European Forestry Commission Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds
The third session of the FAO European Forestry Commission held on September 1st, 1950, examined issues related to soil rehabilitation and conservation through the rational use of water resources within basins. During this meeting the Working Party on Torrent Control, Protection from Avalanches and Watershed Management was established and the following year FAO was asked to provide support to this new Working Party.
The first session of the working party was held in Nancy, in 1952. Since then, sessions have been held biannually with a total 25 sessions conducted to date. Members of the Working Party are officially designated by their respective governments. In view of the fact that it was often forest services who had institutional responsibility for these issues in mountainous areas at the national level, the name of the Working Party from 1970 onwards has been “The Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds (WP-MMW)”.
For more than five decades the core concerns of the Working Party have progressively evolved. Initially, priorities focused on torrent control and protection against avalanches (1950-1960). This gradually changed to more socio-economic and agricultural aspects (1960-1970), then to environmental issues (1970-1978) and then to global development priorities with exchanges beyond European countries (1978-2000). Today the Working Party contains 33 European member countries and a representative of the European Community. The Working Party is chaired on a rotational basis by a member country and FAO hosts the Secretariat.
Upcoming - 29th EFC Working Party Session
The 29 Session of the EFC Working Party on the Management of Mountain Watersheds will be held in Montgenèvre, Departement of Hautes-Alpes, South-East France. The session will run from 03 to 05 September 2013 and is being jointly organized by the French “Ministère de l’agriculture, de l’agro-alimentaire et de la forêt”, the Service of “Restauration des terrains en montagne” (RTM) of the “Office national des forêts” (ONF) and FAO. The main topic under discussion will be natural disaster risk management in mountain areas.