FAO Strategic Plan for Forestry
The FAO Strategic Plan for Forestry, the outcome of a process of consultation with member countries, institutions and individuals which began in February 1996, has recently been finalized. The Strategic Plan for Forestry will orient the programme of FAO in forestry and related fields. It looks ahead to the medium term (six years) and the long term (15 years).
Forestry has been part of FAO's mandate from its establishment in 1945, and is specifically mentioned in the global goals of the Organization in terms of its contribution to economic and social progress and in relation to the conservation, improvement and sustainable utilization of natural resources.
Forestry also contributes strongly to the mission of FAO to "... help build a food-secure world for present and future generations," and to assist Member Nations to "... reduce food insecurity and rural poverty; ensure an enabling policy and regulatory framework for food and agriculture; fisheries and forestry; secure sustainable increases in the supply and availability of food; conserve and enhance the natural resource base; and generate knowledge on food and agriculture, fisheries and forestry".
The Strategic Plan for Forestry links the FAO forestry programme to the mandate, corporate strategies and objectives of the overall FAO Strategic Framework, which was approved by member countries at the thirtieth session of the Conference of FAO in November 1999. It also provides overall direction on which the more detailed departmental implementation plans - the biennial Programme of Work and Budget - will be based. It is not a static document, but will be developed and adapted continually to meet changing circumstances.
The Strategic Plan for Forestry aims to build on the ability of FAO to address the full spectrum of environmental, economic and social challenges of sustainable forest management and to provide linkages and cross-fertilization with other relevant disciplines.
Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000
Since 1946, FAO has regularly reported on the world's forest resources. This activity is now carried out through the Forest Resources Assessment Programme (FRA). FRA is currently facilitating the execution of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000 (FRA 2000), which will provide the single most comprehensive and up-to-date source of information and knowledge on the world's forests.
FAO is carrying out the FRA 2000 work in the field and at its headquarters in Rome, with the assistance of donors, partners and member countries. One component, the compilation of country data for industrialized countries, is based in Geneva and is carried out jointly by FAO and the Economic Commission for Europe.
FRA 2000 results will include country-level information based on existing forest inventory data, regional investigations of land-cover change processes derived from remote sensing, and a number of global studies focusing on various aspects of forests. This information should facilitate discussion at all levels and stimulate decision-making on how to manage and protect forests on the global scale. The FRA 2000 reports will be made public and distributed on the World Wide Web during 2000, starting in February.
The first information set will consist of several thousand pages of unique information developed by FAO in close cooperation with its member countries. As the remaining country reports are analysed and screened for accuracy, they will appear on the FAO Web site incrementally, throughout the year. Finally, in August 2000, FAO will present the first FRA 2000 estimates of deforestation at the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Forestry Congress in Malaysia.
Viet Nam and Malaysia sign agreement on research collaboration
Leading forestry research institutions from Viet Nam and Malaysia recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will lead to closer collaboration in forestry research between the two countries. The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand, on 31 August 1999, joins the Forest Science Institute Vietnam (FSIV) and the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) in a collaboration which will mainly focus on plantation forestry and natural forest management.
Following the official ceremony, presided over by Prem Nath, Assistant Director-General of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, scientists from the two institutions held an informal meeting to discuss the nature of the collaboration and to identify the first concrete collaborative actions.
FRIM has a vast amount of knowledge and experience in natural and plantation forest management which may be relevant to the Vietnamese situation. With the ambitious plans of the Vietnamese Government to reforest
5 million ha before 2010, FSIV is keen to share FRIM's expertise and technology on plantation forestry and natural regeneration. It was agreed that scientists from FSIV will travel to Malaysia in the near future for training in nursery and seed collection techniques. FSIV will also utilize FRIM's sophisticated capacity for wood property testing, and FRIM will continue to provide technical support to Viet Nam in natural forest management. In addition, a young scientist from FISV will be given the opportunity to obtain a master's degree in a two-year programme at FRIM, with expenses covered by the Malaysian institute.
The collaborative arrangement was developed in the ambit of the Forestry Research Support Programme for Asia and Pacific (FORSPA). Stimulating technical cooperation is one of the major thrusts of FORSPA. Through its close links with national institutions, FORSPA has been actively facilitating collaboration between developing country institutions in the region. FORSPA has successfully developed twinning arrangements between the Forest Research Institute Malaysia and the Papua New Guinea Forest Research Institute; Chiang Mai University in Thailand and the Central South Forestry University in China; and the Forestry Research Centre in the Lao People's Democratic Republic and Chiang Mai University.
Highlights of the FAO Strategic Plan for Forestry
FAO'S FORESTRY MISSION
· To enhance human well-being through support to member countries
· 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 maximized
· The conservation, sustainable management and improved utilization of trees and forest systems and their genetic resources
· The increase in worldwide access to reliable and timely forestry information
· Continue to execute mandated roles efficiently and effectively
· Set clear priorities for work
· Build mutually beneficial partnerships with other organizations
· Strengthen the information and databases on forest and tree resources
· Strengthen national forest policies
· Strengthen the technical foundation for sustainable forest resources conservation and development and forest product development and utilization
· Improve or maintain the health and condition of forests
· Strengthen countries' institutional, legal and financial frameworks for the forestry sector
· Improve regional and international discussion and collaboration on forest policy and technical issues
· Strengthen partnerships with other groups working in forestry
CURRENT PRIORITY ACTIVITIES
· Global forestry statistics and information. Development of a forestry information system; Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2000); forestry sector outlook studies
· Technologies and methodologies for the conservation and sustainable use of trees, wooded lands and forests. Technical support to sustainable forest and wildlife management, including developing and harmonizing criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management; support to activities in afforestation and reforestation, especially in countries with low forest cover; encouraging the adoption of codes of environmentally sound harvesting and utilization practices, and increasing conversion efficiency; promoting non-wood forest products, including their management, utilization and marketing
· Policy and institution strengthening. Support to national forest programmes, especially capacity building; Community Forestry Programme
· Support to international processes influencing forests. Support to the post-United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) international dialogue on forests, including the UNCED conventions, the Ad hoc Open-ended Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF), the Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests (ITFF) and the International Year of Mountains, 2002
FAO'S COMMITMENTS FOR THE FUTURE
· Maintaining and increasing its effectiveness in the forestry sector over the next 15 years using the Strategic Plan as a guide
· Continued leadership and partnership in promoting the sustainable management of the world's trees and forests
· Striving to be innovative, abreast of new developments, able to anticipate trends and able to work in a truly cross-sectoral fashion
· Continued synergy of field programme and normative activities
VISION FOR THE FUTURE: THE SCENARIO TO AIM FOR
· Increase in the area of sustainably managed forests
· Slowing of the rate of deforestation in the tropics
· Decrease in forest degradation worldwide
· Increase in the global area of trees and forests through afforestation and reforestation, especially of degraded land
· Enhanced knowledge of the location, extent, composition, health and value of goods and services represented by forest ecosystems and trees in the landscape
· Further use of informed and constructive debate among a wide range of interest groups to develop consensus on forest management, particularly in defining sustainable forest management and in striking a balance between environmental and developmental objectives
· Policy changes that will help to remove restrictions on forestry development, promote participatory approaches towards their management and encourage the equitable distribution of benefits
· Enhancement of the role of trees and forests in contributing to food security (including the wood energy required for cooking food) and environmental protection
· Increased flow of investment into the sector, particularly in developing countries and countries with economies in transition