Item 5 of the Provisional Agenda
Rome, Italy, 10-14 March 2003
THE ROLE OF REGIONAL FORESTRY COMMISSIONS IN IMPLEMENTING THE IPF/IFF PROPOSALS FOR ACTION AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE REGIONAL FORESTRY COMMISSIONS
Table of Contents
1. At its second session in 1974, the Committee requested that
the agenda of Regional Forestry Commission (RFC) sessions include “matters
to be referred to the attention of the Committee on Forestry (COFO)” as
a standing item and that the corresponding section of reports be submitted to
the subsequent session of the Committee. This note summarizes the main points
of interest to COFO made by the RFCs and other FAO statutory bodies in forestry
since the fifteenth session of COFO. It also outlines the potential role RFCs
can have in implementing proposals for action of the Intergovernmental Panel
on Forests (IPF) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF).
2. The FAO technical statutory bodies in forestry are:
- the Regional Forestry Commissions for Africa, Asia-Pacific, North America, the Near East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe
- the Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products (ACPWP)
- the Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions – Silva Mediterranea
- the Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources
- the International Poplar Commission (IPC)
MATTERS FROM REGIONAL FORESTRY COMMISSIONS FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE COMMITTEE
3. The following section highlights key points for the attention of COFO.
NEAR EAST FORESTRY COMMISSION (NEFC)
(15th session, Khartoum, Republic of the Sudan, 28-31 January 2002)
The Commission recommended that FAO Forestry Department:
- facilitate the strengthening of national capacity in resource assessment;
- strengthen its technical capacity at the Regional Office for the Near East;
- in collaboration with partners, support the needs of countries with low forest cover, including strengthening the LFCC Secretariat to function as an effective network;
- continue to facilitate global outlook studies, including in the Near East countries not covered in FOSA and help build capacity in strategic planning at the national level.
AFRICAN FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION (AFWC)
(13th session, Libreville, Gabon, 25-29 March 2002)
The Commission recommended that FAO:
- prioritize food security and poverty alleviation in its regional forestry programmes;
- assist countries and academic institutions revise their curricula to better adapt to the needs of the forestry sector;
- put in place an appropriate mechanism to ensure the participation of regional and sub-regional organizations in the implementation of the Forestry Outlook Study for Africa (FOSA);
- assist countries participate in the United Nations Forum on Forests by making pertinent information available to them, including a synthesis of the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
ASIA-PACIFIC FORESTRY COMMISSION (APFC)
(19th session, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 26-30 August 2002)
- highlighted the reporting burden of the many international instruments and processes and suggested that FAO work with partners to simplify and co-ordinate requests;
- highlighted the need for forestry professionals to be more involved in negotiating and implementing international instruments related to forests;
- recommended that FAO build capacity within countries to improve understanding of forest-related international and regional instruments and to enhance their participation;
- suggested that FAO strengthen the role of regional forestry commissions to co-ordinate regional inputs to international fora and efforts to implement agreed actions;
- encouraged regional forestry commissions and COFO to address such issues as illegal logging and the large number of fora dealing with forestry in a fragmented fashion;
- highlighted the need to raise awareness of the serious threats from invasive species in forests and of the benefits of increased international collaboration in addressing related problems.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN FORESTRY COMMISSION (LACFC)
(22nd session, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 7-11 October, 2002)
The Commission recommended that:
- FAO pay greater attention to the identification and valuation of forest environmental services; more efficient mechanisms for rural communities to access forest resources; and the potential of forests to attract investment;
- FAO strengthen efforts to help countries of the region mobilize funding and technical cooperation to implement national forest programmes;
- COFO request the Forestry Department to increase linkages with agriculture, fisheries, water and other sectors;
- COFO support countries in linking and harmonizing national and regional agendas for implementing international conventions and other initiatives related to forests;
- COFO urge the United Nations and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to assist countries in the region adequately reflect, in national accounts, the contribution of the forestry sector to the National Gross Domestic Product;
- COFO request the Forestry Department to provide orientation to countries on the future of forest certification and information on markets for certified wood products.
NORTH AMERICAN FOREST COMMISSION (NAFC)
(21st session, Kona, Hawaii, USA, 22-26 October 2002
The Commission recommended that FAO:
- continue to strengthen its program on forests and water, with emphasis on the value of water as an environmental service from forests;
- continue its work on harmonizing forest-related definitions with participation of relevant partners;
- strengthen its capability to assess forest plantation resources; to analyze the costs and benefits of forest plantations; and to assist countries maximize the contributions that forest plantations make to sustainable forest management and carbon sequestration;
- establish linkages with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to address new areas such as eco-tourism and recreation;
- continue to introduce innovative approaches in conducting COFO sessions;
- strengthen support to forest fire management and related forest policy issues;
- continue its leadership in the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and work to improve international collaboration on forests in support of UNFF;
- continue to support sustainable mountain development following the International Year of Mountains;
- continue to link science and policy in its work with countries, particularly through its partnership programmes for hosting visiting scientists and researchers.
EUROPEAN FORESTRY COMMISSION (EFC)
(31st session, Barcelona, Spain, 4-8 November 2002)
The Commission recommended that:
- the forest sector contribute to major topics such as climate change, conservation of biological diversity, desertification, renewable energy and to policies of other sectors;
- support be given to regional cooperation on outlook studies and market analysis, for example, as comprehensive information is essential to informed forest policy debate;
- countries take into account their capacity to provide information when requesting international bodies to collect such information;
- FAO strengthen its programmes related to watershed management and contribute to the observance of the International Year of Freshwater;
- FAO support regional processes such as the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe;
- the work led by FAO on harmonizing definitions continue and be brought to the attention of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF);
- FAO strengthen its role in the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and its support of UNFF, including action to streamline the reporting burden of countries;
- information be provided on the National Forest Programme Facility and on progress in using national forest programmes to implement the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
MATTERS FROM OTHER STATUTORY BODIES FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE COMMITTEE
THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON PAPER AND WOOD PRODUCTS
4. The Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products (ACPWP) held its 42nd session in Rome, Italy, 27 April 2001 and recommended that FAO:
- support industry efforts to monitor the carbon value chain;
- clarify forestry definitions related to climate change;
- endorse the concept of mutual recognition;
- provide technical support to further develop equivalence assessment tools and methodologies;
- provide financial and technical support to developing countries and forest owners to develop certification systems and performance standards.
- continue activities in recovered paper, principally to define and classify grades.
5. The Committee held its 43rd session in Rome, Italy, 25-26 April 2002 and asked FAO to:
- strengthen its role as a facilitator of discussions on mutual recognition and support the development of national forest certification schemes;
- participate in the work on definitions, measurements and reporting for issues such as carbon sequestration, sinks and Clean Development Mechanisms;
- highlight the role of forestry in poverty eradication and sustainable development, and work with industry to communicate the environmental advantages of wood products;
- support the accreditation and activities of the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations.
COMMITTEE ON MEDITERRANEAN FORESTRY QUESTIONS
6. The Committee held its 18th session in Rome, Italy, 2-5 April 2002 and recommended that:
- FAO focus on Mediterranean forests in future editions of FRA and include an article on this topic in the State of the World’s Forests 2003;
- FAO give special attention to countries of the Mediterranean in formulating and implementing national forest programmes through the National Forest Programme Facility;
- working groups replace research networks and be established for specific purposes and timeframes;
- forest issues in the region be examined in light of new developments and be featured in the UNFF process;
- more effective alliances be established with institutions in the region;
- new initiatives be considered only when adequate support is available;
- FAO assist with completing a monograph on Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica);
- Silva Mediterranea support the Tehran Process for countries with low forest cover within the means at its disposal.
PANEL OF EXPERTS ON FOREST GENE RESOURCES
7. The Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources held its 12th session in Rome, Italy, 21-23 November 2001.
8. Among other decisions, the Panel recommended that:
- balanced attention continue to be given to activities in geographical and eco-regional zones;
- frameworks such as national forest programmes be used to implement activities related to forest genetic resources and that genetic principles be incorporated into the conservation of biological diversity and natural forest management;
- FAO maintain the present level of resources for its forest genetic resources programme;
- FAO continue to provide information on the use of biotechnology in forestry and its place in selection and breeding programmes, and that it continue to serve as an honest broker of science-based information on new technologies;
- FAO continue to support the preparation of eco-regional forest genetic resources assessments and action plans based on country priorities;
- FAO continue to support the development of technical guidelines for the management of forest genetic diversity;
- special attention be paid to genetic resources in countries with low forest cover and to forest tree species threatened by genetic erosion;
- increased attention be paid to information management, definitions and evaluation.
INTERNATIONAL POPLAR COMMISSION
9. The Executive Committee held its 41st meeting in Rome, Italy, 1-2 September 2002 and recommended that:
- efforts be made to facilitate the application of science to a wide range of stakeholders to better achieve sustainable forest management and sustainable development;
- working parties refocus their activities to better integrate and complement those of national poplar commissions and of other FAO statutory technical bodies in forestry;
- a two-year programme of work be prepared that shows linkages and collaboration with FAO and other agencies and institutions in meeting the needs of developing countries;
- a new working party be established to address the application of poplars and willows in rehabilitation, conservation and phyto-remediation of degraded soils;
- IPC continue to act, through the Subcommittee on Nomenclature and Registration, as the International Cultivar Registration Authority for Poplars and that similar action be taken with regard to willows.
DEVELOPING THE ROLE OF REGIONAL FORESTRY COMMISSIONS
IN IMPLEMENTING THE IPF/IFF PROPOSALS FOR ACTION
10. Some 300 proposals for action pertaining to the sustainable management of forests worldwide were negotiated from 1995 to 2000 as key outcomes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF). With the establishment of the UNFF in 2000, attention is now turning to the implementation of these commitments.
11. Given the active ongoing participation of FAO in deliberations of UNFF, both as an intergovernmental organization and as Chair of the CPF, it can provide valuable advice and support to countries and other agencies that are pursuing sustainable forest management goals, many of which are contained in the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
12. By the same token, Regional Forestry Commissions (RFC) have long been recognized as important players in promoting and facilitating sustainable forest management at national and regional levels. This active involvement places them in a good position to foster the exchange of experiences, build networks to enhance regional cooperation, and provide countries with information, knowledge and expertise to guide efforts.
13. In considering a future role for RFCs in the implementation of IPF/IFF proposals for action, member countries may wish to use COFO sessions to seek collaboration in:
- exploring innovative ways to engage the range of agencies, institutions and other stakeholders from within and outside the forest sector in implementation activities;
- jointly identifying proposals of interest to more than one country;
- determining, in consultation with key players, the proposals to be implemented on a priority basis, recognizing that flexibility is needed to accommodate unique circumstances within each region;
- replicating ways in which implementation has proven successful in other countries, based on experiences shared and lessons learned;
- developing collaborative action plans, where appropriate, building on synergies and comparative advantages of those involved;
- reporting on progress in implementation at subsequent RFC sessions
- raising public awareness of the existence of the proposals for action and of the importance of implementing them.
14. Member countries may wish to recommend that FAO support intersessional activities designed to facilitate the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action and to provide a venue for related technical discussions.