Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions - Silva Mediterranea

The Mission and History

The mission of Silva Mediterranea is to: 
  • periodically review trends in the use of forest land in the Mediterranean area and assess the impact of changes implemented in the agricultural, industrial and urban sectors; 
  • advise Member Governments accordingly on the reorientation or improvements necessary to meet evolving situations or newly emerging needs; 

  • periodically examine progress in forestry technology within regional and ecological contexts in order to better assess current forest land utilization methods; 

  • identify forestry research priorities in the Mediterranean area, determine forestry research projects of common interest to Member Governments in the region and recommend measures necessary for forestry research institutes in the region to carry out these projects; and 
  • determine and carry out technical studies and surveys to assist in the formulation and implementation of national forest policies in collaboration with Member States and with the support of the appropriate national forestry agencies. 
cork oak
@ Pilar Valbuena
The history of Silva Mediterranea

In 1911, French forester Robert Hickel called attention to the need to create new techniques in forestry unique to the Mediterranean region, leading to the establishment of the first Mediterranean Forestry League in 1922 under the name of Sylva Méditerranea. In 1948, Sylva Méditerranea evolved into a Sub-Commission of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), officially adopting the name Silva Mediterranea in 1956. The Committee provided a collaborative platform for the Mediterranean Member Countries of the European Forestry Commission (EFC), the Near East Forestry Commission (NEFC) and the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC). Silva Mediterranea was finally recognized as the FAO Committee of Mediterranean Forestry Questions in 1985. 

The Silva Mediterranea Committee is open to all Member Nations and Associate Members of the African, European and Near East Forestry Commissions of FAO, territories of which are situated wholly or partly in the Mediterranean basin or whose forest, agricultural and grazing economies are intimately associated with those of the Mediterranean region.  

With the use of strategic frameworks, Silva Mediterranea has supported Mediterranean countries in the development of forest policies and national forest programmes. Initially prioritizing the technical and scientific aspects, the Committee evolved to focus on legislation, financing and research since the 1960s. Land utilization, soil conservation, reforestation, wood production and the impact of climate change on forest ecosystems have been the central topics of focus, each prioritizing the involvement of local communities.  

Notable sessions of Silva Mediterranea include the Fifteenth Session in 1992, during which the Committee adopted the Mediterranean Forest Action Programme to support Mediterranean countries in developing forest policies respective to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development of 1992. The Twenty-First Session in 2012 proposed an evaluation of the Committee that gave suggestions for the renewal of the functioning framework and connected the working groups. Silva Mediterranea adopted the new strategy of 2019 to 2030 at the Twenty-Third Session in 2019, centralizing on  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017–2030 and the Rio Conventions. In 2022, the Twenty-Fourth Session concerned the status of the Agadir Commitment, the Mediterranean flagship submission for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the consolidation of the Mediterranean Youth Task Force.  


Past Chairs of Silva Mediterranea 
2022- ongoingMr Ümit TurhanTürkiye
2019–2021Mr Chadi MohannaLebanon
2017–2019Mr José Manuel Jaquotot Sáenz de MieraSpain
2012–2017Mr Ismail BelenTürkiye
2008–2012Mr Spas TodorovBulgaria
2005–2008Mr Abderrahim HoumyMorocco
2002–2005Mr Fady AsmarLebanon
1997–2002Mr Ismet Gümüsdere (1997)  & Mr Ahmet Senyaz (2002)Türkiye
1994–1997Mr Savvas TheophanousCyprus
1992–1994Mr Fernando José MotaPortugal
1989–1992Mr George Sakkas  (1989) & Mr Riad (1992)Greece & Egypt
1987–1989Mr Santiago MarracoSpain
1985–1987Mr Yves BirotFrance
1970–1985Mr A. Semizoglu (1970) & Mr S. Bayoglu (1985)Türkiye
1968–1970Mr A. De PhilippisItaly
1965–1968Mr P. MargaropoulosGreece
1960–1965Mr Jean-Alfred de VaissièreFrance