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Work of FAO

THE LAST NUMBERS of Unasylva to appear served to record the World Consultation on the Use of Wood in Housing which was held at Vancouver in July 1971. This meeting was financed and arranged by the Canadian Government in collaboration with FAO, the United Nations Centre for Housing. Building and Planning in New York, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations.

Between that time and the seventh World Forestry Congress there have been a variety of developments in the activities of FAO which deserve also to be placed on record.

The Vancouver meeting was followed by another major event, a World Consultation on Forestry Education and Training held in Stockholm in late September and early October. The consultation was financed by the Swedish International Development Authority and organized by FAO in collaboration with Unesco and the International Labour Organisation, and with the assistance of the Swedish National Board of Forestry. Attendance was limited to around 250, including representatives of universities, technical and vocational-level forestry training institutions, national forest services and executives of private industries, researchers, planners and forestry students, from 74 countries and 11 international organizations.

Chairman of the consultation was Professor J.W.B. Sisam, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, Canada. This was a due acknowledgement of the long meritorious years of service of Professor Sisam to forestry education, and marked also his retirement from the chairmanship of the FAO Advisory Committee on Forestry Education.

The objectives of the consultation were to examine the world situation as regards forestry education and training and deduce future trends in the light of widespread changes in educational systems and practices, advances in science and technology, and redefinitions of national forest policies; to draw conclusions as to how to adapt curricula and methods to changing social requirements and the particular needs of developing countries; to initiate a greater exchange of knowledge and promote international and especially regional cooperation and coordination among institutions.

The first of its kind to be held, the consultation was probably too rigid in form and operation to yield the best results. But it did allow an exchange of ideas and information across language, geographical and political barriers to an extent never before attained in this field. The measure of its usefulness will be what those present in Stockholm can achieve in their own countries in the coming years. The report of the consultation is available on request.

One of the matters considered by the consultation was the increasingly widespread concern about the quality of the environment and what foresters should be taught about" environmental forestry." This question was further pursued, among many others. by the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in June 1972, where the FAO Forestry Department was represented by B.K. Steenberg and R.G. Fontaine.

FAO had been closely associated with the preparations by the United Nations secretariat for this conference and compiled two background papers, one on the environmental aspects of forestry and another on wildlife, national parks and recreational resources. The latter served also for the second World Conference on National Parks organized by the United States in September 1972, which was sponsored by FAO and Unesco.

The main results of the United Nations conference were the adoption after a long political struggle of a declaration on the human environment; a world plan of action for the United Nations, its agencies and national governments; and institutional and financial arrangements subsequently approved by the United Nations General Assembly. These encompass a governing council for environmental matters, composed of 58 member states and reporting through the Economic and Social Council; a small United Nations secretariat to be located in Nairobi and headed by Maurice Strong of Canada as Executive Director; and an Environment Fund fed from voluntary contributions to finance wholly or partly new environmental undertakings. Priorities of these undertakings are being discussed now. They include several which would be the direct concern of FAO's Forestry Department.

The proposals presented to the Stockholm conference for action at the international level on forestry problems had earlier been examined and supported by the FAO Council's Committee on Forestry which held its first session at Rome in May 1972.

This Committee formed of governmental delegates from all interested member countries replaces the former technical committees on forestry which used to be set up on the occasion of sessions of the full Conference of FAO. The new Committee is supposed to meet in the years between sessions of Conference when it can exert the most influence on programmes of work and budgets still in course of formulation. The Committee can over see both the regular programme in forestry and field programmes, whatever the source of finance, and ensure that all move in parallel.

The first session was presided over by H.K. Seip, Director-General of Forests, Norway, who at that time was also Norway's representative on the Council of FAO. An introductory lecture was given by Paul-Marc Henry, Director of the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, on the theme" The concept of limits in the renewal of natural resources as a part of development dynamics."

A question raised in the discussions was what were the functions of FAO'S regional forestry commissions now that a central Committee on Forestry had been formed. The general feeling was that the commissions served a quite different purpose from the Committee and should maintain their separate existence, reporting direct to the full Conference of FAO or at least the regional conferences of FAO. On the other hand there were suggestions that other continuing bodies like the Committee on Forest Development in the Tropics might be absorbed into the Committee on Forestry.

There will certainly be further debate on these issues. Meanwhile sessions of three regional forestry commissions were held in 1972 and their reports have been published. The other three FAO commissions will meet in 1973 or 1974.

· The African Forestry Commission met in Nairobi in February 1972 for its third session, under the chairmanship of O.M. Mburu, Chief Conservator of Forests, Kenya. Delegates were present from 23 member countries, and observers from six countries of Europe and North America which operate substantial technical aid programmes in the region.

The session was preceded by a meeting of the Working Party on Wildlife Management and National Parks which elected K. Attobra (Ivory Coast) as chairman. Discussions centred on marginal land problems in Africa and various aspects of the problems of endangered species. The Commission session expressed the view that the time was now ripe to orient forest policies toward people and employment, economic criteria becoming of less consequence.

· The North American Forestry Commission held its sixth session at Washington, D.C. in March 1972 with Ed P. Cliff as chairman, just prior to his retirement from the post of Chief of the United States Forest Service. The Commission serves Canada. Mexico and the United States; on this occasion Argentina, France and the World Bank were also represented.

The Commission reconstituted its four working parties as informal study groups. One of these organized in May an international symposium at Denver, Colorado, on fire in the environment.

· The European Forestry Commission met for its sixteenth session in Rome in early May with H.K. Seip (Norway) in the chair. It was chiefly concerned with how forestry should become engaged in international activities arising out of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Well-managed forests, whether natural or man-made, were regarded as playing a vital role in providing social benefits and guarding the quality of the environment.

The Commission's Working Party on Management of Montane Watersheds met in Norway in the summer and the ECE/FAO/ILO Committee on Forest Working Techniques and Training of Forest Workers held a session in Hungary later in the year.

FAO also assisted in mounting a number of international training courses in 1972 financed by national aid agencies. These included a symposium in Norway on the production and handling of wood chips (Norwegian Agency for international Development), a seminar in the United Kingdom for fellows from Asia and the Far East on forestry development planning (Swedish International Development Authority), and a training centre in Libya on sand-dune afforestation (Danish International Development Agency).

In general, cooperation with bilateral donor countries to arrange projects through Trust Fund arrangements markedly increased in 1972. Also the number of Trust Fund junior staff (associate experts) directed to forestry assignments made, at around 45, the largest group working for FAO.

Cooperation with the World Bank and regional banks also increased. Investment possibilities were identified or studied in a number of countries; a team of three foresters was assigned to the FAO Investment Centre.

The number of United Nations Development Programme projects tended to level off although large-scale projects approved or in operation in 1972 reached 69, compared with 53 in 1971. The trend now seems to be for countries to concentrate their requests for aid on environmental problems, including wildlife management and operation of national parks; education, mainly at the technician level; institution building; and on feasibility studies for the opening up of untouched forest areas. FAO cooperated with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization on a project in Cuba to set up a research centre for the industrialization of sugarcane bagasse. Regional advisory groups on forest industries development continued to operate in Latin America, Africa and the Far East.

In relation to field projects notable in 1972 was the award of the World Wildlife Fund gold medal to Ian Grimwood. who has undertaken a number of FAO assignments. The citation was" for his dedication to the conservation of wildlife in Africa, Asia and Latin America; his contribution to the establishment of national parks and game reserves in Kenya, Pakistan and Peru, and to the survival of endangered species such as oryx and vicuña."

Under the UN/PAD World Food Programme in 1972 food aid worth more than $10 million was provided to supplement the cash wages of underemployed rural communities engaged on special forestry operations mounted in areas where work opportunities are often scarce and food expensive.

FAO'S contribution to the seventh World Forestry Congress is covered in this issue of Unasylva. It should be added that an indirect result of the congress was an invitation by the People's Republic of China for FAO Director-General A.H. Boerma to pay an official visit to Peking in February 1973, accompanied by Jack C. Westoby of the Forestry Department. China having been one of the founder members, the successor government has decided to rejoin FAO from April 1973.

Meantime the final shape of the FAO programme of work for 1974-75 has been in preparation, for consideration by the FAO Conference toward the end of 1973. Forward planning of projects has tended to be much confounded by devaluations and currency fluctuations. All that can be said at the moment is that a period of retraction seems to lie ahead, but the aim remains that the Forestry Department's work over the next two years should culminate in an important world consultation on forest development in the humid tropics to be convened in an appropriate location toward the end of 1975.


If you turn to the inside cover page of this issue you will see a short note which reads:" Unasylva-Published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Editor: Leslie J. Vernell."

This note has not always appeared. But it should have done. Because the fact is that since 1947 every single issue of Unasylva, except for the very first, right up to and including this present issue, has been edited by him. The next issue will not bear his name, because Leslie, after 26 years with FAO's Forestry Department and as editor of Unasylva (103 issues), is leaving us.

Leslie Vernell is a graduate in forestry from Oxford (St. John's College), where he studied tropical forestry under Professor Troup. No mean student, he was awarded the Sir William Schlich memorial prize. In 1932 he was appointed to the Burma Forest Service, and during the next seven years served in several positions in Lower and Upper Burma and the Shan states. The active life he led as a forester, and the knowledge of the country he acquired, stood him in good stead when the war came. Cut off by the Japanese, he trekked from the Chinese border across northern Burma, over the Naga hills (some 8000 feet), to Kohima in India: an epic walk of some 300 miles in 30 days, at the onset of the rains.

His seven-year army career during the second world war was meteoric, and he rose to the rank of colonel, serving for a time as aide-de-camp to the Governor of Burma, and attending the Staff College at Quetta. At a time when effective integration of the defence services was a burning issue, he translated principles into practice by marrying at New Delhi Sylvia Coulthurst, a W.R.N.S. officer serving at Headquarters, Eastern Fleet. In 1945 he was back in Rangoon, having traversed Burma from the extreme north in the second Burma Campaign, this time not on foot but with a tank regiment.

He joined FAO Forestry (then a Division) in Washington, D.C. in 1947. There he produced the first yearbooks of forest products statistics and the early commodity reports which appeared in Unasylva.

Since FAO removed to Rome, he has held a succession of posts, all intimately connected with planning forestry programmes. In the course of his career he has prepared and run over 50 international forestry meetings around the world. In each of the postwar world forestry congresses he has played a prominent role.

These are bare facts, but they tell only a fraction of the story. What his colleagues are going to miss, and also thousands of delegates and participants in international forestry meetings, are his unruffled demeanour, his even temper, his sage counsel and his dexterous pen. Few foresters have sought the limelight less. Few have won such a wide circle of friends and admirers.

For his colleagues, his departure will be a wrench. But they know that all readers of Unasylva will want to join them in wishing Leslie and Sylvia a long, comfortable and fruitful retirement in southwest England, the area where Leslie was born and grew up. Since he is as fit and active as ever, we know that his contribution to international forestry is by no means ended.

Jack C. Westoby

Leslie J. Vernell.

guide for planning pulp and paper enterprises

FAO Forestry and Forest Products Studies No. 18, cosponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency. has been prepared by FAO with members of the pulp and paper industry, and with Morris Wayman of the University of Toronto as principal author.

Its purpose is to help developing countries in planning the development of pulp and paper industries. The technical aspects are readily available elsewhere. This publication deals rather with economic and commercial aspects and sets out the procedures for executing and evaluating planning studies for new enterprises.

Information on raw materials, manufacturing processes and existing mills is provided only to the extent needed to be considered in the planning stages.

Available from the end of 1973 from FAO sales agents and booksellers (see back cover), or Distribution and Sales Section, FAO, Via dale Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

Price: $12.50 or £5.00

International Union of Societies of Foresters
World Congress
19-24 August 1974
Helsinki, Finland

The second congress of the International Union of Societies of Foresters (IUSF) which now represents over 20000 foresters around the world, will feature forestry in action rather than forestry in abstraction.

Focus will be on the rob of the profession of forestry with particular emphasis on professional societies and forestry education, building on the 1971 FAO World Consultation on Forestry Education and the 1972 seventh World Forestry Congress.

There will be two days of plenary meetings, three days of discussion tours and one day of open committee. worn. Attendance will be limited to 250 participants.

Further information is available from:

The Executive Director IUSF Dr. R. Keith Arnold Forest Service U.S. Department of Agriculture Washington, D.C., 20250 U.S.A.

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