[METLA Tiedote]



Note to Correspondents, 1st July, 2002
(Originally released by the FAO)
- the press release in Finnish


Expert Consultation on Global Forest Resources Assessment:
Linking National and International Efforts
Kotka, Finland, 1-5 July 2002

The World Food Summit that took place in Rome and the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, contribute to define the role that FAO has to address the food security and poverty alleviation of rural people and the role that forest and tree resource plays in this context. Forests continue to provide a wide range of goods including timber, energy and non-wood forest products, services and functions. Forests also provide opportunities for agricultural expansion in many parts of the world, constitute the reservoir of biological diversity and mitigate climate changes. So, how can we best develop and benefit from these multiple functions of forests now and in the future?

FAO provides a neutral forum for the world's countries for discussion on global issues, and has been required by the Committee of Forestry (COFO) representing more than 100 countries), a major task to provide global baseline information on forests and forestry and tree resources. Consider then that FAO, as a leading UN agency in its field, is openly challenged when presenting basic and supposedly neutral statistics, after several years of work in collaboration with countries and partners. Something then seems to be wrong. Either the confidence in FAO's work is low, or there are political or financial advantages in questioning the results, or reliable source data are missing which opens the possibilities for speculations

What is known after the FRA-2000 experience is that there is a lack of reliable forest and tree resources information of the most basic facts to carry out the appropriate analysis and planning in forestry activities. Few countries have forest inventories that give the information required. This is not limited to the developing world. The situation in several industrial countries is less than satisfactory for national and international forest policy development and implementation. In developing countries there are many limitations. Only 3 countries and territories (of 156) have repeated inventories, 94 countries have no inventory, 30 have partial forest inventory. Very few developing countries in the world have up-to date information on their forest resources and fewer have national capacity for generating such information.

For this reason, FAO convokes a team of leading professionals to an Expert Consultation on Global Forest Resources Assessments - linking national and international efforts, that will take place in Kotka Finland from the 1-5 of July. The focus of the meeting is to identify strategies methods and mechanisms for future global assessments, and particularly how national forest inventories can contribute to global assessments, while at the same time meeting national requirements of information. . Traditional forest inventories assess quality and quantity of forest area and wood, the present and future demand for information will also focus on parameters related to fields as e.g. carbon sequestration, biodiversity, uses of the forests resources, forest markets FRA should satisfy this demand of information.

Sixty experts from all over the world will attend the meeting to recommend the general scope of global forests assessments; to define the level and mechanisms for participation of the countries and; to define the principles and approaches for future global assessments and the links between national and international information. Recommendations will be given on how to implement a Global Forest Resources Assessment as a process that monitors the values of all forest benefits for all beneficiaries, including past trends of these benefits and projections to the future. Experts will also define the best way to organize and distribute the information in a transparent way to reduce the risk of using the information for particular needs and specific agendas of different groups.



HUOM! Kaikki Metlan puhelinnumerot ovat muuttuneet v. 2003.
Metlan valtakunnallisen vaihteen numero on 010 2111.

For further information, please contact:

Peter Holmgren, Senior Forestry Officer, Global Forest Assessments
Tel: +39-06-57052714, Fax: +39-06-57055825
E-mail: peter.holmgren@fao.org

Jari Varjo, International Activities, Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla),
Unioninkatu 40 A, Fin-00170 Helsinki
Tel. (office) +358 9 85705772, Fax. +358 9 85705717
E-mail Jari.Varjo@metla.fi

Risto Seppälä, Professor, Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla)
Unioninkatu 40 A, FIN-00170 Helsinki
tel. +358-9-8570 5330, fax. +358-9-625 308
E-mail: risto.seppala@metla.fi


Website of the Kotka meeting

Metla at the Internet: http://www.metla.fi/
Metla/Communications, Unioninkatu 40 A, FIN-00170 HELSINKI, ph. +358 9857 05 260,
e-mail: info@metla.fi