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54. The Commission considered the increasing array of international forestry fora and the multitude of objectives and demands arising from them on the basis of Secretariat Note FO:APFC/2002/7. Delegates appreciated the opportunity to discuss this topic in an open and transparent manner.

55. The Commission recognised that widespread concerns about forests and the environment have resulted in a multiplicity of international agreements, fora, processes and conventions that have a relationship to forests. Along with these agreements and fora have come escalating burdens of reporting and participation, creating particular difficulties for countries with less capacity and financial resources. Delegates deliberated on whether this multiplicity represents new sources of support for sustainable forest management or dilutes the commitment.

56. While recognising that the diverse array of conventions, agreements and fora offer opportunities for engendering additional support for sustainable forest management, delegates reiterated their belief that holistic, comprehensive, balanced and integrated approaches were required to effectively address forestry issues.

57. Delegates agreed that current considerations of international fora dealing with issues of sustainable forestry often lead to duplication of effort and less effective use of limited resources, and frequently, do not provide the opportunity for forestry experts to effectively contribute to the development of policies and their implementation.

58. Delegates stressed that increased co-ordination was needed at national, regional and international levels to ensure more effective involvement of member countries and organisations in the various international fora, processes and conventions. The Commission urged FAO to strengthen the role of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission in co-ordinating regional inputs to international fora and efforts to effectively implement actions agreed upon by those fora. The Commission also urged FAO to support member countries in building understanding of various international agreements and capacities for effective participation.

59. The Commission recognised the central role of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) in co-ordinating the activities at the global level, particularly implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action. It urged FAO to continue providing strong support for the co-ordinating functions of the CPF.

60. National forest programmes were seen as an effective mechanism for forest planning, and for mobilising and co-ordinating necessary support for sustainable forest management at the national level. FAO was requested to increase its support for the effective implementation of national forest programmes in member countries.

61. To ease the reporting burdens placed on member countries, the Commission requested FAO to work with other international organisations, countries and processes to streamline, simplify and co-ordinate reporting requirements.

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