International Poplar Commission
History of the International Poplar Commission
The history of the IPC, at least at its outset, was closely bound up with that of the French Poplar Commission. When the French Commission was set up under an ordinance of 25 January 1947 by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Government instructed it to do its utmost to develop international cooperation aimed at promoting and fostering poplar cultivation and timber use. In the first months of operation, the French Commission therefore devoted considerable efforts to organizing a meeting of specialists from several European countries to discuss the problems faced at the time by poplar growers and users. Contacts had been facilitated by a study tour of Belgium and the Netherlands while the idea of an international meeting had been welcomed by Mr. Marcel Leloup, the then Director of the Forestry Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The prerequisites for success having thus been created, the French Poplar Commission organized an International Poplar Week from 19 to 26 April 1947. Eight European countries accepted the invitation of the French Minister of Agriculture - Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Their representatives quickly agreed on the principle of establishing an international poplar commission. Mr. Leloup gave FAO's formal backing. IPC thus was born, and 1947 can be regarded as the year when it was founded.
Nine countries that founded the International Poplar Commission (IPC) in 1947.
(Today Czechoslovakia is composed by Czech Republic and Slovakia)
Militant enthusiasm and faith in the future of international cooperation were the godparents of the young commission, whose meetings followed each other at a fast pace. The second session was organized in 1948 by Italy, which has subsequently played an outstanding role in the success of IPC. A further four international congresses were held between 1945 and 1953. In 1954, a poplar conference for the Near and Middle East was arranged jointly by Lebanon and Syria. In 1956, Argentina received the participants in the First Regional Poplar Conference for Latin America.
Participation in the sessions has grown. At the tenth session (Italy) in 1959, 21 countries were represented by some 125 delegates while at the twentieth session (Hungary) in 1996, 27 member countries and 6 non-member countries attended, with 207 delegates, advisers and observers participating. At the most recent (twenty-first) session, hosted by Canada and the USA, 25 member countries and 6 non-member countries were represented by 258 delegates, advisers and observers.