International Poplar Commission
IPC Reform Efforts
The IPC is the only legally-binding forestry instrument in FAO, but it appears imperative that it be strengthened and expanded to increase its relevance and effectiveness in serving member countries. Critical issues that need to be revisited include: the present geographic and technical focus of the IPC has made it difficult to attract multi-lateral and bilateral donor and international programme interest and funding as the links with sustainable livelihoods and land-use are not always apparent and the technical fields represented by the working parties need to be more integrated into multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral environmental and development issues. The secretariat has experienced a lack of resources in recent years and so have a number of national poplar commissions which are facing challenges in meeting their obligations. Another major constraint in the IPC setting are legally restrictive and formal procedures governed by the IPC-Convention and their link to the highest decision-making levels in FAO (DG office, FAO-conference) and with member countries (head of state, ministers). Despite strong interest in poplars and willows around the globe, membership has been stagnant due to these institutional complexities in joining the IPC.
Following a recommendation by the Committee on Forestry of the FAO, in September 2012, the IPC Executive Committee has opened a frank and positive discussion in order to maintain its relevance in a world that is very different from that of 65 years ago. It has commissioned a Task Force to develop and implement future options of reform. These options will have to consider a broader geographic area, a wider socio-economic and technical context, an even stronger attention to the worldwide concern about climate changes, soil preservation, and the efficient use of water resources. This may also mean expanding the scope to include other species of high socio-economic or ecological significance.
The IPC is aware that business-as-usual is not an option and that a new strategy for the future must be devised. With a renewed appreciation of its full potential and a consequent support by the international community, the IPC can contribute to sustainable development and sustainable land-use thanks to its unique experience in addressing the livelihoods and the well being of rural communities as its primary objective.
Documents related to the intended IPC-reform are:
- Secretariat Note for the 21st Committee on Forestry, 24 to 28 September 2012
- Presentation to the 21st Committee on Forestry by Stefano Bisoffi, IPC-chairman
- Concept Note ‘Options for International Poplar Commission Reform’ by Jim Carle, FAO Consultant
- Strategy Paper ‘How to pursue and achieve the reform objectives of the International Poplar Commission (IPC)’ by the IPC-Secretariat, FAO, Rome
- Discussion paper "Options for an expansion of the thematic scope of the International Poplar Commission (IPC)" by the IPC-secretariat, Rome Italy