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18. On the basis of Secretariat Note FO:APFC/2004/3, the Commission reviewed APFC and FAO-supported forestry activities carried out during the past two years, including follow-up to recommendations of the nineteenth session of the Commission, and considered priorities for future work. Delegates also considered global and international activities and initiatives of interest to the region on the basis of Secretariat Note FO:APFC/2004/4.

19. The Secretariat clarified that many regional activities supported by FAO were carried out within the framework of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission to take advantage of the Commission’s positive opportunities for multi-country and multi-organization collaboration. The Commission acknowledged the relevance of recent APFC and FAO-supported activities in the region and noted with appreciation the follow-up actions that had been taken on the recommendations of the nineteenth session.

20. Activities had generally concentrated on four areas: (a) ensuring sustainable supplies of wood and fiber; (b) continuous improvement in forest management; (c) devolution of forest management responsibilities; and (d) cross-cutting initiatives. Delegates noted the synergy between FAO’s Regular Programme and Field Programme activities, and efforts to work in partnership with other organizations in the region.

21. Despite much positive work initiated by member countries, the Commission stressed that further efforts were needed to develop and implement national forest programmes. The Commission urged member countries, FAO and the National Forest Programme Facility to strengthen support for implementing national forest programmes.

22. Delegates stressed the need for accurate and relevant data to support forest management planning and decision making. The Commission acknowledged the value and usefulness of the information disseminated under the Global Forest Resources Assessment, the Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study, and the State of Forestry in Asia and the Pacific-2003. FAO was requested to regularly collect and disseminate such information in collaboration with APFC member countries.

23. The Commission requested FAO to continue efforts to enhance national capacities for conducting forest resource assessments, including assessment of tree resources outside forests.

24. Member countries agreed to continue promoting the development and use of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management and requested FAO to support this work. The Commission recommended that the seven thematic areas of sustainable forest management, as acknowledged by the International Conference on Criteria and Indicators in Guatemala (February 2003), the sixteenth session of the Committee on Forestry (March 2003) and further discussed at the recent FAO/ITTO Expert Consultation in the Philippines (March 2004), be used as globally agreed criteria for sustainable forest management, for harmonizing purposes.

25. The Commission recommended that FAO develop practical guidelines for the sustainable use of non-wood forest products, and work to improve marketing of such products.

26. Delegates noted the positive advances of many member countries in formulating and implementing national codes of practice for forest harvesting, consistent with the Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting in Asia-Pacific developed by APFC. FAO was requested to continue providing support for the implementation of codes of practice and the application of improved forest harvesting.

27. The Commission endorsed the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network, under the auspices of APFC. It urged FAO and member countries to support the network as a mechanism for sharing information on existing and potential forest pests and approaches for combating such pests. FAO was requested to work with member countries to mobilize funds to effectively manage the network.

28. Delegates acknowledged the importance and relevance of the international dialogue on forests for its member countries, but observed that many countries were unable to fully participate due to limited resources and capacity.

29. FAO was commended for its leadership in supporting the work of the CPF. The Commission urged FAO to continue providing strong support for the CPF, particularly its collaborating and coordinating functions.

30. The Commission appreciated the efforts of CPF members to streamline forest-related reporting and encouraged FAO and other CPF members to further simplify reporting in order to reduce the burden on countries.

31. The Commission urged FAO, in collaboration with other CPF members, to continue work to harmonize concepts, terminology and definitions used in assessing, monitoring and reporting on sustainable forest management.

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