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Twentieth Session of the Committee on Forestry of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

4-8 October 2010 | FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy

Summary Highlights of the Meeting


A view of Rome near FAO.
Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Monday, 4 October - Tuesday, 5 October - Wednesday, 6 October - Thursday, 7 October - Friday, 8 October

Highlights for Monday, 4 October 2010
COFO 2010On Monday morning, the 20th Session of the Committee on Forestry of the FAO (COFO 2010) and World Forest Week 2010 (WFW) opened at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy.

In the morning plenary, COFO 2010 adopted the agenda and elected officers, and heard country statements on the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2010). Reflecting on interventions made by delegates, Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General and Head of Forestry, FAO, highlighted the need to streamline reports in regions where other processes exist, and integrate remote sensing with traditional FRA methods.

In the afternoon, plenary addressed an agenda item on forest biodiversity in the context of climate change. Delegates heard panel presentations, and showed support for: FAO´s efforts to help countries in protecting biodiversity and gathering information for national strategies for mitigation, adaptation and forest management; and improving the quality instead of quantity of indicators for biodiversity assessment.

World Forest Week was opened on Monday morning by He Changchui, Deputy Director-General Operations, FAO. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), through a video message, lamented that there remains a high degree of variation in interpreting what constitutes sustainable forest management (SFM). Teresa Presas, President, International Council of Forest and Paper Associations, noted challenges facing the forest sector, including the economic downturn, access to fiber, and competition from wood substitutes. Niels E. Koch, President, International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), highlighted IUFRO’s contributions to bridging the science-policy gap.

In the afternoon, delegates took part in two WFW events in support of COFO, on FRA 2010 and on biodiversity and phytosanitary standards.


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L-R: José Antonio Prado, FAO; Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, FAO; Chair Anders Lönnblad, Deputy-Director-General, Ministry of Agriculture, Sweden; and Peter Csoka, FAO
Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, FAO
Peter Csoka, FAO
Mette Løyche Wilkie, FAO
Chair Anders Lönnblad, Deputy-Director-General, Ministry of Agriculture, Sweden
L-R: Peter Csoka, FAO, and Jan McAlpine, Director, UN Forum on Forests Secretariat

Highlights for Tuesday, 5 October 2010
COFO 2010On Tuesday, 5 October, delegates met at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy for the second day of the 20th Session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO 2010) and the 2010 World Forest Week.

In the morning, simultaneous COFO sessions were held on forest fire and health, and on forests and water, both in the context of climate change.

On forest fire and health, delegates heard presentations on national fire management strategies and their links to climate change in the United States, Portugal, Tanzania, Russia and Australia.

On forests and water, panelists were asked to address: the collaboration between water and forest sectors in their countries; lessons learned, challenges, and opportunities resulting from this collaboration; and the role of water and forest sectors in addressing climate change.

In the afternoon, delegates took part in various events of World Forest Week in support of COFO 2010. Panel presentations and discussions took place on: new developments in forest finance; linking policy dialogue and implementation; communicating the potential of forestry to the finance sector; and governance.

A smaller event took place on REDD+.

Also taking place throughout the day were parallel events and meetings of the World Forest Week, on: measuring forest degradation; European forests; developing a guide to implementation of phytosanitary standards in forestry; and meetings of the Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products and the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations. The University of Tuscia hosted an international conference-forum on the implications of emerging economic mechanisms on forest-related policies and sector governance.

A welcome reception hosted by the FAO was held in the evening.


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L-R: Karma Dukpa, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan; Moshibudi Rampedi, Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, South Africa; İsmail Belen, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Turkey; Moujahed Achouri, FAO; Chair Anders Lönnblad, Deputy-Director-General, Ministry of Agriculture, Sweden; Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director-General; Wladimir Tene, Director Nacional Forestal, Ecuador; and Rolf Manser, Head of Forestry Division, Switzerland
Thomas Hofer, FAO
Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director-General
Karma Dukpa, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan
Moshibudi Rampedi, Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, South Africa
İsmail Belen, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Turkey
İsmail Belen’s presentation.
Rolf Manser, Head of Forestry Division, Switzerland
Delegates during the session.

Highlights for Wednesday, 6 October 2010
COFO 2010On Wednesday, delegates to the 20th session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO 2010) met in plenary sessions to address agenda items on emerging opportunities and challenges in forest finance, forest governance and climate change; decisions and recommendations of FAO Bodies of Interest to COFO; and forestry programme priorities for FAO.

On strengthening public sector finance for sustainable forest management (SFM), delegates heard presentations on, inter alia, specialized financing mechanisms, and direct incentive and subsidy mechanisms. In the ensuing discussion, delegates reported on their respective country’s financing initiatives.

On forest governance, delegates heard presentations on illegal logging, and on FAO’s voluntary guidelines on forest tenure. Delegates discussed the possibility of including governance in future Forest Resource Assessments (FRA), and extending support to countries to strengthen forest governance.

On climate change and REDD+, delegates discussed ways in which FAO can support national REDD+ activities by building on existing efforts such as the FRA, integration of REDD into national forest programmes; strengthening governance and tenure; and financing strategies. Countries also called for enhanced regional cooperation, and help with accessing funds.

On programme priorities, some countries noted the need for clearly distinguishing between priority and non-priority activities, while others welcomed the Secretariat’s suggested priority areas, in particular its proposed activities on climate change.

Parallel events of World Forestry Week were also held throughout the day, on: hunting, trade and management of wildlife in tropical forests; emerging economic mechanisms; measuring forest degradation; phytosanitary standards; and the launch of the World Atlas of Mangroves. In the afternoon, delegates engaged in a panel-led discussion that brought together scientists and heads of forestry to discuss REDD. Several speakers expressed concerns regarding elements of REDD design that could undermine its effectiveness, including: the inclusion of logging; overly complex carbon accounting that will be difficult to monitor; re-centralization of governance and loss of local control.


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L-R: Luis Torales Kennedy, Paraguay Forest Institute; Juan Manuel Torres-Rojo, Director, National Forest Commission, Mexico; Kiyeon Ko, Director, Korea Forest Service; Michael Martin, FAO; Vice-Chair Donatien N’zala, Director‐General, Ministry of Forest Economy, Congo; Moderator Hafez Ghanem, FAO; José Antonio Gonzalez Martin, Deputy Director-General for Forest Policy and Desertification, Spain; and Adrian Whiteman, FAO
Juan Manuel Torres-Rojo, Director, National Forest Commission, Mexico
Adrian Whiteman’s presentation.
Adrian Whiteman, FAO
Moderator Hafez Ghanem, FAO
Luis Torales Kennedy, Paraguay Forest Institute
Abdul Razak Ayazi, Afghanistan
Mevlut Düzgün, Turkey
Paul Oquist Kelley, Nicaragua
José Antonio Gonzalez Martin, Deputy Director-General for Forest Policy and Desertification, Spain
Kiyeon Ko, Director, Korea Forest Service
Delegates during the session.

Highlights for Thursday, 7 October 2010
COFO 2010On Thursday, delegates to the 20th session of the Committee on Forestry (COFO 2010) met in a plenary session to address an agenda item on communicating the role of forests in sustainable development, including through the International Year of forests 2011.

Delegates heard presentations on the linkages between national forest programmes and poverty reduction strategies; participatory programmes to address deforestation; the importance of communicating the challenges and achievements of forestry departments and integrating the needs of other sectors; and the potential of cross-sectoral cooperation with respect to investment programmes. Delegates also heard presentations on the preparations for the International Year of Forests 2011 (IYF), and discussed the challenges for forestry in sustainable development, the importance of cross-sectoral and land use planning, and the challenge of including a broader view of forests in the next Global Forest Resources Assesment.

Parallel events of World Forest Week were also held throughout the day. In a session supporting COFO, participants heard presentations on IYF preparations, and on the activities and lessons learned from the International Year of Biodiversity. Delegates: highlighted the opportunity presented by the IYF to promote the importance of forests to the general public and to politicians; described planned national activities for the IYF; and brought up the important role that NGOs will play in national promotional activities.

Other parallel events included a meeting of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) Task Force on a common understanding of SFM; sustainable mountain development in Turkey; and phytosanitary standards; and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT).


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L-R: Jan McAlpine, Director, UNFF; Gerhard Dieterle, World Bank; Gerhard Mannsberger, Director-General of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry Environment and Water Management, Austria; Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, FAO; Karma Dukpa, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan; Peter Csoka, FAO; Moderator Annika Söder, FAO; Gilbert Canet Brenes, Director of Natural Resources Management, National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), Costa Rica; and Abdelazim Mirghani Ibrahim, Sudan
Gilbert Canet Brenes, Director, SINAC, Costa Rica
Gilbert Canet Brenes’s presentation.
Gerhard Mannsberger, Director-General of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry Environment and Water Management, Austria
Rwamirama Bright, Minister of State for Agirculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries, Uganda
Souleymane Gueye, Senegal
Kiyeon Ko, Director, Korea Forest Service
Ana Maria Sampaio Fernandes, Brazil
Gerhard Dieterle, World Bank
Eduardo Rojas-Briales presentation.
Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, FAO
Participants during the session.
L-R: Simon Wolf, ENB Writer; Reem Hajjar, ENB Team Leader; Lauren Flejzor, FAO; Peter Wood, ENB Writer; and Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, FAO

Highlights for Friday, 8 October 2010
COFO 2010On the concluding day of the 20th session of the Committee on Forestry of the FAO (COFO 2010), delegates gathered in plenary in the morning to hear a report on a seminar on emerging economic mechanisms and their implications for forest-related policies and sector governance, held as part of World Forest week. They then heard presentations on the conclusions of the XIII World Forestry Congress (WFC), held in 2009 in Argentina, and bids from South Africa and India for hosting the XIV WFC in 2015. Many African countries, as well as Switzerland, supported the South African bid, noting that the Congress has never been held in Africa, and recognizing the potential the first congress on the continent could have. The submissions of the two countries, as well as the recommendations heard in plenary, were forwarded to the FAO Council for a final decision. Delegates also decided that the 21st session of COFO will be held in October 2012, in Rome, Italy.

World Forest Week events were also held throughout the day. In the morning, IUFRO presented “Embracing Complexity: Meeting Forest Governance Challenges,” a report produced by the Global Forest Expert Panel on the international forest regime. Other events during the day included: a meeting of the Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) advisory group; discussions on phytosanitary standards; an international workshop on forest restoration using treated waste water; and a discussion on FRA remote sensing.

In the afternoon, delegates adopted the report of COFO 2010, with some amendments. FAO Assistant Director General Eduardo Rojas-Briales thanked delegates for their contributions that allowed for a “360 degree view on forests,” and COFO Chair Anders Lönnblad closed the meeting at 4:32pm.


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Olman Serrano, FAO
Tomás Schlichter, Argentina
Leopold Montes, Secretary General of the XIII World Forestry Congress 2009
Dilip Kumar, India
Moshibudi Rampedi’s presentation.
Moshibudi Rampedi, South Africa
Solomon Gamedre, Swaziland
Madingou Andre Jules, Gabon
Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana
Mike Dudley, International Policy Forestry Commission, United Kingdom
Xiao Wangxin, China
Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, FAO
Chair Anders Lönnblad, Deputy-Director-General, Ministry of Agriculture, Sweden
Participants during the closure of the meeting.
L-R: Peter Csoka, FAO; José Antonio Prado, FAO; Chair Anders Lönnblad, Deputy-Director-General, Ministry of Agriculture, Sweden; Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General, FAO; and Michael Martin, FAO
Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Monday, 4 October - Tuesday, 5 October - Wednesday, 6 October - Thursday, 7 October - Friday, 8 October
Related Links
FAO resources
*COFO 2010 web site
*COFO 2010 provisional agenda
*COFO 2010 documents
*FAO Forestry web site
*FAO Committee on Forestry

IISD RS resources
*IISD RS coverage of COFO 2009, 16-20 March 2009, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy
*IISD RS coverage of COFO 2007, 12-16 March 2007, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy
*IISD RS coverage of COFO 2005, 14-19 March 2005, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy
*IISD RS coverage of COFO 2003, 10-14 March 2003, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy
*IISD RS Forests, Desertification and Land web page
*IISD RS Introduction to Forests Processes
*Forests-L - A mailing list for news on forest policy
*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
*MEA Bulletin - Newsletter on key MEAs and their secretariats
*Climate-L.org - News and information on the actions of international organizations in responding to the problem of global climate change
*African Regional Coverage
*Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coverage
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