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"Forests, source of life" to be theme of XII World Forestry Congress

Planning is well under way for the XII World Forestry Congress, to be held in Québec City, Canada, from 21 to 28 September 2003.

The theme of the Congress, "Forests: source of life", reflects our dependence on this critical resource and highlights the multiple benefits that forests provide to all life on the planet. Forests sustain life by providing many essential goods and services such as food, shelter, energy, wood, soil and water conservation, wildlife habitat, income generation, cultural identity and spiritual well-being. Indeed, one of today's greatest challenges is finding ways to balance and reconcile conflicting and increasing demands from those who depend on one or more of these aspects for their survival. The Congress discussions are expected to define a vision for the future by seeking better ways to balance the range of demands made on this valuable resource.

The World Forestry Congress, organized under the aegis of FAO and hosted every six years by a different country, is the largest, most important international gathering of key players in the forestry sector. Participants attend in their personal, not official, capacity to express their own views.

The varied technical programme will address current and emerging issues. It will include a series of keynote presentations, invited and voluntary papers, workshops, working sessions and poster sessions, organized around specific topics connected with the general theme. The definitive list of subjects will be established through consultation with a broad range of interested parties and will reflect the cultural diversity and multiple interests of participants.

The preliminary technical programme comprises three broad areas:

The XII World Forestry Congress is open to all individuals who are concerned with the future of forests and committed to improving sustainable forest management worldwide. To ensure access for as many participants as possible, and a balanced representation of developed and developing countries, the Organizing Committee will set up various processes to facilitate attendance.

Participation in the Congress will also be possible through electronic means, both before and during the event, to allow input from those unable to attend.

The preliminary programme and first call for papers and for reserving space for exhibits will be disseminated in January 2002.

For more information, please contact:
World Forestry Congress 2003
800, Place d'Youville, 18e étage
Québec (Québec)
Canada G1R 3P4
Phone: 1 418-694-2424
Fax: 1 418-694-9922
E-mail: [email protected]

About the Congress logo

The Congress logo symbolizes the vital link between people, forests and the planet. The green leaf, on which softwoods and hardwoods are placed side by side, symbolizes the forest. The stem encircles the world to reflect the international nature of the Congress. The Earth is at the heart of the logo. The planet is placed in the hands of the human figure to reinforce the vital role people play in managing this critical resource for current and future generations, and to express the message that the sustainable management of forests is a shared responsibility. The open arms, the opening of the leaves and the movement of the stem represent the future. The open circle symbolizes welcome and an open-minded approach to dialogue and discussion, two fundamental elements of the XII World Forestry Congress.

Ministerial conference makes commitment to fight forest crime

Illegal logging, associated illegal trade, wildlife poaching and corruption are increasingly recognized and acknowledged threats to forest resources worldwide. The Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) East Asia Ministerial Conference was held to foster strong political commitment and support for the control of these problems, at the national, regional and international levels. It marked the culmination of a series of earlier consultations, conferences and national initiatives focused on this issue in East Asia. The prior meetings had acknowledged the need to act at national and regional levels to secure political commitment at the highest level in all countries.

The Conference, held in Bali, Indonesia, from 11 to 13 September 2001, brought together nearly 150 participants from 20 countries, representing government, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector. It was hosted by the World Bank and the Government of Indonesia, with support from the World Bank Institute and the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States.

The FLEG Conference grew out of an initiative launched by the G-8 in 1998, the Action Program on Forests, which allots high priority to solving the problem of illegal logging.

The two-day technical segment of the meeting comprised nine thematic sessions in which forest law enforcement was discussed in relation to governance, forest policy, forest management and operational aspects. The final day of the Conference brought together ministers and ministerial-level officials from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam, as well as from the Congo and Ghana.

At the closing session, the meeting adopted a Ministerial Declaration which commits participating countries to intensify national efforts, to strengthen bilateral, regional and multilateral collaboration to address violations of forest law and forest crime, and to create a regional task force on forest law enforcement and governance to advance the Declaration's objectives.

Communities in Flames: an International Conference on Community Involvement in Fire Management

Until recently, relatively little notice has been given to the role of fires in tropical forest ecosystems or their management. However, recent large wildfires in the tropics, particularly in Indonesia, have highlighted the high social, economic and ecological costs of uncontrolled fires in tropical ecosystems. Major fires and their negative impacts have received unprecedented coverage in the international media, prompting an outcry from national and international agencies for improvement in managing forest fires.

Past government responses to forest fires have tended to focus on suppression and costly technologies for fighting fires. Contrary to alleviating forest fire problems, these approaches have often increased the scale and magnitude of forest fires. Furthermore, they have largely ignored the human dimensions of fire and the positive social and ecological benefits of smaller prescribed and managed fires.

As the number of forest fires has increased, conventional suppression measures have increasingly come under question. Thus, many agencies have begun exploring more proactive approaches in combating fires, including more effective prevention activities. The search for improved approaches has led to calls for revisiting traditional forest fire management regimes that emphasize prescribed burning and prevention of large fires. Many of these systems and approaches are believed to be more effective in tempering uncontrolled burns, more beneficial to local ecosystems and more cost-efficient in the long term.

To advance the understanding and enhance awareness of the potential for community-based fire management, an international conference was held from 25 to 28 July 2001, in Balikpapan, Indonesia. More than 120 individuals from 20 countries participated. The conference was organized by Project FireFight South East Asia, FAO and the Regional Community Forestry Training Center (RECOFTC). In addition to the support of the organizers, financial and in-kind support for the conference was provided by the European Union, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) Integrated Forest Fire Management Project, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The conference sought to expose forestry departments and fire control agencies to alternative approaches to forest management which promote the participation of local communities in planning and managing their own forest fire regimes, within the context of traditional practices and socio-economic needs.

The organizers will publish the conference proceedings, including papers presented and a summary of the working group discussions and recommendations. Project FireFight South East Asia will maintain an e-mail contact list and regularly disseminate information. 

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