FAO Forestry Department
Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, good morning.
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you on behalf of Mr Jacques Diouf, Director-General of FAO, and on behalf of my colleague Mr Jacques Eckebil, Assistant Director-General of the FAO Sustainable Development Department, and of all the staff of the Forestry and Sustainable Development departments of our Organization.
This is the second meeting on harmonizing forest-related definitions for use by various stakeholders, building upon the discussions and results of the first meeting, which took place here in Rome earlier this year. During the next three days you will discuss and detail a draft analytical framework on some core definitions.
The need for this process was reiterated this year at the second session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), the Sixth Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the sixteenth session of the Subsidiary Body of Scientific and Technological Advice of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
We are very pleased to note that this meeting is the result of a collaborative effort between FAO, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), and our sister Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). We are glad to see their representatives here, and also the representatives of three important post-UNCED conventions - CBD, UNFCCC and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). I also recognize and welcome distinguished colleagues conversant with the subject, most of whom have been with us already in January this year. The high level of experts gathered here today puts the process in an excellent position to succeed.
We are aware that this process on harmonizing forest-related definitions is closely linked to the Kotka process, led by FAO, to the UNFCCC process on developing definitions for afforestation and reforestation under article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, and to IPCC-led processes, such as that on Good Practice Guidance and the IPCC Task 2 process on Definitions and Methodological Options to Inventory Emissions from Direct Human-induced Degradation of Forests and Devegetation of Other Vegetation Types. I am glad to see that experts involved in these processes are among the participants today; this will enable us to make use of synergies and avoid duplication of work.
This definition process is also closely linked to other activities of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) in assisting UNFF, as stated in the Plan of Action of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), concluded last week, e.g. the work of the CPF Task Force on Harmonizing and Streamlining Forest-related Reporting. As chairperson of the CPF, I am therefore glad to realize that attendance at this meeting includes representatives of nearly all CPF members and colleagues dealing with the CPF programme, which indicates the importance given to the definition work in the UNFF process. This meeting could also be regarded as the first post-WSSD activity.
The discussion on forest-related definitions may touch sensitive issues, and this subject certainly has a political profile. Please let us keep in mind that our mandate is a purely technical one. You have been invited on the basis of your technical expertise in this field.
We expect the process to come up with a draft analytical framework document on forest-related definitions, and suggestions on how to proceed in this process. It is expected that the documents will be submitted to the IPCC, the Subsidiary Bodies of the UNFCCC, CBD and UNCCD, as well as to Member Countries of the United Nations Forum on Forests and to the FAO Committee on Forestry, for their consideration.
My colleagues will address the objectives and mechanics of the meeting in more detail. Allow me to wish you a fruitful, interesting and challenging meeting, and to all of us success in this endeavour.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues.
Good morning. Let me start by saying how pleased I am to be here in this beautiful city this morning.
I am here because the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr Rajendra Pachauri unfortunately cannot be here, and so I am standing in for him.
For those of you unfamiliar with the IPCC, let me give you a little background. The IPCC is jointly sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Its role is to assess scientific, technological and socio-economic information on climate change. It does not undertake, or sponsor research nor does it implement programmes to deal with climate change.
The IPCC is probably best known for its assessment reports, with the latest, the Third Assessment Report, comprising three large volumes, having been completed in 2001. The IPCC also undertakes shorter Special Reports and Technical Papers on specific topics of interest to government decision-makers.
The IPCC's interest in this meeting arises because of the program of work being undertaken by its Task Force on Greenhouse Gas Inventories. At the request of the UNFCCC the IPCC is very active in developing guidance to assist countries in the development of their inventories of carbon - not only the carbon in their greenhouse gas emissions but also in their forests and other biomass. We see this inventories work as becoming increasingly important.
The IPCC is particularly pleased to be able to assist in the sponsorship of this meeting for a number of reasons. Firstly we recognise that in matters such as developing widely accepted and used definitions of such terms as "forest" we need to consult those with most experience in the area - and these experts are not in the community of scientists who have worked most closely with the IPCC in the past. These experts are known to FAO and so it is excellent to be able to cooperate with FAO to work with them.
Secondly, the IPCC recognises that climate change is being monitored in the atmosphere, the oceans and on the land surface. Paradoxically, the integrated global database for monitoring climate change is most poor for the land surface. We hope that in working with FAO to standardise terms related to the definition of the earth's biomass we can, in the long run, improve the global monitoring of the vegetation systems that are so important in carbon sequestration.
So, let me conclude this morning by saying that the IPCC recognises that to understand and make the best decisions relating to climate change, the analysis of it must be a broad-based, multi-disciplinary one. The IPCC sees meetings such as this as very important in establishing the multi-disciplinary dialogue and so is very pleased to be here.
IUFRO Executive Secretary
International Union of Forest Research Organizations
Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I am able to participate in this second Expert Meeting on Harmonizing Forest-related Definitions for Use by Various Stakeholders. The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), which celebrates its 110th anniversary this October, has developed from a home of standards to a modern service centre. This shows that the traditional mandate of IUFRO in standardization, besides taking account of the present needs also evolves towards harmonization, compatibility and better access to information.
In this sense, IUFRO is proud to cooperate in this multi-stakeholder initiative and has made every effort during these past six months to promote and make known the work of this process:
This has been done:
• within the IUFRO network, the IUFRO Board, and in meetings organized by IUFRO member organizations, the most recent one being: the European Regional Conference on Urban Forestry, in Copenhagen in late August;
• and outside IUFRO - by co-organizing, for example with FAO and CIFOR a Side Event on Terminology and Definitions at the UNFF2 Conference in New York in March 2002, and;
• by placing information about this process at the IUFRO Website (under the section: harmonization process) and by linking to the Proceedings and documents of the first Expert Meeting, and finally;
• by distributing the working draft document to selected IUFRO representatives; their comments and reactions will be submitted through the IUFRO representatives at this meeting.
We are also interested to learn from this cooperation of many different organizations, countries and backgrounds. We are eager to exchange our views and experiences. It will not always be easy to come to a compromise, but it will prove useful to learn more about the differences in forest-related concepts as used by the International Processes and Organizations.
As it was reported in the first meeting, IUFRO, with the financial assistance of the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) is establishing a multilingual glossary on carbon in forests. This glossary work is being realised in close cooperation with IUFRO experts and other experts in this field in the four official IUFRO languages. We will be glad to send the draft version to all participants of this meeting, for review as soon as it is available. For the terms which are treated in this process and framework, we will certainly follow closely your discussions and results. For other terms, we will be glad to count on your cooperation.
In this sense IUFRO's traditional role is to contribute with its expertise, but also to learn from the International Processes and Conventions. We see ourselves as facilitator and promoter through IUFRO`s network of more than 15,000 scientists in almost 700 Member Organizations and as a bridge providing access to the definitions, not only in English but also in other languages.
I refer to the traditional cooperation of FAO and IUFRO in the field of terminology. Already in 1971 the Joint FAO/IUFRO Committee on Forestry Bibliography and Terminology published the English language version edited by F.C. Ford-Robertson (Oxford), the Multilingual Forestry Terminology Series No. 1. Translations into the French and Italian languages followed thereafter.
IUFRO emphasizes the multilingual aspect of forest terminology, and will continue to play its role in the process of bringing the knowledge and outcome of this series of meetings to its scientists and improve the multilingual understanding. Again we would like to place our infrastructure at the service of this process and present the final results and outputs in IUFRO's multilingual terminology database SilvaTerm.
Before I come to the end, I would like to sincerely thank FAO for being our host and Markku Simula and his collaborators for drafting the background document for this Expert Meeting. It will give us an excellent basis for the discussions.
May I finally convey to you the best wishes from the IUFRO President, Professor Risto Seppala and the Board for successful deliberations for our better mutual understanding.
Program Leader, Biodiversity
Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Dear friends and colleagues,
It is really a great pleasure for me to here with you in Rome at FAO's headquarters for this Second Expert Meeting on Harmonizing Forest-related Definitions. I have first to convey the best wishes of success from our Director General, Dr David Kaimowitz and together with his best wishes, the regrets of our former Director of Research, Dr Ken MacDicken who attended the previous meeting in January 2002 but has left CIFOR for a new working experience in August 2002 and is therefore not able to be with us today.
It is a great pleasure because the issue of forest definition has been in my mind for several years and also because this is my first time in Rome and in FAO Headquarters. Now I can see in their "natural" environment all the FAO colleagues with whom I have been working during the last 20 years in Asia, Africa and the Pacific.
It is also a great challenge for me to replace Ken MacDicken but with your help and active participation, I am sure that this meeting will be successful and will add an important stone to the international debate on forests. I wish to reiterate CIFOR's commitment with this process. I have been interested by the issue of forest definitions for a long time and, I must admit, sometimes a strong critic of some of these definitions or of the multiplicity of these. This initiative of the FAO with the support of IPCC, CIFOR, IUFRO and UNEP appears therefore highly relevant to me and I am really looking forward to work with you all during the coming days.
I must also stress the importance of a genuine participation and commitment from you all. Without this, harmonization will not occur.
Thank you very much
Division of Policy Development and Law, Nairobi
United Nations Environment Programme
UNEP likes to thank FAO, in particular Assistant General Mr. Hosny El-Lakany and Mr. Killmann, as well as the fellow co-sponsors, IPCC, CIFOR, IUFRO and ITTO, for offering UNEP co-sponsorship for these expert consultation on the harmonization of forest-related definitions for various stakeholders. I would like - on behalf of UNEP, namely Mr. Bakary Kante, Director of UNEP's Division for Policy Development and Law - to welcome all experts to this second meeting. It is a pleasure to join this expert consultation and to continue to actively participate in it.
Why is the harmonization of forest-related definitions of importance to UNEP?
Firstly because UNEP, as the environmental UN body, is mandated to promote synergies between key environmental themes, including forests, and to relate them development issues. It is an essential first step towards the development of synergies to find the common base for jointly used terminology, especially on such an important, broad and cross-cutting issue like forestry.
Secondly, UNEP acknowledges that the harmonization of forest-related definitions is not for academic reasons, but serves the purpose of reducing the reporting requirements of countries on forest matters. This is a most appealing objective and should be strengthened throughout the process to contribute to more cost-efficient implementation of relevant international environmental agreements as well as in support to the UN Forum on Forest and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, of which UNEP is a member.
Harmonising and not necessarily standardising forest definitions is also about bridging different concepts such as the forest production orientated approach and an environment, namely biodiversity focused perspective. Linking both these concepts closer to each other - moving from both directions - is a commendable and necessary objective.
The successful co-operation between UNEP and FAO on global land cover classification and assessment links directly to harmonising forest definitions and should be reflected accordingly in this process and the subsequent implementation.
Finally, UNEP together with IUFRO is mandated by IPF/IFF to especially address the need of countries with low forest cover to adequately integrate their specific requirements into the international process on forests and forest management. UNEP therefore welcomes the opportunity to relate the issue of low forest cover, especially in relation to the conditions in drylands, to this forum for achieving a closer link to other relevant processes such as the UNCBD, UNFCCC, UNCCD and the Forest Resource Assessment.
I would like to thank you and wish this expert meeting much success!