Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

World of forestry

Latin American Forestry Commission

The seventeenth session of the Latin American Forestry Commission of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations was held in Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, from 18 to 22 February 1991. The session was attended by delegates from 19 member countries and observers from the Commission of the Cartagena Agreement and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

State of forestry In the region

Various delegates highlighted the economic and social contribution of me forestry sector in their respective countries, particularly in terms of gross national product, employment, investment and exports. Delegations expressed concern about the levels of destruction and degradation of natural forests. Particular attention was paid to potential remedial strategies and mechanisms, including debt reduction, in exchange for nature conservation, reforestation and natural forest management incentives.

Delegations reaffirmed the importance of sustainable development principles and noted that major efforts were required for these to be reflected in national forestry policies.

Tropical forestry action programme

The member countries of the Commission involved in the Tropical Forestry Action Programme (TFAP) reconfirmed their interest in and support for this mechanism and recognized the need for FAO to continue its coordinating role. The Commission noted the high level of TFAP activity in most of the Latin American and Caribbean countries where it surpassed that observed in other regions. In this connection, it recommended that FAO consider establishing decentralized mechanisms to ensure that the countries of the regions involved receive effective and timely support. It also recommended that monitoring and evaluation mechanisms be set up at a regional and national level.

International Instrument on forest conservation and development

Although the Commission expressed its general support for the proposed instrument, it appeared that the governments of member countries had not yet expressed the political commitment necessary to stimulate a concrete pursuit of the idea.

Contribution of small scale forest enterprises to forestry and rural development

The Commission members dedicated particular attention to the agenda item on small-scale forest enterprises and their potential contribution to forestry and rural development. It was noted that small-scale forest enterprises accounted for a significant, but hitherto neglected, proportion of rural and urban forestry activities and of the industrial forestry sector in general. The cumulative benefits of these enterprises were considerable and their promotion was recognized as an essential component of economic and social development. The Commission noted that this issue could not be treated in isolation but had to be linked to other aspects such as soil and water conservation.

The cumulative benefits of small-scale forestry enterprises in Latin America are important

The Commission emphasized the need for local production units managed by the indigenous populations whose full legal status should be recognized. It also recommended that FAO give priority to arranging funding for the technical cooperation project entitled Promotion and Technical Assistance to Small-scale Forest Enterprises.

Establishment of a forestry data base for the region

The Commission endorsed the proposed draft programme and project to establish a regional forestry information system. The system would contain data on forest resources; production; prices; human resource utilization; policy and legislation; forestry institutions and services; development assistance, etc.; and would be aimed at facilitating decision-making and the formulation of development strategies. The Commission suggested that particular attention be paid to the following needs: the avoidance of duplicating efforts; implementation of the system in phases, starting with the most straightforward objectives; determination of a system and responsibilities for data collection among the forestry services of the countries, which should be given the necessary authority and capacity to ensure the provision of timely, accurate and sufficient information.

Other decisions

In view of the decision taken by the FAO Conference to incorporate the Caribbean formally in the region, the Commission recommended that its own title be amended to "Latin American and Caribbean Forestry Commission".

Delegates to the Latin American Forestry Commission expressed concern about the degradation of natural forests

The Commission also recommended that the Executive Secretariat remain active between the regular sessions, as part of efforts to strengthen the functioning of the Commission. Inter alia, the Executive Secretariat would: meet periodically to evaluate progress in implementating Commission recommendations; liaise with the FAO Regional Office; prepare the agenda for Commission sessions; and take other action as appropriate to strengthen the role of the Commission.

In closing, the Commission took note of the Uruguayan delegation's offer to host the next session. Copies of the complete Commission report may be obtained from the Meetings Officer, Forestry Department, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page