64. Recognizing the Committee on Forestrys stated desire to see the regional forestry commissions strengthened, the Commission wished to bring to the attention of COFO the renewed vitality of the APFC, as demonstrated by the large number of important inter-sessional activities in the past two years and the record level of participation in the twentieth session. The Commission considered it particularly noteworthy that these activities were achieved largely as a result of the commitment and contributions of member countries themselves.
65. The Commission drew attention to its call for FAO and other CPF members to continue supporting member countries in implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action through effective national forest programmes, consistent with the recommendations of COFO and various other international fora. The Commission further highlighted the important role of the National Forest Programme Facility in supporting member countries in these endeavours.
66. Cognizant of the global concern over illegal logging and associated illegal trade of forest products, the Commission wished to highlight its request to FAO to provide additional technical support to help member countries control illegal logging and associated trade, and to assess the costs and impacts of illegal logging.
67. The Commission wished to inform COFO that it had requested FAO to examine the potential strengths and weaknesses of regional and global arrangements on forest fires, including the feasibility of developing and implementing a global agreement on fire.
68. The Commission wished to highlight to COFO the need to raise awareness of the serious threats from invasive species and the need to build capacities for dealing with such threats. The Commission was pleased to inform COFO of the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network, created under the aegis of APFC.
69. Recognizing that issues related to the supply and use of fresh water had become globally significant, and that the complex linkages between forests and water were often poorly understood, the Commission wished to draw to the attention of COFO its request to FAO to continue providing sound scientific information on relationships between forests and water, including flooding, and on successful watershed management approaches.
70. The Commission wished to highlight to COFO the significant progress made by many member countries in the region in formulating and implementing national codes of practice for forest harvesting, consistent with the regional code developed under the auspices of APFC. The Commission wished to suggest to COFO that the approaches and experiences of Asia-Pacific countries in developing and implementing codes of practice could provide a useful model for other regions.
71. The Commission wished to draw attention to its highly successful In Search of Excellence initiative that resulted in more than 170 nominations of forests throughout the region considered to be well managed. The initiative helped showcase positive experiences of forest management and heightened consideration of what constitutes good management. The Commission wished to highlight its recommendations for continuing activities under the initiative and further disseminating the results, including through a recommended side meeting at the next session of COFO.
72. Acknowledging widespread interest in the potential to generate income and employment from non-wood forest products, environmental services and ecotourism, the Commission wanted to draw to the attention of COFO its request that FAO facilitate the exchange of information and experience related to the valuation and the development of markets for these products and services.
73. The Commission noted that forest management approaches were evolving rapidly throughout the world, including through the use of criteria and indicators to assess, monitor and report progress toward the achievement of sustainable forest management. Recognizing that these changes necessitated new skills and capabilities within forestry agencies, the Commission wished to inform COFO of its recommendation that FAO review the changed needs, demands and expectations being placed on forestry agencies and assist them in reorienting, retraining, and restructuring, as appropriate.
74. Acknowledging the importance of the fifth session of UNFF in 2005, which will decide on future international arrangements on forests, the Commission wished to highlight to COFO its request for FAO to examine the possibility of organizing an inter-sessional meeting to assist countries of the region in preparing for the upcoming UNFF session.