United Nations United Nations Economic Commsission for Europe                                                            Timber Committee

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Information about the documents or any other aspect of the Committee's work may be obtained from the secretariat:
Timber Section 
UNECE Trade Division 
Palais des Nations 
CH - 1211 GENEVA 10 

Fax: +41 22 917 00 41


The Joint FAO/ECE/ILO Committee on Forest Technology, Management and Training assists countries to develop their forestry activities within the context of sustainable development. It fosters international cooperation on technical, economic and organisational aspects of forest management and forest working techniques and of the training of forest workers in logging and forest operations. Special attention is given to: 

  • the development and implementation of forest use planning and general management aspects, increasing the efficiency of labour; the reduction of waste; 
  • the establishment of an adequate balance between technical, social and economic requirements and protection of the environment.
Its programme focussed on the sustainable development of the forest sector and the follow up to the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, considering the Joint Committee had an important role in translating into practice the guidelines agreed at the highest level. 

It recognises the essential role of training and extension activities and pays special attention to the needs of the countries in transition as well as to southern Europe and Mediterranean countries.

The Joint Committee is geared towards practitioners and technology transfer, and concentrates on the interface of policy, science and practice.

Work areas

The Joint Committee has three work areas:

  1. Management (e.g. multiple use forestry, ecological and economic issues, marketing,  information systems); 
  2. Technology (e.g. forest engineering, ecologically and economically sound operations in silviculture, wood harvesting and transport); 
  3. Training (e.g. for workers supervisors and managers, including applied ergonomics, and occupational safety and health).
Methods of work

The main methods are:

  • seminars, focusing on important topics of general interest, with fairly large participation and with interpretation into English, French and Russian; 
  • workshops, combined if necessary with excursions, with well defined terms of reference, smaller participation and in one language only; 
  • teams of specialists to solve specific problems and address particular issues; 
  • in certain circumstances, advisory missions may be organised.
The regular sessions of the Joint Committee itself normally take place every two years, invited by a member country. The Joint Committee agrees on the programme for the next 2-4 years. The session is usually held in conjunction with a seminar on a topic of interest to the host country.

Much of the responsibility for the running of the Joint Committee programme lies with the Steering Committee consisting of the Chairperson, two Vice-Chairpersons, the past Chairperson and five coordinators, who develop programme activities and monitor and encourage their implementation. There is a coordinator for each work area and another is responsible for work concerning countries in transition. The Steering Committee meets annually.


Many aspects of the Joint Committee's work are of interest not only to national forest services and other government agencies directly concerned, but also to specialists throughout the forest and forest products sector. Representatives of forest enterprises and organisations, research institutes,  universities, training institutes, labour unions etc. take an active part in the work of the Joint Committee.

Cooperation between international organizations

The Joint Committee is a subsidiary body of two international intergovernmental bodies, the UN/ECE Timber Committee and the FAO European Forestry Commission. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is also a sponsoring body. This arrangement mobilises the resources of all three organisations in an efficient manner and avoids any duplication of activity between them in the Joint Committee's field of responsibility. 

The Joint Committee cooperates with other international organisations as appropriate: in particular there is close cooperation and joint activities with the International Union of Forestry Research Organisations (IUFRO).


The results of the Joint Committee's activities are distributed automatically to participants and are published as:

  • Geneva Timber and Forest Study Papers (ECE/TIM/SP/..); or 
  • Geneva Timber and Forest Discussion Papers (ECE/TIM/DP/..); or 
  • ILO or FAO publications; or 
  • publications of national institutes (proceedings of seminars).
A list of publications is available from the secretariat, and complete information on activities, including bibliographical references, is made available in the Timber Committee Yearbook.


The Joint Committee was founded in 1954 as a forum for the exchange of information and experience among the countries of Europe and North America on forest working techniques and the training of forestry workers. Since then, its priorities and methods of work have evolved, notably by giving greater emphasis to environmental and management questions, but the main focus of interest has remained constant over the Joint Committee's history.


The secretariat of the Joint Committee is shared between the FAO regional forestry adviser for Europe, the Timber Section of the ECE Trade Division, the Industrial Activities Branch of the International Labour Office and the Harvesting and Transport Branch of the Forest Products Division of the FAO Forestry Department.