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8. The Assistant Director-General of the Forestry Department summarized the major findings of the fifth edition of FAO's biennial publication, State of the World's Forests 2003 (SOFO), copies of which were distributed at COFO in five languages. The Committee recognized the usefulness and importance of the document and noted the improved format. It welcomed coverage of several key topics of interest, including the role of forests in poverty alleviation; in the provision of freshwater; in climate change; and in conserving biological diversity; and progress on the use of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. It also noted the involvement of a number of external collaborators in the preparation of SOFO and encouraged the Forestry Department to continue this practice when compiling future editions. It was also suggested that the Secretariat distribute the publication in advance of the session. The Secretariat welcomed feedback on the publication and invited members of the Committee to submit suggestions for SOFO 2005.

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