Rome, Italy, 12-16 March 2001




Monday, 12 March 2001
08.30 - 10.00 Registration of participants
(Main Entrance, Building A)
10.00 - 13.00 Item 1: Opening of session
Address by the Director-General
Item 2: Adoption of the agenda for the Session
(document COFO-2001/1).
Item 3: Election of officers and designation of Drafting Committee
In accordance with the rules of procedure.
Item 4: State of the world's forests
(SOFO 2001 report, for information)
This is a regular item to launch the latest edition of SOFO.
14.30 -17.30 Item 5: Forest Information and Knowledge Management (for discussion)
(document COFO-2001/2)
The provision of information and the fostering of knowledge are two fundamental and explicit strategies of FAO's Strategic Framework, and are among the priorities of the Forestry Department. The note prepared by the secretariat describes the concept of knowledge management as it relates to the forestry sector, including the collection and enrichment of data, the sharing of information and knowledge, digital information management of explicit knowledge, and the importance of implicit or tacit knowledge. COFO members are invited to comment on proposed actions by FAO and the forestry sector at large in forestry information and knowledge management.
18.00 -20.00 Reception offered by FAO to delegations, Cafeteria 8th floor, Bld. B

Tuesday, 13 March 2001
09.30 - 12.30 Item 8 (a) (b) and (c):
8 (a): Review of FAO programmes in the forestry sector, including follow-up to the requests and recommendations of the Fourteenth Session of the Committee including the Programme Implementation Report
(document COFO-2001/5)
This is a recurrent item, of considerable importance in accounting to member countries for the programme in forestry implemented over the biennium and recording action taken on recommendations of the previous COFO.
8 (b): Results of FRA 2000
(document COFO-2001/6)
The results of FRA have been presented every decade; this item presents the data and information for the period 1991-2000, which are much expanded over previous assessments. The results and the constraints of the FRA 2000 will provide the justification for the proposed future approach to FAO's global assessment - see item 8(d) below.
8 (c): Medium-Term Plan 2002-07
(document COFO-2001/7)
This item quotes the extract relevant to forestry from the Medium-Term Plan (MTP) 2002-07. It relates to the introduction of the new emphasis on the MTP as the basis for planning the Organization's programmes. While the MTP has already been considered by the FAO Council in November 2000, it is the expectation of the Council that COFO review and make recommendations on the forestry programme priorities in the document, which would also be taken into account in the formulation of the Programme of Work and Budget 2002-2003.
14.30 - 17.30 Item 6: Criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management of all types of forests and implications for certification and trade
(document COFO-2001/3)
FAO has been involved, or instrumental, in catalysing and helping to pursue all the on-going international initiatives on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in accordance with its mandate and the expressed priorities of its members. FAO has the lead responsibility for this topic within the member organizations of the ITFF. The secretariat note updates information on FAO support to the various initiatives that have continued and have started since the fourteenth session of COFO, including the meeting of November 2000 which was organised with partners with the objective of enhancing cooperation, compatibility and fostering common understanding among the various criteria and indicators processes, and led to a recommendation to organize a larger meeting with wider stakeholder involvement. The note clarifies the links between criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management and certification and trade in forest products, another topic that has attracted wide interest and controversy. Endorsement will be sought for continuing FAO involvement in its present role in supporting regional initiatives in criteria and indicators and in continuing to review the impact of certification and trade on sustainable forest management.
18.00 - 20.00 Informal seminar: Implementation of IPF/IFF proposals for action*
The seminar would review progress in implementing the large number of proposals for action arising from the IPF/IFF processes, would identify priority areas and would suggest means to put them into effect. The results of the seminar would be communicated by the chair of the informal session to the plenary session on Agenda item 7, at the invitation of the COFO chair. It is believed that this general technical review would help to focus the plenary debate on those areas where FAO should be involved.

Wednesday, 14 March 2001
09.30 - 10.30 Informal Technical Discussion - Proposals for Global Forest Survey*
The informal technical discussion would concentrate on general technical and policy aspects of the need for broader forest assessments and information in support of sustainable forest management. The outcomes of the informal session would contribute to the discussions in plenary on agenda item 8(d).
11.00 - 12.30 Item 7: FAO Support to the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action
(document COFO-2001/4)
FAO has given strong support to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (1995-1997) and to the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (1998-2000), including support to numerous Government-led initiatives in support of the IPF/IFF work programmes, at the request of COFO member countries. The secretariat note was prepared while the discussions among countries regarding the establishment of the international arrangement on forests were still being pursued and it cannot therefore reflect the very latest situation at the time of COFO. As an aid to delegates, however, it gives extracts from the text of the resolution that was adopted by ECOSOC at its session of 18th October 2000, on which the detailed agreements reached so far for the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF) have been based. The note suggests some topics which delegates may wish to consider in relation to the further involvement of FAO in the international arrangement on forests.

A supplementary note would be made available to update information available to participants at COFO.

An informal seminar "Implementation of the IPF/IFF Proposals for Action" will have been held in support of this item on Tuesday 13 March.

14.30 - 16.00 Item 7: (continued)
16.00 - 17.30 Item 8(d): Proposals for Global Forest Resources Assessment
(document COFO-2001/8)
The secretariat note describes proposals for the future Global Forest Resources Assessment (Global FRA). It is proposed that FRA: (a) continues to assemble and analyse available information to provide a comprehensive forest and forestry baseline by country; and (b) introduces a Global Forest Survey (GFS) framework to build national capacity for forest inventories and at the same time generate FRA results for regional and global levels. The GFS would be designed as a global field sampling, building on the principles of national forest inventories, including remote sensing technology to the extent possible. Field sampling would be required to assess the many parameters needed to guide sustainable forestry. The survey would include assessment of socio-economic parameters and the supply of and demand for forest products and services. It would be founded on active capacity building and partnership arrangements. COFO may wish to review the proposal in the light of FAO's mandate to collect, analyse and disseminate information and in support of other activities within the programme in forestry, such as sustainable forest management and/or national forest policy development.

An informal technical discussion on the proposals for the GFS will have been held in support of this item in the morning of Wednesday 14 March.

Thursday, 15 March 2001
09.30 - 12.30 Item 12: Recommendations of the Regional Forestry Commissions and other FAO Statutory Bodies in forestry of interest to the Committee
(document COFO-2001/12)
This is a regular item on the agenda of the Regional Forestry Commissions which has been given increased emphasis in response to the intention of this Department to develop the role of the Regional Forestry Commissions and their subsidiary bodies as regional fora. The item on the COFO agenda offers the opportunity to draw global attention to common concerns or to issues specific to one or more region, which could be of interest to others.
Item 9: Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol: Key forestry-related issues
(document COFO-2001/9)
This item describes the potential impact of the Kyoto Protocol on the forestry sector. A regional version has been presented to each of the Regional Forestry Commissions in 2000 and has attracted a great deal of interest. The note describes FAO's work in support of the UNFCC and the Kyoto Protocol.
Item 10: International Year of Mountains, 2002
(document COFO-2001/10)
A regional version of this note has also been presented to each of the Regional Forestry Commissions and has attracted attention. The note describes the latest developments in the preparations for IYM 2002.
Item 11: Decision of FAO Governing Bodies of interest to the Committee
(document COFO-2001/11)
A regular item on the COFO agenda.
14.30 - 17.30 Informal Technical Panel - review of the draft Task Manager Report for Agenda 21, Chapter 11 (combatting deforestation)*
Although this TM Report will have been prepared in consultation with a wide range of interest groups, nevertheless not all may have taken the opportunity to provide inputs. COFO brings together a wide range of countries, both rich and poor in forest resources, as well as other interest groups and offers them the opportunity to provide further inputs to the report, or to comment on its emphasis or conclusions.

Friday, 16 March 2001
09.30 - 12.30 Item 13: Date and place of next Session
Item 14: Adoption of report
Item 15: Closing of session

* In line with the recommendations of the in-house evaluations of the last three sessions of COFO and feedback from members, two informal technical sessions have been included whose outputs should contribute to the discussions in plenary. A third informal session, a technical panel, would review the draft Task Manager Report on Agenda 21, Chapter 11 (Combatting Deforestation), which FAO is responsible for preparing. The concept would be explained at the start of COFO.

    Each of the informal sessions would be open to any of the COFO participants and each would be facilitated by an independent chair. Background information for two of the informal sessions would consist of the preparatory notes prepared for the appropriate agenda item; background information for the third would be the draft TM Report.