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48. During an in-session seminar, the Commission reviewed the preliminary results of the APFC regional study on the impact of incentives on forest plantation development. Issues were considered on the basis of Secretariat Note FO:APFC/2002/6 and presentations by seven speakers who were involved with the regional study. The agenda of the in-session seminar is attached as Appendix E.

49. The seminar examined the varied experiences of countries in the region in providing direct and indirect incentives to encourage forest plantation development. Incentives can be broadly defined. Common direct incentives include subsidised seedlings, tax concessions, cost-sharing arrangements, or the provision of local infrastructure. Important indirect or enabling incentives include a competitive economic environment, good governance, clear land tenure and recognised property rights, national and local security, accurate and up-to-date information on plantation resources, relevant research and development, favourable market conditions, and effective mechanisms for addressing potential opposition to forest plantations.

50. Delegates drew attention to the differing requirements and management objectives of small-scale farmers and landowners, which could call for incentives different from those needed to encourage plantation development by large-scale corporate investors. Similarly, it was recognised that different incentives may be required to support plantations for environmental and social benefits as compared with those established for production purposes.

51. The Commission recognised that clear, consistent and stable policies are essential for creating a favourable investment climate for promoting the development of private sector forest plantations by large- and small-scale producers, regardless of other incentives provided.

52. Delegates noted that the effectiveness of incentives depended on their relevance to the social and economic conditions in each country, although it was also recognised that many issues are similar in all countries. Given the dynamic nature of these factors, incentive systems should be flexible, carefully targeted, and adjusted or removed when no longer required to encourage further investment.

53. The Commission was informed that the findings of the regional study would be published as an APFC document in the near future. The Commission recommended that the full report be complemented by a short, easy-to-read executive summary and that it be widely disseminated to planners and policy makers in the region, preferably in major languages of member countries. The Commission also requested FAO to consider developing basic guidelines for designing effective incentive systems.

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