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The Second Expert Meeting on Harmonizing Forest-related Definitions for Use by Various Stakeholders was jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in collaboration with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at FAO Headquarters, in Rome, from 11 to 13 September 2002.

The meeting was a follow-up to the first Expert Meeting, organized by the same bodies in Rome from 19 to 23 January 2002, which recommended, inter alia, establishing a Task Group; preparing a comprehensive analytical framework; and organizing another expert meeting to review the framework and decide on further action.


The objectives of the meeting were to (i) recommend options for harmonizing forest-related definitions, (ii) make proposals for the implementation of these options, and (iii) establish a commonly agreed upon future agenda. It was expected to thus contribute towards improving efficiency of processes in different international policies related to forests.

It was clearly stated that harmonization does not mean standardization. Harmonization can include adjustments for improved compatibility and consistency, establishing comparability, linkages and hierarchies between terms, but also documenting differences.

Other Processes

A number of other on-going processes are connected with this meeting, such as:

The background document "Analytical Framework on Forest-related Definitions" was prepared and shared with the participants before the meeting.

The participants (Annex I) included a total of 54 experts, resource people and observers invited by the Director-General of FAO. The experts were selected on the basis of their specialized knowledge and familiarity with the ongoing work on forest-related definitions in various international forums, including UNFCCC, CBD, UNCCD and UNFF. Participants served in their personal capacity and not as representatives of their governments or organizations. In addition, resource people from each of the co-sponsoring and collaborating agencies attended the meeting.

The Meeting agenda is shown as Annex II.

Opening Ceremony

The meeting was opened by Mr M. Hosny El-Lakany, Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department. Mr Geoff Love, Secretary of IPCC; Mr Heinrich Schmutzenhofer, Executive Secretary of IUFRO; Mr Jens Mackensen, from UNEP and Mr Robert Nasi, of CIFOR, made statements for the co-organizing Organizations on the relevance of the Meeting's work to their organizations.

Mr Dennis Tirpak, Secretariat of UNFCCC, gave an account of the current process under the UNFCCC on land use and land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) related activities which would benefit from the results of the meeting.

Organization of Work

The meeting was chaired by Mr Wulf Killmann, Director of the FAO Forest Products Division, and moderated by Mr Markku Simula, Indufor OY. Most of the meeting was conducted in the form of group sessions. Three groups focused their work on the ways and means to harmonize different groups of core and supporting definitions. The first group, which dealt with issues related to definitions of forest and change processes between forest and other land classes, was chaired by Mr Ian Noble and its reporter was Mr Brian Haddon. The second group, which explored definitions of change processes within the forest, focusing its work on forest degradation, was chaired by Mr Jens Mackensen with Mr Robert Nasi acting as reporter. The third group worked on forest management and forest conditions under the leadership of Mr Jürgen Blaser, with Ms Andrea Tuttle as reporter. The fourth group dealt with the issue of forest classifications and the issue whether differentiated definitions should be applied under various processes and instruments. The group was chaired by Mr Jean-Paul Lanly and its reporter was Ms Eveline Trines. A fifth group was formed to study the definition of Low Forest Cover, and it was chaired by Mr Tage Michaelsen with Mr Allali Abdelkader as reporter.

During the first plenary session, after the introductory remarks by Mr Killmann, Mr Dieter Schoene summarized the latest developments under related international processes including the on-going work by IPCC, UNFCCC, IUFRO, UNEP, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and CIFOR. Mr Peter Holmgren briefed the participants on the results of the Kotka IV meeting held in August 2002 on the further development of the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA). The moderator then presented the highlights of the background paper. The work was broken down into groups and a plenary session was held during the second day to take stock of the progress. The groups interacted through direct contacts during the course of work.

The presentations made in the workshop are reproduced in Annex IV and the reports of Group Work in Annex VI.

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