Hundred and Sixteenth Session
Rome, 14-19 June 1999
REPORT OF THE FOURTEENTH SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON FORESTRY (Rome, 1-5 March 1999)
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND DESIGNATION OF THE DRAFTING COMMITTEE
STATE OF THE WORLD'S FORESTS (SOFO)
MAJOR FORESTRY POLICY ISSUES
FAO PROGRAMMES IN FORESTRY
MATTERS REFERRED TO THE ATTENTION OF THE COMMITTEE
The attention of the Council is drawn to:
a) UNCED follow-up, including implications of the work of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests
b) Global Forest Sector Outlook
c) National forest policies for sustainability: national and international challenges
d) Review of FAO's programmes in the forestry sector, including follow-up to the requests and recommendations of the Thirteenth Session of the Committee
e) FAO Strategic Framework (2000-2015) and implications for the medium-term for forestry programmes
f) Recommendations of the Regional Forestry Commissions and of other FAO Statutory Bodies in forestry of interest to the Committee
1. The fourteenth session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) was held at FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy from 1 to 5 March 1999.
2. The session was attended by delegates from 111 Member Countries of the Committee, by observers from four other Member Nations of FAO, observers from one United Nations Member State and the Holy See; by representatives from seven United Nations Agencies and Programmes; and by observers from 13 intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations. The full list of participants is available from the COFO Secretariat. The countries and organizations represented at the session are shown in Appendix B.
3. Mr Yvan Hardy, outgoing Chairman, opened the session.
4. Mr David A. Harcharik, Deputy Director-General, welcomed delegates and addressed the session on behalf of the Director-General.
5. Mr M. Hosny El-Lakany, Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, welcomed and addressed delegates.
6. The Agenda (Appendix A) was adopted. The documents considered by the Committee are listed in Appendix C.
7. The Committee elected Mr Jan Heino (Finland) to the Chair, Mr H.M. Bandaratillake (Sri Lanka) as First Vice-Chairman, and as Vice-Chairmen:
Fidel Ramos Perera (Cuba) - Latin America and Caribbean
Mansur Mabruk Seghayer (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) - Near East
El Hag Makki Awouda (Sudan) - Africa
Valdis E. Mezainis (USA) - North America
Rob Rawson (Australia) - Pacific
8. The following countries were elected to the Drafting Committee for the COFO report: Algeria, Chile, China, Finland, France, India, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Switzerland, United States of America, Venezuela, Zambia. The representative of Chile was elected to chair the Drafting Committee.
9. An overview of the main features which characterize the world forestry situation, derived from the third issue of the FAO biennial report State of the World's Forests 1999 (SOFO), of which copies were distributed at COFO, was presented to the Committee by the Assistant Director-General to put into context the discussions of the session. Delegates recognized the usefulness and importance of the document. Among other points, some concerning the presentation of national and regional data were raised. The Secretariat noted the observations for the preparation of future SOFO reports.
10. The Committee commended FAO on its support to the implementation of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) agenda on forests, in particular to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF). It approved the efforts made by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests (ITFF), noting the resulting improved cooperation among international organizations and financial institutions working in the forest sector. Certain members of the Committee suggested that the ITFF, which FAO currently chairs, should be continued after the termination of the IFF.
11. The Committee commended and endorsed the continuation of FAO's work on global assessments of forest resources, anticipating the Forest Resources Assessment 2000 (FRA 2000). It urged FAO to continue working on forest-related definitions and terminology.
12. The Committee recognized the critical roles of national forest programmes (nfps) and related capacity-building in achieving the sustainable management of forests. It urged FAO to continue to support nfps and to assist in institutional strengthening. It endorsed FAO's current review of the status of nfp formulation and implementation. Recognizing the usefulness of nfps as planning tools, it recommended that their formulation and implementation should not be limited to developing countries. The Committee stressed the need to further support work connected with nfps and other national plans in countries with low forest cover and those affected by desertification and drought. In this regard, it recommended strengthened partnerships between FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Secretariat of the Global Mechanism for the Convention to Combat Desertification, among others.
13. The identification and implementation of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management were recognized as important to the sustainable management of forests. The Committee welcomed FAO's cooperative work in this domain and recommended its continued support to regional processes on criteria and indicators. It recommended that efforts should work towards better integration of criteria and indicators in forest planning at national and forest management unit levels and further consolidation and improved compatibility of agreed sets of criteria and indicators.
14. The Committee recommended that FAO continue to promote cooperation through existing regional groups and processes to identify criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.
15. The Committee endorsed FAO's efforts in capacity building, policy and planning, cross-sectoral issues and investment and technical cooperation in the forest sector. It recommended that resources allocated to the FAO Forestry Department be increased to be consistent with the increased role of forests in member countries and the countries' increased demands on FAO.
16. Member countries reported on their efforts to meet their commitments or responsibilities under the post-UNCED conventions related to forests, in particular the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change. They appealed to FAO to assist them in meeting such commitments or responsibilities through provision of technical support, capacity building and support in the mobilization of financial resources.
17. The Committee thanked FAO for its work on outlook studies that contained useful information for all countries and recommended that FAO continue to give high priority to regional and global outlook studies in its programme of work.
18. The Committee stressed the importance of broadening and deepening this activity by including analyses of non-wood forest products, fuelwood and the provision of other social and environmental benefits from forests. Furthermore, FAO should explore a number of other issues which may affect its outlook work, such as technological change in forest harvesting and processing, the utilization of wood residues, trade and marketing policies (including certification) and the role of the private sector in forestry development.
19. The Committee noted that there was great variation between the forest sectors of different regions and countries and requested that FAO give greater recognition to this and reflect it in its outlook studies. It also requested FAO to consider in its future outlook studies the trends in substitution of wood by other, less environmentally-friendly, materials such as aluminium, steel and plastic. In particular, it stressed the need for such studies to highlight that forest products come from a renewable resource.
20. The Committee stressed the significance of sustainable forest management on future forest sector development. It noted that the achievement of sustainable forest management would be a long-term process and that there were important financial implications, which must be considered and dealt with. The Committee recommended that FAO, through its outlook studies, analyze the full range of policies that play a critical role in the implementation of sustainable forest management.
21. The Committee also recommended that FAO continue to broaden its work on the collection, exchange and dissemination of information in a transparent manner, in order to improve the quality of the regional and global outlook studies and aid policy development in member countries.
22. The Committee noted the many national and international challenges to forest policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation when seeking to move to the sustainable management of forests.
23. It also noted the many functions of forests and the diversity of national conditions and the effect these have on the development and implementation of policies in different countries. The multifunctionality of forests called for intersectoral approaches. Recognizing FAO's expertise covering forestry, agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, and rural development, the Committee requested FAO to play a major role in addressing these intersectoral issues.
24. Many countries stressed that while policy formulation was important, implementation was a greater challenge and required considerable attention. Constraints to implementation were seen to include a shortage of trained staff, insufficient scientific, technical and financial resources, and insufficient political commitment. The Committee requested FAO to lay more emphasis on assisting countries in policy implementation, monitoring and evaluation and with associated institutional strengthening efforts.
25. The Committee highlighted the important role criteria and indicators can play in monitoring and evaluating progress toward sustainable forest management. Encouraging continued focus and attention by FAO in this area, the Committee requested increased support for related capacity building and technology transfer, implementation of criteria and indicators, monitoring of progress and support to regional processes. It also requested FAO's continued assistance in the implementation of nfps, which are seen as closely linked to monitoring and evaluation efforts.
26. The Committee identified many issues of great importance in national forest policy development and implementation, including strengthening of national institutions, the adoption and effective use of legal instruments in forest management, technology transfer, and human resource development. It also indicated the importance of ensuring that trade and environmental issues were mutually supportive and the need to undertake measures for improving market access for forest goods and services in accordance with existing international obligations and commitments.
27. The Committee emphasized the valuable role that the private sector can play in the forest sector and the importance of creating a suitable enabling environment for it. Some countries in Eastern and Central Europe, in transition to a market economy, stressed the value of greater market emphasis and the moves towards privatization, including restitution of forest land tenure in some countries. The Committee suggested that FAO's roles were in monitoring privatization trends and impacts and in assisting countries in their implementation.
28. The Committee noted the important social, ecological and human roles played by forests, and, in most developing countries, in meeting the sustenance needs of forest dwellers, rural poor, indigenous tribals and ethnic groups through poverty alleviation, employment and nutrition, and urged FAO to further support initiatives of participatory management of forests involving all stakeholders.
29. Many members highlighted recent changes made to their forest policies, legislation and programmes aimed at promoting sustainable forest management. Common trends in forest policies mentioned were decentralization of forest planning and management, encouragement of the participation of all stakeholders, increased attention to biodiversity conservation and other environmental services of forests and greater emphasis on social benefits of forests. These were seen to be addressing both national needs and international obligations. Many members indicated a continuing need for assistance from FAO in formulating and putting into practice these policies and programmes.
30. Many members indicated that certification may have a useful role to play, but that it should be transparent, voluntary and market-driven. The Committee requested FAO to maintain its neutral position and indicated that FAO's appropriate roles were in monitoring developments, identifying opportunities and constraints posed by certification, and providing policy advice as requested.
31. Several countries noted the difficulty certain developing countries faced in meeting their commitments under international agreements and other instruments, and the limited assistance provided by developed countries. Others considered that sustainable forest management could be self-supporting if adequate national policies and institutions were in place. Some indicated the desirability of creating an international forestry development fund to support sustainable forest management.
32. FAO was requested to support workshops on trade-related aspects and on planning, monitoring, evaluation and legislation for sustainable management of all types of forests.
33. FAO's support to the IPF/IFF process and to ITFF was noted and endorsed. The Committee urged FAO to continue to pursue collaboration with other international and national organizations, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
34. The Committee recommended that, for future sessions, information on programmes clearly show activities and achievements, and detail sources of funding and main collaborators. It requested that documentation include qualitative information and analysis on the impact of decentralization and on progress in gender mainstreaming.
35. The Committee endorsed increased programme efficiency and balancing of normative and field activities. It advocated the allocation of adequate resources for the programme.
36. The Committee supported FAO's efforts in:
37. The Committee requested that additional efforts be made in:
38. The Committee requested that decisive efforts be made in:
39. The Committee noted the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to environmental disasters. Damage often occurred on a national scale and one disaster could cripple a country's infrastructure and economy. A call was made for timeliness of response and assistance. The Committee welcomed the initiative to call a Special Ministerial Conference on Agriculture in SIDS.
40. The Committee commended FAO on the improvements made to the FAO Strategic Framework. It suggested that Version 3.0 should be more concise, in order to focus on strategic issues and better serve its purpose as the framework for FAO's action over a 15-year time horizon. The Committee requested that an Executive Summary be added to the document.
41. The Committee stressed that the Strategic Framework should be consistent with the goals of the World Food Summit Plan of Action. It welcomed the statements of values, mission and vision for the Organization, contained in Part I of the document. Some members suggested that the mission statement could be stronger and more concise and, perhaps, include a summary of the major objectives.
42. In considering Part II, the Committee agreed with the emphasis given to inter-disciplinarity and cooperation and partnerships. The detailed information provided on each of the proposed strategies was appreciated, as it permitted the contribution of forestry programmes to be more clearly identified. It was also suggested that some elements could be consolidated.
43. The Committee welcomed the information provided both in the body of the document and in Annex III on cooperation and partnerships and alliances, but requested that Version 3.0 clarify how these partnerships would be implemented. It was suggested that the areas in which FAO would expect to play a lead role should be reviewed as part of this process.
44. The Committee stressed the importance of meeting member countries' needs by building on the Organization's strengths and by identifying the appropriate balance between normative and field activities.
45. The Committee agreed that FAO was a centre of excellence in forestry and that forestry was one of the areas of comparative advantage for FAO. It recommended that forestry be given greater prominence in the Strategic Framework and that the mission, goals and objectives given in the Strategic Plan for Forestry should be more closely integrated into the Strategic Framework.
46. The Committee commended FAO for the participatory and transparent manner in which the Forestry Strategic Plan had been developed. The mission statement, goals, medium-term objectives and vision for the future were broadly accepted and the Committee agreed that the Strategic Plan for Forestry provided a solid platform for future activities of FAO in forestry. Detailed suggestions for improvement were made by several delegations, including that it should note that many forestry challenges were common to all countries.
47. The Committee noted that the plan was ambitious and that some of the medium-term objectives could be combined; some countries suggested that certain objectives could be considered for deletion. The Committee requested that the Forestry Department look at its comparative advantages and that quantifiable objectives and indicators of progress be developed to allow monitoring and evaluation.
48. The Committee requested additional efforts towards prioritization within the FAO Strategic Framework and the FAO Strategic Plan for Forestry, and emphasized the need to focus on areas in which FAO had a comparative advantage.
49. The Committee agreed that FAO had comparative advantages in the fields of data collection, analysis and dissemination, technical advice on sustainable forest management, capacity building and national forest programmes. It also requested that more attention be given to:
50. The Committee recognized the importance of FAO as a major contributor to international processes related to its mandate in the forestry sector, and requested that its role be clarified in the Strategic Plan.
51. The Committee recommended that FAO increase the allocation of resources to the Forestry Department in order to implement this Strategic Plan, including continuing to build cooperation and partnerships with countries and other agencies.
52. The Committee noted the recommendations arising from the Council in its Hundred and Fifteenth Session and of the decisions of the Twenty-Ninth Session of the Conference, in particular Conference resolution 13/97 (Review of FAO Statutory Bodies). The Committee supported maintaining the Working Party on Wildlife Management and National Parks of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (WP - AFWC) and the Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds of the European Forestry Commission (EFC) as was recommended by the Eleventh Session of the AFWC and the Twenty-Ninth Session of the EFC, respectively.
53. The Committee noted the various recommendations of the Regional Forestry Commissions and other FAO Statutory Bodies and recommended that FAO take necessary steps to implement these recommendations. The Committee further requested FAO to examine the various recommendations of the Regional Forestry Commissions and prioritize them in line with FAO priorities in the FAO Strategic Framework.
54. The Committee noted the success of FAO and member countries in strengthening the Regional Forestry Commissions and recommended continued efforts to increase the activities and relevance of the Commissions.
55. The Committee appreciated the efforts of FAO to take into account the recommendations and comments of the Regional Forestry Commissions in finalizing the FAO Strategic Framework and FAO's Strategic Plan for Forestry.
56. The Committee noted the request of the North American Forest Commission (NAFC) for FAO to increase support to the NAFC as consistent with that provided to the other Regional Forestry Commissions.
57. The Committee expressed appreciation to FAO for organizing a side meeting of the Bureaux of Regional Forestry Commissions during COFO and requested that similar opportunities for exchanging information and ideas among the Commissions be provided in the future.
58. The Committee heard presentations from two countries offering to hold the next Congress: Canada and Guatemala.
59. The delegation from Turkey indicated what would be the challenges and the requirements for the country offering to host the next Congress, based on their experience from holding the last Congress, and offered its assistance.
60. The Committee noted that its recommendation to the Council on the choice of the host country for the XII World Forestry Congress should take into consideration the criteria indicated in COFO-99/9. Some delegations indicated that they did not know which countries were offering to hold the next Congress until the start of the Committee and were not, therefore, able to make a statement at this time.
61. The Committee did not reach a conclusion on a recommendation to the Council.
62. The Committee agreed to hold its next session in Rome during early March 2001.
1. Opening of the Session
2. Adoption of the Agenda
3. Election of officers and designation of the Drafting Committee
4. State of the world's forests (SOFO 1999 report)
MAJOR FORESTRY POLICY ISSUES
5. UNCED follow-up, including implications of the work of the Inter-governmental Forum on Forests
6. Global forest sector outlook
7. National forestry policies for sustainability: national and international challenges
FAO PROGRAMMES IN FORESTRY
8. Review of FAO programmes in the forestry sector, including follow-up to the requests and recommendations of the Thirteenth Session of the Committee
9. FAO Strategic Framework (2000-2015) and implications for the medium-term for forestry programmes
MATTERS REFERRED TO THE ATTENTION OF THE COMMITTEE
10. Decisions of FAO Governing Bodies of interest to the Committee, including follow-up to Conference Resolution 13/97 (Review of FAO Statutory Bodies)
11. Recommendations of the Regional Forestry Commissions and of other FAO Statutory Bodies in forestry of interest to the Committee
12. Submissions by countries interested in hosting the XII World Forestry Congress (for COFO recommendations to the Hundred and Sixteenth Session of the FAO Council)
13. Date and place of next Session
14. Adoption of Report
15. Closing of Session
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Iran, Islamic Republic of
Korea, Republic of
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Syrian Arab Republic
The Former Yugoslav Republic of
United States of America
OBSERVERS FROM FAO MEMBER NATIONS
OBSERVERS FROM UNITED NATIONS MEMBER STATES
PERMANENT OBSERVER TO FAO
REPRESENTATIVES OF UNITED NATIONS AND SPECIALIZED AGENCIES
Economic Commission for Europe
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Environment Programme
International Labour Office
Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
OBSERVERS FROM INTERGOVERNMENTAL AND INTERNATIONAL NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
Amazon Cooperation Treaty
Arab Organization for Agricultural Development
International Plant Genetic Resources Institute
International Tropical Timber Organization
Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe
Center for International Forestry Research
Confederation of European Forest Owners
Friends of the Earth International
International Cooperative Alliance
International Forestry Students Association
International Technical Tropical Timber Association
International Union of Forestry Research Organizations
World Wide Fund for Nature
|5||COFO-99/2||UNCED follow-up, including implications of the work of the Inter-governmental Forum on Forests (IFF)|
|6||COFO-99/3||Global forest sector outlook: the implications of future wood product market developments for sustainable forest management|
|7||COFO-99/4||National forest policies for sustainability: national and international challenges|
|8||COFO-99/5||Review of FAO's programmes in the forestry sector, including follow-up to the requests and recommendations of the 13th session of the Committee|
|8||COFO-99/5/Supp.1||Programme Implementation Report|
|9||COFO-99/6||FAO strategic framework (2000-2015) and implications for the medium-term for forestry programmes|
|9||COFO-99/6/Supp.1||A strategic framework for FAO 2000-2015 (Version 2.0)|
|9||COFO-99/6/Supp.2||FAO's strategic plan for forestry - second draft|
|10||COFO-99/7||Decisions of FAO Governing Bodies of interest to the Committee, including follow-up to Conference Resolution 13/97 (Review of FAO Statutory Bodies)|
|11||COFO-99/8||Recommendations of the regional forestry commissions and of other FAO Statutory Bodies in forestry of interest to the Committee|
|12||COFO-99/9||Submissions by countries interested in hosting the XII World Forestry Congress (for COFO recommendations to the 116th session of the FAO Council)|
COFO-99/INF. 1/Rev.1 Provisional timetable
COFO-99/INF. 2/Rev.1 List of documents
COFO-99/INF. 3 Report of the High-Level Panel of External Experts on Forestry
COFO-99/INF. 4 Statement of competence and voting rights by the European Community and its Member States
COFO-99/INF. 5 Procedure for selecting host countries for the World Forestry Congress
COFO-99/INF. 6 Specific forestry issues and activities of Small Island Development States
COFO-99/INF. 7 Challenges and opportunities for the forestry sector under the Kyoto Protocol
COFO-99/INF. 8 Report of Meeting on Public Policies Affecting Forest Fires