Dear Forum members,
We would like to express our sincere appreciation for the valuable contributions made on our online discussion. We received a rich diversity of responses from a wide range of practitioners, experts and people working at grassroot levels, giving perspectives from developing and developed countries. The concrete cases and good practices you offered in the discussion attest to the important role of forests, trees on farm and agroforestry systems for food security and nutrition in different agro-ecological contexts.
A number of you outlined the policy, legal and institutional challenges and bottlenecks that hinder that contribution. You also offered suggestions on overcoming these challenges, including dealing with Governance issues, generating relevant data, placing emphasis on cross-sectoral approaches, and going back to the roots of educating the young generation on these issues.
The discussions further confirmed that forests, trees and agroforestry systems contribute to food security and nutrition in many ways, but such contributions are generally not understood by decision-makers. Coupled with poor coordination between sectors, the net result is that forests are mostly left out of policy decisions related to food security and nutrition.
We recognize one contributor who had concerns about the genuineness and intentions of FAO in running this on-line discussion. Our role is to provide you with space and opportunity to air out your views on this subject, so that in the process, you help us and others appreciate where the challenges lie, and what possibilities are available to address them.
We reiterate that your valuable contributions will be synthesized and highlighted in the deliberations at the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition which will be held from 13-15 May in Rome (http://www.fao.org/forestry/food-security). This will indeed provide a good opportunity for the wide range of participants in the conference to discuss and make concrete proposals to deal with the bottlenecks. The conference participants will include policy-makers from National ministries relevant to the topic, scientists; practitioners; the private sector; United Nations agencies and other international organizations; non-governmental organizations; community and farmers’ organizations; and indigenous peoples’ groups.
FAO will ensure that the key messages and recommendations from the conference are communicated and integrated into broader policy dialogues on food security and nutrition at the global, regional and national levels.
Fred and Eva