Information note 12, 1 February 2006

Dear Colleagues,

First and foremost: Happy New Year to those I have not yet been in touch with recently.

Secondly, I am pleased to tell you that the FRA 2005 Main Report is currently in print and will be launched at a reception to be held in connection with the 6th meeting of the UNFF in New York later this month. Those of you who may be in New York on 14 February, please let me know so that we can send you a formal invitation to this event.

In addition to providing more detailed information on the Key Findings, we have made an attempt to analyse what the information provided tells us about progress towards sustainable forest management. As mentioned on the back of the book:

Is the world progressing towards sustainable forest management? This question provided the framework for the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005 (FRA 2005), the most comprehensive in FAO¿s series of such assessments to date, covering 229 countries and areas for the period 1990 to 2005. This publication, the main report of FRA 2005, contains country-by-country data, contributed by national correspondents and validated by FAO, for more key forest variables than in any previous assessment. Based on these results, the report analyses progress being made towards sustainable forest management. Six core chapters evaluate the status, trends and information availability for six thematic elements of sustainable forest management: extent of forest resources; biological diversity; forest health and vitality; productive functions of forest resources; protective functions of forest resources; and socio-economic functions. Chapter 8 then synthesizes this information at the subregional, regional and global levels, with a series of "traffic lights" indicating where there is cause for optimism and where there is cause for alarm. Recommendations for future assessments are also included. This report is an essential reference for anyone interested in the status of the world¿s forests, for those involved in international negotiations related to forestry and for all concerned with the contribution of forests to sustainable development.

Copies of the report will be sent to you once published. (The translation into other languages is currently underway and it will take a little while before they are published)

Two important meetings have been held since my last information note:

  1. A meeting with representatives from METLA in Finland to plan a forthcoming Expert Consultation to evaluate FRA 2005 and make plans for FRA 2010. This consultation (Kotka V) will take place on 12-16 June 2006. The number of participants will be limited to around 80 - including representatives of international, regional and non-governmental organizations and convention secretariats, so we will, unfortunately, not be able to include all of you. But we should be able to ensure a reasonable geographical representation. It may seem early to start the FRA 2010 process in 2006, but FRA 2005 started 3 1/2 years ago and we would like to present the plans for FRA 2010 at the next meeting of the FAO Committee on Forestry, which meets in March 2007.
  2. A meeting of the FRA Advisory Group took place a couple of weeks ago. I would like to extend their congratulations to the FRA team for producing FRA 2005 in the time available to all of you who provided the information collated in the Key Findings and in the main report.
Minutes of this meeting will be available on our web site (www.fao.org/forestry/site/25212/en) as soon as they have been approved.

I would also like to mention that plans are well underway for a detailed evaluation of FRA 2005 and we hope to get your inputs - both in terms of replies to a short questionnaire and as feedback during discussions at the forthcoming meetings of the FAO Regional Forestry Commissions, which all (except the North American Forestry Commission) will meet this spring (see www.fao.org/forestry/site/30135/en for details). Almost all of these commissions have a special session on "Implementation of sustainable forest management", where a number of the key findings of FRA 2005 will be presented and discussed. We hope to see as many of you as possible at these meetings.

Best regards

Mette Wilkie
last updated:  Monday, February 6, 2006