27 March 2009, Rome – Finland and FAO signed a €14 million partnership agreement to improve forest data collection and analysis as well as management skills in selected developing countries for sustainable forest management.
The aim of the four-year programme is to help developing country governments protect their forest resources, build sustainable forest livelihoods and provide governments with the knowledge to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The selection process for the three to six countries that will pilot the “Sustainable Forest Management in a Changing Climate” programme is under way and should be concluded in the coming weeks.
“FAO is very grateful to the Finnish government for having the foresight to realise just how important this work is and for providing the financial, technical and political support to carry it out,” said Jan Heino, FAO’s Assistant Director-General for Forestry.
“It is vital that we strengthen the information base for sustainable forest management so that developing countries are able to manage their trees and forests based on timely and reliable information,” he said.
The experience and knowledge gained in the countries participating in the programme will then be shared through FAO’s global networks to benefit a wider group of FAO member countries.
Knowledge is power
"If you don't know what you have it is difficult to act,” said Jim Carle, Chief of FAO’s Forest Resources Development Service.
“The Finnish contribution will allow FAO to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to gather information on forest resources and land-use change, forest uses and users and to formulate more consistent land-use and livelihoods policies not only to reduce an important cause of climate change but also to mitigate its impacts," he said.
According to the recently published FAO State of the World’s Forests 2009 report, 7.3 million hectares of forests were lost every year between 2000 and 2005. The report added that the global economic turmoil has resulted in reduced demand for wood, shrinking investments in forest industries and forest management.
Around 18 percent of global CO2 emissions stem from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, a figure comparable to the total annual carbon dioxide emissions of the United States and China.
FAO is the lead UN agency for supporting developing countries in establishing forestry management and assessment systems, developing and implementing National Forest Programmes, deriving and implementing best practice guidelines for forest management.
The bilateral programmes in the selected beneficiary countries will in turn collaborate with and feed into the UN-REDD (United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) and the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership facility and the Forest Investment Programme.
FAO is one of the three UN agencies that form a part of UN-REDD. The others are UNDP and UNEP.