concrete way the difficulties of gathering up-to-date and reliable information needed for good management.
In the afternoon, the plenary session dealt with possible scenarios for the forestry sector with reference year 2020. The animator asked stimulating questions and the group analyzed subsequent answers. The day ended with a discussion regarding the content of the FOSA national report, conditions of the TCDC contract proposed to the Focal Points and the necessary means and time needed to finalize the exercise.
The morning of the 4th and last day were dedicated to drafting conclusions and recommendations regarding the workshop. It was followed by the traditional closing remarks. The workshop ended around 10:30 a.m.
The rapporteurs had taken note of the different interventions during the workshop and assembled their report.
The workshop has put at the disposal of the participants a large amount of interesting forestry publications and documents.
2.4 Conclusions and recommendations of the workshop
The workshop concluded that it is absolutely necessary to dispose of reliable, updated and accessible forestry information for wise and sustainable use of forest resources. The participants were aware of the following:
_ existence of numerous gaps with respect to forestry data and lack of knowledge of even essential characteristics of the forestry sector in their country;
_ various advantages offered by the FOSA exercise: first, mastering of the forestry data for their country; second, providing valuable and essential elements to the decision making process on forestry matters; and thirdly, promoting sub-regional and regional cooperation between forestry departments;
_ need to accomplish the terms of reference of the FOSA Focal Points in order to guarantee success of the effort.
The workshop recommends the following:
With respect to the gathering of forestry information and statistics:
_ the establishment of means for verifying the reliability of the data through an informative report (short contract proposed by FAO to help the country focus on their data for validation and/or completion);
_ the establishment of a permanent link of communication (through the internet), between the national partners (Ministries, NGOs and other concerned institutions), the sub-regional institutions and FAO. The latter can play a role to promote the communication link and even finance it if needed;
_ collecting data usually not collected but essential for sustainable forest management; the widening of data collection should include the informal sector, especially for woodfuel and non wood forest products; and
_ the organization of practical training programmes for those in charge of collecting forestry information; this would facilitate the interpretation, analysis and diffusion of the statistical data.
With respect to FOSA:
Role of Government:
_ now that the Terms of Reference and the role of the FOSA Focal Point have been clarified, confirm as soon as possible the nomination for the country. That person will be responsible for preparing the national document and perform different coordination tasks for the implementation of the study. This will imply, amongst others, the participation to a second sub-regional workshop;
_ to facilitate the establishment of a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectorial working group whose activities will be monitored by the FOSA Focal Point;
_ to assist the Focal Point financially, logistically, and technically in his or her activities, particularly by granting access to relevant information, facilitating meetings and workshops and by stimulating coordination with other relevant departments and/or organizations working in the same country.
The role of the FOSA Focal Points:
_ to prepare an outline of the workplan needed to accomplish FOSA in each country. The outline must consider the available financial and human resources in order to carry out the plan within the agreed time-frame (final date for the national report: September 2000). The proposed workplan is to be submitted to FAO as soon as possible.
Role of FAO:
_ to help the countries in their tasks by providing regular technical support;
_ to back up the countries in the efforts of identifying potential partners capable of providing additional technical and financial support to FOSA;
_ to contact African sub-regional and international organizations to invite them to join the FOSA initiative. This will stimulate wider participation and stronger partnerships thus reinforcing sub-regional and regional cooperation.
2.5 Specific observations
_ The workshop gave the opportunity for the three National Forestry Directors (Madagascar, Comoros and Mauritius) to establish direct contacts and discuss the problems of information gathering and analysis. The workshop stimulated sub-regional cooperation and contacts;
_ Reunion was not invited to the workshop. Nevertheless, this island is part of the Indian Ocean Islands and should not be ignored in future activities. As a potential partner, it is necessary to at least inform Reunion of FOSA activities. L'Office National des Forêts de France (ONF) contributes to the forestry sector in Madagascar with technical support;
_ those participants engaged in forest planning were particularly interested in FOSA. Despite the existing environmental plans and other action plans related to the forestry sector, there is a great need for a long-term view of the sector. It is important to precisely formulate the questions to be dealt with during FOSA in order to avoid overlap and deception;
_ during this workshop, the outlook component was developed more in depth than during previous sub-regional FOSA workshops. The constraints, the lessons learnt from the past, and the engines of change were not only explained during the Andasibe workshop, but more closely analyzed by the participants. The pertinent questions which need to be asked in order to obtain a "desirable and probable" scenario for the year 2020 were also discussed. A technique to guide the participants in this new science called "outlook" is needed to help the participants describe and specify desirable scenarios;
_ a country like Madagascar has recently developed a forestry policy and environmental plan. This exercise was difficult and has required a lot of energy. It is therefore indispensable to define the scope and the role of FOSA, particularly in relation to the National Forestry Programmes (NFP);
_ FOSA should try to attract young university graduates who would like to be trained in forestry outlook and planning. It would be beneficial to explore a possible collaboration with local universities to help FOSA Focal Points in their work and to draft the national outlook document.