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Egon Glesinger, Director of the FAO Forestry and Forest Products Division, sculpted by Carlos Flinta

 - FAO/7306

FAO, forestry and the art world lose a talented friend

Carlos M. Flinta passed away in Rome on 18 August 2001 following a long illness. An Argentine national, Mr Flinta was a man of extraordinary and varied talent who made numerous contributions to forestry and to the art world.

Mr Flinta had a passion for trees, forests and forestry, especially for the contribution that forestry can make to development. After his education in Italy and Argentina and in the United States, where he received a master's degree from the University of Michigan in 1945, he launched his forestry career in Argentina with the National Park Service in Bariloche, then with the newly created Forest Service, and finally as owner of his own company growing poplar pulpwood in the delta area of the Parana River. In 1956 he joined the FAO Forestry Division in Rome where he authored the highly acclaimed book Tree planting practices in Latin America. He then served in Santiago, Chile, as FAO's Regional Forestry Officer for Latin America before transferring to Peru. He was the silviculturist on an FAO project there that assisted in establishing a forestry faculty at the Agrarian University in Lima, a research institute, and a technician-level forestry training school at the University of the Amazon in Iquitos. Before retiring in 1973, Mr Flinta served again in Rome and also in Buenos Aires where he was Programme Coordinator for the seventh World Forestry Congress, and where he inspired other young foresters who have since pursued international careers.

After his retirement, a debilitating disease slowly robbed Mr Flinta of physical mobility, but it never slowed his mind or his passion for

trees and forests. Indeed, he would expound for hours with anyone who would listen about how the energy content of wood could be harnessed to create electricity in a cost-effective and sustainable way for rural communities in developing countries. Carlos Flinta will be remembered as a talented forester and a dedicated international civil servant.

But there was so much more to Carlos Flinta. He was also an accomplished artist who sculpted, sketched and designed using many media and highly creative and original techniques. Some of his sculptures are now part of the heritage of FAO, as visitors to FAO are reminded when they see the bust of Sir John Boyd Orr, FAO's first Director-General, so prominently exhibited in the Organization's main lobby, or those in the Forestry Department of Marcel Leloup and Egon Glesinger, FAO's first two forestry leaders. He did many other sculptures of family, friends and others who were important to him.

Flinta was also talented and prolific at sketching. He produced some 500 sketches, especially, but not only, of the most typical corners of Rome. Some were selected for inclusion in the series of FAO greeting cards. His residence was filled with his works of art. Each was unique, reflecting the thoughts and visions of a brilliant man.

FAO, forestry and the art world will miss a most talented and committed man of unusual genius. Carlos M. Flinta was 82.

D. Harcharik

Meeting in Tuscany emphasizes the role of forestry in alleviating poverty

The contributions that forests and trees can make to the livelihoods of the rural poor are well known: increasing incomes, improving food security, reducing vulnerability and enhancing well-being. It has recently been estimated that one-quarter of the world's poor depend directly or indirectly on forests for their livelihood.

To explore the factors in the economic relationship between poor people and forests, FAO organized the Forum on the Role of Forestry in Poverty Alleviation, held in Semproniano, Italy, from 4 to 7 September 2001. It was attended by 50 policy-makers and experts from international organizations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, research institutions and non-governmental organizations from around the world.

The participants examined six country case studies - from Bolivia, Honduras, Mali, Nepal, the United Republic of Tanzania and Viet Nam - to identify specific actions that will deliver more benefits to community members and have a direct impact on poverty.

The meeting recommended the development of a guide to identify concrete ways in which forest policy, legislation and programmes can be reframed to address poverty alleviation more effectively. The forum identified some basic requirements:

The forum reinforced a sense of shared responsibility. The organizers hope that one of its outcomes will be to help make technical and financial assistance more effective in enabling the poor to realize the benefits from sustainably managed forest and tree resources, and that poverty will become more central to forestry and natural resources management.

Forestry field officer wins FAO's Sen Award for 2000

At the biennal meeting of the Conference of FAO in November 2001, the Sen Award for the year 2000 was presented to Jean Prosper Koyo, a national of the Congo, for his achievements in sustainable environmental management in Burundi.

Sen Award winner J.P. Koyo (right) with FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf

 - FAO/11900-Z-4/L. SPAVENTA

FAO's Sen Award, created in 1967, is conferred to a field officer who has made an outstanding contribution in his or her country of assignment. The award, named for former FAO Director-General Binay Ranjan Sen, is presented every two years during the FAO Conference.

Burundi, once a densely forested country, has lost more than 85 percent of its original tree cover to war and population pressure. A project involving FAO, other UN agencies and the Government of Burundi was set up to teach rural communities how to manage the forest and watersheds sustainably. As Chief Technical Officer of the project, Mr Koyo promoted innovative people-friendly techniques aimed at ensuring that all members of the community, especially women, learned how to care for the forest. Charcoal production and agroforestry were also taught to help people earn income.

The project planted 36 million trees, trained 60 extension workers in watershed management and developed a centre of environmental information. A public awareness campaign brought forestry issues to the general public. Under Mr Koyo's guidance the project also pioneered the use of computerized mapping technology which provided easy access to information on important issues ranging from resources conservation to refugee camp monitoring.

Expert Consultation on Unified Wood Energy Terminology

Wood is, and will remain in the future, an important source of energy. Properly harnessed, wood energy can foster sustainable development, particularly at the local level. The discussion on climate change opens new opportunities for the development of bioenergy.

Data and information on woodfuels are crucial for environmental assessment, wood energy planning and sound forestry and bioenergy policies; yet national and international capabilities for the systematic collection, analysis and presentation of woodfuel information are often insufficient. One of the main drawbacks is that the terminology is not properly defined or standardized.

To address this problem, 25 experts from Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, belonging to leading international, regional and national organizations dealing with wood energy, met at FAO in Rome from 3 to 4 October 2001.

The meeting prepared a revised list of terms and definitions which will be disseminated in a volume called A unified wood energy terminology, definitions and descriptions, to be published by FAO. The participants also discussed an approach to be followed for the identification and classification of the main biofuels, and tools for the development of improved national wood energy information systems as well as the implementation of wood energy planning exercises.

The meeting participants agreed to promote the adoption, application and dissemination of the unified terminology; to increase cooperation at regional and international levels for the development of improved woodfuel information and planning systems; and to help launch and support an initiative directed towards improving the understanding and quantification of bioenergy supply sources.

FAO's Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting discussed at meeting of ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry

Since the Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting in Asia-Pacific was finalized in 1998, it has been recognized that efforts are needed to build strong political support for the Code and its implementation. One approach has been to seek the recognition and support of regional political bodies. To this end, it was arranged to include the Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting in Asia-Pacific on the agenda for the fourth meeting of the Association of Southeast-Asian Nations (ASEAN) Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF), held from 22 to 25 July 2001 in Manila, the Philippines. The Code, together with background information on its development and implementation, was presented by a representative from FAO's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, and discussed by each ASOF delegation.

The report of the ASOF meeting positively reflected the discussions on the Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting in Asia-Pacific. It recognized the potential value of the Code as a tool for improving forest harvesting and management in the region, and endorsed the Code as a guide in developing specific national codes and/or guidelines. To facilitate exchange of information and experiences in developing and implementing national codes, the ASOF meeting agreed to establish a network for regional implementation of the Code in ASEAN countries. Cambodia (which among the ASEAN countries has probably made the most use of the regional code) was requested to draft a proposal for a mechanism to support collaboration between ASEAN and FAO in monitoring and reporting the progress of the Code's implementation, and for facilitating the exchange of information and experiences. 

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