July 2003, Rome
- More than 3 000 foresters,
scientists, members of forest-based communities and others
interested in forests from over 120 countries are expected to
participate in the XII World Forestry Congress in Quebec City,
Canada, 21-28 September 2003.
organization of the Congress is a result of the joint efforts of
the Department of Natural Resources Canada and the Ministère des
Ressources Naturelles du Québec, in collaboration with FAO.
Discussions will be based on the Congress
theme Forests, Source of
must manage their forests in a sustainable way so that present
generations can enjoy the benefits of the planet's forest
resources while preserving them to meet the needs of future
generations," FAO Assistant Director-General, Forestry
Department, Mr M. Hosny El-Lakany said.
Commenting on the World Forestry Congress, Mr
El-Lakany indicated that FAO will contribute 37 voluntary papers
to underline the importance of forests for mankind and to
challenge the world community to do more in areas where forests
play a fundamental role.
tackles various issues ranging from assessment and management of
forest resources to forestry and climate change, forestry trends
in the next 50 years, the impact of deforestation, forest fire
management, forest-based poverty reduction and trade
opportunities for non-wood products.
World Forestry Congress, which is hosted every six years by an
FAO Member country, provides a global forum to discuss forest
management, conservation and development.
It is the largest and most important international
meeting of the world's forestry sector. Its final
non-binding recommendations are addressed to governments,
international organizations, scientific bodies, forest owners
and other interested institutions or individuals.
Forests and people
Participants will address the many expectations that
people place on forests and will focus on how different
socio-cultural values influence the way forests are perceived
and managed, FAO says. It will help to improve harmony between
people and forests.
They will examine the
state of the world's forests and their capacity to provide
a wide range of goods and services. Main issues
- maintenance of
- water and soil
- carbon sequestration and
- prevention and control of
illegal logging, poaching and
- non-wood forest
- agroforestry, trees outside
forests, low forest cover;
- recreation and
In Quebec, FAO will stress the
importance of three new thrusts in its programme: forests and
water, forests and poverty/food insecurity alleviation and
forests and climate change.
scarcity increasingly recognized, FAO is giving priority to the
role of forests in conservation and sustainable use of water
resources. Forests and forested watersheds have an essential
role in sustaining and protecting water supplies.
Well-managed forests have a direct impact on the
quality of water yields from watersheds. They also contribute to
soil erosion control and consequently to reducing the levels of
sediments downstream, according to FAO.
"We are asking forest scientists to
demonstrate more clearly the role of forests in influencing
water balances. At the same time, we are asking foresters to
make water management a prominent feature of their forest
plans," said R. Michael Martin, FAO Forestry Department
Director of Policy and Information.
Forests, through storing carbon in their wood and in
the soil, play an important carbon sink function, countering
climate change. Healthy and well-managed forests are essential
to the global climate balance.
poverty and food insecurity alleviation, FAO is drawing
attention to the 840 millionfood insecure and the role of
forests in meeting some of their essential needs.
"FAO is challenging foresters to commit
themselves to the wide campaignagainst hungerlaunched at the
1996 World Food Summit through better integration of tree
resources in agriculture and a focus on assistance to small
enterprise and farmers to produce marketable products to build
income," Mr. Martin also said.
Regarding international trade, developing countries
are still waiting to benefit fully from the array of
international agreements in general and international trade in
forest products in particular.
that the Quebec City gathering will reap fruits not only with
regard to sustainable forest management but also to a greater
say and role of the poor in forest decisions.
In developing countries, wood-based fuels are the
dominant source of energy for more than 2 billion poor people.
But wood is not the only resource taken from forests.
In those countries, about 80 percent of the
people use non-wood forest products for health and nutritional
needs and for income.
that forests are well managed today so that they can continue to
provide essential goods and services in the future is the goal
of FAO," underlined Mr. El-Lakany, head of the FAO
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