The minister for agriculture, India
In the forests of the Indian peninsula we find a fair reflection of the vegetation of the entire globe. Few countries therefore can vie with India in providing a venue for discussions on both tropical and temperate forestry. India enjoys the distinction of having been the first country to enunciate its forest policy way back in the nineties of the last century. The progressive realization of the importance of forests in the economic and the physical field, and the revolutionary changes which had taken place in the political field during the interval which had elapsed led, however, to a re-enunciation of the National Forest Policy in 1952.
The new policy takes into account the relentless pressure on forests to meet the needs of an ever-increasing population for food, fuel and fodder. No longer are forests to be regarded as an inexhaustible reserve for the extension of agriculture in quest of food. The intrinsic right of forests to occupy land permanently for their protective and productive functions has been accorded special recognition in our national economy. This has been done, I am happy to record, with a singular unanimity of opinion of men who matter.
As regards forest management on an international scale, the basis on which co-operation is to be sought must needs be regional rather than global. Countries with common problems would naturally evolve a common program requiring for its execution a common effort. Only the fundamental policies of various regions lend themselves to an integration on a global basis.
I take this opportunity of wishing God-speed to the deliberations of the forthcoming Congress. I sincerely trust that it will provide a forum for the exchange of experience, an opportunity for the provocation of thought and engender an esprit de corps among the foresters of the world to whom I extend a cordial invitation to this ancient land - the land of Buddha and Gandhi.
The Director-General of FAO
The World Forestry Congress, which is to open in Dehra Dun on 11 December, will be the second such congress to be sponsored by FAO. While the entire honor and responsibility of organizing this gathering devolves on India, we in FAO are of course giving our fullest support.
The Congress will have before it the broad findings of FAO's latest inquiry into the forest resources of the world. I think these findings mark a very significant step forward in world forestry. But I would like to draw attention to the small proportion of the world's forests "in use" and the even smaller proportion under "management," as revealed by this survey. This poses a clear challenge to foresters and governments in view of the aims of FAO's Constitution and the "Principles of Forest Policy" set out by the Sixth Session of the Conference of FAO in 1951.
One more point to which I want to draw attention is housing. Freedom from want - our objective - implies adequate shelter. It has been said that the quality of a man's housing probably does more than any other single element of his living standards to determine his sense of citizenship and community. I think, therefore, that the needs of the world for housing in various forms offer another great challenge to foresters and to forest products industries.
What do I expect from the Fourth World Forestry Congress' Not directives which only Governments can give, but instructive information and advice on which those directives can be based and, following which, I can see that our abilities for service can be made most effective.
If we can recognize the inviting horizons ahead and be advised how we can move towards them in helpful association with each other, I am convinced we can realize our ambitions. In so doing we can experience the gratification of achievement which, after all, is perhaps one of the highest forms of compensation to be derived from any endeavor.