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Seventeenth Session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO)

15-19 March 2005 | Rome, Italy

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Thursday, 17 March

The FAO Committee on Forestry convened today to finish its deliberations on the needs and opportunities for international cooperation in forest fire preparedness and to take up shaping the action programme for FAO in forestry.

Delegates convened all afternoon in several side events on: forest law compliance; lessons learned from SFM in Africa and Asia; participatory approaches to forestry; forests and bioenergy; increasing the volume of certified forests around the world; forests and conflicts; and the integration of forestry into the NEPAD agriculture agenda.



Shaping an Action Programme for FAO in Forestry
Panelists consider comments from country delegations concerning the shaping of the action programme for FAO in forestry

Hosny El-Lakany, FAO (left), responded to country interventions, noting the importance of forest resource assessments, monitoring and reporting, bioenergy and fire, and the trade in illegally sourced wood
D. Rugabira reviewed FAO actions over the last year in the context of the recommendations of COFO 16

John Bazill, European Commission
Johann Goldammer, Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), emphasized the importance of good information for policy development, and asked FAO to develop standards for measurement


Birte Schmetjen, Confederation of European Forest Owners, said the removal of biomass from forests could reduce the incidence of forest fire and contribute to the income of small forest owners

Daniel Mbolo Bamela, Cameroon indicates that it often lacks the means to implement SFM but thanked FAO for recently supporting a national inventory programme in Cameroon

Audomaro Alba Padilla, Mexico, called for a standard reporting format for countries, Mexico requested FAO to help it take the lead in establishing a standard on monitoring, assessment and reporting


Iran said that FAO must play an important role in the future international arrangement on forests and that the National Forest Programme Facility must accommodate issues relating to desertification and land degradation

FAO Secretariat discusses the Programme of Work and Budget for 2006-07, saying that that forestry is 4.2 % of the FAO’s regular budget but constitutes 14.9% of all trust fund programmes



Side event: Lessons Learned from SFM in Africa/In Search of Excellence in Asia and the Pacific

Linda Mossop-Rousseau (South Africa) chaired the side event on lessons learned in SFM in Africa and Asia.

Björn Lungren, Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture, opened the session by arguing that foresters must think about how to adopt to ever-shifting policy contexts.

Godwin Kowero, African Academy of Sciences, gave an overview of the project, noting that it began in 2003 as an initiative of the FAO Forestry Department, The Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, the African Forestry Research Network and the African Academy of Sciences. He said the objectives of the initiative were to establish positive and negative lessons from SFM in Africa, analyze the economic, social and ecological conditions necessary for SFM, and analyze the most urgent issues.

Pape Koné, FAO, gave a presentation on the background of the In Search of Excellence project initiated by the FAO and The Netherlands on SFM in Asia.

Patrick Durst, FAO, presented the results of the initiative, noting that the project aimed to determine what accounts for excellence in forestry in the Asian Pacific region. He noted several factors, including clear property rights, livelihoods, predictable institutional frameworks and sound silviculture, but stressed that the most factor determining excellence in SFM was social consensus. He concluded by arguing that the context in which a forest is managed defines excellence.

Linda Mossop-Rousseau, South Africa, chaired the side event on lessons learned in SFM in Africa and Asia
Pape Koné, FAO

Side event: Forests and Conflict

David Kaimowitz, Center for International Forestry Research, gave a presentation entitled Jungle Warfare: Violent Conflict, Tropical Forests and the Rural Poor. Kaimowitz opened his discussion noting that violent conflict in forested regions in the tropics is neither minor nor unusual, but very common. He cited several forested countries where violent conflict has either existed or is currently ongoing, noting in particular: Liberia, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, Angola, Myanmar, Uganda, Solomon Islands and North East India.

He said that violent conflict in localized and remote regions often has nationalized consequences, citing Chiapas Mexico and Nepal as examples, and argued that violence in remote forest regions is often the result of neglected rural populations.

Kaimowitz said a number of things can be done to curtail violent conflict in forested regions, including: increasing the positive presence of governments in forested areas; recognizing the territorial rights of forest dwellers; stopping human rights abuses by soldiers, forestry officials, park guards and private security forces; placing sanctions on conflict timber; taking into account endemic conflict in international forest policy; and including forestry in post-conflict planning and peace negotiations.

David Kaimowitz, Center for International Forestry Research

Side event: Forest Law Compliance

Eva Müller, FAO, provided an overview of the FAO/ITTO draft document “Best Practices for improving law compliance in the forest sector”, which provides recommendations to improve legality in the forest sector. She noted that the problems to achieving forest law compliance are flawed policy and legal frameworks, corruption and lack of transparency. Müller indicated that such problems could be overcome by, inter alia: building capacity for law enforcement, improving data and monitoring of illegal activities; addressing strategies for law compliance in a holistic and simplified manner; and ensuring a participatory approach to forest law design.

Leoncio Alvarez (Peru) presented on Peru’s experience with forest law compliance, noting that a new, all-encompassing national law to combat illegal logging was recently introduced. He indicated the need for political commitment at all levels, community involvement, and transparency to ensure forest law compliance.

Scott Poynton (Tropical Forest Trust) explained how the Tropical Forest Trust works with countries by tracking the supply chain to make certain that wood complies with all laws. He noted that complete legality was almost impossible to attain because of conflicting or lack of support for laws and enforcement issues. Poynton noted the need for a streamlined legal framework, a clear definition of legal wood and broad stakeholder involvement in designing forest laws.

Steve Johnson, ITTO, chairs the “Forest Law Compliance” event, where a draft document on “Best Practices for improving law compliance in the forest sector” was discussed

Scott Poynton, Tropical Forest Trust, indicates that the Tropical Forest Trust works in countries to monitor the supply chain and improve sustainable forest management practices


Side event: Forests and Bioenergy

Hikojiro Katsuhisa, FAO, noted that the purpose of the “Forests and Bioenergy” event is to highlight the linkages between bioenergy, forestry and sustainable rural development and identify changes in forestry policies for developing national wood energy industries.

Amantino de Freitas (Brazil) discussed how wood energy could help meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular MDG1, halving the amount of people living in poverty by 2015, and MDG7, ensuring environmental sustainability. He noted FAO could, inter alia: help promote sustainable wood energy systems and disseminate tools for wood energy planning and policies.

Pentti Hakkila (Finland) discussed Finland’s use of wood energy, with a particular focus on forest chips, saying that wood energy can help reduce emissions of climate change.

Kyriakos Maniatis, International Energy Agency, noted that bioenergy is the only renewable energy source that could physically reduce dependence on fossil fuels. He indicated that exploitation of its full potential primarily depends on policy rather than technological development.

Amantino de Freitas, Brazil

Hikojiro Katsuhisa, FAO, (center) notes that wood energy is the dominant form of energy for over 2 billion people and that bioenergy is indispensable in addressing poverty


Side event: Increasing the Volume of Certified Forests around the World

Armando Cafiero, Assocarta, opened the session on the status and key SFM/certification challenges and the role of the private sector in increasing the volume of certified forests, especially in developing countries.

Markku Simula, Indufor, gave an overview of forest certification developed in partial response to massive deforestation in the tropics as a market based tool to promote sustainable forest management. A number of certification systems have emerged over the last 10 years but most certification to date (90%) has been achieved in temperate and boreal forests, in the North.  In the South, most certified areas are plantations rather than natural forests.  Among the reasons for this are poor enabling conditions, weak capacity to certify, tenure problems, and weak demand from domestic markets for certified product.  Possible solutions include a “phased” step-wise implementation of standards which are independently verified, enforcement of existing law, and continued efforts of the main drivers to date, active buyers and NGO’s.  Conflicts over certification are discrediting forest products in the marked, encouraging substitution. 

S. K. Tham, Malaysian Timber Council, said they are working with an ITTO and the Forest Stewardship Council to develop “equivalence status” for their certification system. 

P.E. Huet, Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux, said that half the concessions in Africa are less than the 100,000 ha/30year needed to be minimally viable. 

Boris Tabacof, Bracelp, reviewed the experience in Latin America.  Brazil with 23% of the worlds forest cover has almost half the certified forests in Latin America, most using the FSC system.

S. K. Tham, Malaysian Timber Council

Side event: Participatory Approaches in Forestry

An interesting mentoring approach to strengthening National Forest Agencies in Uganda, Ghana and Guyana was described by Langoya Council Dickson of the Uganda National Forestry Authority.  It focused on building the capacity of middle managers of the forest agencies, to use participatory/interactive approaches in the field, with the help of ”e-learning” using an interactive CD designed around the most common problems encountered on a daily basis, such as illegal chainsaw activity, revenue collecting,  patrolling, management planning. 

FAO Forest Advisor Andrew Ingles who led the design of CD gave a demonstration and distributed copies to participants.  Coverage was achieved in a relatively cost effective way through a cascading series of mentor/mentee relationships (in a 1:6 ratio). An evaluation of these pilot activities is underway and discussions about follow-up are beginning.

Langoya Council Dickson, Uganda National Forestry Authority, describes an innovative approach to capacity building in forestry using mentoring and e-learning

Side event: Integration of Forestry into the NEPAD Agricultural Agenda

Mafa Chepita, FAO, (center) comments on how forestry can enhance agricultural productivity under CAADP, which will cost approximately US$3.9 billion for forest-related activities

Jacques Diouf, FAO Director General, says that NEPAD symbolizes the collective will of the African people and provides the opportunity for African countries to realize the potential of forests

Jacques Diouf, FAO Director General, indicated that the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) has real potential to advocate a balanced land use approach to help meet the MDGs, especially by achieving environmental sustainability while helping to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

Mafa Chepita, FAO, said that FAO continues to provide forums to get the CAADP known politically and administratively. He indicated that CAADP is not a blueprint but is meant to be implemented at the local level when a policy framework has been defined.

Pape Kon�, FAO, discussed the �Integration of Forestry into the New Partnership for Africa�s Development (NEPAD) Agricultural Agenda�, saying that the reform of legal and political practices, the need to revitalize the role and responsibilities of institutions, increased investment in science and technology and cooperation at the regional level is essential to improve the performance of NEPAD.

He highlighted that NEPAD is a way to ensure that the global community does not despair about progress in Africa.

Panelists share information on the forestry component of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP): (L-R) Pape Kon�, FAO, Mafa Chepita, FAO, C.T.S. Nair, FAO, Jacques Diouf, FAO Director General, and Hosny El-Lakany, FAO Assistant Director General for Forestry




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