Thank you for initiating this debate.
I think one key issue is obtaining better estimates/country data on forest dwellers i.e. who they are, where they live, and what they do to survive. This could mean greater collaboration within FAO in obtaining official statistics for the compilation of SOFA/SOFO/FRA etc. and within government ministries followed by greater joint analysis of data obtained, even funded by extra-budgetary resources if Regular Programme funding is not available. Basic statistical data would seem to be a fundamental requirement if there is going to be a policy shift in favour of the poor and hungry who depend on trees and forests.
(ii) Increased research and collaboration with fair trade entities as this commercial model favours smaller cooperatives, women and other disadvantaged groups - FAO's key constituencies.
(iii) Greater assistance and more consolidated information for small cooperatives to understand the legal procedures for patenting forest products, adding value locally and understanding and overcoming legal and market barriers to the sale of forest products would be helpful. Such support would help increase local incomes, thereby reducing poverty and increasing income available to spend on food. A pamphlet containing key points from the Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure aimed at forest dwellers and explaining, in accessible language, the benefits to forest groups could be produced.
(iv) Analysis of payment for ecosystem services might identify the true value of forests and how this might translate into monetary benefits for forest dwellers.
Links and resources:
International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition
FAO Forestry Department
Learning event on Agroforestry