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World of forestry

1991, World Food Day theme - "Trees for life"

Since 1981, World Food Day has been observed annually on 16 October, the anniversary of the founding of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. World Food Day acts as a reminder of common endeavours for long-term solutions to the interrelated problems of hunger, malnutrition and poverty in the world.

World Food Day's objectives are:

· to heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world;

· to encourage attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to this end;

· to promote the transfer of technologies to the Third World;

· to strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development;

· to encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions;

· to encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.

Since 1983, an annual theme has been chosen in order to provide a common focus for World Food Day activities. The 1991 theme for world Food Day is "Trees for life". It will focus on the relationship between trees and the long-term sustainability of food production systems. This theme will bring out the role of trees as a source of diverse foods; fodder and fuelwood; medicines and raw materials; and employment and income. It will also help to build awareness of forestry's role in related activities in the fields of environment and rural development, such as biological diversity, climate change, land and water management, and international trade in commodities.

World Food Day activities are organized mainly by participating countries, and most countries have established national committees to promote, plan and execute activities at the national level. Non-governmental organizations and schools make an important contribution to the organization and execution of World Food Day activities. Those organized as part of previous World Food Day celebrations include: agricultural fairs and exhibits; round tables, workshops and symposia; preparation of materials for school use; poster competitions; tree-planting ceremonies; special government-issues of commemorative coins or stamps.

Through its special World Food Day Secretariat, FAO organizes the production of various types of materials to provide support and concrete assistance to national organizers. For more information on World Food Day and what you can do on this occasion, contact the organizers of World Food Day or the FAO Office in your country or: World Food Day Secretariat, FAO, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

Ministerial conference on the protection of European forests

Europe's forests have long been considered a rich social, ecological and economic heritage. Today there are widespread concerns, among both professional foresters and the general public, about the future of these forests. Such concerns have been prompted by evidence of forest decline through transboundary air pollution; increased incidence of wildfire in the Mediterranean region; damage to high mountain forests; and recognition of the need to conserve biological diversity and genetic resources.

In response to these concerns, in 1989 the Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry of France and Finland launched an initiative to increase cooperation and collaboration in forest protection among all European countries. The culmination of this initiative was a Ministerial Conference on the Protection of European Forests, held in Strasbourg, France from 17 to 19 December 1990. The conference, which was the first ever held at a European ministerial level on a topic related to forestry, was attended by delegations from 31 European states, the EEC and five intergovernmental agencies, including FAO.

An agreement was developed consisting of a General Declaration, six resolutions and a statement agreeing to a followup and continuation of the work begun at this conference. The : General Declaration recognizes European forests as a treasured heritage and asserts that protection of these forests from transboundary air pollution, fire, catastrophic climatic events and other destructive agents requires regional cooperation and collaboration. Specific areas of forest protection are addressed in the six resolutions:

Resolution 1 calls for a pan European network of permanent sample plots for monitoring the condition of forest ecosystems. Such a network has been in place in some western European countries for several years; the resolution provides for its continuation and expansion.

Resolution 2 is an instrument of cooperation on conservation of the genetic diversity of European forests. It provides for voluntary in situ and ex situ methods to conserve genetic diversity; exchanges of reproductive materials; and monitoring of progress.

Resolution 3 is an agreement to study the feasibility of establishing a decentralized European data bank on forest fires to provide statistical information on extent, intensity and causes of wildfires.

Resolution 4 recognizes the special value of mountain ecosystems and calls for a commitment to increase cooperation on measures to protect this fragile resource. Existing organizations, such as the EFC working party on management of mountain watersheds in liaison with the Council of European Communities, will be used to facilitate the implementation of this resolution.

Resolution 5 establishes an expanded European research programme on tree physiology within the existing Eurosilva network.

Resolution 6 contains an agreement to establish a European network for research on the management of forest ecosystems.

All the states participating in the conference and the EEC signed the General Declaration. Most states agreed to participate in activities related to all six resolutions, although some countries limited themselves to resolutions applying to their local conditions (e.g. some states with minimal fire incidence did not sign the resolution on development of a data bank on forest fire).

It was agreed that a follow-up Ministerial Conference would be held no later than 1993. This meeting will highlight accomplishments under the declaration and will be hosted by Finland with the co-sponsorship of Portugal and assistance from Poland.

W. Ciesla

Nature & Resources special issue on tropical forest management

Nature & Resources, Unesco's quarterly review of research for sustainable development, is published in English, French and Spanish. Designed to valorize the use of scientific information in the decision-making process affecting the environment, the overall goal of Nature & Resources is to provide the latest information on environment and development, reflecting Unesco's mandate for education, science, culture and communication.

The current issue of Nature & Resources (Vol. 27, No. 2 Summer, 1991) will be of particular interest to those involved in conservation and management of tropical forests. Scheduled articles will include: "Cities and forests in tropical landscapes", by A. Lugo; "Changes in tropical forest cover: FAO's 1990 reassessment", by J.P. Lanly, K.D. Singh and K. Janz; "Restoring India's forest cover: the human context", by M. Gadgil; "Combining traditional and commercial uses of tropical forests", by D. Lamb; and "Hydrological impacts of land use changes in the humid tropics", by L.A. Bruijnzeel.

For more information, contact Nature & Resources, Unesco, Paris, France; or Parthenon Publishing, Casterton Hall, Carnforth, Lancaster LA6 2LA, United Kingdom.

A plantation in southern Finland

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