To assist countries in identifying their main issues and priorities in forest genetic resources, FAO supports the preparation of status assessment and action plans for forest genetic resources at the national and regional levels, through eco-regional workshops convened in collaboration with international, regional and national organizations. Workshops have been held for North America and Boreal Forests (1995), Sahelian Africa (1998), the South Pacific (1999), Southern and Eastern Africa (2000), Central America, Cuba and Mexico (2002) and Central Africa (2003). Documents prepared for these workshops on methodologies, country assessments and eco-regional status and action plans are printed and posted on FAO’s Web site. Updated data on species and institutions are compiled in the FAO World-Wide Information System on Forest Genetic Resources (REFORGEN). This Note summarizes the outcomes of the workshops convened in 2002 and 2003. Background information was provided in Information Note FORGEN/01/6E (2001).
DEVELOPMENTS IN CENTRAL AMERICA
The Regional Workshop on Forest Tree Genetic Resources for Central America was held at CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica, in November 2002. The workshop gathered experts from nine countries (Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama), CATIE, IPGRI, IUFRO, and DFSC. During the last decade, the field of forest genetic resources has changed radically in a majority of countries, at policy, institutional and technical levels. While deforestation and encroachment are still comparatively high, a majority of public-owned seed centers face financial constraints and have difficulties to integrate efforts on biodiversity conservation. Costa Rica is showing innovative approaches to seed certification, biodiversity investment schemes and access and benefit-sharing from the use of, or investigations on, genetic resources. Country status assessments have been completed and are being printed and posted on the internet. A regional synthesis and action plan will be finalized.
DEVELOPMENTS IN CENTRAL AFRICA
A regional workshop on forest and tree genetic resources for Central Africa was held in Pointe Noire, Congo, 14-15 October 2003. The workshop, organized by FAO in collaboration with the African Timber Organization, IPGRI, ICRAF and IUFRO, was attended by participants representing countries of the Congo Basin (Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Sao Tome & Principe), international organizations and national agencies. Country-based information has in addition been received from the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Participants have presented status reports that should be updated and finalized in collaboration with national stakeholders concerned. A regional synthesis, discussed by participants, should incorporate these updates. Three main domains of applications were identified for the action plan: seed sources; provenances and genecological zonation; and domestication of fruit trees and medicinal species. At policy level, the plan of action could be integrated into the COMIFAC revised program on forests. A number of options have been discussed to promote the incorporation of genetic resources considerations into management plans.
5 Based on Information Note FORGEN/03/7