Daily coverage:

Committee on Forestry - COFO
16 session

Rome, Italy, 10-14 March 2003

ENB Summary




17 March




Michael Martin

Flavio Miragaia Perri (left) with Michael Martin

Wulf Killmann (left) with Hosny El-Lakany

Yvan Hardy, Canada

Ali Ghazi, Algeria

Carlos Norton Ramírez, Chile (right)

Hongcun Liu, China

Nikolaos Efstathiadis, Greece

Jean Prosper Koyo

Gustavo Morales, Honduras

José Luis Darraidou, Argentina

Wednesday, 12 March

Forests and Freshwater: Issues and Options

The discussion of the relationship between forests and freshwater, which began on Tuesday, continued.

Algeria expressed hope that FAO would facilitate exchange of information and
experiences and support developing countries in implementing SFM. It also urged FAO to undertake assessment of treatment capacity.

Canada welcomed the new forests and water entity; agreed with Japan on the need to enhance knowledge on the relationship between forests and freshwater; emphasized the importance of developing standardized tools to facilitate exchange of information and best practices; and suggested that FAO act as clearing house for concepts and methods to enable such a dialogue.

Listen to Canada

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) underscored the link between deforestation and desertification and invited FAO technical support for its field operation programmes.

Responding to comments made throughout the debate, Assistant Director General El-Lakany noted that except for one reservation, the new forests and water entity gained participants’ approval. He said that the entity’s main function would be administrative and budgetary, and to ensure multidisciplinary, cost effective and measurable SFM implementation.

Listen to Assistant Director General El-Lakany

National Forest Programmes

Forestry Policy and Institutions Branch (FONP) Chief Manuel Paveri-Anziani introduced the Secretariat note on National Forest Programmes (NFPs) as a mechanism to implement the key outcomes of the World Food Summit: five years later (WFS:fyl) and WSSD.

Nigeria reported outcomes of the side event on the NFPF held the previous day. He said that participants recognized the Facility’s role in removing bottlenecks in NFP implementation. The Facility does not duplicate other external funding but seeks to promote NFP sustainability. Its support should take into account regional balance.

Greece, on behalf of the European Community and its member States, urged FAO to align NFP activities with bilateral programmes, IPF/IFF proposals for action, and the Programme of Action of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). He also invited FAO to report on the current status of the NFPs.

Brazil emphasized that to achieve SFM in all countries and types of forests, the FAO should assist in enhancing developing countries’ fiscal, technological and market access.

Chile said FAO should focus on technical issues relating to all forest types.

Sudan stressed the importance of partnerships such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

Sierra Leone and Bangladesh stressed the need to extend capacity-building to community-based organizations.

Egypt said its NFP addresses social, economic and ecological needs of its people.

Rwanda appealed for international financial support for national activities. It recounted that its post-war restoration efforts included the institutionalization of forestry activities, such as an annual forest summit where reforestation took place on a national scale.

Cambodia said it had made significant achievements in curbing illegal forestry activities, highlighted the adoption of a forestry law and national forest policy statement in 2002 and invited the international community to support implementing the process further.

The US emphasized links between poverty and environment, stating that poverty enhances environmental degradation. He called on FAO to strengthen its role as a scientific institution and enhance support for local community-based programmes. 

Listen to the US

Guatemala suggested that FAO support exchange of information and technical and financial assistance through re-engineering international instruments which do not address forests.

Sweden said that the success of the forestry sector lies in credible participation, evaluation and revision.

Listen to Sweden

Australia suggested that the UNFF Secretariat and the CPF develop a register of tasks to enable monitoring and efficient financing coordination, and work with the CBD Secretariat to coordinate forest related activities, with the NFPF playing a leading role.

Listen to Australia

Latvia highlighted the importance of cross-sectoral and participatory approaches.

India called for linking international financial institutions with national programs.

Nigeria urged FAO to support its capacity building activities for the development of C&I in the NFPs.

Finland said national consensus is a cornerstone of the NFP process and called for wider donor support to the Facility.

Listen to Finland

Kenya urged for technical support to its NFP to address inter-agency coordination, conflict resolution, capacity-building, and resource mobilization.

Listen to Kenya

Cyprus welcomed the NFPs as a step “from rhetoric to action.”

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea emphasized natural disasters and the international political context as core factors challenging its forestry sector.

Portugal emphasized that the NFPs were facing a  lack of cross-sectoral linkages, insufficient participatory mechanisms, and insecure government commitments. She asked FAO to explore mechanisms to overcome these.

Algeria said that highlighting synergies between desertification, climate change and forests was important.

Mali said there was an urgent need for NFPs to improve communication plans to better address the responsibility of local users in relation to the protection of forest resources.

Listen to Mali

The Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe noted that it had developed an approach for NFPs involving more than 40 European countries.

The Confederation of European Forest Owners said clear land tenure, property rights and participation were key to implementing NFP objectives.

Summarizing emerging issues, Assistant Director General El-Lakany highlighted the need to: establish partnerships for NFPs; harmonize processes at national and international levels, such as the IPF/IFF proposals for action and WSSD with NFPs; increase financial support from COFO member countries; address NFPs within wider strategic approaches and relate these to a broader range of stakeholders; and streamline strategies with wider national strategies.

Side Event: The Twelfth World Forestry Congress (WFC), 21-28 September 2003, Québec, Canada

Assistant Deputy Minister of Canadian Forest Service Yvan Hardy relayed the Congress’s objectives to address global forestry issues and shape a vision for the future of the Planet’s forests. The WFC will address a wide range of topics, including social and community-based forestry, climate and forests, plantations in SFM, and new and innovative solutions. These have been divided into three sub-themes: forests for people, forests for the planet, and people and forestry in harmony.

Associated Secretary General for the twelfth World Forestry Congress FAO Jean Prosper Koyo noted Canada’s interest in hosting the congress originated at the 116th session of the FAO Council. He noted that the WFC meets once every six years and this time would tackle cutting-edge knowledge on global forestry issues from over 1000 voluntary papers, 500 posters, and 50 key speakers. WFC Secretary General Jean-Louis Kérouac emphasized the Congress as an opportunity to address harmony between people and nature. He urged COFO delegates to attend the Congress. 

The Future of Forests: Implications of the Forestry Outlook Study for Africa

FOA Forestry Planning and Statistics Branch Chief C.T.S. Nair presented the recently completed Forestry Outlook Study for Africa (FOSA) (COFO-2003/6).

Listen to C.T.S. Nair

Senegal, supported by Mali, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, noted that the report was unduly pessimistic in view of the political will and commitments made.

Sudan highlighted difficulties in accessing global markets even when forests products were available.

South Africa stressed the need for information on the informal sector and suggested that FAO take the lead in supporting this research, particularly in regional institutions.

Honduras noted that FOSA is also applicable to other regions and asked that in future reports FAO address governability, access to land, and land tenure as obstacles to effective SFM.

Review of FAO Programmes in the Forestry Sector

COFO reviewed FAO programmes in the forestry sector, including follow-up to the requests and recommendations of the fifteenth session of the Committee as well as the Programme Implementation Report. Progamme Coordinator of the Forestry Department in FAO Douglas Kneeland introduced the Review of FAO programmes in the forestry sector.

The Philippines and Honduras reported on side events held the previous day. On developments in FRAs, the Philippines said delegates recommended FAO to, inter alia: continue supporting partnerships for FRAs; endorse a common set of national reporting guidelines; note the need to continue harmonizing of forestry-related definitions; continue streamlining processes; and continue backing FRA capacity-building efforts. These, he noted, should be cost-effective and recognize national ownership of the process.

On harmonizing forest-related definitions delegates suggested the need to: define natural forests and trees outside of forest areas, consider low forest cover countries, and develop carbon inventories, standardize newly established definitions, include forest experts in international processes. FAO was urged to report the results of the process to UNFF and the CPF.

Greece, on behalf of the European Community and its member States, commended the FRA 2000 and called on FAO to seek more active collaboration to save costs, avoid duplication and create new synergies at the global level.

Sweden welcomed the partnership collaboration between the UNECE Timber Committee and FAO in the Global FRA.

The Slovak Republic, supported by Cyprus, stressed the importance of education in forest policy and planning. He said that there is an urgent need to include a wider range of cross-sectoral issues including decentralization and empowerment of local communities; and that FAO has a comparative advantage in the field of education and extension.

The US supported, inter alia, the FAO’s work on forests and climate, and suggested that a future programme be expanded to address key forest-related issues on climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He commended the CPF and the UNFF partnerships with FAO and supported the continuation of efforts on harmonizing forest-related definitions. He encouraged FAO to provide accurate and timely data on the Global RFA. The United Republic of Tanzania noted that support from FAO is needed to elaborate opportunities with the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM); plan forest fire control; combat forest diseases in plantations and natural forests; provide expert advice for the establishment of certification, and rehabilitate of refugee-affected areas.

The Republic of Korea drew attention to the forest fire issue and said FAO should set up an information-sharing network.

Canada applauded FAO’s efforts to harmonize forest-related definitions and ensured it would continue to be an active participant in the process.

The Philippines and Argentina commended FAO’s efforts on model and demonstration forests and urged for continued support to the process.

Mexico called on FAO to continue supporting the C&I process and to encourage regional approaches for south-south cooperation.

Summarizing common issues, Deputy Director General El-Lakany noted that the FAO forestry department continues to support the FRA; and is moving into national level capacity-building, education and training, and directing support to cross-sectoral issues.

Commenting on climate change and harmonizing forest-related definitions, FAO Forest Products Division Director Wulf Killmann said that foresters had largely missed the UNFCCC process and that FAO would continue to strengthen and accelerate the process of harmonizing definitions. Commenting on forest fires,  FAO Forest Resources Division Director El Hadji Sène noted the creation of a technical post in the forestry resource division of FAO, cooperation agreements on forestry and fires, and publication of a technical directive on forest fires in the Mediterranean region.

Miscellaneous pictures of the day


Links to further information

FAO Forestry Web site
Documents for the COFO
ENB report from COFO-12 (pdf)
ENB�s coverage of International Conference on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management (CICI)
Sustainable Development�s summary of the Expert Meeting on Forest Landscape Restoration (Costa Rica, 2002)

Any questions, comments or suggestions - please mail the Digital editor

| Back to Linkages home | Visit IISDnet | Send e-mail to ENB |
© 2003,  IISD. All  rights reserved.