Item 10 of the Provisional Agenda




Rome, 1-5 March 1999




1. The purpose of this note is to inform the Committee of those decisions which are of interest to it taken by FAO Governing Bodies (Conference, Council) since its 13th session. Views and recommendations of the FAO Regional Conferences pertinent to the work of the Committee are also summarized in this note. Action taken in response to recommendations made is reported to the respective bodies. However, if delegates so request, the Secretariat is prepared to report orally on progress made.

Consideration by the FAO Council of the Report of the Thirteenth Session of COFO

2. The report of the thirteenth session of the Committee on Forestry (Rome, 10-13 March 1997) was considered by the FAO Council at its hundred and twelfth session (June 1997). The Council:

The Council took note of the statement by the Turkish delegation regarding progress in the preparations for the Eleventh World Forestry Congress, to be held in Antalya (Turkey) from 13 to 22 October 1997.


3. At its hundred and thirteenth session (4-6 November 1997), and hundred and fourteenth session (19 November 1997) the FAO Council made no recommendation of specific relevance to the Forestry Programme.

4. At its hundred and fifteenth session (23-28 November 1998) the FAO Council considered secretariat note CL 115/16 "Procedure for selecting host countries for the World Forestry Congresses". The outcome is reported in COFO-99/Inf. 6.


5. The Conference noted the outcome of the XI World Forestry Congress (Antalya, 13-22 October 1997), the largest global forestry meeting ever, the success of its deliberations and warmly thanked the Government of Turkey for hosting and organizing, through its Ministry of Forestry, this highly important event.

Medium-term Plan 1998-2003

Programme of Work and Budget 1998-99 - Substantive Priorities

6. The Conference recognized the importance of FAO programmes responding to requirement for assistance and the expectations of the membership in the wake of the World Food Summit, as well as to the calls for action stemming from major conferences or international agreements dealing with matters related to FAO's'mandate.

7. During the discussion, delegates referred to a wide range of substantive priorities of particular interest to their country or region, such as forestry, including forest resource assessment and the sustainable management of forest resources.

Resolution 13/97

Review of FAO Statutory Bodies

8. The Conference, conscious of the continuing need to enhance the efficiency of the Organization and its governance in a time of financial challenge, to eliminate Statutory Bodies that are obsolete, to ensure more flexible task-oriented and time-bound working arrangements for those that remain and to limit the creation of new Bodies to those that are strictly necessary, recognising the importance of moving towards increased self-financing for Statutory Bodies that have regional focus, and of enhancing the responsiveness of those bodies to the needs of their Members:

1. Decides to abolish the Bodies listed in Annex A to this Resolution.

Among the sixteen bodies included in Annex A are the following:

2. Recommends to the parent Bodies concerned that their Subsidiary Bodies listed in Annex B be abolished and calls on those parent Bodies to take the necessary action unless they consider, taking into account the financial and programme implications, that there are overriding reasons for retaining any such Bodies in existence and to report to the Council through the Programme and Finance Committees on the actions taken and, where appropriate, on the reasons for retaining any of the Subsidiary Bodies recommended for abolition.

Among the sixty-seven subsidiary Bodies listed in Annex B are the following:

The views of the Regional Forestry Commissions on these mandates are indicated below.

Working Party on Wildlife Management and National Parks of the AFWC

9. The African and Wildlife Forestry Commission strongly recommended that the unique body discussing overall ecosystems conservation issues, the conservation of wildlife resources and management of their contribution to food security should not be disbanded. The AFWC has always recommended that FAO activities in, and in support to protected area management and wildlife resources development and conservation be heightened and that related issues for the Regional Office be increased.

Committee on Forestry Research of the LACFC

10. The Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission was informed that the 29th Session of the Conference of FAO had adopted Resolution 13/97 which, among other matters, recommended that the parent Bodies responsible for the Subsidiary Bodies listed in Annex B, which included the Committee on Forestry Research of the LACFC, take the necessary measures to abolish them, unless they considered that there were good reasons for retaining any of these bodies, taking into account the financial and programme implications. The Commission accepted that there were no overriding reasons to maintain this Committee and considered the decision of the Conference to be appropriate, but at the same time recommended that FAO and the Member Nations of the region reinforce interlinkage and the exchange of technical and scientific information from research, through horizontal technical cooperation among countries, in the framework of the subregional groups, with the support of FAO.

Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds of the EFC

11. The European Forestry Commission Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds, at its 21st session held in Marienbad (Czech Republic), from 6 to 9 October 1998, recommended to the European Forestry Commission (parent Body) that the Working Party be maintained as a subsidiary body of the Commission and that, in servicing it, FAO help implement its decisions for change, including inter alia:

· reduction of the length of meetings;

· examination of the possibility and legality of registration fees to the sessions;

· refocusing and streamlining the work of the Working Party;

· considering any further support countries, especially those hosting the sessions, could provide in the preparation of the meetings and the realisation of the tasks of the Working Party.

12. The European Forestry Commission at its 29th session decided to maintain the Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds stressing that the issue should not be dealt with on an ad hoc basis for the following reasons:

· FAO is the lead agency for the implementation of Chapters 11 and 13 of Agenda 21:

· the Working Party has responsibilities for the implementation of Resolution S4 of the Strasbourg Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe;

· the Working Party could play an important role in the activities of the upcoming International Year of Mountains, 2002.

13. This decision was based on the understanding that the Commission will review and update the mandate of the Working Party, reflecting the latest developments on this issue, ensuring cooperation and using synergies with others in order to avoid any duplication. The Commission requested the Executive Committee to prepare proposals in this respect. After the review of the mandate of the Working Party, the Commission would continue to evaluate its results and monitor its efficiency, taking into account available resources.


Twentieth FAO Regional Conference for Africa

For the attention of Governments

Supported the priority given to sustainable management of natural resources, and urged that more attention be given to watershed development and management as the basis for the conservation and rehabilitation of lands as well as for sustainable irrigation schemes in Africa (para. 22f).

Noted that countries outside the Africa Region had experience in watershed development and management which could be of direct benefit to countries of the region and recommended the development of capacities in this area through FAO's TCDC Programme, focusing on marginal zones and poorest farmers (para. 13j).

For the attention of FAO

Supported the priority given to sustainable management of natural resources, and urged that more attention be given to watershed development and management as the basis for the conservation and rehabilitation of lands as well as for sustainable irrigation schemes in Africa (para. 22f).

Recommended that FAO collaborate with the African Timber Organization in planning a Workshop for the Central African Region, similar to those which were scheduled for the Southern and Eastern African Sub-Regions in collaboration with IPGRI, ICRAF, SADC and IGAD.

Twenty-fourth FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific

For the attention of Governments

Urged all countries to take appropriate measures to control the clearing of mangrove forests, water pollution and siltation which have negative impacts on marine fisheries (para. 32).

For the attention of FAO

Requested FAO support in strengthening preparedness to deal with the El Niño phenomenon and other natural disasters (para. 41).

Requested FAO, in cooperation with other international organizations, to help minimize the adverse impacts of forest fires and to assist member countries in developing effective strategies, policies and technologies for preventing, combating and managing forest fires (para. 42).

Requested FAO to give priority support to member countries in sustaining and enhancing the resource base, particularly in avoiding soil loss and degradation, reforesting degraded lands, developing agroforestry, managing forests sustainably, and protecting forests against damaging wildfires (para. 50).

Urged FAO to provide full support to member countries in implementing the Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting in Asia-Pacific and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (para. 50).

Twenty-first FAO Regional Conference for Europe

For the attention of FAO

Stressed that FAO endeavour focusing attention to the fields of normative advice and technical assistance to Member Nations continuing the transition process; participating in setting up or improving of land cadastre systems and the functioning of farm land markets; continue assistance in support of management of fragile ecosystems, mountain development and in particular sustainable management of forest resources; support in the conservation and management of animal and plant genetic resources; and in the development of nutrition programmes and food control and food health issues (para. 30).