COFO highlights: Monday 24 September

Rome, 24 September 2012:  Over 500 delegates, including representatives of United Nations Agencies and Programmes and observers from intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations, attended the opening of the Twenty-First Session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO) and Third World Forest Week.  Mr Anders Lönnblad, Chairperson of the 20th Session of COFO, opened the session and highlighted the timeliness of the topics to be addressed.  He introduced the speakers at the Opening Session: Her Excellency Isabella Teixeira, Minister for the Environment of Brazil; His Excellency Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Minister for the Environment and Forests of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Conference to Combat Desertification; Mr. Sven Alkalaj, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE); H.E. Dr. Pieter Willem Mulder, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa; and Director-General of FAO, Mr. José Graziano da Silva. Mr Eduardo Rojas-Briales,  Assistant Director-General, Forestry Department, welcomed delegates to the opening session, noting how, with Member countries’ valuable guidance, FAO’s new strategic framework would enable FAO to unlock its full potential in all the areas of its mandate.

Opening session webcasts
English l French l Spanish l Arabic l Chinese l Russian Floor

World Forestry Congress Agreement

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Pieter Willem Mulder, South African Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, later signed a Cooperation Agreement allowing FAO and South Africa to begin preparations for the 14th World Forestry Congress to be held in September 2015 in Durban.


State of the World's Forests 2012
State of the World’s Forest 2012 report, which highlights the importance of integrating forests and forestry into countries’ policies, programmes and strategies for greening the national economy, was also launched and delegates discussed possible topics for the State of the World’s Forests 2014. In conjunction with COFO, World Forest Week Events were also held in the afternoon. Topics included implementing the forest instrument, investing in locally controlled forests and the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative.

Opening session keynote speakers:

Mr. José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO

“Some 350 million of the world’s poorest people, including 60 million indigenous, depend on forests for their daily subsistence and long term survival”

Audio online: Format: mp3 Duration: 13min.3sec
José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO 

Ms. Isabella Teixeira, Minister for Environment of Brazil, highlighted Brazil’s challenges and key initiatives and decisions after the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.

“One key message from Rio+20 Conference is that environmental conservation is an asset for sustainable development around the world”

Audio online: Format: mp3 Duration: 4min.8sec
Isabella Teixeira, Minister for Environment of Brazil 

Mr. Hasan Mahmud, Minister for Environment and Forest of Bangladesh

“We are joining hands to renew the focus on forestry and its role in boosting sustainable social and economic development”

Audio online: Format: mp3 Duration: 8min.54sec
Hasan Mahmud, Minister for Environment and Forests of Bangladesh 

In the atrium 

Mme Bérengère Quincy with Mr Rojas Briales, Assistant Director-General, Forestry DepartmentSponsored by the French Government, the Forests for People photographic exhibition was opened by the French Ambassador to FAO, Madame Bérengère Quincy. 

last updated:  Wednesday, February 20, 2013