Item 9 of the Provisional Agenda




Rome, Italy, 1-5 March 1999




This second draft (January 1999) of FAO's Strategic Plan for Forestry is a complete revision and updating of the first, which was prepared and distributed in September 1997. It incorporates comments and suggestions received from a wide range of reviewers and from the 1998 sessions of FAO's six Regional Forestry Commissions.

The Plan describes the amended Mission, and revised Goals, Medium-term Objectives, Programmes, Priorities and Vision for the future, to orient FAO's programmes in forestry until 2015 - a period in which the sector is expected to face increasingly complex issues but at the same time to be in a position to profit from new opportunities. The Strategic Plan links the programmes of the Forestry Department to the mandate and objectives of FAO and provides overall direction upon which the more detailed Departmental implementation plan - the biennial Programme of Work and Budget - will be based.

The mission of FAO in forestry is:

To enhance human well-being through support to member countries in the sustainable management of the world's trees and forests

FAO envisages three goals in forestry, as follows:

FAO has eight medium-term objectives and associated programmes to achieve these goals. They are:

Four priority clusters have been identified from the medium-term objectives and programmes described above.

- Global forestry statistics and information

- Technologies and methodologies for the conservation and use of trees and forests

- Institution strengthening

- Support to international processes

The vision for the future of FAO in forestry is to be recognised for leadership and partnership in promoting the sustainable management of the world's trees and forests. FAO will be widely perceived as an effective and technically competent service organisation, alert to new trends, and a catalyst of action in current and emerging areas of need in forestry. The scenario for the future to aim for is an increase in the area of sustainably managed forests, a slowing of the rate of deforestation in the tropics, a decrease in forest degradation world-wide and an increase in the global area of trees and forests through afforestation and reforestation especially of degraded land.


1. The concept of sustainable forest management seeks to bring better balance between the environmental, economic, cultural and social dimensions of managing forests. It is fundamental to the future of all the world's trees and forests. This document, FAO's Strategic Plan for Forestry (second draft), sets out the ways in which FAO will work towards the achievement of this end.

2. The preparation of a broad strategic framework for the forestry programme of FAO was recommended by the members of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) at its thirteenth session in March 1997. The requested framework was subsequently drafted in English, French and Spanish under the title "FAO's Strategic Plan for Forestry" (September 1997). It was distributed to the bureaux of the regional forestry commissions and to member countries of COFO and was presented at a side meeting at the World Forestry Congress (Antalya, Turkey, October 1997), among other fora. It has been reviewed at each session of the six regional forestry commissions held in 1998.

3. This second draft Strategic Plan for Forestry is the result of revision in the light of comments received from the regional forestry commissions, 11 member countries, five institutions, five NGOs or individuals, other FAO Departments and the FAO Programme Committee. It has also been brought into line with the draft FAO Strategic Framework, presently under preparation. It retains the format of the first draft but the Mission and Goals (Section III) have been revised to include suggestions received and Section IV has been completely re-drafted to incorporate the new medium-term objectives and priorities. Section II (Issues and Opportunities) has been updated and suggestions from reviewers have been incorporated in both that and Section V (Vision for the Future).

4. The strategic plan for forestry has been prepared at a time of heightened international concern over continued forest degradation and loss; of rapid and complex political, institutional and technological change; of unprecedented public commitment to forest conservation; of increasing public involvement in forest management decisions; and of a growing number of organisations and institutions comprising a wide range of social and scientific disciplines and professional skills involved in global forestry issues. In this period of change there are conflicting demands on forests and on forestry agencies, but promising new approaches, policies and attitudes have also arisen, supported by methodologies and technologies to facilitate sound forest management.

5. The strategic plan seeks to provide a coherent orientation for FAO's programme in forestry and related fields. It is the strategic plan of the entire Organization, not only that of the Forestry Department, although the Forestry Department will have the lead responsibility for ensuring its implementation. The strategic plan, which will be revised periodically, looks ahead to the long- (15 years) and the medium-term (6 years). It will be the basic document from which the implementation plans, FAO's biennial programmes of work and budget, will be developed.

6. FAO takes a comprehensive view of forestry. Forestry deals both with forests and with trees in the landscape. Forestry is concerned with the multiple economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits of forests. Activities are carried out not only in forests, but also on farms, rangelands, barren watersheds and in other ecosystems not traditionally considered forests. The commercial aspects of forestry address the many steps from production, to processing, marketing and trade. As the future of forests is determined as much by developments outside as within the sector, the forestry strategic plan of FAO must look beyond the forest, and its Forestry Department must work closely with other disciplines and agencies to ensure the optimal use and conservation of forests and associated lands. FAO also takes an inclusive view of forest stakeholders, supporting a variety of informal and formal organisations as potential partners in sustainable forest management. In defining the strategic plan, FAO thus seeks to meet the needs of its member countries and other clients, to foster interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary work, and to facilitate collaboration with and among other organisations.

7. FAO itself does not manage forests and trees; rather, its role is to facilitate, catalyse and provide information, guidance and assistance for the actual managers of the resource. FAO's primary clients are national governments representing its member states, but the Organization also serves other concerned and responsible voices for forestry, including NGOs, private companies, foundations, universities and rural people's organisations. FAO seeks to assist these and others to achieve a better understanding, use and management of the world's trees and forests. Through its own efforts and partnership with others, FAO aims to facilitate progress toward sustainable management of all types of forests.


Key Issues

8. The demands on many of the world's trees and forests today are greater than ever before. Managing forests to provide for the economic, social and environmental well-being of the Earth's rapidly expanding population, while also conserving them for future generations, is one of the most challenging and complex tasks of modern times. Conflicting views on the approaches, objectives and techniques of forest management are, increasingly, the subject of heated controversy. Global economic, political, demographic and social trends are affecting forest resources and shaping their management, while influencing national forest policy formulation and institutional arrangements.

9. Factors external to the sector, such as the growth in population, changing consumption patterns, and management of other natural resources, are likely to continue to have more influence over the extent and condition of the global forest resource than factors internal to, and directly controlled by, the forestry sector itself. Inevitably some existing tropical forests will be converted to agriculture, highlighting the need for sound land use classification and land use planning and the recognition of the roles of trees and forests in land use systems. The sustainability of agriculture will be increasingly recognised as a key to sustainable forestry.

10. The forests have economic, social and cultural value for the indigenous people who live in them and also for the rural poor and disadvantaged. Institutional failures have led in many cases to insecure resource access rights for forest dependent communities and a lack of transparency in forest resource pricing and allocation processes. These issues need to be considered in national policies and, most importantly, given proper consideration in balancing the relationship between economic and environmental interests.

11. The process towards sustainable forest management is highly affected by conflicting demands on forests for goods and services. Some of the stakeholders involved are more forceful than others, leading to an "un-even playing field" and unresolved conflicts. Lack of market values and the undervaluation of most forest services mean that monetary transactions cannot alone resolve this conflict. Furthermore, the implementation of sustainable management of forests will in many cases mean restriction of use of some of the present beneficiaries who therefore may require compensation. There is a demand not only for sustainable wood production but for a management system that is sustainable for all functions that forests provide, implying that sustainable forest management today should be such that no foreseeable use of the forest in the future could be precluded.

12. Controversy is especially likely to arise in the future over water supplies, not only in terms of access to and control of water but also in terms of the absolute quantity available for consumption by societies that are increasingly urban and industrial. The role of forests as watersheds and in controlling erosion will assume even greater importance, requiring better knowledge and quantification.

13. Other services provided by forest ecosystems are currently debated such as, for example, the use and ownership of the genetic potential of forest trees and plants or problems of over-use arising from greater access to forests by the urban population for recreation. The major role of urban forestry is being recognised. Urban populations have developed a strong interest in forestry issues and there will be an even greater need for reliable information and analysis in order to promote informed participation in discussions and decision making. There is general agreement in the importance of participative processes in forest development from policy development through identification, appraisal and implementation of forest activities. Ownership and tenure of forest land and trees are typically uncertain and skewed, leading to problems ranging from resource allocation to the need for incentives for sustainable management.

14. Forests and trees are meeting present demand for forest based products. Future increase in populations and average income will lead to increased demand for such products. This will require improved technology both in forest productions systems as well as in processing of such products. It is also likely to lead to a future shift away from reliance on natural forests for wood and wood forest based products, towards higher reliance on plantation and agroforestry systems and more intensively managed secondary forests. Natural forests will be managed for longer-rotation, high quality timber but also for a wide range of other goods and for services. Forest industries, as regards logging and processing, will more and more be guided by codes of conduct, and trade in forest products by certification or by eco-labelling.

15. Forest cover has stabilised in most industrialised countries but deforestation continues elsewhere. Between 1990 and 1995, the area of natural forests in developing countries decreased by an estimated 13.7 million hectares per year. Global consumption of wood increased by 38 percent between 1970 and 1995, and is expected to increase by another 20 percent between 1995 and 2010. Greater emphasis is being put on the services and benefits which forests and trees can provide, including soil and water conservation, sequestration of carbon for mitigation of climate change (where the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change is expected to offer opportunities for investment in the forestry sector), conservation of biological diversity, combating of desertification, enhancement of agricultural production systems, improvement of living conditions in urban and peri-urban areas, food and income, and provision of educational and recreational opportunities. Forests will continue to provide an income for those employed in the forest and timber industries, and will remain an important source of food and income for the rural poor as well as being the home to indigenous forest dwellers for some time to come.

16. In the coming decades, pressures for increased food production are expected to lead to continued conversion of forest land to agriculture in many developing countries. Infrastructure development will also contribute significantly to the continued loss of forests. Attention has recently been focused on the special challenges faced by countries with low forest cover. Apart from the question of forest cover, is that of forest condition; large areas of forest world-wide are being degraded by overharvesting, overgrazing, pests, disease, and air-borne pollution while the recent outbreaks of wildfires and their impact on human health around the world have drawn attention to failures in public policies affecting forests.

17. The prevailing pricing system for wood raw material in the form of stumpage and concession fees established by government decrees has led to under pricing of wood resources. This pricing system is resulting in some countries in five to ten times lower incomes to forest owners than in a free market situation. Furthermore, if fee collection were enforced, the revenues could increase even more. These important considerations, which apply mainly for wood products, but also to a lesser extent for non-wood products, could drastically increase the financial importance of the forestry sector at least in tropical moist forests. The higher value of the raw material would also stimulate its better utilisation; such revenues are essential to rural income and employment.

18. Forest valuation methods for different forest functions are inadequate to provide decision-makers with better guidance in the choice between extractive and conservation functions. Although there are methods available to value many of the external benefits resulting from maintained forest cover they can not always be applied. An example is the beneficial effects from forests in the upper catchment area of a watershed on downstream water availability and reduction of floods. These benefits could be quantified and should be internalised.

19. The present institutional arrangements for management, monitoring and control of forests are typically weak, particularly in some tropical countries. Even if the present forest policies and regulations in many countries are adequate, they are in most cases not properly implemented mainly due to the political economy and vested interests. Therefore in addition to improved capacity for policy analysis and formulation, there is a need for substantial improvements in institutional arrangements for monitoring, regulatory and controlling functions. This is related to the lack of rent capture and budget allocation for reinvestment in sustainable forestry and control of policy implementation. The forestry sector has often been weak in presenting its case for an increased share of resource allocations.

Examples of Progress

20. Despite the formidable challenges confronting forestry today, a number of positive developments give cause for optimism. Forestry is benefiting from unprecedented levels of attention, energy and commitment from governmental and non-governmental organisations around the world. New communication technologies are facilitating dialogue between people no matter how far apart they live, and are speeding the exchange and dissemination of crucial information on forestry. In many areas, local expertise in some aspects of forestry has been significantly developed. The concepts of participation in decision-making in forestry policy and planning and of shared responsibility for forest management are being put into practice in many countries. There have been considerable improvements in the efficiency of processing, in diversification into other woody raw materials and greater recycling and use of wood residues.

21. A key element in the response of the world community to the challenges and opportunities facing the world's forests lies in the development of the concept of sustainable forest management and its relation to sustainable (human) development. Extending the concept of sustainable development as outlined by the Brundtland Commission, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 developed the theme of sustainable forest management. This was further elaborated by the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and its Intergovernmental Panel (now Forum) on Forests.


22. Achieving sustainable management of the world's trees and forests will not only depend on political will and commitment, but also upon the following fundamental elements:

23. More and improved information is needed on the status and value - economic, environmental, cultural and social - of the world's forests. It will serve as a basis for policy and management decisions in response to socio-economic, technological and political changes, many of which lie outside the sector itself. Assessments of forest cover, condition and productivity, biological diversity, and the supply and demand for wood and non-wood forest products and services will be important to guide decisions and measure progress towards achieving sustainable forest management. Tracking and analysing the effects of demographic trends, land use changes, and economic developments will be needed for appropriate policy formulation.

24. Capacity building, or assistance in improving institutional capabilities to plan and manage the forestry sector, must be given increased priority if sustainable forest management is to become a reality. Despite progress in many places, insufficient or inadequate national and local forest policies, strategies and plans are important constraints to implementing sustainable forest management in many countries. Forest laws and land use policies are often weak or inconsistent, and, in developing countries in particular, relatively few forests are being adequately protected and managed. Greater interdisciplinary effort is needed to account adequately for forestry in national development planning and to integrate trees and forests in land use plans. Many countries have forestry departments and forestry research, education and extension programmes, which are under-funded and have inadequately trained staff. There is a need to strengthen such institutions, promote responsible private sectors, ensure that non-governmental organisations and local groups are involved, and encourage cross-institutional collaboration. Forest institutions and other organisations involved in forestry must also adapt to new trends, including economic globalisation, political and economic liberalisation, decentralisation, the continued rapid evolution of information systems, and pluralism, or shared responsibility for action. Assistance is needed at all levels to improve the implementation of national forest policies and legislation.

25. New science and information on methodologies and practices for the forestry sector will also be required. While certain areas have seen much progress, further development is needed in such areas as ecosystem or multipurpose management as well as in meeting the growing demand for wood products through intensified management of secondary forests, increased plantations production, and in some countries, farm forestry and agroforestry. Further work is needed in developing environmentally sound harvesting techniques for all the products of the forest and more efficient and environmentally sensitive wood products processing technologies. Research is also needed in socio-economic issues, such as land and tree tenure and marketing. Research and extension institutions will need to be strengthened to develop and transfer such knowledge.

26. Public participation is essential for successful forest management. For effective participation to occur, policies, strategies, approaches, and methods are needed to support the involvement of people in planning and managing forest resources sustainably and benefiting from them equitably. Positive action must be taken to include gender issues in the process. Discussions of all stakeholders should be arranged to negotiate the differing demands and expectations from forests. While progress has been made, policies, rules, regulations, and procedures are still evolving and further work is needed on how to actually implement participatory forest management. This will require the development of methods and tools for a partnership approach that links government, non-government, and local organisations and the sharing of lessons learnt, especially among those countries undergoing decentralisation and restructuring of the public sector.

27. Sustainable forest management demands a higher level of investment than is allocated today. The mobilisation of resources from a variety of sources, especially the private sector, will depend on the development of ways to realise and quantify the value of the multiple products and services of forests and the development of policies that encourage investment and reinvestment.

28. Achieving sustainable forest management on a global scale will not be easy. It will require joint and enduring commitment of governments, international organisations, private industry, landowners and non-governmental groups to overcome constraints and capture opportunities. This document explains how FAO will contribute to this end.


Forestry Mission of FAO

29. Taking into account the current and future issues and opportunities facing the world's forests, the mission of FAO in forestry is:

To enhance human well-being through support to member countries in the sustainable management of the world's trees and forests
Forestry Goals of FAO

30. FAO has three goals in forestry:

Goal 1 The contribution of trees and forests to sustainable land use, food security and to economic and social development and cultural values at national, regional and global levels maximised;

Goal 2 The conservation, sustainable management and improved utilisation of trees and forest systems and their genetic resources;

Goal 3 Increased world-wide access to reliable and timely forestry information.

Key Assets of FAO in Forestry

31. To carry out this mission, the FAO forestry programme has (January 1999) a cadre of 54 full-time professional staff at headquarters and 14 at decentralised offices plus many contracted employees with a diverse range of skills in forestry, wildlife resources, watershed management, genetics, economics, public administration, sociology, forest products utilisation and engineering. This broad skills-base allows the Organization to address the full spectrum of environmental, economic, and social dimensions of sustainable forest management. Linkages of the forestry programme to the agriculture, economics, fisheries and sustainable development programmes in FAO also facilitate cross-sectoral approaches to major issues, such as food security, rural development and integrated land use.

32. Since its founding in 1945, FAO has grown to include 175 Member Nations plus the EC (Member Organization). It includes all the major forested countries of the world except Russia, which currently has a special liaison status. This broad membership makes FAO a truly global organisation and allows it to address issues facing all the world's forests - boreal, temperate, subtropical and tropical, forests in developed and developing countries, dry forests and humid ones, high altitude forests and mangroves, and even trees on farms and in cities.

33. Another key asset of the FAO forestry programme is the synergy between normative and operational work. The importance of the normative, information-gathering function lies not only in its use in global or regional planning and in detecting trends in the forestry sector, but also in the use of information to advise member governments on policy and technical matters. Similarly, the field programme is a major source of information itself and is an important mechanism for maintaining the relevance of FAO staff to the practical realities of its member countries. This ability to assemble information globally and to work directly with countries to help them apply it locally is one of the most vital assets of FAO in forestry.



34. In order to achieve the Organisation's forestry goals, FAO will:

At its creation in 1945, it was envisioned that FAO would undertake its work by serving as a facilitator, or neutral forum, for policy and technical dialogue; as a source of global information; and as a provider of policy advice and technical assistance. These continue to be the Organization's primary means to carry out the forestry mission of FAO, complemented by its work in investment advice and support to research.

It is proposed to maintain a broad and comprehensive programme in Forestry, to address a range of technical areas related to forest development and sustainable management. This will enable the Organization to respond to the broad variety of requests from its members and will give it the flexibility to build new areas of emphasis as future needs and opportunities arise. This is consistent with FAO's commitment to remaining both comprehensive and flexible enough to address emerging priorities. It will also ensure that FAO will (i) remain aware of the work of other organisations and (ii) a source of expertise in a wide range of technical areas. FAO's Forestry Department will, however, focus on certain activities which respond to calls from governing bodies or, as in the case of the UNCED follow-up process, to international demand. Such priority activities are time-limited and when they are fully or partly accomplished they will be reviewed and evaluated by the regional forestry commissions and COFO. The priority activities presently identified are grouped in priority clusters described below.

In implementing the strategic plan for forestry, FAO will proactively seek to reinforce and/or establish partnerships with other organisations carrying out related work. Collaboration and partnership are vital because no single organisation has the necessary financial resources or the full range of technical skills needed to adequately address all the global forestry issues. In particular, strong partnerships will be sought among the following:

Special attention will be given to fostering a collaborative environment within the United Nations system on forestry, consistent with FAO's roles as Task Manager within the UN system for the chapters of UNCED Agenda 21 on forests (Chapter 11) and on sustainable mountain development (Chapter 13), and with the sense of harmony among international organisations that has emerged through the work of the informal, ad hoc Interagency Task Force on Forests (ITFF). In particular, emphasis will be given to collaborative leadership of the ITFF in implementing the proposals for action of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, and for example, in support of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests.

Medium-term objectives and programmes

35. Eight Medium-term1 Objectives have been identified in support of the Goals, based on the review of Issues and Opportunities (Section II) and also derived from reports of COFO in 1995 and 1997, the reports of the six Regional Forestry Commissions in 1998, and the Report of the Second Meeting of the High-Level Panel of External Experts on Forestry to the Director-General of FAO (January 1998). They are listed below, with a description of the programme associated with each objective. In most cases the indicators of success or the measurable output of the activity is apparent but in others the identification of indicators or measurable outputs will be done during the detailed medium-term planning process.

(a) Strengthen the information and databases on forest and tree resources

36. The function of the Organization to "...collect, analyse, interpret and disseminate information relating to food, nutrition and agriculture" (Article I of the Basic Texts of FAO), remains one of the core competences of FAO. In the forestry sector, statistics and information will continue to be collected on:

37. The FAO Forest Programme website, already significantly revised and expanded, will be further developed to provide even better access to external and internal users. Existing on-line databases will be expanded, and an increasing proportion of FAO's forestry information, both textual and statistical, will be incorporated into new databases. A harmonious structure for these databases will ensure compatibility of data.

38. Training and institutional strengthening will continue to be an important feature of this medium-term objective.

(b) Strengthen national forestry policies

39. Analyses of country and regional-level forest and trade policy will continue, as will work on better understanding institutional issues and the fiscal requisites of sustainable forest management.

40. FAO will continue to coordinate action to facilitate national forest programmes (nfps) including assistance in policy development and strategic planning, and in cross-sectoral and land-useplanning. Special emphasis will be given to assisting developing countries and countries with economies in transition in developing policy and planning capacity, with particular reference to integrated land-use planning and the role of forestry in food security, and to creating an investment climate that will attract the necessary financial resources to implement nfps.

(c) Strengthen the technical foundation for sustainable forest resources conservation and development and forest product development and utilisation

41. This medium-term objective covers technical aspects of best practices for sustainable forest management and use. One of its principal components will continue to be support to the implementation of criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of forests through regional and eco-regional processes.

42. Measures for the conservation and management of forest genetic resources, wildlife and forest ecosystems will be reviewed in all types of forests, while studies on management systems and improved logging practices will focus largely on (a) the tropical humid zones, and (b) arid and semi-arid zones.

43. Support will continue to be given in the field of tree improvement, and studies will be carried out on the environmental, social and economic impacts of plantations. Studies will be carried out related to trees outside forests, especially the emerging issues of recreation and urban and peri-urban forestry, as well as agro-forestry.

44. Work on the utilisation of forest products will focus on appropriate processing techniques, employment opportunities and infrastructure development, forest products marketing and the assessment of the contribution of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) to food security.

(d) Improve or maintain the health and condition of forests

45. This medium-term objective covers assistance to countries in safeguarding the health and vitality of forest ecosystems and plantations from insects, diseases and other harmful biotic and abiotic agents.

46. Technical assistance will be provided to member countries in forest fire management and on aspects of pollution and climate change as they relate to the health of forests and trees.

47. The establishment of forest pest management networks will be supported and the furthering of cooperation among countries in the management of forest pests of regional importance.

(e) Strengthen countries' institutional, legal and financial frameworks for the forestry sector

48. This medium-term objective will comprise advice to member countries on legislation and institutional reform related to the forestry sector. It will support sustainable forest management through extension and the development of methodologies for the accommodation of multiple interests, as well as forest research and education.

(f) Improve regional and international discussion and collaboration on forest policy and technical issues

49. FAO will continue to serve as Task Manager for Agenda 21, Chapters 11 and 13, and will be the lead agency for the International Year of Mountains in 20022. It will continue to give administrative support and technical inputs to the Inter-governmental Forum on Forests (IFF) as well as to the Inter-agency Task Force on Forests (ITFF). It will also continue to provide technical support to the International Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Framework Convention on Global Climate Change (including the Kyoto Protocol). If requested, it will provide technical inputs or advice to proposals for a possible forest convention.
50. The six Regional Forestry Commissions, the five Statutory Bodies and two Panels of Experts will continue to be serviced under this medium-term objective.

(g) Strengthen partnerships with other groups working in forestry

51. The medium-term objective will seek to enhance partnerships and collaboration with all actual and potential partners in the quest for sustainable forest development.

52. Collaboration will be sought with international and regional forestry research organizations in efforts to strengthen national research systems and reinforce links between research and development.

53. Links will be strengthened with the private sector in work related to industrial forest operations, processing and trade. Partnerships with NGOs which are active in sector studies, field programmes, and international policy initiatives will be further developed.

54. Networking and meetings (FAO's role as a neutral forum) will facilitate consultation and collaboration between governments, the private sector, NGOs and civil society.

55. Relationships with regional and international development banks, development agencies, and trade groups, both for promotion of investment and exchange of information will be further strengthened.

(h) Increase social and economic equity and improve human well-being through support to participatory forestry and sustainable management of forests and trees in marginal areas

56. Through the Community Forestry Programme and activities in forestry extension, FAO will work to improve the capacity of institutions involved in forestry to develop and promote participatory approaches which enable local people and other stakeholders (particularly the disadvantaged) to be involved in forest planning and management, and to derive adequate benefits from this involvement. Emphasis will be put on developing an enabling policy and institutional environment for effective locally-based management. Continued effort will be made to encourage equity in benefits and decision-making, especially as related to gender.


57. Four priority clusters have been identified from the medium-term objectives and programmes described above.

- Global forestry statistics and information

- Technologies and methodologies for the conservation and use of trees and forests

- Institution strengthening

- Support to international processes


58. FAO intends to increase its effectiveness in the forestry sector over the next fifteen years using this Strategic Plan as a guide, and in doing so, will contribute to improved management of trees and forests world-wide. This section describes both a vision of FAO's role in global forestry and of the desired future state of the world's forests.

59. FAO will be recognised by governments of its member countries, and by organisations and interest groups involved in the forestry sector, for its leadership and partnership in promoting the sustainable management of the world's trees and forests. It will be recognised and trusted for its facilitation of discussion of forestry issues in a neutral forum, for its ability to collect and disseminate reliable and relevant information, as a contribution towards the discussions, for its capacity to provide technically sound and policy-relevant analysis of such information, and for its provision of unbiased and timely advice, studies and forecasts.

60. FAO will be seen as an innovative organisation, and one which is abreast of new developments and able to anticipate trends. It will be seen as a reliable partner in responding to the needs of its member countries and it will be seen both as a leading advocate and example of use of the partnership approach among interest groups. It will be known for its ability to work in a truly cross-sectoral fashion. Its field programme and its normative activities will complement each other, providing synergy between concepts and practice.

61. The scenario to aim for is an increase in the area of sustainably managed forests, a slowing of the rate of deforestation in the tropics, a decrease in forest degradation world-wide and an increase in the global area of trees and forests through afforestation and reforestation especially of degraded land. The location, extent, composition, health and value of many of the goods and services represented by forest ecosystems and trees in the landscape will be more accurately known. Informed and constructive debate between a wide range of interest groups will be increasingly used to develop consensus on forest management, particularly in defining sustainable forest management and in striking a balance between environmental and developmental objectives. Policy changes will help to remove restrictions on forestry development, will promote participatory approaches towards their management, and will encourage the equitable distribution of benefits. The role of trees and forests in contributing to food security (including the wood energy required or cooking food) and environmental protection will be enhanced and better recognised. More forests will be under controlled management and periodic assessments of indicators will show a trend towards long-term sustainability. There will be a greatly increased flow of investment into the sector, particularly in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.


Medium-term refers to the six-year period 2000-05


UN General Assembly Resolution A/53/L.24 and Report of the 115th Session of the FAO Council, paras. 103-105.