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1. Asia and the Pacific

Basic data




Land area (thousand ha)


Total forest (thousand ha)


Tropical Asia*

846,839

Tropical Asia

279,766

East Asia**

1,148,958

East Asia

181,671

Tropical Oceanea**

54,055

Tropical Oceanea

41,903

Temperate Oceanea**

791,243

Temperate Oceanea

48,792

Sub-total


2,841,095

Sub-total


552,132

Population 1995 (million)


Annual change (thousand ha/%)


Tropical Asia

1,722.3

Tropical Asia

-3,055/-1.1

East Asia

1,424.6

East Asia

-113/-0.1

Tropical Oceanea

6.6

Tropical Oceanea

-151/-0.4

Temperate Oceanea

21.4

Temperate Oceanea

60/0.1

Sub-total


3,174.9

Sub-total


n.a.

Source of data: FAO-State of the World’s Forest, 1999

*= Total sum of south, continental and insular Southeast Asia

**= Followed the classification made in the FAO-State of the World’s Forest, 1999

General information

Issues on forest and forestry in the Asia-Pacific Region are different, many, complex, heterogeneous, and wide, including tropics/sub tropics; humid/savannahs/desert; low lands/mangrove/mountains; rich/poor in forest resources; owned by the state and private individuals/groups; very important sector toward socio-economic development of a country/minor contribution to socio-economic development; some countries are exporters and some are importers; some countries are at the developed state that they have several socio-economic development alternatives and some belong to the developing countries and countries in economic transition; some countries are land locked/small in size; some countries have very high and others have small populations; some countries have sufficient capacity in their National Forest Programmes (NFP) planning and implementation, including involvement of partners and partnership; in terms of biodiversity aspects, some countries contain megadiversity. Each country is unique. Each has its own peculiar combination of climate, geology, ecology, landscape, politics, economics, and social perspective.

However, there are also similar aspects for many countries. Thus, one country’s experiences in certain aspects can be relevant to other countries. An in-depth study of the forestry sector on the status, progress and trends and outlook, within the framework of the forestry sector outlook study 2010, was carried out in 1997/98.

Major changes have emerged in forests and forestry policies in recent years. There has been a growing concern with national policy reform towards liberalisation, openness, land use, equal-sharing benefits, empowerment of partners in planning and implementation, decentralisation, sustainable forest management, law enforcement, detection and suppression of forest fires, suppression of illegal logging, and ties to the global economy and the environment and involvement of partners. Different international initiatives have been launched in the effort to implement the UNCED Agenda 21 in forest and forest-related matters. In regard to sustainable forest management, several efforts have been launched, including certification, the code of practise for forest harvesting, criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, reduced impact logging, logging bans in natural forests. Globalisation efforts have also been taken place, including liberalisation trade. In reality, many people in rural areas in developing countries, including women, children and people living in and close to forests, are still illiterate, which make it difficult to socialise the concept, modalities and principles of sustainable forest management. In several developing countries funds and human resources are limited, and sustainable is becoming dilemma. Sustainable forest management practices that have successfully been used in several countries are becoming polemic in some other countries.

Deforestation and forest degradation have been continuing in some developing countries, while forest plantations have successfully exceeded the deforestation rate in China, India, and the Republic of Korea. Taking into consideration the trees planted in agricultural land (agricultural tree crops) and for other land uses (roadsides, home gardens, etc), the tree crown cover has substantially contributed to the greening of the earth and as source of timber, fibre materials, and other products such as latex, fruits, barks, fodder, etc. In some countries, a policy of letting agricultural land revert back to forestland with compensation and incentives has taken place for example in Western China.

Preliminary analysis of more than 3000 satellite images show that the rate of deforestation in the tropical countries was at least 10% less in the past ten years compared to the 1980s. Half of the images show a reduced rate of deforestation and 20% showed an increase. The survey is part of FAO’s Global Forest Resource Assessment 2000, which will be delivered by the end of 2000. The major causes of deforestation in the tropics were numerous the most easily visible being the conversion of forest into agricultural and other land uses. Over-harvesting of industrial wood and fuel wood, overgrazing, fire, insect, pest and diseases, storms, and air pollution also cause forest degradation.

Human intervention was the main factor causing the change. According to the World Population Prospects, the Economic and Social Affairs (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, the 1998 Revision, the population in the Region was 3,360 million in 1997 (medium variant, excluding Western Asia), and increased to 3,450 million in 1999, or by about 90 million within two years. In 2050, the population in the Region will reach 5,268 million, an increase of 1,818 million, or almost double of the population of India in 1995 (the second biggest population in the world). In this respect, some people are of the view that the carrying capacity of the forest and agriculture lands in the Region, particularly in densely populated developing countries, is limited and would not be adequate to support the demand for food and agriculture products in the future.

Recent development and new realities have necessitated major changes in strategic approach, planning, and execution with focused emphasis on a proactive instead of reactive management approach. The call of the day is management by results rather than management by mere objectives, since too often, attainment of set objectives do not actually yield desired results.


In the past few years, several countries in the Asia-Pacific Region, with or without support from their external partners, have embarked on reforms of their forest policy. The major criticism of forest policies is in their implementation and their relevance. In addition, several countries have crafted nice and ambitious objectives that do not actually yield desired results. Therefore, some countries have adopted a management approach by results rather than by mere objectives. To be effective, the management by results should be “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bounded).

In regard to fulfilling the demand for forest products, particularly timber, forest and tree plantations have been established intensively in several countries in the form of industrial/large scale tree plantations, small community plantations, mixed-planting between trees and cash crops, tree plantings along land boundary lines, in schools and office compounds, and along road sides. However, pests, diseases, and forest fires will most likely occur more frequently and cause more damage in the near future, due to intensive global trade (with less precaution in plant quarantine), more mass biomes, climatological disturbances (with long dry seasons), and low people’s awareness.

During the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF) deliberations (1995-2000), it was noted that there was no disagreement on the importance of national forest programmes (NFP) to national forestry sector development of all types of forests. The IFF at its fourth session (IFF-4) held in February 2000, concluded that NFP, as defined in the IPF, is a viable framework for addressing forest sector issues. In regard to international arrangements on forests, IFF-4 recommended establishing an intergovernmental body which may be called the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) with the objective of promoting the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment.

In its resumed session on 18 October 2000, ECOSOC adopted the Resolution entitled “Report of the forth session of the IFF”. This Resolution established the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) as a subsidiary body of ECOSOC. The UNFF provides a high-level forest policy forum. Among its major functions are the promotion of the implementation of the already agreed actions, enhancement of co-ordination of forest related issues, and strengthening political commitment to sustainable management of all types of forests. Within five years, the UNFF will recommend the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests.

Although in the past three decades many countries in the Region achieved high rates of economic and agricultural growth, some countries were severely affected by the Asia financial and economic crisis with different degree of impacts during 1997-2000. ITTO reported that timber trade in Japan, the biggest importer of timber in the Region, had not recovered by the end of 1999. However, exports of furniture from China had been increasing significantly.

In addition to the economic crisis, during 1997-98, forest fires burned across many regions of the world causing severe economic and environment impacts in a certain sub-regions and countries, effecting eco-tourism, causing loss of biodiversity, destroying valuable forests, creating problems in transportation, and having a bad impact on health. In response to the series of devastating forest fires, several meetings to overcome the problems were convened at international, regional and sub-regional levels.

In regard to partners participation and involvement, at a substantial number of talks through meetings and workshops, several conclusions, promises and commitments have been achieved, said and agreed. But, few of them have been translated into actual actions in the field. It was reported that the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) has been decreasing significantly during the past few years. In this respect, the Asia Pacific Forestry Commission, in its 18th Session held in Australia, 15-19 May 2000, stressed that the new international body, UNFF, should be action -oriented and transparent and should avoid debate on issues for which decisions have previously been reached.

National Forest Programmes

It was realised that since 1994, there has been no systematic approach to taking stock and drawing lessons from the implementation on NFPs world wide, although several auto evaluation and stock taking exercise were conducted on several occasions between 1985-1994. Bearing in mind this situation, FAO, in collaboration with all partners, launched out a world-wide survey on the status and progress in the implementation of NFPs in November 1998. The important results of the survey include the following:

· Most of the on-going NFP exercises had a good start in the pre-UNCED period.

· Most countries implemented their NFPs by incorporating them into their five-year, ten-year or long-term national development plans;

· The lack of institutional capacity and adequate human resources is the major constraints in the NFP implementation. The decision making is hampered by the lack of data and information. Institutional capacity in the NFP planning and implementation is still weak, including participation of stakeholders, decentralisation, and empowerment of local/community organisations.

· The NFP exercise has been internalised and sometimes institutionalised. The NFP process has been blended into the country’s socio-economic planning and programming;

· People’s participation is one of the new directions in managing the resources to achieve sustainable forest management. Community forestry, joint forest management, lease-hold forestry, and promotion of agro-forestry systems have been introduced in the region. The involvement of the private sector and related investment has been significant in some countries; and

· The NFP exercise has been stalled in some countries due to dependency on external support, low awareness of partners, lack of internalisation and institutionalisation of the process, and weak institutional capacity.

The “Second Ministerial Meeting on Sustainability Issues in Forestry, the National and International Challenges” was held in Rome, from 8-9 March 1999. One of the declarations stated that the Ministers welcomed the progress made to date on sustainable forest management, including FAO’s role in the assessment of forest resources, and the significant achievements at national, regional and international levels, including the development and implementation of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management and of national forest programmes. At the meeting, the Ministers pledged to bring their political will to bear on improving forest management in their respective countries and to promote effective international co-operation to achieve sustainable forest management world-wide.

The International Forestry Advisers Group (IFAG) have carried out intensive discussions concerning NFP issues. Its meeting held in Finland on 25-29 August 1999 discussed the following issues: a) the NFP concept; b) financing NFP implementation; c) sector support programme; and d) international modalities to support NFP processes. Detailed information could be obtained from the following E-mail: knowhow@metsa.fi

It was reported that several countries have reviewed the NFP exercise and made revisions in the approaches and strategies, including Australia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

The South Pacific countries have also been active in the NFP exercise. A session on the CSD/IPF/IFF/NFP process was organised during the Sub-Regional Consultation on Implementation of Codes of Logging Practice and Directions for the Future, held in Port Villa, Vanuatu, 12-17 July 1999. Important recommendations include: co-ordination amongst partners is important issue in sustainable forest management, which needs strengthening in most countries; forestry agencies should take a lead role in strengthening co-ordination at the national level and involve all stakeholders, including industry, landowners, NGOs and relevant government agencies.

In addition to the meetings and activities mentioned above, several other international initiatives and meetings discussed the NFP approach, including the fifth Conference of the Parties (COP-5) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held on 15-26 May 2000. The results provide a clearer linkage of CBD forest work programme to the implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action. It was recommended that NFP be used as a framework to integrate donor support.

There were substantial debates and activities that discussed the NFP framework at the international, regional and national levels. Several decisions, agreements, and proposals for action have been reached. However, it is widely recognised that the results of discussions have not sufficiently been translated into achieving real actions in the field. Several people expressed the view that it is time to take actions as expressed in the UNCED decisions. Several people also expressed the view that if the cost of meetings on forest and forestry were used for real actions in the field in some countries, the deforestation rate in those countries would have been arrested several years ago. Several people also expressed the view that meetings and talks are important process in involving partners and part of the NFP advocacy i.e. to improve partners awareness; the cost of involvement partners is really high, though. It should be noted that the delegates attending the 18th Session of the Asia Pacific Forestry Commission held in Australia on 15-19 May 2000, also expressed the same opinion.

Forest fires

Wildfires have been present in nature from time immemorial. Since 1960, there have been several fire events, which attracted world attention. In Brazil, wildfires burned 2 million ha and destroyed more than 5,000 houses and took 110 lives. During the Ice Age, extended periods of minimal rainfall occurred in Southeast Asia, making large areas of the region vulnerable to fire. More recently the recurring ENSO climatological disturbance has regularly created conditions that enable large-scale wildfires to occur in the region. It was reported that wild fires destroyed 2 million ha of forest per year on the average in the United States of America in the last decade.

The underlying causes of wildfires are several, including availability of dry fuel to feed a conflagration, a source of ignition to set the fire, and a transport mechanism such as wind. Most fires are set off by human and natural factors, including lightning. The foremost cause of forest fires in Southeast Asia in 1997/98 was land clearing practice.

A meeting was convened at FAO Rome attended by representatives from 33 countries and 13 international organisations, on 28-30 October 1998. The objectives of the meeting were to: a) identify, analyse, and discuss the public policies that contribute to forest fires; b) collate information from institutions dealing with forest fires; c) produce recommendations on planning and policies for fire prevention, control, mitigation, rehabilitation measures; d) provide a strong message to member countries through FAO (as neutral forum) on policy issues related to fire; and e) suggest actions to be taken by countries through a statement to the forestry ministers who will meet in Rome in March 1999. The meeting concluded that no single formula could cover the wide range of ecological, socio-economic, and cultural conditions that exist between and within regions, nor the different objectives that different societies will decide. But there are certain broad principles common to all situations and objectives.

In regard to policy aspects, the meeting produced the following general recommendations: policies on land use are required that do not further contribute to deforestation; a policy on forest fires should be formulated as an integral component of land use policies, flexibility in implementing, reviewing, and revising fire related policy; clear and measurable policy objectives and implementation strategies are needed; all stakeholders should be involved in developing a fire policy, reconsideration of policies that tend to increase of forest fires, incentives and subsidies to promote fire prevention.

In the wake of the 1997 forest fire, the ASEAN member countries discussed the transboundary atmospheric pollution. One of the important results was the approval for implementation of the Regional Haze Action Plan (RHAP) in December 1997.

The objectives of RHAP are to: a) prevent forest fires through better management policies and enforcement; b) establish operational mechanisms to monitor land and forest fires; and c) strengthen regional land and forest fire-fighting capacity, along with other mitigation measures. Specific countries have been designated to spearhead the activities in line with the RHAP programmes (prevention, mitigation, and monitoring) i.e. Malaysia takes the lead in prevention, Indonesia in mitigation, and Singapore in monitoring of fire and haze events. A considerable amount of donor assistance is forthcoming for this crucial initiative. To translate the Plan into action, an operationalised RHAP was approved for implementation in September 1999.

Subsequent to the efforts to overcome the issues on forest fires, an International Cross sectoral Forum on Forest Fire Management (FFM) in South East Asia was convened in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 7-8 December 1998. The Government of Indonesia, ITTO, and JICA sponsored the Forum. The Forum discussed prevention, control, rehabilitation and trans-boundary issues of the tropical forest fire. The goals of the Forum were, among others, to: a) gather information concerning the causes of forest fires and their impacts, b) review existing land use conditions and consider land use management reforms, c) integrate the current efforts to overcome the impacts caused by forest fires, d) develop technology for forest fire prevention and management, e) improve regional efforts to anticipate and address the trans-boundary impacts of forest fires, f) develop guidelines for the drawing up of a national action plan for the management of forest fires and their associated impacts.

Important areas that the Forum concluded action was needed to fill the gaps or to strengthen the existing capability are as follows: capacity building, pilot demonstration (model forest for IFFM, fire suppression training, participatory methodologies), community participation (through incentives, income earning activities, involvement in production enterprises), rehabilitation of burned areas (through sanitary operations, salvage felling and replanting), rationalisation of shifting cultivation (incorporating agroforestry, skill development, crafts), optimising the size of forest concessionaires (to ensure scientific management), formulation of national forest fire plans, establishment of regional and international co-operation on trans-boundary issues related to forest fires.

In addition to the above, one of the important subject matters discussed at the Second Ministerial Meeting on Sustainability Issues in Forestry, Rome, 8-9 March 1999 was forest fires. In this matter, the meeting called on FAO and other international organisations, donor agencies and interested countries to work together to address the underlying causes of forest fires, to improve the co-ordination of their efforts to prevent and combat forest fires, and to rehabilitate affected areas with a view to providing assistance requested by governments.

Investment in forestry

The NFP exercise has attracted investment in forestry sector development in some countries. In some countries, funds exceeded the needs for some programmes of the NFP exercise. In other countries, country capacity is the main issue in the NFP implementation. However, some NFP exercises were heavily criticised for its project listing instead of as process toward the achievement of sustainable forest management. According to the NFP reports, priority of investment in forestry has been given to several programmes/activities, including protection (watershed, biodiversity, natural unique ecosystem), institutional capacity (policy, organisational, research, and manpower development), resource development, production, utilisation and trade. In some countries, due to constraints in financial resources and lack of the private sector involvement in the forestry sector development, investment on production, utilisation and trade had been minimal. In other countries, loans have been used for conservation of forest resources, including watershed and biodiversity conservation, and protected area development. The amount of loans amounted to about 60-70 % of the investment in the forestry sector development in some countries.

Since forestry development is long-term process in nature, a number of observations were raised by some partners, including whether overseas loans for forestry sector development are profitable and sound, particularly concerning investment for conservation (excluding utilisation), institutional development, and protected areas development. Due to bad performance, some partners raised also criticism on using overseas loan for plantation development.

From the point of view of the private sector, the context for decisions of investment is based on market prices and on considerations of risk, uncertainty, profits, and losses. Debates on the value of forest have been taking place, including the value of forest to produce direct benefits such as timber. Recently, indirect benefits and non-wood products have been given substantially important value. Details concerning valuing forest have been provided in the FAO Forestry Paper No. 127 entitled “Valuing Forest: context, issues and guidelines”. The willingness of consumers to pay the real value of forest products, including certified timber, is another factor that should be taken into consideration for forestry investment. It should be noted that timber and forest products could be easily substituted in several uses by plastics, aluminium, and steel, and also by lesser known species and new products.

The economic crisis that occurred in Asia started in Thailand in 1997. The impacts were mild in some countries, but had serious negative impacts in several other countries. It was reported that the crisis has been gradually overcome in some countries lately. Due to inflation, including the lower exchange rate, investments using overseas loans have been reduced substantially. Mobilisation of local market funds has been used as an alternative source of funds in some countries, including green lottery.

The crisis has indirectly affected the forestry sector development in some developed countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. In late 1999, it was reported that the forestry sector development in some countries has been improving, including increasing timber production in New Zealand. ITTO reported that timber trade in Japan, the biggest importer of tropical timber in the Region, was not recovering at the end of 1999. The plywood market had hit bottom and the demand was sluggish. The overall trend of consumption of tropical timber in Japan had decreased in the past few years, i.e. logs consumption was 22.897 million m3 in 1995 and reached 13.556 million m3 in 1999, and sawn timber consumption was 24.493 million in 1995 and decreased to 18.000 m3 million in 1999. The overall trend of timber consumption in Japan is presented in Table 1.

A similar situation occurred in PNG as reported by the Papua New Guinea Forest Industries Association. In PNG, 41 timber operations ceased with the downturn of wood prices in the world market in September 1999. In contrast, ITTO reported that exports of furniture from China have been increasing significantly. Its export was US$ 1.297 billion in 1996, and reached US$ 2.193 billion in 1998.

Table 1: Timber consumption in Japan (1,000 m3)


1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

All types






Logs

22,897

22,469

15,631

13,556

13,556

Sawn

24,493

23,884

21,709

18,625

18,000

Veneer

242

242

173

116

116

Plywood

3,896

4,626

4,257

3,267

3,176

Tropical timber






Logs

6,536

6,172

5,854

3,427

3,577

Sawn

2,178

1,875

1,701

1,260

1,241

Veneer

297

259

243

127

123

Plywood

7,443

8,287

7,765

5,283

6,636

Source: ITTO

For more detailed information concerning tropical timber trade, visit the ITTO web-site at: http://www.itto.or.jp/market/recent/mns120199.

It seems that investment in the forestry sector in some countries, which had a the lower priority in the past, will continue in the near future, unless the advocacy efforts concerning the important role of the forestry sector development to the sustainable development successfully give positive results. In fact, the revenue generated from the forestry sector had been invested in other sectors, and in relatively very small amount of the revenue had been invested back to the forestry sector.

It was reported that forestry in India has continuously suffered net disinvestment (i.e. loss due to deforestation and forest degradation being in excess of the investment in resource creation and enhancement). In some countries that have more alternative income and job opportunities, investment in the forestry sector will see a steady growth, including investment in protection and conservation programmes.

With respect to involving partners in investment, some countries have adopted different approaches toward a wider involvement of local communities by adopting several approaches such as: joint forest management, social forestry, community forestry, leasehold forestry (including leasehold forestry for the poor), forest land allocation and utilisation by formers, community-based forest management, social benefit-oriented forestry.

However, the approaches were mostly social instead of commercial. It was reported that the internal rate of return (IRR) of an investment for fuel wood plantations was 1.0-1.5% in the Republic of Korea if the cost of labour was included. It is most likely that the investment by farmers and poor farmers in social forestry activities (in marginal land, poor soil, and inaccessible areas) as mentioned above would be similar to those in the Republic of Korea.

Several people expressed the view that to alleviate the poverty, commercialisation of the social forestry should be emphasised. Several studies show that the major food crops in some developing countries in the Asia Pacific Region, which are planted in fertile soil, accessible areas, and better market, are not profitable. However, it should be noted that ecological impacts should be included in judging investment in the forest and forestry sector development.

In regard to mobilisation and co-ordination of partners, several countries have adopted different approaches. However, a partnership arrangement as defined by IPF/IFF has been used as reference by several countries. Examples of the partnership approach at country level can be found in the country profiles for Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, and Vietnam; and for the intergovernmental and sub-regional levels in the ASEAN RHAP.

Processing

Some timber and non-wood producer countries have successfully enhanced their primary wood processing industries over the past few years. These industries have been creating jobs and providing more income, including for rural people compared to exporting raw materials. In some countries, foreign exchange earnings from processed timber exports that are badly needed to develop the country have been increasing. Due to the decreasing raw material supply, the new established primary timber processing was halted in some countries, including in Indonesia.

To create more job opportunities and income generation, more producer countries in the Region have been crafting and implementing policy on in-country further processing of timber and non-wood forest products.

The revenue derived from manufacturing mouldings is approximately double (per m3) the revenue derived from lumber. Secondary processing that has been selected includes furniture (including knock down furniture), mouldings, pulp and paper, and woodcarvings.

In regard to the wood panel industry, the trend have been toward producing special grades and properties, including moisture resistance, fire retardant, exterior grades, and laminating to make the panel attractive to consumers. Many issues hamper the development of secondary processing, including design, quality of processing, skilled manpower, knowledge of marketing and trade, competition, packaging and transportation, and banning the use of tropical timber products in certain countries.

Concern about the environmental impact of forest industries has been increasing in several countries. In some countries, pulp and paper productions are facing stricter environmental regulations regarding effluent discharge. In this regard, a pulp and paper factory was closed down in Indonesia in 1999 and some pulp and paper factories that are not environmentally friendly were closed down in China PR several years ago. Since the pulp and paper factory is the main market for the fast growing species plantations in the surrounding areas, the closing down of this factory directly affected the reforestation and tree plantation activities, including people’s participation in tree plantings. To ensure sustainable forest management, the development of this type of factory should be well planned and an environmental impact assessment should be carried out scientifically and rigorously.

Regional/Sub-regional programmes/projects

In regard to the management of programmes/projects, FAO is in the process of implementing new management arrangements, which will be put in place by end of 2001. The following are the on-going regional FAO executed programmes/projects in the Asia-Pacific Region in 2000 (all of the offices are located at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific):

1. GCP/RAS/173/EC - Information and analysis for sustainable forest management: linking national and international efforts in South Asia and Southeast Asia

The idea behind the project is to provide available and accurate information on forest resources and their utilisation as a precondition for sustainable forest management based on economically, environmentally, and socially balanced forest policies. The present coverage and quality of forestry information in the region is insufficient for national forest policy decisions and those data are inadequate to serve as a basis for private sector investments.

The total budget will be US$ 1,842,280, of which EC contribution amounts to US$ 977,320, with project duration of three years. The project will have three main components: a) problem oriented data collection and updating of information; b) pilot studies concerning gathering new data not earlier commonly collected, and training and capacity building to be carried out in a number of selected countries; and c) forest policy review based on reliable and updated information as a foundation to formulate appropriate forest policies.

The specific objectives of the project are to strengthen national capacity to collect, compile and disseminate reliable and up-to-date information on forestry, to analyse the forest sector, and to make that information available to the policy decision makers.

The expected results of the projects are as follows:

· For all target countries, an improved and more in-depth coverage of forestry data and more reliable problem oriented data needed for sustainable forest management;

· For the selected pilot countries, a proven, cost effective methodology to collect and analyse forestry data for sustainable forest management, which is essential but not yet commonly available at the national level, and to carry out policy/institutional analysis for each of the selected countries;

· For the forestry departments, local staff and forestry officers, improved institutional and technical capacity obtained through the project’s activities;

· For the highest levels of policy makers, improved analytical tools to review and formulate appropriate forestry policies for sustainable forest management;

· For EC, FAO, international communities and the general public, access to data, information, and analysis of the forestry sector in the target countries.

The CTA of the project is Thomas Enters, Phone 281-7844 ext. 220, E-mail: Enters.Thomas@fao.org.

2. GCP/RAS/177/JPN - Regional project on assistance for the implementation of the model forest approach for sustainable forest management

The idea behind the model forest is to provide a forum where all stakeholders (including government agencies) can meet to discuss their concerns and agree on possible courses of action. The concept of the model forest is not about ownership, but it is a mechanism which opens the decision making process to all stakeholders. One of the primary tasks of the model forest will be to develop, implement, and monitor mechanisms to effect partnerships among the stakeholders that will enable their many and diverse needs, priorities and values to be heard and considered.

The project aims to assist China, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand strengthen national and community level capacities in the development and implementation of field level model forests. The field level model forest will incorporate partnerships among stakeholders, the best practices for sustainable forest management, taking into account the multiple uses and functions of forests, the many diverse demands placed on the forests and forest lands by various stakeholders, the need to balance economic, social and environmental considerations, and the special needs and priorities of each country. Particular emphasis will be given to the development of mechanisms for the effective participation of all stakeholders, including local and forest dependent communities, in the planning and implementation of model forests, the sustainability of the activities, monitored through the development and implementation of local level criteria and indicators for SFM, the replicability of the model forests to other parts of the country, providing continuos feedback on policy, and identifying and assessing new or additional technology and resources to further implement SFM activities.

The Government of Japan provides funding support to cover the salary of the experts, travel and per diem cost. The project duration will be for 30 months starting in early 2000. The total budget of the project will be US$ 1,580,145.

Tang Hon Tat is the CTA of the project, Phone 281-7844 ext. 220, E-mail: hontat.tang@fao.org

3. GCP/RAS/163/NET - Forestry research support for Asia-Pacific (FORSPA)

This project was initiated in 1991 to enhance the forestry research capability in the Region. Its main objectives are to enhance collective self reliance of forest research institutions through networking, to promote technology transfer through effective dissemination of research results to users, and to increase the access to updated and comprehensive information services. Dissemination of information is the main concern of FORSPA. Officially this project will terminate in the year 2000. However, it will continue for several months in 2001 utilising unspent funds. Extension of the programme is still under consideration by the concerned governments.

The CTA of the project is Appanah Simmathiri, Phone 281-7844 ext. 136, E-mail: Appanah.Simmathiri@fao.org

4. GCP/RAS/1545/NET - Regional wood energy development programme in Asia (RWEDP)

This project was launched in 1985. It covered a broad range of subjects, including wood fuel flows, production, processing and conversion, helping key personnel of Energy and Forest Departments, NGOs and research institutions to initiate and strengthen their own activities in wood energy related issues. The development objective of the programme is to contribute to a sustainable production of wood fuels, their efficient processing and marketing, and their rational use for the benefit of households, industries and other enterprises. The programme also helps develop the capability of member countries in generating and assessing wood energy related data and using this information for the development and implementation of wood energy policies and strategies. Officially, it will terminate in the year 2000; however, it will continue several months in 2001 utilising unspent funds. Most likely, the Programme will be extended, but will be smaller in size and scope.

The CTA of the project is Auke Koopmans, Phone: 281-7844 ext. 259, E-mail: Koopmans.Auke@fao.org

Terminated Projects

The following were the FAO executed programmes/projects that terminated in 1999:

· Watershed Management in Tropics and Upper Himalayas;

· Support to the Reorientation of Forestry Policies and Institutions of Countries of Asia in Reform to Market Economy; and

· South Pacific Forest and Trees Support Programme (SPC/UNDP/AusAID/FAO) (note: the management of the Programme has been transferred to the sub-regional institution).

Information

Information concerning the forestry sector development in some countries in the Asia Pacific Region, including NFP, has been installed in some web-sites. FAO has established a web-site with the web-site code as follows: http://www.fao.org/forestry/.

This web-site provides information concerning the following: a) general forests and forestry; b) country profile, in brief, which covers several fields of information, including geographic information, forest resources (land cover, natural resources, total forest cover and protected areas), products, and trade.

In addition, FAO Regional Office Bangkok has also established a web site. In regard to forest and forestry visit http://www/fao.org.th/TechnicalGroups/Forestry/forestry.htm.

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