COFO 19 Opens in Rome
Above: COFO 19 Chair Abigail Kimbell, US, conferred with COFO Secretary Douglas Kneeland during opening plenary.
On Monday, delegates convened at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome for the
19th session of its Committee on Forestry (COFO), in conjunction with
World Forest Week 2009.
The event was officially opened with an afternoon plenary session. The
Committee addressed several agenda items, including the adoption of the
agenda, the election of officers and the selection of the drafting
committee, and listened to several opening speeches.
Jan Heino, FAO, introduced the draft FAO Strategy for Forests and
Forestry, noting its close link to the FAO Strategic Framework and
Medium-term Plan, and called for a decision on the draft this week.
C.T.S. Nair presented FAO's State of the World's Forests (SOFO)
2009, on "Society, Forests, and Forestry: Adapting for the
Future." He highlighted that its two sections summarize the outlook
for the world's forests and the sector's response to these
Jan McAlpine, Director, UN Forum on Forests, provided an overview of the
Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) Strategic Framework on
Forests and Climate Change. She emphasized the need to consider the
multiple functions of forests, and cautioned against focusing solely on
their role in carbon sequestration.
Countries were given the opportunity to present opening statements.
Many countries echoed the call for closer linkages between forest
organizations and the climate change agenda. Several developing
countries highlighted the need for financial and technical support to
manage their forests sustainably.
In the morning, the Bureaux of the Regional Forestry Commissions (RFC)
met to discuss several agenda items. On recent experiences of the RFCs,
delegates discussed: the importance of forests with regard to climate
change; forests and the management of water resources, wildfire and
wildlife; institution and policy development; information exchange;
financing; capacity-building; and poverty reduction.
Also Monday morning, Jan McAlpine, Director, UNFF, and members of the UNFF
Secretariat, gave COFO delegates a briefing on the UNFF informal
consultations on mobilizing financing for sustainable forest management,
held in Rome on 12-13 March, 2009. The informal consultation intended to
provide an opportunity to discuss options for forest financing and the
role and actions of the UNFF, in order to facilitate and advance
consensus at the eighth session of UNFF.