Rome, Italy, 15-19 March 2005
Issues Identified by the Regional Forestry Commissions
and the Technical Forestry Bodies
for the Attention of the Committee on Forestry
A standing agenda item for all Regional Forestry Commissions is the identification of regional issues to be brought to the attention of COFO. This document summarizes the major substantive issues that each of the six Commissions requested to be drawn to the attention of COFO when they met in 2004. In addition, three technical statutory bodies have met since the last session of COFO in 2003, and their recommendations are also included.
14th Session, African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC)
Accra, Ghana, February 2004
- stressed the importance of bilateral, regional and global agreements on forest fires, and recommended that FAO continue to support cooperation in forest fire management;
- recommended that the ecological, economic and social functions of forests and trees be considered, and called upon FAO and relevant partner organizations in Africa to develop methodologies and case studies on assessment and valuation of economic and environmental services of forests in the African context;
- recommended that governments of low forest cover countries (LFCCs), with support from FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), should strengthen the LFCC Secretariat and support the active participation of its member countries;
- endorsed the report of the Working Party on the Management of Wildlife and Protected Areas, and in particular the recommendations requesting FAO to assist affected countries to develop common strategies and approaches to deal more efficiently with transboundary movements of wildlife; and requesting FAO to continue supporting efforts on breeding wild species for food;
- recommended that countries, FAO and other partners should cooperate with river basin organizations to improve watershed management.
20th Session, Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC)
Nadi, Fiji, April 2004
- requested FAO to examine the potential strengths and weaknesses of regional and global arrangements on forest fires, including the feasibility of developing and implementing a global agreement on fire;
- called on FAO and other CPF members to continue supporting member countries in implementing the IPF/IFF proposals for action through effective national forest programmes, highlighting the important role of the National Forest Programme Facility;
- requested FAO to provide additional technical support to help member countries control illegal logging and associated trade, and to assess the costs and impacts of illegal logging;
- highlighted the need to raise awareness of the serious threats from invasive species and the need to build capacities for dealing with such threats;
- requested FAO to continue providing scientific information on relationships between forests and water, including flooding, and on successful watershed management approaches;
- highlighted the progress made by many member countries in the region in formulating and implementing national codes of practice for forest harvesting, consistent with the regional code developed under the auspices of APFC, and suggested that the approaches and experiences of Asia-Pacific countries could provide a useful model for other regions;
- acknowledging widespread interest in the potential to generate income and employment from non-wood forest products, environmental services and ecotourism, the Commission requested FAO to facilitate the exchange of information and experience related to the valuation and the development of markets for these products and services; and
- noting that forest management approaches were evolving throughout the world, including the use of criteria and indicators to assess, monitor and report progress toward sustainable forest management, requiring new skills and capabilities within forestry agencies, recommended that FAO review the changed expectations being placed on forestry agencies and assist them in retraining and restructuring, as appropriate.
16th Session, Near East Forestry Commission (NEFC)
Beirut, Lebanon, May 2004
- recognizing the importance of developing an institutional framework for implementing bilateral, regional or international fire agreements, requested COFO to discuss the principles of establishing such agreements for combating forest fires;
- recognizing the importance of collaborative action on forest fires and exotic invasive species, recommended that relevant thematic studies be conducted and regional information networks established to counter these threats;
- recommended that a sub-regional TCP be prepared to support the rehabilitation and sustainable development of mangroves in some countries of the region;
- recognizing the interdependence between strategies for forest management, water resource management and poverty alleviation, particularly in rural areas, requested FAO to incorporate these strategies into projects and development programmes in the Near East Region;
- considering the need for technical assistance in capacity building on water management and use, particularly water harvesting, use of treated waste water and the selection of tree species with low water requirements, requested FAO to conduct a study on the role of trees and forests located in watershed areas and along water courses in regulating water flow and quality;
- requested FAO, in collaboration with partners, to continue to support implementation of IPF/IFF proposals for action at the national level, assist countries in building national capacities in intergovernmental fora and to follow the progress of the proposals;
- recognizing the increase in forest and tree plantations as a result of the increasing awareness of the importance of forests, increased political will and the availability of treated waste water, requested FAO to continue technical support to field activities and in particular to national forest assessments, and facilitate information exchange and capacity building by working with countries to exchange document and success stories.
32nd Session, European Forestry Commission (EFC)
(joint session with the 62nd Timber Committee, Economic Commission for Europe)
Geneva, Switzerland, October 2004
- recommended that COFO address international and regional framework agreements on forest fire management;
- noting that outlook studies such as the European Forestry Sector Outlook Study (EFSOS) are important for sharing information and policy making, requested FAO to consider the effects of globalization on the forestry sector in future outlook studies;
- requested FAO to be more proactive in coordinating initiatives to address cross-sectoral issues;
- stressed that illegal logging and trade of illegally derived forest products occurs all over the world and should be addressed as a matter of urgency by governments in cooperation with other stakeholders, and recommended that FAO pursue this matter in its programme of work, in collaboration with other partners;
- recommended that FAO and UNECE should continue to participate actively in the forestry dialogue at the global and regional levels. The regional forestry commissions should foster coordination and assist countries to implement activities on the ground;
- underscored that the promotion of the sound use of wood and non-wood products and services is essential for the sustainable development of the sector and to sustain the important benefits that Europe’s forests provide.
23rd Session, Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission
San Josť, Costa Rica, October 2004
22nd Session, North American Forest Commission
Veracruz, Mexico, October 2004
- recommended that COFO consider the potential for strengthening multilateral and regional cooperation on wildland fire management, and stressed the importance of integrating fire management into general land, resource, and forest management; and the need for community-based approaches to fire management within national strategies;
- recommended that FAO consider the possibility of convening a meeting to bring together Ministers responsible for forests from all countries, with Ministers responsible for development cooperation. The purpose would be to examine links between forests and development, and in particular the contribution which Sustainable Forest Management can make to the Millennium Development Goals, and to encourage Development Ministers not to neglect forests in their programme planning;
- requested FAO to continue examining the ways in which payment for environmental services can contribute to sustainable forest management, and suggest ways in which the process can be made more efficient.
Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products:
44th Session, Oaxaca, Mexico, May 2003;
and 45th Session, Canberra, Australia, April 2004
- requested FAO to facilitate a dialogue between governments, industry, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on ways to address the issue of illegal logging at the national and international levels;
- requested FAO to continue its work to promote the involvement of governments in the issue of mutual recognition of forest certification schemes, and to facilitate dialogue with non-governmental organizations;
- requested FAO to continue to present the advantages of wood versus other competing raw materials and to promote the positive aspects of paper and wood products in the various meetings that FAO attends;
- recommended that FAO facilitate the process of harmonization of definitions related to illegal logging related definitions. An expert consultation should be organized with the participation of forest industries and NGOs.
- recommended that FAO develop a framework for best practices for Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) with emphasis on social aspects, including poverty alleviation;
- recommended that FAO develop, in close collaboration with the International Council of Forest Products Associations (ICFPA), a draft code of best practices for plantation forestry.
13th Session, Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources
Rome, November 2003
- recommended that FAO use relevant frameworks and information dissemination means to continue to provide up-to-date information on forest tree genetic diversity;
- recommended that a global assessment on forest genetic diversity should include measurable forest genetic parameters and values attached to the use of trees and the relevance of existing priority-setting methodologies;
- recommended that FAO continue to study the feasibility of a forest biotechnology evaluation, using a pragmatic, long-term, step-by-step approach to forest genetic evaluation, using top-down and bottom-up approaches as appropriate, combined with specialized thematic case studies, using innovative partnerships to take advantage of other on-going assessment processes within and outside FAO;
- recommended that FAO should continue to give balanced attention to activities in the various geographical and eco-regional zones;
- highlighted the role of FAO in raising awareness of the potentials and limitations of biotechnology in the forestry sector, and recommended that FAO continue to provide timely, up-to-date, technically sound information to countries and international organizations on issues related to the use of such technologies.
22nd Session, International Poplar Commission,
Santiago, Chile, November – December 2004
- recognized the positive contribution that Poplars and Willows can make to sustainable forestry, rehabilitation of degraded lands, forest landscape restoration and rural development in temperate and boreal regions of the world, particularly in developing countries and those with economies in transition;
- recommended the enactment and effective implementation of clear and consistent policies, laws, regulations and strategies to maximize the contribution of Poplars and Willows in forestry, agriculture and integrated rural development;
- recognized the critical role of research, demonstration, education and extension to transfer knowledge and technology in Poplar and Willow culture, wood processing and use to maximize social, environmental and economic benefits;
- encouraged the public and private sectors (corporate and smallholder), research and education fraternity and civil society to form partnerships to strengthen their National Poplar Commissions to translate science into development and policy into practice;
- recommended that FAO, through its global, regional and country offices and through the IPC website, could lead the outreach effort to share outputs from National Poplar Commissions and Working Parties to more effectively reach stakeholders and potential beneficiaries; and
- encouraged membership, especially in temperate and boreal regions of the world, in the International Poplar Commission as a venue to share scientific, technical, social, environmental and economic knowledge and technology to enhance the contribution of Poplars and Willows to sustainable forest management and integrated development, including poverty alleviation and food security.