Committee on Forestry

The Committee on Forestry (COFO) is the highest FAO Forestry statutory body. The biennial sessions of COFO (held at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy) bring together heads of forest services and other senior government officials to identify emerging policy and technical issues, to seek solutions and to advise FAO and others on appropriate action. Other international organizations and, increasingly, non-governmental groups participate in COFO.  Participation in COFO is open to all FAO member countries.

5-9 October 2020 (virtual format)

The Committee on Forestry was convened virtually from 5 to 9 October 2020. It was preceded on 22-25 June 2020 by a COVID-19 Forestry Webinar Week hosted around the topic of “Building back better: COVID-19 pandemic recovery contributions from the forest sector".

Forests and the SDG Decade of Action: solutions for climate change, biodiversity and people

The Twenty-fifth Session of the Committee on Forestry was planned to take place at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy from 22-26 June 2020. The Session was postponed due to the ongoing health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is a global threat, the full effects of which are yet unknown but already impact social, economic and environmental dimensions. Forestry and forest-based sectors are not only strongly affected but also have a key role to play in mitigating impacts and rebuilding with sustainable solutions.

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sustainable Development Goals remain the shared vision to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. With just 10 years to go, global effort needs to remain focused on delivering the 2030 promise—by mobilizing more governments, civil society, businesses and calling on all people to make the Goals their own.

The 25th session of COFO and the 7th World Forest Week explored the contributions that the forest sector can make to the SDG Decade of Action as well as to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, including on solutions for climate change, biodiversity and people. At the 25th anniversary session of the Committee on Forestry, two flagship reports were presented: The State of the World’s Forests 2020 report and the Global Forests Resources Assessment 2020.

The Committee examined a range of key global issues, including:

  • The impacts of COVID-19 on the forest sector and how to respond;
  • The State of the World’s Forests 2020: links between forests, biodiversity and people;
  • Key findings of FRA 2020 and ways forward, focusing on digitalization;
  • FAO Strategy on Mainstreaming Biodiversity across Agricultural Sectors;
  • Forests as a nature-based solution for climate change;
  • Forests and their role in transforming food systems;
  • Contributions to the UN Decades on Family Farming and Ecosystem Restoration;
  • Preparations for the XV World Forestry Congress;
  • Food systems transformation, including stepping up action to halt deforestation, and the UN Food Systems Summit 2021; and
  • The strategy and vision for FAO’s work in nutrition.

In all of the above COFO will provide a platform for exchange and dialogue amongst participants and give strategic direction for the future work of FAO in forestry.

The collaboration of the FAO Technical Committees will also continue to focus on the SDGs, food systems transformation, ecosystem restoration, climate change and biodiversity. The forthcoming sessions of COFO and other FAO Technical Committees will provide vital opportunities to strengthen policy and programme coordination of FAO and contribute to greater synergies.

7th World Forest Week

The seventh World Forest Week – a series of meetings and events hosted by FAO and its partner organizations and institutions – was held in back-to-back with COFO25, on Friday 2 October and on Monday 12 October. It provided participants with a unique opportunity to exchange, connect and find responses for the forest sector to the issues discussed in COFO25, including the COVID-19 crisis, action on the SDGs, climate change, biodiversity and people.

Joining COFO

Membership in the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO) is open to all FAO Member Nations which inform the Director-General of their desire to become a member and of their intention to participate in the work of the Committee.

FAO member countries wishing to become Members of COFO are invited to contact the Secretariat at [email protected].