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FAO Forestry

Indonesia hosts FAO Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission

Reforms may lead to a stronger, more vibrant and competitive forestry sector in the future despite the challenges of economic downturn, rapid population growth and inequitable distribution in the region. This was highlighted at the 1 7th Session of the FAO Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission which was held in Yogyakarta from 23 to 27 February 1998 at the invitation of the Government of Indonesia. The session was attended by participants from 23 member countries, representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the Regional Community Forestry Training Centre (RECOFTC), the Mekong River Commission, and the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

State of forestry in the region

During its previous session (in 1996) the commission had approved the undertaking of an Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector (APFC) Outlook Study. The current session discusses a summary of the final report. The commission participants welcomed the effort of the study to place forestry in the context of other sectors and considered it important that attention was being drawn to diverse sources of forest products. The commission recognized that even partial recovery of some of the many benefits of the sector in financial terms could serve to increase appreciation of forests, and recommended that member countries share their experiences in deriving revenue from water and watershed functions, forest-based ecotourism, biodiversity, wild animals and plants. In order to complete the Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study and pursue appropriate follow-up activities, the mandate of the APFC ad hoc Working Group on Sustainable Forest Management was extended for two years.

Showing a clear commitment to improving the quality of forest harvesting practice in the region through regional collaboration, the intercessional working groups of the commission had developed a Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting in Asia-Pacific. The participants urged that FAO assist member countries in the development and implementation of national codes by organizing workshops and training sessions.

Follow-up to UNCED decisions on forestry in the Asia and Pacific region

The commission approved the recommendations of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF), made with particular relevance to Asia Pacific and the Pacific. Among the key recommendations were: integrated land use planning, intensified forest resource assessments, expanded support for community forestry, integrated mountain development, further development of the potential of non-wood forest products and intensified conservation of forest genetic resources. The delegates stressed that countries should prioritize proposals and integrate them into their national forest programmes. The participants also suggested the organization of workshops on CSD/IPF/IFF follow up.

In-session seminar: forestry statistics and information in Asia and the Pacific

With the support of ITTO, an in-session seminar was organized during the course of the meeting to focus on issues related to the provision of accurate, up-to-date statistics and information in the region. Although there are many efforts under way at both national and wider levels to diversify and, above all, improve the quality of forest-related statistics, several member countries seem to have difficulties in collecting, analysing and reporting on forestry statistics. The participants requested FAO and partner organizations to assist these countries in overcoming these deficiencies. FAO was requested to establish a new APFC ad hoc Working Group on Forestry Statistics and Information to assist countries and other partners to enhance data in wood residues, trees outside forests, fuelwood and non-wood forest products with development potential.

The participants welcomed proposals for improving the capacity of the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in forestry statistics and information collection and reporting as well as for decentralizing relevant FAO activities. A proposal to produce an Asia-Pacific Regional Forest Products Yearbook was also made. Copies of the report of the 1 7th Session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (in English) and the technical reports prepared for the session may be obtained by writing to the Meetings Officer, Forestry Department, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

African Forestry and Wildlife Commission meets in Dakar

The 11th Session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission of FAO was held in Dakar, Senegal, from 14 to 17 April 1998. The session was attended by representatives from 26 member countries, one UN specialized agency and observers from eight international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. Representatives of the Regional Councils of Senegal also attended.

The state of forestry and wildlife In the region

The discussion on this item addressed issues linked to:

· the contribution of the private sector to forestry development;
· political instability and its adverse effects on both institutions and natural resources;
· the need to adapt training to the new challenges in forestry development;
· the valuation of the contribution of the forestry sector to the national economy;
· partnership between various national and international actors;
· the promotion of intra-African trade in forest products;
· the management of conflicts linked to forest resource management.

Follow-up to UNCED In forestry

The need for each member country to review the proposals for action adopted by the ad hoc intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF) in relation to their own political, institutional, economic, social and ecological contexts was stressed. In the course of the discussions that followed this presentation, the following major points were raised:

· the need for widespread dissemination of the documentation generated by UNCED follow up;
· the need to ensure ongoing participation by African countries in international discussions;
· the need to assist countries with a view to ensuring effective coordination of initiatives taken at the international level;
· the need to increase private sector involvement in international dialogue;
· the need to mobilize financial resources for the implementation of proposed actions.

FAO forestry strategy

The commission considered the Draft FAO Strategic Plan for Forestry and suggested that the mission statement should encompass a more holistic reference to forest management including forest lands and wildlife management. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the wording of FAO's Mission Statement could be improved by acknowledging its role in assisting Member Governments. The commission requested FAO to acknowledge its unique role in promoting training and education in forestry and wildlife as an aspect of institutional strengthening.

Report of the 12th Session of the Working Party on Wildlife Management and National Parka and Future of the Working Party

The commission considered the report of the working parry's 12th session, which was held in Dakar from 9 to 11 April 1998 (immediately preceding the commission).

The commission adopted the recommendations of the working party to:

· strengthen the wildlife and protected area conservation aspects of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission programme;
· maintain the Working Party while revising its mandate to include protected areas and the entire problem of conserving biological diversity within ecosystems, changing its name to the Working Party on Wildlife and Protected Area Management and promoting fund raising to exchange information and research activities between sessions;
· modify the meeting schedule to hold the working party's meetings in the recess of the commission sessions;
· strengthen the capacity for action of the FAO unit in charge of wildlife by transferring it to the Regional Representation in Accra.

In-session seminar: Key Facts for Sustainable Forest Development In Africa

The in-session seminar focused on improved statistics as a prerequisite of sustainable forest management. The commission called on all member countries to assess their capacities in this respect and to set priorities as to the kind of statistical information they should collect. It welcomed the FAO Regional Office for Africa's Draft Methodological Guidelines for Improving Forestry Statistics in Africa and recommended FAO to arrange a series of workshops at the subregional level so as to reach a consensus on these guidelines and also on criteria and nomenclature already established for the Forest Resources Assessment project.

Sector outlook study

The commission endorsed the launch of a Forestry Sector Outlook Study for Africa (FOSA) that could help sensitize policy-makers to the sector's importance and assist in the identification of approaches for realizing the potential of Africa's forests to contribute to the region's sustainable development. The commission agreed that such a study should have a horizon of the year 2020 and that, in view of Africa's considerable diversity, it should adopt a strong subregional orientation. Copies of the Report of the 17th Session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (in English and French) and the technical reports prepared for the session may be obtained by writing to the Meetings Officer, Forestry Department, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

1998 Session of the FAO Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products

The 39th Session of the FAO Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products (ACPWP) was held in Rome from 23 to 24 April 1998. The session was attended by 15 members from 35 countries and 52 advisers and observers from UN and international organizations: the International Technical Tropical Timber Association (ITTTA), the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA), the Economic Commission for Europe/FAO and the Union de Silvicultores del Sur de Europa.

The Global Fibre Supply Study

The committee discussed the draft final report of the FAO Global Fibre Supply Study (GFSS) with an outlook to the year 2010. The study, which was undertaken following a recommendation made in 1995 by the Advisory Committee, attempts to answer the questions: Where is the raw material going to come from to cover forest products needs?" and "How much productive forest is needed to supply expected future fibre demand sustainably?: (see Unasylva, 193). The delegates suggested that a working group be created to finalize the study, including the resolution of outstanding issues regarding national data on forest area available for industrial wood supply and the productivity of these forests.

Forest products production and trade flow trends

Against a background of increasingly globalized markets, the participants also analysed worldwide forestry trade and production trends as they relate to sustainable forest management. This session focused on Europe, Asia and North America - the regions with by far the largest share in global industrial production and trade. The participants agreed to focus on the remaining regions at a future session.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum: forest products trade liberalization

Taking advantage of the opportunity to exchange information on the question of trade liberalization as it affects the paper and wood products sector, the committee noted progress on trade liberalization in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries. For example, tariffs will be eliminated on wood products by 1 June 2002 in developed states and by 1 January 2004 in developing states. It was reiterated, however, that the ACPWP can only serve as a forum for information exchange on this matter; actual negotiations on trade barriers would have to be handled in the appropriate fora.

Progress towards sustainable forest management

In considering progress towards sustainable forest management, the committee called for closer harmonization of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management at the national and management unit levels. The participants also noted the work of a recent project of the Center for International Forest Research (CIFOR), aimed at the development of management unit criteria and indicators, with operations in forests of Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Brazil and India. The participants noted FAO's involvement in all of the major international initiatives to define criteria and indicators at the national level, and it appreciated the fact that FAO had recently hosted a meeting of the CIFOR project's advisory panel at the Organization's headquarters in Rome.

The committee welcomed FAO's input in the IFF follow-up process and delegates encouraged further cooperation among international bodies concerned with forests and forestry issues.

Copies of the Report of the 39th Session of the Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products (in English) and the technical reports prepared for the session may be obtained by writing to the Meetings Officer, Forestry Department, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

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