9. The Committee welcomed the innovative approach to the introduction of this topic in plenary by a panel of regional representatives of the FAO Regional Forestry Commissions. However, it noted that, at future sessions, more time could be allocated for discussing common key issues and activities.
10. The Committee agreed that FAO Regional Forestry Commissions are an important mechanism to support member countries in implementing sustainable forest management, including proposals for action of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF), by facilitating the exchange of experiences, building networks and enhancing co-operation at national, regional and international levels. The Committee recommended that FAO Regional Offices be strengthened to more effectively support the Regional Forestry Commissions.
11. The Committee recommended that Regional Forestry Commissions strengthen their links with other regional organizations and processes working in forestry, wildlife and related areas, and that the private-sector and non-governmental organizations be more involved in activities of these commissions.
12. The Committee recommended that FAO should take the lead in providing support and increasing focus on policy and technical advice to countries on implementing IPF/IFF proposals for action and that it continue its efforts to build capacity in member countries in this area. The Committee requested FAO to be more proactive in identifying funding for these activities.
13. The Committee recommended that FAO enhance its efforts to help mobilize resources for countries to implement the IPF/IFF proposals for action. In this respect, the Committee recommended that Regional Forestry Commissions facilitate the assessment and implementation of IPF/IFF proposals for action and other internationally agreed actions in countries. The Committee recommended establishing a small roster of persons in each region who are familiar with the IPF/IFF proposals for action, to assist countries in assessing and prioritizing them, and that FAO provide information on sources of funding. It encouraged FAO and other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) to help fund such an approach.
14. The Committee recommended that Regional Forestry Commissions be used to facilitate the flow of information between the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and countries. It also recommended that FAO, through its Regional Forestry Commissions, help increase awareness of the importance of sustainable forest management in countries and the importance of implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action.
15. The Committee welcomed the report of the Panel composed of a representative of each Regional Forestry Commission, who provided a summary of Commissions' recommendations. The Committee encouraged FAO to take action on these recommendations.
16. The Committee noted the outcomes of the COFO side meeting on forests and water. It recognized that the relationship of forests to water is a critical issue that must be accorded high priority. It further recognized that sustainable forest management is crucial for watershed management and that increasing attention needs to be paid to mountains, lowlands, riparian areas and water-limited areas.
17. The Committee recognized the significant influence of forests on the availability and quality of clean water in many regions of the world and recommended that FAO facilitate better national and international coordination to help ensure that forests contribute to and benefit from developments related to fresh water management. As a result, the Committee supported the inclusion of a new entity on water and forests in the FAO Medium-Term Plan 2004-09 that would involve, for example, raising awareness on forest hydrology; identifying factors which constitute effective watershed management; disseminating related knowledge and research findings; and assisting countries build capacity to implement and enforce policies and action programmes.
18. The Committee noted the important role FAO could play in collecting and disseminating information and successful experiences of member countries, in providing technical support to countries, in enhancing knowledge and partnerships at the national, subregional, regional and international levels, and in increasing understanding of the hydrological and environmental services of forests.
19. The Committee encouraged FAO to support processes that maximize the contributions of stakeholders in the development and implementation of policies, programmes and strategies which integrate land use and water management with sustainable forest management, and address conflict issues.
20. The Committee urged FAO to establish partnerships with other organizations working on issues related to forests and water.
21. The Committee noted the need for FAO to give special attention to economic, social and environmental dimensions of issues related to water and forests. It encouraged FAO to foster intersectoral dialogue and intersectoral cooperation, given that these elements are necessary to achieve sustainable management of water resources.
22. The Committee recognized that, in many countries, water issues are managed by institutions other than those responsible for forests. It recommended that countries further enhance synergies to deal with issues of mutual concern at the national level.
23. The Committee noted that FAO can play an important role in the interface between forest management and watershed management and it urged FAO to help countries integrate various national programmes that are derived from such instruments as the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the national forest programmes. The Committee recommended that FAO actively participate in the 3rd World Water Forum in Japan in 2003.
24. The Committee noted the importance of sustainable forest management in contributing to achieving the targets on water supply, sanitation and integrated water resource management included in the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and encouraged FAO to support related initiatives launched at WSSD.
25. The Committee recommended that FAO explore ways to report on the linkages between forests and water in the FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) and recognized that resources would be needed to collect, compile and analyze such information and data.
26. The Committee commended FAO for its support to national forest programmes and for hosting and supporting the National Forest Programme Facility. It recommended that FAO continue to support national forest programme processes.
27. The Committee noted the multi-sectoral and participatory nature of national forest programmes. It also recognized the contributions that national forest programmes can make to sustainable development in general and to food security and poverty alleviation strategies in particular. In this regard, the Committee agreed that national forest programmes are important tools to implement commitments related to the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS:fyl) the World Summit on Sustainable Development and outcomes of other international discussions. The Committee noted the need for national forest programmes to contribute to the fulfilment of these commitments.
28. The Committee recognized the momentum behind internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. The Committee urged FAO to address these goals in its work related to national forest programmes.
29. The Committee emphasized the value and potential of national forest programmes in implementing IPF/IFF proposals for action, and monitoring progress made towards sustainable forest management, making use of, inter alia, criteria and indicators. It also noted the role of national forest programme processes in building national consensus, establishing partnerships and addressing forest-related issues in concert with the frameworks of other international instruments and processes, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
30. The Committee recommended that national forest programmes cover all types of forests and trees outside forests that would contribute to socio-economic and environmental goals. It also suggested that periodic reviews of these programmes be conducted in a participatory manner.
31. The Committee noted that capacity building and knowledge sharing are essential elements for an effective implementation of national forest programmes.
32. The Committee also noted other key outcomes of WSSD addressing increased access to world markets, the valuation of goods and services produced in a sustainable manner, and the provision of new and additional resources and modern technology are important to having sustainable forest management as a viable economic option.
33. The Committee urged additional donors to support the National Forest Programme Facility.
34. The Committee stressed the need for mechanisms for updating and reporting country efforts on national forest programmes and relevant actions agreed at WFS:fyl and WSSD. The Committee also recognized the need for verifiable goals and milestones for reviewing progress and for assessing the contributions of national forest programmes to sustainable forest management. It requested FAO to assist member countries in this regard.
35. The Committee recommended that countries seek to have their national forest programmes and their national development programmes and plans related to the management of other natural resources be mutually supportive.