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APPENDIX 7

PROGRESS IN THE PREPARATION OF COUNTRY AND REGIONAL ASSESSMENTS ON FOREST GENETIC RESOURCES, AND REGIONAL PLANS OF ACTION FOR THEIR CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE15

BACKGROUND

The well-being of trees and forests and the sustained production of the goods and services that they provide are dependent on the maintenance and management of their genetic diversity. However, habitat destruction and alteration, deforestation and changes in land use, atmospheric pollution, climate change and inappropriate forest harvesting practices pose increasing threats to the integrity of forest genetic resources.

In March 1997, the 13th Session of the Committee of Forestry recognized the urgent need for concerted action to strengthen national, regional and international activities related to forest tree genetic resources, and agreed that "FAO, in conjunction with Regional Forestry Commissions and countries that requested it, could convene regional and sub-regional forest genetic workshops complementary to those already held in 1995 for boreal and temperate zones".

Following this recommendation, and under the guidance of the FAO Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources, action has been taken to facilitate a series of regional forest genetic resources workshops as a first step towards the development of regional plans of action. The objective of the workshops is to help countries and regions to define the status of, and priorities and requirements in the management of forest genetic resources, including their conservation, enhancement and sustainable utilization.

In September 1998, FAO, the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) and the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) joined forces to help countries in the Sahel to organize a workshop on the 'Conservation, Management, Sustainable Utilization and Enhancement of Forest Genetic Resources'. The objectives of the workshop were to assist countries in the sub-region to assess the status of their forest genetic resources, propose and agree on priority actions, and make recommendations for immediate follow-up and implementation of action in this field. A synthesis on the state of the region's genetic resources, based on national reports prepared by 18 countries, has recently been finalized, and forms the background of a sub-regional plan.

A workshop covering countries of the South Pacific Islands was held in Apia, Samoa 12-14 April 1999. The Australian-funded project 'South Pacific Regional Initiative on Forest Genetic Resources' assisted in the preparation of country assessements and the organization of the meeting, in collaboration with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, FAO and other regional, bilateral and national partners. A regional status assessement of forest genentic resources is being finalized by the organizers. A regional action plan for their conservation and sustainable use, drafted during the meeting, has recently been endorsed by heads of Forestry of the Pacific Islands.

A workshop covering countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) took place in Arusha, Tanzania, 26 June - 11 July 2000, following discussions at the third meeting of the SADC Technical Sub-Committee for Forest Research (TSCFR) in 1998. The workshop gathered 10 countries and a number of national and international organizations. Country reports prepared beforehand were presented and their compilation in a regional synthesis of forest genetic diversity is being prepared, with an attached action plan for their conservation and sustainable use.

Similar workshops are being planned in other sub-regions and eco-regions, pending identification of additional funding and partnerships. In 2000 - 2001, within the framework of a special FAO - Netherlands partnership programme, it has been possible to plan further developments in two eco-regions, namely Central Africa and Central America.

A list of related documents is given in Annex 2.

DEVELOPMENTS IN CENTRAL AFRICA AND MOIST WEST AFRICA

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the programme are to support countries in the Central Africa and moist West Africa region in the assessment of status and trends of their forest genetic diversity, according to coordinated technical methodologies agreed by national experts. Countries involved include Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, DR Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe. The initiative will associate the African Timber Organization, UNDP-Cameroon, IPGRI, ICRAF, IUFRO, and other regional and national counterparts. National experts will prepare country reports on forest genetic resources, which will later be compiled into a regional synthesis. During a workshop gathering national experts and resource persons, country reports will be presented, and the draft regional synthesis finalized. Experts will be requested to identify a limited list of tree/shrub species of major importance to all countries (or to a sub-set of countries) in the region, with other priority areas for cooperation, which will form the basis for a regional action plan. Experts will also provide updated information for the FAO global information system on forest genetic resources (REFORGEN). Country reports, the regional synthetic state, and the regional action plan will be published and disseminated, including through the Internet.

PLANNED OUTPUTS

1) Provision of technical methodologies for the assessment of forest trees and shrubs in target countries of the eco-regions (2001);

2) Preparation of country reports on the state of forest tree and shrub genetic resources (2001 to 2002);

3) Preparation of a draft regional compilation (synthesis) of country reports (2002);

4) Convening of a workshop for national experts towards the identification of status and gaps in conservation and use of priority tree and shrub species and preparation of an action plan (2002);

5) Finalization of individual country assessments, the regional synthesis and the action plan (2002);

6) Publication and dissemination of the above documents, inc. in electronic format (2002 to 2003);

7) Updating information on countries and species in the FAO forest genetic resources information system (REFORGEN) (2002)

MAIN ACTIVITIES

1) Provision of technical methodologies for the assessment of forest trees and shrubs in target countries of the Central African and Moist West African region (2001)

Identification of regional partners and collaborators; recruitment of a consultant to visit countries, identify national focal points and propose assessment methodologies; identification of national consultant(s), in consultation with national authorities and collaborators; finalization of a common technical methodology (protocol) for the preparation of country reports.

2) Preparation of country reports on the state of forest tree and shrub genetic resources (2001 to 2002);

Recruitment of national focal points (consultants); gathering of background information on the state of genetic resources in relevant countries and preparation of country reports by national focal points (consultants); provision of administrative and technical support to national focal points, as appropriate.

3) Preparation of a draft regional compilation (synthesis) of country reports (2002);

Identification and recruitment of an expert (preferably a national expert) to compile information available in national reports; preparation of a draft regional synthesis on the state of forest genetic resources in the Central African / moist West African region by the expert; revision of the draft document, and circulation to national experts;

4) Convening of a workshop for national experts towards the identification of status and gaps in conservation and use of priority tree and shrub species and preparation of an action plan (2002);

Identification of an institution willing, and in a position to, host a sub-regional workshop for the conservation and sustainable use of forest genetic resources in Central African / moist West African; finalization of administrative arrangements; preparation of the workshop by the institution and the collaborators; convening of the workshop; preparation of a draft action plan based on the information provided by national experts.

5) Finalization of individual country assessments, the regional synthesis and the action plan (2002);

Identification of an editor to revise, edit and finalize (i) the individual country reports, (ii) the regional synthesis of the state of forest genetic resources, and (iii) the plan of action for their conservation and sustainable use; finalization of administrative and technical arrangements with the editor; circulation of draft documents among national experts and workshop participants.

6) Publication and dissemination of the above documents, in hard copy and electronic format (2002 to 2003);

Agreement among collaborators on arrangements for the publications; identification of a web homepage developer to convert and post documents on the Internet; dispatch of printed publications to national, regional and international counterparts and stakeholders.

7) Updating information on countries and species in the FAO forest genetic resources information system (REFORGEN) (2002).

Review of information and data available in REFORGEN; preparation of species information forms by national focal points; data entering and validation.

DEVELOPMENTS IN CENTRAL AMERICA

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the programme are to support countries in the Central American region in the assessment of status and trends of their forest genetic diversity, according to coordinated technical methodologies agreed by national experts. Countries involved include Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, and Mexico. The initiative will associate CCAD, CATIE, and other regional and national counterparts. National experts will prepare country reports on forest genetic resources, which will later be compiled into a regional synthesis. During a workshop gathering national experts and resource persons, country reports will be presented, and the draft regional synthesis finalized. Experts will be requested to identify a limited list of tree/shrub species of major importance to all countries (or to a sub-set of countries) in the region, with other priority areas for cooperation, which will form the basis for a regional action plan. Experts will also provide updated information for the FAO global information system on forest genetic resources (REFORGEN). Country reports, the regional synthetic state, and the regional action plan will be published and disseminated, including through the Internet.

PLANNED OUTPUTS

1) Provision of technical methodologies for the assessment of forest trees and shrubs in target countries of the eco-regions (2001);

2) Preparation of country reports on the state of forest tree and shrub genetic resources (2001 to 2002);

3) Preparation of a draft regional compilation (synthesis) of country reports (2002);

4) Convening of a workshop for national experts towards the identification of status and gaps in conservation and use of priority tree and shrub species and preparation of an action plan (2002);

5) Finalization of individual country assessments, the regional synthesis and the action plan (2002);

6) Publication and dissemination of the above documents, inc. in electronic format (2002 to 2003);

7) Updating information on countries and species in the FAO forest genetic resources information system (REFORGEN) (2002)

8) Contribute to the development of a research agenda on forest genetic resources in the region.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

1) Provision of technical methodologies for the assessment of forest trees and shrubs in target countries of the Central America and Southern Mexico (2001)

Identification of regional partners and collaborators; recruitment of a consultant to visit countries, identify national focal points and propose assessment methodologies; identification of national consultant(s), in consultation with national authorities and collaborators; finalization of a common technical methodology (protocol) for the preparation of country reports.

2) Preparation of country reports on the state of forest tree and shrub genetic resources (2001 to 2002);

Recruitment of national focal points (consultants); gathering of background information on the state of genetic resources in relevant countries and preparation of country reports by national focal points (consultants); provision of administrative and technical support to national focal points, as appropriate.

3) Preparation of a draft regional compilation (synthesis) of country reports (2002);

Identification and recruitment of an expert (preferably a national expert) to compile information available in national reports; preparation of a draft regional synthesis on the state of forest genetic resources in the Central American region by the expert; revision of the draft document, and circulation to national experts;

4) Convening of a workshop for national experts towards the identification of status and gaps in conservation and use of priority tree and shrub species and preparation of an action plan (2002);

Identification of an institution willing, and in a position to, host a sub-regional workshop for the conservation and sustainable use of forest genetic resources in Central America and Southern Mexico; finalization of administrative arrangements; preparation of the workshop by the institution and the collaborators; convening of the workshop; preparation of a draft action plan based on the information provided by national experts.

5) Finalization of individual country assessments, the regional synthesis and the action plan (2002);

Identification of an editor to revise, edit and finalize (i) the individual country reports, (ii) the regional synthesis of the state of forest genetic resources, and (iii) the plan of action for their conservation and sustainable use; finalization of administrative and technical arrangements with the editor; circulation of draft documents among national experts and workshop participants.

6) Publication and dissemination of the above documents, in hard copy and electronic format (2002 to 2003);

Agreement among collaborators on arrangements for the publications; identification of a web homepage developer to convert and post documents on the Internet; dispatch of printed publications to national, regional and international counterparts and stakeholders.

7) Updating information on countries and species in the FAO forest genetic resources information system (REFORGEN) (2002).

Review of information and data available in REFORGEN; preparation of species information forms by national focal points; data entering and validation.

8) Contribute to the development of a research agenda on forest genetic resources in the region

Review of activities, needs, requirements and gaps in forest genetic diversity research and development, and assess the relevance and outline of a research agenda in the matter for countries of the region.

These activities are part of a long-term programme supported by FAO, IPGRI, ICRAF, DFSC and international, regional and national partners, towards a global assessment of forest genetic resources. The programme is aimed at supporting countries in the assessment of the genetic resources of wild forest trees and shrubs in forestry- and agro-ecosystems, and the development of regional action plans for their conservation and sustainable use. The initiative is being carried out on a eco-regional basis; similar activities have been initiated in Sahelian Africa; the Pacific Islands; Southern and Eastern Africa; and Central Africa. More information, and access to the World-Wide Forest Genetic Resources Information System (REFORGEN), are available at homepage:http://www.fao.org/forestry/FOR/FORM/FOGENRES/homepage/fogene-e.stm .

Any comment, remark or request for information on this process will be appreciated. Please contact : Forest Resources Development Service, Forest Resources Division, Forestry Department, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy, fax : + 39 06 570 55 137, email : Forest-Genetic-Resources@fao.org


15 Based on Information Note FORGEN/01/6

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