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Summary of recommendations

The Panel:

· recommended that the distinctive nature of work in the forest genetic resources field, which required specialized technical and scientific knowledge, continue to be reflected in the work programme of FAO; and that the increased demands for support to global action and expansion in scope of activities, be acknowledged and adequately catered for (§3)3.

3 Paragraph numbers (§-) refer to the main text, in which each recommendation is found in context.

· recommended that FAO continue to provide strong international leadership and a point of reference for the world community in the field of forest genetic resources, in which the competence of the Organization was commonly recognized (§4).

· recommended that the collegial relations, mutual esteem and widespread goodwill which existed at all levels in the generally closely-knit forest genetic resources community, be fostered and drawn upon for the benefit of sustainable forestry development, worldwide (§5).

· recommended that FAO, supported by the global forest genetic resources community, help ensure that technically and scientifically solid information on genetic conservation aspects was made available to fora in which decisions were made on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management and on variables to be assessed in national, regional and global resource surveys (§8).

· recommended that FAO assist countries to develop or further strengthen national strategies and action plans for the conservation, development and sustainable use of forest genetic resources (§10).

· recommended that FAO, in collaboration with its national and international partners, and with the active assistance of members of the present Panel, help raise awareness in member countries of the need to ensure the presence at the Fourth International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources of country delegations covering, or aware of, forest genetic resource considerations and priorities, and aware of the contributions that the forestry sector can, and should, make to overall development of nations (§12).

· recommended that, following the Fourth International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources, FAO help convene workshops to discuss tropical and sub-tropical forest genetic resources programmes and priorities, on the same lines as those held, or planned to be held, in 1995 for boreal and temperate zones and for European forest genetic resources (§13).

· recommended that support continue to be given, in a balanced manner, to forest genetic resources activities in the humid tropics, the dry tropics and the sub-tropics, and that exchange of information and genetic materials among and between these zones, as applicable, be vigorously promoted (§15).

· recommended that FAO help support networking and twinning among and between developed and developing country institutions, and actively further the sharing and transfer of experiences, technologies and know-how (§16).

· requested that the importance of the role played by international agencies and by mechanisms operating under the auspices of these agencies, such as the FAO Panel of Experts on Forest Gene Resources, in buffering against negative effects caused by institutional instability or turmoil in individual countries, and in providing an "early warning system" and an element of continuity over time, be fully recognized by decision makers in the international agencies concerned (§§ 17,18).

· recommended, in particular, that the following activities receive continued and increased attention (§20)4:

4 See main text for specific action recommended under each of these activities [§20 (i)-(v)].

(i) further development and documentation of methodologies and pilot activities in the in situ conservation of forest genetic resources, harmonized with sustainable forest management and wise use of the resources to meet present-day and future needs. Support to studies on ex situ conservation methods, as complements to in situ conservation;

(ii) facilitation of exchange of forest reproductive materials, under mutually agreeable terms, for evaluation and conservation purposes;

(iii) international coordination, and the provision of up-to-date information on the state of forest genetic resources, notably through continued development and regular up-dating of the FAO's Global Information System on Forest Genetic Resources;

(iv) raising of awareness through the dissemination of information by traditional and electronic means, focussed on different levels of readership and a range of target audiences;

(v) collaboration in international efforts to quantify the value of forest genetic resources and of conserving and developing such resources for their sustainable use.

· recommended that FAO continue to coordinate activities within the framework of the "International Neem Network" (§23).

· recommended that FAO take steps to catalyze further action and to coordinate already ongoing work in the conservation and sustainable use of mahogany species, initially focussing attention on species of neotropical genera of the Meliaceae. Activities should, in subsequent phases of the work, be expanded to cover also the Asia-Pacific and the African regions (§24).

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