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World of forestry

Canada selected to host the twelfth World Forestry Congress

At its 116th session, held in June 1999, the Council of FAO accepted the offer of Canada to host the twelfth World Forestry Congress. The congress will be organized by the Government of Canada through the Ministry of Natural Resources of Quebec, jointly with the Canadian Forest Service of Natural Resources and in collaboration with FAO. It will be held in September or October 2003 at the Quebec City Convention Centre.

The first World Forestry Congress took place in Rome in 1926; the second in Budapest, Hungary in 1936; and the third in Helsinki, Finland in 1949.

FAO has selected the host country for the World Forestry Congress since 1947 and has co-sponsored and assisted in the organization of ten congresses. The most recent congress was held in Antalya, Turkey from 13 to 22 October 1997.

The next important steps in the organization of the twelfth congress will be the constitution of the national organizing committee and the identification of a congress theme. The themes of the past eight World Forestry Congresses have been:

· The role and place of forested areas in economic development (Dehra Dun, India, 1954);

· The multiple use of forests (Seattle, United States, 1960);

· The role of forestry in worldwide economic change (Madrid, Spain, 1966);

· Forests and socio-economic development (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1972);

· Forests for people (Jakarta, Indonesia, 1978);

· Forest resources in the integral development of society (Mexico City, Mexico, 1985);

· Forests, a heritage for the future (Paris, France, 1991);

· Forestry for sustainable development: towards the twenty-first century (Antalya, Turkey, 1997).

Unasylva will continue to provide information on the preparations for the twelfth World Forestry Congress.

Additional material on the Congress venue, host and organization is available on the Internet in English, French and Spanish:

In memoriam - C.H. Murray, former FAO Assistant Director-General

C. Hollis Murray, Assistant-Director-General of FAO and head of its Forestry Department from 1988 through 1994, died in Toronto, Canada on 11 June 1999. He was 69.

A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Murray obtained an M.A. in Forestry from the University of Oxford and postgraduate diplomas in Wood Anatomy, Forest Policy and Forest Hygiene from the same university. On completion of his studies, Murray returned to his home country and took on a series of increasingly responsible positions in government forestry, which culminated in his being named Conservator of Forests in 1963 at the age of 33.

Murray joined FAO in Rome in 1968 as Forestry Officer (Forest Policy). After serving in the Forestry Department as Project Operations Officer attached to the Latin America desk, and then as Forestry Officer (Forest Influences) in the Forest Resources Division, he was seconded to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1975 as Senior Agricultural Adviser and FAO Country Representative in Jamaica.

In 1977 he returned to Rome as Attaché de Cabinet in the Office of the Director-General, and in 1986 became Directeur de Cabinet. In December 1988, he was appointed Assistant-Director-General, Forestry Department, a post he held until his retirement in 1994.

Murray's term as Assistant Director-General and head of the Forestry Department coincided with the dramatic increase in the international level of interest in forestry. The debate on the role of forests and forestry in the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) escalated and the issue of sustainable forest development eventually dominated the 1992 conference.

It was also during Murray's term as Assistant Director-General that the concept of a global forest convention or agreement was first discussed. The independent high-level review of the controversial Tropical Forests Action Plan, undertaken in May 1990, recommended an "international forest convention", and the then G7, which met in July 1990, called for a "global forest convention or agreement... to curb deforestation, protect biodiversity, stimulate positive forestry actions and address threats to the world's forests". The debate quickly emerged into a North-South issue, with most industrialized countries favouring a binding agreement while many developing countries feared that such an approach might infringe on their sovereign rights. Although it was no secret that Murray, personally, was convinced that some form of binding agreement was needed, his even-tempered management of the discussion prior to UNCED was important in reaching the eventual agreement on the "Non-binding authoritative statement on forest principles" at UNCED.

Parallel to the changes taking place in the world of forestry, Murray also shepherded significant changes within the FAO Forestry Department during his term of office. Beginning in 1989 the department was gradually reorganized to take account of the shifting focus of forestry towards integrated rural development and towards environmental management. In 1990, the Forest Industries Division was renamed the Forest Products Division and increased emphasis was accorded to wood energy and non-wood forest products; in 1992, the Policy and Institutions Service was elevated to the status of a division and designated the Policy and Planning Division; and in 1994 the Forest Resources Division was restructured into two parallel services, the Forest Resources Development Service and the Forest Conservation, Research and Education Service.

Throughout his career, Murray was held in great esteem by both friends and colleagues. He will be remembered as having a systematic, methodical approach, punctuated by a deadpan sense of humour and the ability to remain calm, even under the most intense pressure. He was hard working, accessible and deeply committed to FAO and its ideals.

After retiring from FAO, Murray divided his time between Trinidad and Toronto, Canada, where he continued to serve as a forestry consultant to government and private industry.

Mr Murray is survived by his wife and three children.

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