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Homage to Jean Clément

FAO and the entire international forestry community have recently lost one of their most emblematic and engaging representatives. Jean Clément died at his home in Antananarivo, Madagascar on 13 July 2003 at the age of 64. The effects of the serious illness that appeared several years ago, which he confronted with detachment and determination, finally overcame his resistance.

After outstanding secondary school studies in his native France, Clément was accepted at the National Agronomics Institute (Institut national agronomique) in Paris in 1960, and in 1962 at the National Forestry School (Ecole nationale des eaux et forêts) in Nancy. He decided to devote himself to development cooperation, beginning his career by leading a nationwide inventory project in Côte d’Ivoire for the Centre technique forestier tropical (CTFT), which in 1984 became the Department of Forests of the International Cooperation Centre of Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD). Côte d’Ivoire was then undergoing heavy deforestation as a result of agricultural expansion, which was aggravated by the rapid development of a network of logging roads.

Until 1983 he held several positions for CTFT, as researcher and project manager, both in tropical Africa and at the Paris headquarters of the institute. He headed the division of forestry research for the savannah zone in Côte d’Ivoire; he directed the forest inventory division of the Société de développement des forêts (SODEFOR), also in Côte d’Ivoire; he was Director of CTFT’s Division of Inventory and Management and then Adjunct Director of its Consulting Services Division; and finally he became technical adviser to the director of the forestry development project in the Niger supported by French Cooperation.

This long and enriching experience in technical assistance led the French Ministry of Cooperation to entrust him in 1984 with the responsibility for its Forests and Environment Bureau. Clément became the spokesperson and focal point for bilateral forestry assistance during a time of particularly prolific international cooperation in this field. He was one of the designers of the Eurafrican conference “Silva”, held in Paris in 1986, where for the first time (well before the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) heads of State and government examined the problems of the survival of the world’s forests. He was involved in the creation of the Réseau international arbres tropicaux, a tropical tree network which still supports many African national networks, as well as in the creation of the non-governmental organization Silva, which took on the coordination of the network, among other tasks. Clément organized the considerable support provided by France for the implementation of the Tropical Forests Action Programme (TFAP) and the international coordination of national plans in several African countries.

It was thus natural that FAO would choose him in 1993 to direct its National Forestry Action Programme (NFAP) Support Unit. With the dynamism, intelligence and creativity that he demonstrated throughout his career, and in teamwork with his colleagues, he gave the impetus to the entire NFAP project and led it to its successful decentralization. In 1998, he was named Director of FAO’s Forest Resources Division. During his time in FAO Jean Clément also left his imprint on Unasylva, serving for a brief time as Chairman of its Editorial Advisory Board.

His wish to serve in the field was strong, however, and at his own request he returned in early 2000 to Africa to serve as FAO Representative for Madagascar, Mauritius, the Comoros and Seychelles. Upon retirement from FAO in mid-2001, he decided to stay in Antananarivo and, in spite of illness, dedicated his activities to aid and development, and in particular to the provision of food for school lunch programmes in his locality.

Jean Clément will be much missed. In the weeks since his passing, tributes from friends and colleagues have circulated widely in the forestry community, celebrating his many personal qualities: his conviction; his willingness to take unpopular stands; his ability to admit his mistakes; his dynamism; his capacity for work and will to serve; his heart, generosity and humanism; and not least his optimism, positive outlook and joie de vivre.

Our profoundest sympathy to his mother, his wife and his two children, as well as to all the members of his family.

Jean-Paul Lanly

Non-wood News
celebrates ten years

In March 2003, FAO published the tenth anniversary edition of Non-wood News, the annual information bulletin on non-wood forest products (NWFPs). Non-wood News was the first genuinely international vehicle to promote NWFPs – those goods (other than wood) provided by forests, other wooded lands and trees outside forests, such as foods, medicinal plants, spices, resins, gums, latex, bamboo and rattan. The bulletin’s objective is to provide readers with useful information about the potential of NWFPs and about the issues to be addressed with regard to their sustainable development. It covers all areas related to conserving, cultivating, developing, managing, harvesting, processing and marketing NWFPs. It also regularly includes articles on important forest-related services such as hunting, grazing, ecotourism and bioprospecting.

Since 1994, Non-wood News has sought to give a voice to all the actors in the NWFP field. Contributions from readers are welcomed, and appear from all over the world. Contributors include students, professors, forestry officers and representatives of indigenous groups, national forest services and non-governmental organizations.

Over the ten years that the newsletter has been published, it has doubled its length (from 48 to more than 100 pages) and its print run (from 2 000 to 4 000) and now reaches more people worldwide. The publication has helped to spread the message that there is more to be harvested from forests than trees; it has helped to draw the attention of policy-makers and professionals to the importance of NWFPs, to their contribution to poverty alleviation and food security for forest-dependent people, and to the need for NWFP-related regulations and policies. This highly popular publication is at least partly responsible for the higher profile that the NWFP field now enjoys.

Expert meeting on trade and sustainable forest management

The links between forest products trade and sustainable forest management are complex and controversial. Certainly trade has effects on the sustainability of the management and use of forest resources, both positive and negative. The influence of various trade policies remains less clear. Nevertheless, trade policies continue to be suggested as a means of overcoming incompatabilities of trade and environmental and resource sustainability.

To investigate how current developments in trade policies and market development will influence the sustainability of forest management and how efforts in sustainable forest management are changing trade patterns and market shares, the Expert Consultation on Trade and Sustainable Forest Management: Impacts and Interactions was held at FAO headquarters in Rome from 3 to 5 February 2003. The meeting was attended by 73 participants from 26 countries, representing governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.

The main issues discussed included trade measures and policies; trade, finance and industrial structure; governance and trade; and extrasectoral influences and the environment. Although there were diverging views on many issues, participants were able to find ways forward, identifying topics for further discussion and providing recommendations.

Discussions on trade measures and policies addressed international agreements, investment in sustainable forest management, national strategies for poverty reduction and sustainable livelihoods, land-use management and policies that increase forest value through pricing of environmental services and public procurement. There was considerable debate on the direct and indirect impacts of trade on sustainable forest management, and on dependencies and interactions between sustainable forest management and gross domestic product (GDP) growth, free trade, demand, markets and supply. It was concurred that trade agreements and related instruments continue to have potential to advance sustainable forest management.

In discussions on trade, finance and industrial structure in the context of forests, the participants emphasized the need for: long-term insurance to ensure industry confidence; improved technology and training; improved cooperation with relevant stakeholders, particularly NGOs; assistance from government or other public institutions to help with environmental costs associated with sustainable forest management; and the need for industry to improve its public image and to promote wood as a renewable resource in comparison with competing non-renewable substitutes.

In considering the broad relationship between governance, trade and sustainable forest management, the participants recommended that: transparency in trade and forest governance decision-making should be increased; the collection of trade and forest statistics should be improved; trade agreements that regulate land use should be subject to impact assessments; and the World Trade Organization (WTO) should be open to observers from civil society organizations.

Agriculture, finance and investment, technology, market demand and infrastructure were identified as intersectoral influences that can directly or indirectly affect trade in forest products and services, as well as the forest sector as a whole.

The expert consultation constituted one of the activities within the framework of FAO’s global project “Impact Assessment of Forest Products Trade in the Promotion of Sustainable Forest Management”. Financed through a trust fund arrangement with the Government of Japan, the project aims to provide information, analysis and a platform for informal debate in order to assist government institutions, international organizations, the private sector and civil society groups in the promotion of policies that encourage sustainable forest management.

FAO will publish the results of this process and will convene a second expert consultation which will involve policy-makers and trade specialists in discussions on a new International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA), the implementation of the WTO Doha Declaration, regional trade agreements and national trade policy-making.

New Web site on HIV/AIDS and the forest sector

In the past two decades, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has killed more than 20 million people worldwide. In the 45 most affected countries, another 68 million face premature death by 2020. In 2000, a total of 36.1 million people were reported to be living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or AIDS. Of these, 25.3 million or 70 percent were in Africa.

AIDS makes development recovery, let alone progress, inestimably more difficult. By robbing communities and nations of their greatest wealth – their people – AIDS weakens the human and institutional capacities that fuel sustainable development. By draining human resources, the epidemic distorts labour markets, disrupts production and consumption, and ultimately diminishes national wealth. HIV/AIDS reduces the capacity of households, communities, institutions and nations to cope with the socio-economic effects of the epidemic.

The agricultural and natural resources sectors can be developed in such a way as to increase the resilience of rural populations and contribute significantly to HIV prevention. Besides the current health-based strategies for combating HIV/AIDS, multisectoral development-based strategies, in particular involving agriculture and natural resources management, can have an innovative and essential role in controlling the pandemic.

While there is considerable information available on HIV/AIDS, little has been devoted to the impacts of the pandemic on the forest sector and the positive ways in which the sector can help HIV/AIDS-affected communities. Recognizing this gap, the FAO Forestry Department has created a Web site devoted to raising awareness of the connections between HIV/AIDS and the forest sector.

The Web site –– discusses the general impacts of HIV/AIDS and outlines ways in which the forest sector might help mitigate them. Information is provided, for example, on the potential contribution of forestry to enhancing short- and long-term agricultural productivity weakened by the pandemic. The role of forestry education and training is also addressed. Links are provided to related FAO Web sites, documents and publications, the HIV/AIDS Web sites of other United Nations organizations and programmes, and other related organizations.

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