Item 8 of the Provisional Agenda




Rome, Italy, 1-5 March 1999




Secretariat Note

1. This note is to inform the Committee about FAO forestry activities funded under the Regular Programme budget, and FAO-executed projects funded through UNDP and donor trust funds in 1997-1998. Annex A indicates actions or proposals made in response to the specific requests and recommendations of the thirteenth session of the Committee.


2. Efforts to provide member countries with updated information on forest resources have continued in the framework of the global Forest Resources Assessment 2000 (FRA 2000). Based on the conclusion of the Kotka III meeting, guidelines, definitions and classifications for global forest assessment have been prepared, discussed with stakeholders, and disseminated for use and application by countries, FAO and the Economic Commission of Europe (ECE).

3. FAO is working on capacity building and data collection in close collaboration with member countries, international partners and the ECE. Regional workshops were held in Vietnam (1997) and India (1998), and expert missions were organized in Africa and Latin America (1998). FAO worked with SIDA/Sweden to develop state-of-the-art forest inventory manuals for the FRA capacity building programme, with particular reference to the needs of developing countries. The first two in a series of sub-regional workshops for data validation supported by the European Commission were organized for the end of 1998 in Kenya and Zimbabwe. FAO is developing techniques that make use of advances in GIS and remote sensing technology to assess wood supply and deforestation processes in developing countries for FRA 2000. The FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean is already carrying out image and data procurement. Work has begun on a mission statement for the country capacity building programme. A regional lead centre was established in India, and an Associate Professional Officer was assigned to the Near East Regional Office to assist in the collection and analysis of forest resources data.

4. Special studies have been conducted on plantations, non-wood products, woodfuel availability, wood supply potential for industrial and local needs, felling and removal, and conservation of biological diversity in protected areas. FAO has made formal agreements with CATIE (Costa Rica) to collect information on non-wood goods and services and with the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) to collect resource information on protected areas and to contribute to the preparation of a global forest map and a global ecological zones map.


Forest Protection

5. Direct assistance was provided to member countries in fields related to forest protection, including Modern Fire Management in Turkey and Emergency Control for Gypsy Moth in Bulgaria and Romania. A workshop on Pest Management in Tropical Plantations was organized in collaboration with IUFRO in Thailand (May 1998). A workshop on silviculture, including studies of socio-economic conditions for forest fire prevention and control, was held in Hammamet, Tunisia (March 1998). Two case studies on protecting forests against pine processionary were conducted in Algeria, Cyprus and Lebanon and used as basic information for expert consultations in Beirut (May 1998) and Amman (July 1998). In response to global concern, FAO organized a Meeting on Public Policies Affecting Forest Fires (October 1998) to establish a forest fire information system, analyse the main socio-political causes of wildfires and propose measures to reduce their incidence.

Forest Genetic Resources

6. In response to COFO recommendations for the conservation and utilisation of forest genetic resources, FAO has organized several country-driven, action-oriented workshops. The first was held in Burkina Faso (September 1998), in collaboration with IPGRI, ICRAF, IUFRO and the DANIDA Forest Seed Centre. Preparations are at advanced stages for similar workshops in Eastern and Southern Africa and in the Pacific. Close contacts were maintained with the SBSTA of the Convention on Conservation of Biological Diversity in pursuing work towards a coherent global framework for action in this field.

7. Following recommendations by the Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources (September 1997), FAO continued to support national institutes, focusing mainly on networking to promote conservation; management and sustainable use of species such as neem and mahoganies; dissemination of information about conventional and new technologies; and exchange of research quantities of seeds and other reproductive materials on mutually acceptable terms. Close co-ordination of activities with other agencies and mechanisms (e.g. those of CITES in the case of mahogany species) was ensured. Partnership arrangements with Centres of the CGIAR were maintained, including support and collaboration within the framework of the IPGRI co-ordinated European Forest Genetic Resources Network (EUFORGEN), as well as incipient research networks in other regions.

8. The REFORGEN worldwide information system on forest genetic resources was further developed, and verification of the country-derived data contained in the system was initiated. A Tree Seed Suppliers Directory was published in 1997 in collaboration with ICRAF, and made available on the Internet. Information continued to be disseminated through the annual newsletter Forest Genetic Resources and a forest genetic resources Internet site.


9. FAO continued to assist in the development of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management by jointly organizing meetings and workshops at international, regional and eco-regional levels. Through contractual arrangements with IUFRO, work continued on streamlining concepts and terminology. Contacts were maintained with forest unit level initiatives promoted by the African Timber Organization, CIFOR, IUFRO, and Canada and Japan (International Model Forest Network). The Proceedings of a Regional Expert Consultation, Implementing Sustainable Forest Management in Asia and the Pacific, were published. Forestry Paper 135, Guidelines for the Management of Tropical Forests. I. The production of wood, was published.


10. Priority was given to data collection and analysis, and the dissemination of technical advice related to trees planted in special situations (arid zones, urban areas, village wood lots and line planting). Area figures for forest plantations in developing countries were updated to base year 1995, which provided estimates of wood supply for the GFSS and for the Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Studies, as well as for a study on future hardwood timber availability. Further updating and verification of forest plantation areas was initiated as a component of FRA 2000. The Proceedings of the Second Regional Seminar on Teak and Seed Suppliers for Tree Planting in the Asia-Pacific Region were published.

11. A study on tropical hardwood volumes will be published soon. The International Poplar Commission (IPC) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1997. The 39th meeting of the Executive Committee of IPC was held at FAO (September 1998).


12. FAO continues to support two regional networks: the Latin American Technical Co-operation Network on Agroforestry and the Asia-Pacific Agroforestry Network (APAN). A technical document on parklands agroforestry systems with special reference to Africa has been published. FAO convened a meeting of the APAN national co-ordinators (November 1997) and disseminated information on agroforestry. FAO/RAP published Asia-Pacific Agroforestry Profiles: Second Edition and continues to publish and distribute Apanews twice a year. An Associate Professional Officer was recruited to work in the regional office in Bangkok to provide continuing support for APAN activities. The programme also supported the Special Programme on Food Security in some countries.

13. In the area of Urban and Peri-Urban Forestry, the Annotated Bibliography on Urban Forestry in Developing Countries has been made available as a database on the Internet. Several case studies about various regions of the world have been published in Urban and Peri-Urban Forestry in Quito, Ecuador (1997) (in English and Spanish) and Urban and Peri-Urban Forestry in Asia, Latin America and Africa - A compilation of case studies (in English). A Dutch-funded project recently begun in Yemen (GCP/YEM/036/NET) deals specifically with urban forestry and re-use of wastewater for tree-watering purposes. The TCP has also funded a programme of wastewater reutilization for urban and peri-urban tree planting in Egypt.


14. Activities on natural forest management in dry zones resulted in Conservation Guide 32 on the Management of Natural Tropical Forests in Dry Zones (in French; English version in progress). A global Expert Consultation on the role of forestry in combating desertification was organized as a satellite meeting to the XI World Forestry Congress. Increased support for implementation efforts was provided following the ratification of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the First Conference of the Parties (COP), which was held at FAO headquarters. A bibliographic study on experiences in China, Dryland Development and Combating Desertification, was published. Field projects in Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are among efforts to control the chronic threat of desertification. In the framework of FAO's overall support of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), a compilation of relevant documents for dryland and desertification and a CD-ROM were prepared for the Second COP. A Memorandum of Understanding is also being negotiated with the CCD Secretariat.

15. At its 17th session (October 1997, in Turkey), Silva Mediterranea endorsed a new project for the research network on Forest Fire Management. The research network on Selection of Stands of Mediterranean Conifers for the Production of Seeds to be used in Reforestation Programmes published the Mediterranean Conifer Tree Seed Stand Directory.


16. As task manager of the implementation of UNCED Agenda 21 Chapter 13: Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development, FAO commissioned and published a study, "Implementation of Chapter 13 - 1992-1997". The FAO Mountain Programme's Internet site now features information on the field programme on watershed management, Chapter 13 and the EFC Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds. Support was also provided to an electronic conference convened by the Mountain Forum on "Mountain Policy and Law" and through an international consultation on "Sacred Mountains of the World". Support was provided in the drafting of the Secretary-General's Report to the Social and Economic Council (ECOSOC) relating to the proclamation of 2002 as the International Year of Mountains (the UN General Assembly has designated FAO as the lead agency).

17. The 21st session of the European Forestry Commission (EFC) Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds was held in Marienbad, Czech Republic (October 1998). The Working Party finalised its work on a mission statement, finalised efforts undertaken since the 19th session (Oberstdorf, Germany), and developed a plan for future work. In reaction to questions about the future of the Working Party, participants strongly advocated its maintenance and offered cost-reduction alternatives. The ad hoc inter-agency working group met with the Andean Mountain Association in Quito (December 1998). The FAO-sponsored Latin American Technical Co-operation Network on Watershed Management organized international workshops on management of mountain watersheds, national watershed management plans, and economic and social aspects of watershed management. Based on the results of the workshops, technical documents were prepared and distributed widely in the Region.


18. FAO co-organized the First Latin American Congress on National Parks and Other Protected Areas (May 1997, at Santa Marta, Colombia), which issued the Santa Marta Declaration, a Guide for Action in the region. In July 1998, FAO organized the Regional Consultation for the Near East and North Africa on Protected Area Management and Sustainable Rural Development in Amman, Jordan. A Regional Consultation on Domesticated Asian Elephants is also in the process of being organized. The African and Wildlife Forestry Commission (AFWC) Working Party held its 19th Session. A side meeting at the session discussed preparations for a planned consultation on protected area management and sustainable rural development.

19. Publication of the regional bulletins Nature et Faune, Tigerpaper and Areas Silvestres continued; new publications included Wildlife and Food Security in Africa, A Compendium of FAO Implemented Projects 1975-1996 and Related Bibliography and GONE ASTRAY - The Care and Management of the Asian Elephant in Domesticity. Development of wildlife and management of protected areas is also being supported by field activities in Algeria, Chad, Mali, Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Sri Lanka. Planning and preparation are underway for the International Consultation on Protected Area Management and Sustainable Rural Development meeting at the end of February 1999.



20. Support focused on the establishment of regional forestry research networks to strengthen national capacities and regional co-operation. The Forestry Research Support Programme for Asia and the Pacific (FORSPA) developed research databases and organized an international workshop and publication on "Emerging Institutional Arrangements for Forestry Research". FORSPA also co-ordinated efforts with CIDA to help Asia-Pacific Association of Forestry Research Institutions (APAFRI) start Treelink, a regional forest information and documentation programme. APAFRI now includes more than 40 institutions. FAO, in collaboration with the Forestry Research Support Programme for Asia and the Pacific (FORSPA), published a Directory of Selected Tropical Forestry Journals and Newsletters.

21. A Forestry Research Network for Sub-Saharan Africa (FORNESSA) is expected to achieve similar objectives. It was supported by a framework proposal, "Strengthening National Capacities and Regional Co-operation in Forestry Research in Sub-Saharan Africa", and the Special Programme for Developing Countries (SPDC) of IUFRO, the African Academy of Sciences and other regional and international research institutions. The proposal also led to the Expert Consultation on Forestry Research, held in Accra, Ghana (September/October 1997). The document New Institutional Trends in Forestry Research in Africa was published and the Directory of Forestry Research Institutions was updated.

22. A study entitled Appraisal of Forestry Research Institutes in the Near East Region in Egypt, Morocco and Iran aimed at collecting and analysing national information on forestry research institutes was published.


23. The database on Forestry Education and Training Institutions was updated and enlarged to include 800 institutions from 117 countries, and is now available on the Internet, along with a Synopsis of Short Courses in Forestry and Related Areas (1997-98). FAO also printed Forestry Study No. 131, Ecology and Rural Education: Basic Environmental Concepts for Rural Teachers and Extensionists.


24. The Troubleshooter's Guide to Forestry Extension is being translated into Spanish, French, Arabic and Portuguese, and a training companion for the Guide has been developed. Assessment of the current and potential role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on extension has been initiated. A study of the evolution of private forestry and forest extension in the countries in transition in Central and Eastern Europe was published at the beginning of 1998; a follow-up activity on the development of guidelines for organizing small forest owners has begun. In terms of accommodating multiple interests in forestry, an international workshop on Pluralism and Sustainable Forestry and Rural Development was held in December 1997, and the proceedings were published in 1998. A joint global activity on this issue was started with CIFOR.



25. Regional studies on NFPs in several countries identified the main issues affecting the forestry sector under current social and economic trends and policies, the mechanisms and impacts of forestry policy formulation and implementation, and the need for further policy improvements. Assistance provided to many countries, among them Iran, Morocco, Syria and Yemen, is aimed at enhancement of national capacities for planning and monitoring of forestry programmes and national forestry institutions. A study looked at forest policies in Andean countries in the framework of national forest programmes to ascertain the possibility of implementing recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IPFl/IFF) to reach the goals of sustainable forest development. FAO is also co-operating with the Central American Commission on Forests and Protected Areas to strengthen national policy and planning capacity.

26. In light of the growing trend towards privatisation of forestry operations, a study is under way to identify means to regulate, manage and supervise public forest resources given in concession to private operations, communities and local and non-governmental organizations. The draft manual on planning, entitled Strategic Planning for Forest Use and Conservation: Guidelines for Improvement, will be field-tested and finalised.

27. Special support and staff training was given to Eastern European countries adapting to the requirements of a market economy, privatisation and devolution of land. TCP projects were prepared and brought into operation in Latvia, Lithuania, the Slovak Republic and Romania. Support was provided to Cyprus and Brazil in relation to their national forestry programmes. High-level policy guidance was provided in support of forest policy reform initiatives in Cambodia and Vietnam.

28. A review of the main changes and trends among forest institutions, based on ten selected countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, served to assess a) the most frequently demanded information on forestry institutions and intended use; and b) the recent institutional changes in developing and emerging economy countries. The review is intended to strengthen forestry institutions through the regular collection and maintenance of information. The working draft of the reference document on contracts for the use of public forests was finalised and is being distributed for field-testing. In mid-1998, the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) published and disseminated a policy-oriented study on opportunities and constraints for forestry investment through carbon dioxide offset initiatives in Asia and the Pacific.


29. Activities in community forestry focused on the development and promotion of new tools, methods and approaches on several high-priority community forestry themes. The Forests, Trees and People Programme (FTPP) continued to provide extra-budgetary support to normative activities in community forestry. A readership survey of the many FAO/FTPP community forestry publications helped redefine the programme's future publication strategy. Several publications have resulted from the 1997 electronic conference on Addressing Natural Resource Conflicts Through Community Forestry. The topic was further elaborated at a Satellite Meeting on Conflict Management, organized by FAO during the XI World Forestry Congress (October 1997). Development of a package of materials on the Participatory Process in Natural Resource Management was initiated, including an in-depth conceptual overview, as well as a case study based on the FAO/Italy Interregional Project on Participatory Upland Conservation and Development.

30. Farmer-initiated research and extension was further developed during this period, in collaboration with the Forest Resources Division. Continuation of work on common property management of forest resources resulted in the publication of FAO Forestry Paper 136, Managing Forests as Common Property (1998).

31. Recognition of the role of rural communities in improved sustainable forest management was the main topic of the workshop on Extension and Communication for Sustainable Forestry in the Near East and North Africa, held in Yemen (July 1997). Community involvement in forest resources management continues to be a major focus of the field programme in projects in countries such as Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen.

32. FAO/RAP and the Regional Community Forestry Training Center (RECOFTC) jointly organized an "International Seminar on Ecotourism for Forest Conservation and Community Development" in Chiang Mai, Thailand (January 1997), attended by more than 125 participants. The proceedings of the seminar were published and disseminated in early 1998. FAO/RAP, RECOFTC and the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources jointly organized an "International Seminar on Decentralization and Devolution of Forest Management in Asia and the Pacific" in Davao City, Philippines (December 1998). FAO/RAP published and disseminated Forest Dependent Survival Strategies of Tribal Women: Implications for Joint Forest Management in Andhra Pradesh, India.

33. Two case studies on community forestry were carried out in Sudan and Turkey, and new initiatives will continue to be promoted to assist countries in the Region. A concept paper on "Household food security and forestry - an analysis of socio-economic issues" has been translated into Arabic and provided to countries in the Region. Several field manuals and policy-level documents on food security have also been translated and distributed.


34. Efforts continued in the gathering, analysis and dissemination of statistics to provide substantive grounds for field project formulation. The important re-design of the global Yearbook of Forest Products includes a very useful summary highlighting changes by region and commodity, which gives a better appreciation of the developments in production and trade of forest products. FAO also published the FAO Provisional Outlook for Global Forest Products Consumption, Production and Trade to 2010. Further efforts to refine the analysis and prepare detailed studies will be published in late 1998/early 1999.

35. During the IPF and IFF process, member governments repeatedly underscored the need to easily share information on forests and forest utilisation. The Department has launched a substantial effort to upgrade the accessibility of information, principally through the FAO Internet site. The role of national governments and institutions will be emphasised by facilitating common definitions, units of measure and standards, and giving more attention to building national capacity to provide fundamental forestry sector information in a transparent and timely manner.

36. Over the last two years, the outlook studies programme has been focused increasingly on the work of the regional commissions rather than on producing global econometric projections of supply and demand. More attention is being given to efforts by member countries to describe their expectations about the future role of the forestry sector and its ability to contribute to economic, social and environmental well being. The work stresses the connections between performance in the forestry sector (statistics) and the future policy options and investment opportunities facing countries and the industry (outlook studies) as we seek sustainable forest management. Accordingly, the Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study, which included nearly 50 working papers, was conducted and published in collaboration with member countries in the region, co-operating international and regional organizations, and individuals. A companion compendium of forestry statistics for the region was constructed and shared widely. A Forestry Outlook Study for Africa has been launched.


37. Addressing the concerns expressed by the IPF in 1997 about the undervaluation of forest goods and services, FAO commissioned a review of country experiences to identify a conceptual framework to better account for forest resource benefits. Two expert meetings (June 1997 and February 1998) recommended the adoption of standards and procedures in the report to the System of National Accounts (SNA) and its proposed extension, the Integrated System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA). In close collaboration with the UN Statistics Division, Eurostat and the World Bank Environmental Economics and Indicators Unit, FAO prepared a report on the status and current efforts of economic and environmental accounting for forestry.


Appropriate Wood Industries

38. Following the recommendation made by the FAO Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products (ACPWP), a report on the Global Fibre Supply Model (GFSM) was produced, including an interactive database with relevant information on forest area available for wood supply and projections up to the year 2050. A series of meetings with government and industry representatives and data validation workshops have been conducted in Asia, Latin America, Africa and North America.

Non-Wood Forest Products

39. The promotion and development of the Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFP) Programme continued to identify and evaluate the benefits of the vast array of non-wood animal and plant products derived from forests or forest tree species. A NWFP Information System was established, containing data on organisations and individuals working worldwide.

Fuelwood, Charcoal and Wood Energy

40. United Wood Energy Terminology, a set of terms, definitions, units and conversion factors commonly used for the organization, collation, interpretation, presentation and exchange of wood energy data was developed, reviewed and disseminated. Wood Energy Today for Tomorrow, a mechanism for the collection and collation of existing information and data on wood fuels and related energy aspects at the national level (including production, consumption and trade) was also created. The Wood Energy Information System, an interactive database, now constitutes the main source of information and data for public and private R&D centres for planning regional, national and international energy, forestry and environmental programmes.


Environmentally-Sound Forest Harvesting and Engineering

41. Based on the FAO Model Code of Forest Harvesting Practice, the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission's ad hoc Working Group on Sustainable Forest Management developed a regional Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting, which was formally adopted by the 17th session of the APFC (February 1998). Focus is now on the elaboration of sub-regional implementation strategies, field training workshops, and development of national codes of practice in several countries of the region. FAO/RAP published and distributed Labor-Intensive Harvesting of Tree Plantations in the Southern Philippines. Field studies on environmentally sound forest operations have been published under the FAO Forest Harvesting Case Study Series.

42. The FAO Forest Harvesting Bulletin (1997 and 1998) highlighted recent developments in innovative harvesting and engineering concepts, systems and techniques and reported on the results of research-oriented field studies on reduced-impact harvesting. In 1997, FAO co-operated with CIFOR and IUFRO in the 2nd International Research Training Seminar on Reduced Timber Harvesting and Natural Forest Management in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and with IUFRO in the International Seminar on Forest Operations with Special Considerations on Socio-economic Problems in Bhutan. The programme continued to develop and conduct case studies on reduced-impact harvesting and forest engineering in Bhutan, Cameroon, India, Laos and South Africa. Volume 8 of the FAO Harvesting Bulletin has been published and distributed worldwide to nearly 5000 individuals and institutions.

43. An FAO/Austria Expert Meeting on Environmentally Sound Forest Operations for Countries in Transition to Market Economies was held in Ort/Gmunden, Austria (September 1998). The Manual for the Planning, Design and Construction of Forest Roads in Steep Terrain was reviewed in a workshop held in Lampertheim, Germany (November 1998). A special study has been initiated on the Environmental Impact Assessment related to Forest Utilisation in support of FRA. FAO and ATIBT published a special report on road infrastructures in tropical forests, Road to Development or Destruction?.

Forest Products Trade

44. A major study was produced on Trade Restrictions and Their Impact on International Trade in Forest Products. Papers were presented at conferences in Kuala Lumpur (on timber trade and on trade barriers), New Zealand (global timber trade), and workshops in the Czech Republic (timber certification), Venezuela (trade and the environment) and China (trade policy issues). Inputs on forestry trade were provided at a workshop in Geneva on "Uruguay Round Agreements - Implication for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in the Less Advantaged Developing Countries", sponsored by FAO and the Swiss Agency for International Trade, Information and Co-operation (AITIC). Work was carried out relating to trade, the environment and trade negotiations through the FAO Working Group on Trade and Sustainable Development and the FAO Task Force on Follow-up to the Uruguay Round. Forestry information is being provided for an FAO Trade in Agricultural Products Internet site.

Forest Products Marketing

45. The programme emphasised the vital role of forest products marketing in the sustainable utilisation of forest resources through papers presented at the International IUFRO Conference for Working Group on Forest Products Marketing, the XI World Forestry Congress, an International Workshop on Sustainable Development of Non-Wood Goods and Benefits from Boreal and Cold Temperate Forests and an International Seminar on Methodology and Research of the Socio-Economics, Production, Processing and Marketing of Non-Wood Forest Products.

46. In an effort to improve the access to marketing information, a major Database of Computer-Based Sources of Marketing Information was prepared for the Internet. A Study on Plantation Timber Prices in Latin America and the Southern United States was prepared to provide specific price information, mainly for planning purposes. A Review of Studies on Consumer Attitudes towards Forest Products Marketed with Environmental, Social and Sustainability Attributes is being prepared to support the development of appropriate marketing practices. A set of Guidelines for Strengthening and Establishment of Log Auction Systems provides assistance, especially to countries in transition. A Case Study on Marketing of Indigenous Medicinal Plants in South Africa was published to assess current marketing practices. A Workshop on the Development of Marketing of Sawnwood and Value-Added Forest Products in Countries in Transition to Market Economies was conducted. Preparations were initiated to hold similar workshops jointly with other partners.


47. The XI World Forestry Congress in Antalya, Turkey (13-22 October 1997) was organized by the Government of Turkey, with the support of FAO, under the general theme "Forestry for Sustainable Development: Towards the 21st Century". FAO provided secretarial staff, assisted the organizing committee in the definition of the program and the many related events (study tours, exhibitions, side meetings, three satellite meetings, youth and women's special events).

48. FAO edited the eight volumes of proceedings and translated them into four languages. They were printed and distributed (together with a CD-ROM version in all four languages) by the Turkish Secretariat. FAO conducted an internal stocktaking exercise on the organization and outcome of the Congress, which revealed several organizational and procedural changes that should be considered by the FAO Council for future World Forestry Congresses. The FAO Conference and the Regional Forestry Commissions were informed about the outcome of the Congress. Information was posted on the Forestry Internet site before and after the Congress (including the proceedings).


49. A review of forest policies in 28 countries and territories in the Caribbean Region was presented to an Expert Consultation, which identified strategic areas of action to strengthen the region's forestry policy. Another workshop on forestry policy formulation was held in the Dominican Republic (November 1998). A recent FAO study of forest policies of Caribbean countries, financed by the European Community, was followed by a workshop (May 1998) in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Assistance was provided to Cyprus in the formulation of its National Forest Programme. The Pacific Islands Forest and Trees Support Programme provides institutional training and networking support to the South Pacific Island States. The annual meeting of the Heads of Forest Services of the South Pacific States (October 1998) discussed the implications of the Kyoto Protocol for the sector. The Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study included a regional study of the South Pacific.

50. The FAO guidelines on Integrated Coastal Area Management and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries were published in 1998, which include the integration of forestry into coastal area management. When recent dieback and death of Takamaka (Colophyllum inophyllum var. takamaka), an important tree species of the Seychelles, caused considerable economic and environmental concern, a TCP (TCP/SEY/4552) implemented by FAO at the request of the Republic of the Seychelles identified the pathogen and vector of the disease and prepared a strategy for containment, which was put before the parliament.


51. As the lead agency within the Inter-agency Task Force on Forests (ITTF) charged with implementation of specific IPF proposals for action, FAO has promoted five of the Programme elements and contributed to their initiatives. FAO organized three regional workshops on international co-operation and resource mobilisation for NFPs. More detailed information on the support given by FAO to the implementation of the IPF proposals for action and to the IFF process is reported under COFO-99/2.



The following table summarises the recommendations of the thirteenth session of the Commission and the action taken or proposed.

The attention of the Council is drawn to:

(i) Progress towards sustainable forest management and follow-up to UNCED including implications of the work of the Inter-governmental Panel on Forests (IPF)

The development of criteria and indicators to assess progress in sustainable forest management was recognised by the Committee as being among the most significant endeavours in forestry during the post-UNCED era. It endorsed and recommended the implementation of IPF proposals for action directed to FAO, especially in (i) the undertaking of efforts to achieve common understanding of key concepts and essential terms and definitions; (ii) association of more countries and regions not yet involved or advanced in their processes; (iii) strengthening national capacities; (iv) incorporation of criteria and indicators in national forest programmes and forest resources assessments; (v) assisting countries in developing information on criteria and indicators that is transparent, scientifically sound and technically valid (para. 11).

The Committee reviewed the discussions and progress made in national forest programmes. It stressed the country-driven nature of national forest programmes and the merits of a bottom-up approach. The Committee recommended that FAO continue to support countries' efforts, monitor progress achieved and develop strategies to promote national forest programmes and regional work programmes. This support should focus on follow-up to planning initiatives and implementation of ongoing activities; enhancement of national capacities and facilitation of technology transfers; mobilisation of financial resources; promotion of partnerships and transparency; co-ordination of existing planning frameworks; and helping co-ordinate donor involvement (para. 13).

(ii) Role of COFO and Regional Forestry Commissions

The Committee:

- recommended active and early involvement of countries and the bureaux of the Commissions in the preparation of agendas for the Commissions and COFO in order to encourage the active participation of countries (para. 17);

- noted the need for a broad strategic framework for FAO's planning and implementation of activities in the field of forests and recommended that the Assistant Director-General of the Forestry Department draw up this framework to include the Forestry Department's objectives, priorities, issues, activities and partnership arrangements over the medium term, consistent with the results of the Committee's discussions of item 10. It further recommended that the Commissions be invited to participate in its development, perhaps through their bureaux, and noted the need for the document to be succinct, to outline strategic thrusts and to take into account the forest-related decisions of the fifth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development and the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly (para. 18);

- agreed that this broad strategic framework be distributed as soon as possible to allow the Commissions to use it when planning their activities over the short and medium term. It was also suggested that note be taken of the document by the Conference in November 1997 and that it be submitted to the next session of COFO (para. 18);

- recommended that COFO and Regional Forestry Commissions be open and involve representatives of NGOs and the private sector (including forest owners, industries, academic institutions and rural people, including women, etc.) in their meetings, programmes and activities; and that FAO work with donor organizations and countries to identify innovative financial support to assist participation of developing member countries and countries in transition in the regular and inter-sessional activities of the Regional Forestry Commissions. It stressed the need for strengthened support to the Commissions (paras. 19 and 20).

(iii) Implications for forestry of the Plan of Action of the World Food Summit

The Committee recognised the vital contribution that forests, forest products and forest services make to food security and poverty alleviation. Forests and trees play an irreplaceable role in direct production of food, fuelwood and fodder, and also in their indirect contribution, through income generation activities, to the conservation of lands and the sustainable use of water resources. The Committee further recognised that the Forestry Department's emphasis on sustainable forest management helped ensure that forests would continue to make this vital contribution. It recommended that the Forestry Department maintain sustainable forest management as its guiding principle, in accordance with the decision taken at the World Food Summit (para. 21).

(iv) Conservation and sustainable utilisation of forest genetic resources

The Committee:

- recognised the work done by FAO in the forest genetic resources field over several decades. It recommended that efforts to explore, conserve, evaluate and better utilise forest genetic resources be continued and further strengthened in collaboration with national institutes and international governmental and non-governmental partners (para. 24);

- noted the recent broadening of the mandate of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) and recommended that the Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources continue to provide advice to the CGRFA in its fields of competence (para. 26).

(v) Review of FAO Regular and Field Programmes, including follow-up to the requests and recommendations of the twelfth session of the Committee

The Committee:

- recommended that, for future sessions, programme evaluations be included and requested that more qualitative information be provided in the review of the field programme (para. 32);

- commended the efforts being made for decentralisation; it noted the difficulties in staffing the forestry positions in the new sub-regional offices and urged FAO to increase its support to the sub-regional offices (para. 35).

(vi) Medium-term perspectives (1998-2003) and Programme of Work and Budget 1998-99 priorities

The Committee expressed concern at the limited budgetary allocation for forestry in general and at the fact that the share of forestry in the overall FAO budget remained limited and therefore inconsistent with the post-UNCED importance of forestry in relation to sustainable forest management, desertification, climate change and the conservation of biological diversity. It strongly recommended that FAO allocate additional resources for this programme period. Given the resource constraints, the Committee called for greater efficiency in the use of the limited funding that was available and strongly recommended that FAO further prioritise its activities (paras. 40 and 41).

(vii) Decisions of FAO Governing Bodies of interest to the Committee & Recommendations of other FAO Statutory Bodies in forestry of interest to the Committee

The Committee noted the recommendations arising from the meetings of the Regional Conferences regarding future meetings of ministers responsible for forestry and recommended that the advice of those Conferences be followed (para. 45).

(i) Work continued with IUFRO on terminology in Forest Resources Assessment and international criteria and indicators processes in sustainable forest management; and with IUFRO and Centres of the CGIAR on terms related to the conservation of forest genetic resources. The trilingual terminology used in FRA 20000 is now available. 

(ii) Expert meetings followed by workshops were held in dry-zone Africa (FAO/UNEP, November 1995 and November 1997), the Near East (FAO, October 1997, July 1997 and December 1998), and Central America (FAO/CCAD, January 1998).

(iii)(v) Sub-regional and national workshops were held in Central America in the first half of 1997. International workshops and conferences were held in Finland (August 1997), Japan (November 1996 and March 1998), and Australia (IUFRO/FAO, August 1997).

(iv) Collaborative action in temperate/boreal zones with the Helsinki and Montreal Processes has taken the place of the incorporation of indicators on biomass change, non-wood products, and conservation of biological diversity in global FRA 2000.

Three regional workshops on international co-operation and resource mobilisation for national forest programs were organized: Yogyakarta, Indonesia (February 1998), Dakar, Senegal (April 1998) and Santiago, Chile (June 1998), as well as workshops on policies for NFPs for the Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago, May 1998) and for other Latin American countries (Santo Domingo, November 1998). 

Three volumes of Update 33 on the situation of NFPs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean were published in July 1988. A survey on the status and progress of NFPs in all countries was launched in October 1998. FAO participated in several meetings of the FAG and ETFAG, as well as meetings related to the Six-Country initiative. 

Early consultations were conducted in preparation of the agendas of all regional forestry commissions. 

An FAO Strategic Plan for Forestry was drafted in English, French and Spanish. It was distributed to member countries, institutions and individuals; presented at a side meeting of the World Forestry Congress; and put on the Forestry Department's Internet site. The attention of the Council and the Conference was drawn to the document. Discussion of FAO's Strategic Plan for Forestry has been included on the agenda of each of the recent meetings of the Regional Forestry Commissions. Subsequently, FAO itself embarked on the preparation of an Organization-wide Strategic Framework, which includes a consideration of forestry issues. It will be discussed under Agenda Item 9.

See above

In line with Conference Resolution 13/97 requesting COFO to examine how the rules of procedure and working methods could be streamlined to facilitate participation of civil society partners, the ADG contacted heads of forestry services regarding the meetings of the commissions and of COFO, suggesting the need to broaden participation by including representatives of NGOs and the private sector in national delegations.

For the 1998-1999 biennium, one of the four strategic objectives of Major Programme 2.4 is expanded contribution of forest and tree resources to sustainable economic development and world food security. In line with this, integration of forest management and food production in a number of key ecosystems constitutes a priority of the programme. 

Deliberations of the XI World Forestry Congress were built around the most common eight criteria for sustainable forest management. Translation of sustainable forest management considerations into action has been a priority of related forestry activities in the Department. 

Action continued through contractual agreements with nearly 30 national governmental and non-governmental institutes in developing countries to support and promote genetic resources activities and to facilitate the exchange of information, know-how and genetic materials on mutually agreed terms. A series of regional and sub-regional workshops started in 1998 helped further consolidate and streamline action at national and regional levels, and ensure coherent approaches and action at the international level.

The 10th session of the Panel included consideration of this issue on its agenda and in its deliberations. The Secretariat of the Panel liaised with and supported the Secretariat of the Commission on a regular basis.

In the preparation of document COFO-99/5, consideration has been given to this request. The decentralisation process was completed in mid-1998. Close collaboration, consultation and co-ordination is being maintained between the Forestry Department and the decentralised groups in the regional offices and headquarters.

In view of zero growth in the budget, priorities have been sharpened. Both regular program funds and trust funds devoted to normative activities of the Department are being used in the most efficient and complementary way. Particular examples are the FRA 2000 effort and the use of funding from the EC and the World Bank for a number of key data collection activities.

As a follow-up to consultations with all Member Nations, a Ministerial Meeting on Forestry is being convened by the Director General (8-9 March 1999).