COMMITTEE ON FORESTRY
Rome, Italy, 15-19 March 2005
PROCEDURES FOR SELECTING HOST COUNTRIES FOR THE WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS
1. This document reproduces the revised policy guidelines for the organisation of World Forestry Congresses which were approved by the FAO Council at its 115th session in November 1998.
2. FAO's involvement with World Forestry Congresses dates back to 1945 when the Organization took over the functions of the International Institute of Agriculture (IIA). The IIA had organized World Forestry Congresses in Rome in 1926 and in Budapest in 1936. Since then, FAO has selected the host country and has co-sponsored and assisted in the organization of ten more congresses, the last one in Quebec City, Canada, 21-28 September 2003. The XIII World Forestry Congress is scheduled to be held in 2009 and the Council will be called upon to decide on the host country at its 128th session in June 2005.
3. The purpose of the Congress is to serve as a forum for the exchange of views and experience and for discussion of matters concerning all aspects of forestry which may lead to the formulation of broad recommendations applicable on a regional or world-wide basis. The Congress also has the wider purpose of providing a periodical opportunity (generally every six years) for the sector to produce an overview of the state of forests and forestry, in order to discern trends, adapt policies and create awareness in decision-makers, the public opinion and in all parties concerned.
4. The Congress is not an intergovernmental meeting and it has no formal constituencies or country delegations. As the main global forum for all those concerned with forests and forestry, the Congress should be seen as the meeting of the whole world and a sense of ownership should be common to all constituencies of the forestry sector and to the various geographic regions in the process of preparations for the Congress. The functions of the Congress are advisory, not executive. The implementation of its recommendations is a matter solely for those to whom these are addressed - governments, international organizations, scientific bodies, forest owners, etc. - in the light of their own particular circumstances. The outcome of the Congress should be brought to the attention of the FAO Conference following the Congress, which may wish to consider for possible endorsement, through a resolution, the Declaration emanating from the Congress.
5. The Congress consists of registered participants who may be scientists, technicians or administrators interested in forestry. Irrespective of whether a participant belongs to a government organization, a scientific or professional body, a forestry society, or is attending in a personal capacity, each participant expresses his own personal opinion; neither written papers nor oral interventions made at meetings are taken as committing any government or organization to which the participant may belong or as necessarily representing their views.
6. World Forestry Congresses should be recognized for the high quality standard of the papers and the deliberations and for the broad consensus backing authoritative, although not binding, policy and technical advice to governments and international organizations. The Congress conducts its discussions along broad lines designed:
7. The Congress should be open to Participants and Associate Participants from countries that are Members of FAO, the United Nations, any of its Specialized Agencies, or the International Atomic Energy Agency. Associate participants are students. Any person interested in forests or forestry from these countries can register to attend the Congress in his own right without need for an invitation. Written contributions to the Congress and interventions in the deliberations will be subject to the modalities of organization of the programme. The following categories of contributions to Congress deliberations may be considered: opening and closing speeches and statements, keynote addresses, guest speaker addresses, special reports and information documents, position papers, special papers and voluntary papers. Arrangements should be made concerning attendance by the press and by the public.
8. A Nominations Committee should be established. This Committee should meet prior to the opening session of the Congress, and its main responsibility should be to prepare a list of Officers of the Congress for consideration and approval at the opening session of the Congress. The Nominations Committee should include: the Chairman of the Organizing Committee or his representative, who should act as Chairman of the Committee; a representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; and representatives from governments, from international non-governmental organizations, from associations and from the private sector.
9. A General Committee should be established to facilitate the orderly progress of the work of the Congress and in particular to settle any difference of opinion that may arise from the interpretation of the Rules of the Congress and to decide on any proposals or questions submitted to it by the President or any other Officer of the Congress or by the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The membership of the General Committee should include the President, Co-Presidents and Vice-presidents of the Congress and a representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
10. When any issue is put to the vote, each duly registered participant of the Congress present should have the right to cast one vote. Decision should be by simple majority.
11. Normally those countries interested in hosting the next Congress will express their desire at the closing ceremony of a Congress. The Director-General will invite all Members of FAO, or State Members of the United Nations or any of its Specialized Agencies, or of the International Atomic Energy Agency, at least four years before the estimated date of the Congress, to submit offers to host and organize the Congress regardless of whether or not they have made an offer at the previous Congress. Submissions, according to the format indicated in the Technical- Operational Guidelines prepared by the Forestry Department, will be considered by the Committee on Forestry (COFO), together with an assessment of the submissions made by the Secretariat. The COFO will make its recommendations to the FAO Council.
12. Before consideration of the submissions by the FAO Council, an early assessment of the potential host countries should be available indicating the comparative advantages, opportunities and any particular constraints which may need to be resolved. This also refers to raising the necessary funding to ensure the attendance of deserving participants from developing countries. Any technical and logistic support that FAO should provide to assist the host country and supplement its capabilities should be identified at an early stage.
13. The submissions will be presented to the Council for decision with the recommendations made by the Committee on Forestry. The Council will take into consideration inter alia the desirability for a rotation among the various regions for the location of the Congress and the provisions proposed to ensure universal and broad participation in the preparation and the conduct of the Congress. This decision should be taken at least three years before the possible date of the Congress.
14. The Director-General will notify the Government of the country selected to host the Congress of the decision made by the Council, will provide copies of the policy and technical-operational guidelines for the organization of the Congress, will request confirmation that the host Government will make available the funds needed to organize the Congress and will indicate the general lines of the cooperative agreement to be concluded between the host Government and the Organization for the preparation of the Congress.
15. FAO as a co-sponsor should be fully involved in the preparation of the Congress, although the main responsibility for the organization of the Congress lies with the host Government. An Advisory Committee should be established by FAO to assist in a process of broad consultations, with all parties concerned, in the selection of the theme of the Congress, the structuring of the Technical Programme, the identification of invited speakers and authors and suggesting to the Organizing Committee any initiatives which may add value to the event.
16. The Forestry Department should establish a Task Force to collaborate with the Advisory Committee and to support and provide guidance to an Associate Secretary-General of the Congress designated by the Organization to work together with the Secretary-General designated by the host country in the preparation of the Congress, under the overall guidance of the Organizing Committee established by the host country.
17. The Forestry Department designates Associate Technical Secretaries to collaborate with the Technical Secretaries designated by the host country to deal with the topics of the technical programme of the Congress, including the review of invited and voluntary papers and the servicing of the technical sessions during the Congress.
18. FAO concludes an agreement with the institution in the host country responsible for organizing the Congress, indicating the support to be provided by the Organization and engaging financial resources from the host Government to cover part or the totality of the services provided by FAO.
19. The Organization should assist the host country in the wide dissemination of the outcome of the Congress and should ensure any follow-up, including monitoring the implementation of the recommendations by all those concerned and reporting on their implementation at the next Congress. The Forestry Department should make provision for the inter-sessional secretariat work between congresses, within its existing structure and budget.