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THE ROME STATEMENT ON FORESTRY

The Rome Statement on Forestry recognized the action taken at all levels through national forest programmes, various initiatives and international cooperation, but called for further enhancements of national capabilities and international cooperation and coordination. It reaffirmed a holistic approach to forests and a determination to attain the objectives from UNCED in the shortest time possible, while pursuing a balanced approach between the environmental and developmental functions of forests. The ministers emphasized the need for cross-sectoral approaches and effective and coherent national forest action plans, as well as efforts toward the greening of the world and combating desertification. Further, they underlined the need for action to: develop and apply criteria and indicators for sustainable management of all types of forests; enhance international cooperation; properly value the multiple benefits of forests; promote non-discriminatory trade in forest products; and recognize the benefits of greater participation and transparency in all matters related to forests. Regarding a legally-binding instrument on forests, they considered that the way forward should be based on a consensus-building step-by-step process. They called on FAO to muster its technical expertise to advise and cooperate with countries in developing their capacity in the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests, taking an integrated approach. The meeting, "trusts that the UN Commission on Sustainable Development will, at its third session, show significant progress in discharging its functions as the political body mandated to review and promote the implementation of UNCED"s decisions in the field of forests in their entirety. In this connection, the Meeting welcomed the proposal to consider the establishment of an open-ended intergovernmental panel on forests, under the aegis of the CSD, to provide an assessment of action already undertaken to combat deforestation and forest degradation and to promote management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests, including environmental and socio-economic impacts; and against that background to propose actions for further action. The Meeting recommended that FAO should respond positively to that proposal and be prepared to participate in this process." Finally, the Minister"s requested that the Chair of the Ministerial session should transmit the statement to the CSD during its April 1995 discussions on sectoral issues and, subsequently, to the High-Level Segment of the CSD.

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