Editorial - celebrating and safeguarding the Spirit of the Earth
by Mrs Martha Isabel ‘Pati’ Ruiz Corzo
Ms Wangari Maathai
In 2004, the late Ms. Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmentalist and champion of forest issues around the world, received the Nobel Peace Prize. The following year FAO had the honour to welcome her as a keynote speaker at its high-level meeting on forests. In 2012, following Ms Maathai’s demise, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests established an award in her memory to pay tribute to her outstanding achievements.
FAO Forestry news
In memoriam: David Harcharik
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing away on the morning of 3 December of Mr David Harcharik. Mr Harcharik, a US national, was a former Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department and subsequently FAO Deputy Director-General. He was also a dear friend and champion of forests and foresters around the world. FAO Forestry wishes to extend its profound sympathies and condolences to the family of Mr Harcharik at this very sad time.
World Forestry Congress: calls for ...
Open Foris: free online software boosts national capacity in forest monitoring
Developing countries’ capacity to undertake accurate forest inventories, remote sensing and analysis has increased following the October launch of comprehensive and free open-source software tools for multi-level forest monitoring. Developed by FAO technical experts and external partners with part funding from Finland and Germany, Open Foris is available free on demand for all users worldwide.
Supporting human life, contributing to the “Promise of Sydney”
Many participants who attended the recent IUCN World Parks Congress also took part in FAO co-led "Stream 4", to debate how agriculture, forestry and fisheries in and around protected areas contribute to food security, sustainable livelihoods and conservation of genetic resources and are thus "Supporting Human Life”. The Stream’s outcomes are reflected in a final document “The Promise of Sydney”.
Read the full text of the FAO position paper Protected areas, people and food security and the strategy (outcome) document of Stream 4, which was co-led by FAO, the Ministry of Environment of Japan and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas. The IUCN World Parks Congress was held in Sydney, Australia, in November 2014 and was attended by more than 6000 participants.
Greater capacity in forest products statistics: a building block for growth
Improving southern African countries’ capacity in forest products statistics is of critical importance for developing the subregion’s forest sector and for informing global policy on climate change, an FAO workshop in Johannesburg concluded. The sector’s high level of informal activities makes the need for accurate statistics for government planning and economic growth even more compelling.
Typhoon Haiyan, one year on: recovering and rebuilding with trees
One year after their communities were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, over 35 000 coconut farming and agroforestry-reliant families are building more diversified and resilient livelihoods. Trees are a critical element of the rebuilding, providing long-term sources of food, forage, fuelwood, soil erosion control, and rehabilitation of protective coastal mangrove forests.
Read more in the latest FAO news alert on FAO’s comprehensive multi-donor rehabilitation programme in the affected areas of the Philippines.
The roles of trees and forests in disaster prevention, mitigation and recovery will be covered comprehensively in the forthcoming special issue 243 of Unasylva, FAO’s journal of forestry and forest industries.
International Mountain Day 2014: mountain farming
Mountain agriculture, which is predominantly family farming, has been a model of sustainable development for centuries. On 11 December, International Mountain Day 2014 will be celebrated around the world to raise awareness of the mountain peoples who depend on farming for their livelihoods and who are trying to adapt to present-day challenges, including those related to food security and climate change.
View the International Mountain Day 2014 video and spot and read the FAO–Mountain Partnership publication Mountain farming is family farming. More information is available at the websites of the Mountain Partnership and the International Year of Family Farming 2014
International Conference on Nutrition adopts Rome Declaration and Framework for Action
The International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), hosted by FAO and co-organized by FAO and the World Health Organization, took place at FAO headquarters in Rome, from 19-21 November, with opening statements by the two UN agencies' Directors-General. In his address to the Conference, Pope Francis called for more progress in ensuring nutrition security and dignity for all in a spirit of global solidarity, and highlighted the need to care of the environment and protect the planet.
Visit ICN2 website to see all statements as well as the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action as well as the FAO news article Pope Francis urges solidarity and concrete action in global nutrition challenge
United in conserving the Amazon’s protected areas
The protected areas of eight Amazon countries host ecosystem resources of immense value for national food security and economies and global biodiversity. Under a recently-launched European Union-funded project, Visión Amazónica, initiated by REDPARQUES, FAO will be a co-partner in supporting local communities to increase ecosystem services’ resilience to climate change while conserving their benefits.
Read more (in Spanish) in the FAO Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (RLC) news release on the launch of Visión Amazónica, and on RLC’s work with REDPARQUES, the Latin American Technical Cooperation Network on National Parks and other Protected Areas, Flora and Wildlife.
New strategic programme for Central American forest sector development
A new strategic programme supported by FAO will enable Central American countries and the Dominican Republic to improve the sustainable and participatory management of their forest ecosystems. The programme recognizes forests’ cultural, economic and environmental values and that forest management should be an integral part of conservation, climate change, agriculture, energy and rural development policies.
Read more (in Spanish) about the Regional Strategic Programme for Forest Ecosystems Management (PERFOR), which was launched in San Salvador, El Salvador, on 27 October by two sectoral bodies of the Central American Integration System.
Togo: increasing local capacity and skills in forest restoration
Six non-governmental organizations will receive funding from an FAO project that will enable members of selected Togolese forest communities to acquire relevant skills and learn best practices in natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. The support is part of a Togolese Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources’ initiative to restore the gallery and village-land forests of the Plateau region.
Read more (in French) on the Togolese gallery and village-land forest restoration project and listen to the radio interview with FAO's Fernando Salinas on "Les forêts des plateaux du Togo".
Bamboo, REDD+ and national forest sector development: promoting collaborative action with partners
In November, FAO Assistant Director-General Forestry, Eduardo Rojas-Briales, undertook official travel to Ethiopia, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania to meet with government officials and technical and resource partners to promote collaborative action on forests.
Read more in the summary of key outcomes of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) Summit on "Bamboo and Rattan for Green Economies", Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the 13th meeting of the UN-REDD Policy Board, Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania.
Upcoming meetings and events
Collaborative Partnership on Forests – events calendar, including:
International Days - December 2014
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Unasylva: a stroll down memory lane
In this occasional series, we feature reprints of extracts from early editions of Unasylva, FAO Forestry’s international journal of forestry and forest industries.
… Highland farming, where even neighbouring fields may have subtly different climates, demands skill and familiarity with the terrain. Sebeli Tau, a farmer in Lesotho now forced to leave his land which was flooded by the water of the Mohale Dam ... said that his greatest loss on moving would be
the wisdom of living in that place,
and he listed his intimate knowledge of the steep fields and their microclimates: which crops grew best where and when, where to find medicinal herbs, wild vegetables, the first pastures. It is precisely this kind of knowledge, accumulated over time, that many narrators felt was undervalued by outside experts, and even by the educated local people…
… A Lahu woman, in the mountains of southwestern China, explained that
people who live in the plains wear better clothes, are well informed and have a good life. People who live in the mountain area are poorly informed, cannot see what others have done well, and so we seem more stupid and foolish.
Her view was echoed across all the continents.
No one can gather fine wool with a blunt knife - we need knowledge, we need experience, said a Himalayan farmer…
Young people leave to find work. They don't go because they hate their land, the majority go to escape the poverty,
said Peruvian Delma Jesus Flores and, like many interviewees, she pleaded for a chance to create jobs in the mountains. Invest in us here, so many said:
We have the raw materials, let us process them.
Olivia Bennett, Director, Oral Testimony Programme of Panos Institute, a London-based organization specializing in information and communication for sustainable development (1998).
Unasylva 195, 1998 (4), Vol 45 - Moving Mountains
... Since 1998, mountain farming communities have been struggling to contend with an equally major challenge: climate change. The Mountain Partnership Secretariat, hosted by FAO, is working to empower and assist these communities, by highlighting key issues and identifying solutions, many of which are described in the publication Mountain farming is family farming and in the activities and programmes listed on the Climate change webpage of the Mountain Partnership website.
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