GLOBAL FOREST RESOURCES ASSESSMENT - FRA 2005
Sub-regional Workshop for Russian-speaking National Correspondents
and Country Focal Points

Wyszków, Poland
07-11 December 2004

Background

FAO is conducting a series of regional and sub-regional workshops as part of the preparatory work for the country reporting to the Global Forest Resources Assessment update 2005 (FRA 2005). These regional workshops respond to requests made by many member countries during the global training session held at FAO Headquarters in Rome in November 2003.

The Sub-regional Workshop for Russian-speaking FRA National Correspondents and Focal Points was held in Wyszkow (some 80 km from Warsaw, Poland), in premises of the Wyszkow Forestry District (Nadle¿nictwo Wyszków), from the 7 to 11 of December 2004. It was jointly organized by the UNECE/FAO Timber Branch in Geneva and the FAO Forestry Department in Rome, and hosted by the Polish State Forest Service (Lasy Państwowe) located in Warsaw. The MCPFE Liaison Unit (Warsaw) helped to run the workshop, which was attended by 17 (seventeen) participants from 11 countries. Mr. Volker Sasse (SEUR`, Budapest) also assisted during the whole workshop as part of the FAO-FRA team. The meeting was held in Russian language.

Invitations to the workshop were extended to the officially nominated National Correspondents (NCs) and FRA Focal Points, those speaking and working with the FRA 2005 documents mainly in Russian language. The list of participants is attached (Appendix 1).

Objectives and content

The main objectives of the workshop were to:
  • revise the draft country reports and the work done so far by the country correspondents in compiling the national reporting tables for FRA 2005 in order to identify the main issues, problems and difficulties for the elaboration of the country reports;
  • assure a proper understanding on how to compile the 15 reporting tables, including the process of identification, selection and documentation of national data and data sources, by
    • discussing the problems that each of the countries have encountered, and to share these country experiences on the reporting process;
    • ensuring the correct application of processes of data transformation, estimating and forecasting to generate information for FRA categories and reference years;
    • improving consistency among different tables;
    • identifying problems and data gaps, if any, in each of the 15 tables of each participating country and suggesting ways to address them;
    • seeking clarifications and additional information from countries on their draft reports
  • introduce the voluntary reporting tables and the thematic studies for FRA 2005;
  • describe how FAO can provide support to linked activities such as National Forest Assessments;
  • establish the time schedule and define deadlines for the country reporting to FRA 2005 and
  • provide technical assistance and further guidance in order to ensure consistent high-quality reporting that meets the specifications established for FRA 2005.
Results

The workshop achieved its main objective to revise the status of the preparation and drafts FRA 2005 country reports of the participating countries, as well as sharing country experiences on the reporting process. The Russian-speaking FRA national correspondents and focal points demonstrated the high level of knowledge of the forest sector in general, and the FRA requirements in particular. Common and specific problems and issues in the country reporting were identified and discussed among the participants, and with the secretariat, and guidance on how to address these problems was provided. These issues were all documented in Russian, and after the translation they are included in this workshop Proceedings.

The country correspondents from this sub-region showed considerable progress in the country reporting process for FRA 2005. Five Russian-speaking National Correspondents had already submitted first draft reports to the FRA secretariat. Other participating National Correspondents committed themselves to submit their draft reports by the end-December 2004, or end-January 2005. The committed timetable of the country reporting was one of the practical outcomes of the workshop.

The FAO planning for (and expectations from) the FRA 2005 thematic studies were presented to participants, and part of the workshop was devoted to the discussion of the support that FAO-FRA is providing to national forest resources assessments. A number of countries expressed their interest to include some voluntary reporting tables, and some countries also were interested to contact FAO HQs a propos the thematic studies. Some countries, particularly the countries from Central Asia and Caucasus region have showed their interest (and intention) to contact FAO with regard to discussing future possible support from FAO in development of the national forest resources assessments.

The main issues that were discussed during the workshop are presented below. They are organized according the reporting tables, preceded by a section on general comments and questions on the scope, coverage and methodology of FRA 2005. The issues will be discussed by the FRA secretariat and the key issues of general interest are expected to be posted on the FRA 2005 website under the Frequently Asked Questions.

The participants of the meeting agreed upon the above work plan and timetable for completing the country reports.

General comments

  1. The FRA 2005 Reporting Template is not available in Russian, and this causes problems to provide the required information in full compliance with the established procedures. Some countries will be in a position to supply FRA 2005 country reports in Russian only.
  2. Some countries are trying to make efforts to translate the Reporting Template from English to Russian, but it costs money¿ Would it be possible to get financial support for this work?
  3. Some guiding lines (in "Guidelines..." or "Specification of NRTs...") are "ambiguous", and might be interpreted differently, especially when translated into Russian, e.g. the paragraph in "Guidelines..." (section 4.11, p.33, 2d paragraph from the bottom of the page) hints on the "priority" of "national red lists", while in fact the information is required (predominantly) according to the "IUCN red list".
  4. There are some differences in data in the global FRA 2000 main report, and TBFRA 2000. What source is more relevant from the participating (in this workshop) countries point of view?
  5. The data/ information reported in other publications (e.g. UNFCCC, IPC-Forest, Forest products statistics) often different from what is being reported to FRA 2005 (e.g. data on removals for Russia in comparison with the Forest Products Statistics publications).
  6. The information/data are available only for the forest and OWL areas under forest authority and no data is available for other wooded lands of the country as a whole (e.g. Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan). Lacking information for some important areas of the country on political reasons (Georgia). What is better: to "extrapolate" estimates for all the territory of the country, or provide hard (but partial) data?
  7. If the information on Forest and Other Wooded Lands is available only in an aggregation, how should the data be shown? In Forest, in OWL or through expert estimates?
  8. The participating countries, those that have already provided their reports, will re-consider some information/ data in the light of the discussions at the workshop. They confirmed their readiness to provide complete sets of data for Table 1 and 5, even if this would demand applying expert estimates.
  9. Could FAO help (organisationally, financially) to publish of the final FRA 2005 country reports at the national level, as a tool to raise the profile of forestry and SFM in a country, also in the country state languages (Booklets, Internet, CDs)?

National Forest Resources Assessments

The participants were asked to give a brief description on the current situation and status of forest inventory and resource assessment in their respective countries. Their information can be briefly summarized as follows:

Practically all participating countries from the Central Asian and Caucus region were interested in any kind of support that FAO might be able to offer as regards national forest resources assessments. The process of applying for the support was considered very complicated. The representative of Tajikistan informed that they had tried to apply to FAO for the assistance, but had not get yet any progress in this process. The forestry authorities did not getting the necessary political and financial support in order to carry out new NFIs. The participants from these countries asked FAO to promote country support to NFIs in the high-level dialogue with country officials (as it was noted during other FRA 2005 workshops).

The outcome of the workshop has facilitated considerably the involvement of countries of the sub-region into the global FRA 2005 implementation, and also contributed to corresponding activities which within the UNECE / FAO Integrated Work Programme. The results of the workshop will help to the development of the cooperation with countries of this group on the MCPFE reporting.

last updated:  Thursday, January 19, 2006